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.

Spoiled Brat Of A President (2019Jan24)

Thursday, January 24, 2019                                              9:16 PM

Spoiled Brat Of A President   (2019Jan24)

The same logic that allowed Citizens United to equate money with speech could just as well equate money with firearms. And while Americans have the right to bear arms, they do not have the right to discharge them at will—not, that is, until “Citizens United v. FEC” (2010).

Beyond the ethical solipsism of the wealthy deciding that cash is free speech, there is the obvious, but unaddressed, issue of fairness. How can it be fair that the rich have more ‘speech’ than the poor? Is this not the very definition of disenfranchisement from a democracy, based on wealth?

It has occurred to me lately that the rich are getting way too big for their britches. Their incurable greed-lust can’t be turned off, even after it has accomplished whatever object it may have begun towards. Hence income-inequality.

In a rational society, the wealthy would take care to maintain their surroundings—both the landscape and the human resources. Today’s wealthy go mindlessly forward—acquire, acquire. They don’t do maintenance—and they’re too cheap to hire someone else to do it. No, they get at the government and make it stop serving the people, just to count coup—it’s heedless monomania these fat cats suffer from.

This is how all the empires fell. Things got too good. People took too much for granted. Greed and Self, gnawing away at a grand phenomenon that had grown strong through adversity. Success breeds spoiled children. America’s success has bred a spoiled brat of a president.

Happy MLK Day (2019Jan21)

Monday, January 21, 2019                                                5:04 PM

Happy MLK Day   (2019Jan21)

Martin Luther King Day makes my heart hurt, as a whitey. People that looked like I do came to this place and murdered virtually everyone here. Then they kidnapped Africans and held them in slavery for centuries. We had our bloodiest war fighting each other, ending slavery. But that didn’t end the mistreatment and indignities visited upon African-Americans. It continues to this very moment—in, to name just one example, the fact that some states choose to ignore Martin Luther King Day.

I am too short-tempered to be a follower of the Rev. Dr. King—but anyone can be awed by his courage. I have spent a lifetime regretting my ethnicity—I would prefer not to be associated with white people. I know that sounds racist—but I can’t even hear the term without cringing. I never thought of myself as a color—nor anyone else. The fact that it can bring the ignorant to violence and crime, through a cultural lore of hatred, has always frustrated me.

The thing I always liked most about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches was when he included me in his dream—he understood that hatred was a threat to friend and foe alike. He saw that white people cripple themselves and their children with hatred, beyond what it does to the intentionally persecuted.

I also loved King’s clear thinking—he didn’t lecture us on what was right—he confronted us with what was true. And his lessons, and those of his inspiration, Gandhi, teach us about more than bigotry. They teach us that whatever blurs our sight of the truth is a greater threat than a comfort.

Uncle Sam, Get Yer Gun (2019Jan21)

Monday, January 21, 2019                                                2:41 PM

Uncle Sam, Get Yer Gun   (2019Jan21)

Trump is an enemy of the United States of America. Trump is an ally of Russia—or wherever might takes the place of right. Trump has shut down our government over a lie. There is no national security emergency at the southern border—and the humanitarian emergency there is of Trump’s own making.

Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senators don’t have the moral fiber to impeach him for lying (and general unfitness). They don’t even have the wits to override Trump’s veto on the shutdown.

So, which is worse? We have a president with a vacuum at his moral center—and a Senate without a single vertebra between them. The Media persists in framing the shutdown as two sides arguing—but the reality is that, while we all play politics, Trump is fighting a civil war.

People have already died (including children)—and as our crippled government hobbles along, many more will become victims of Trump’s attack upon our homeland.

My initial concern was over the erosion of our ethics and ideals—but with the shutdown, it becomes clear that Trump is an actual physical threat—not just to those seeking asylum here, but to the citizenry. Trump isn’t just outrageous anymore—he’s not just an embarrassment. Trump is an enemy of the state.

I Blame Wolf (2019Jan18)

Friday, January 18, 2019                                          6:59 PM

I Blame Wolf   (2019Jan18)

News-media producers are coming up against an uncomfortable truth—their origin was in Public Service for a reason. The early TV journalists were very direct in exercising their First Amendment rights—to better inform the public. That was their job—you didn’t have to sponsor them and, more importantly, you didn’t have to watch them. They were there to inform whoever cared enough to want to learn.

That is a public service. News-media as profitable entertainment? Not even close. Quite the contrary. By seeking larger audiences, news-shows ‘dumb down’ the reporting—and the discussion. They force a bubble of stupidity over our national discourse. And that is just one of the ways in which journalism-for-profit is a threat to this country.

But don’t go tarring print journalism with the same brush—those old papers have never been get-rich-quick professions—only those with the calling go through what real journalists do. It’s an insult to them even to mention digital News-media in the same category.

It all goes back to Wolf and the CNN gang on that Baghdad hotel balcony, streaming us real-time war-porn for us to watch on our couches, eating chips and ice cream. Was that a part of the digital revolution? Yeah. Was it a journalism coup? No. War correspondents have risked their lives before—on the line, with the soldiers they’re covering. War correspondents have never before sat themselves down in a bombing-target zone and babbled into a microphone like cocktail party guests. No.

So, for two weeks or so, CNN was a profitable business. The problem was nobody needs twenty-four news unless there’s a war going on. And the rest, if not journalism, is certainly history. Literally.

Trump could never have gotten this far, unscathed, if we weren’t locked into this cable-news/social-media battle royale of ignorance and sensationalism. A criminal traitor scumbag became president of the united states. We can only wait and hope for impeachment. It would almost be a relief to blame it all on Trump and the Russians. But that’s leaving out the show-biz.

Dear Turner Classic Movies: (2019Jan15)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019                                                10:34 PM

Dear Turner Classic Movies:   (2019Jan15)

Being a disabled half-a-shut-in, I’ve spent more of my life watching your channel than is natural or healthy—and I am grateful for it. Like many of your viewers, I’m fascinated with the breadth of cinema, the depth of history, and the complexity of a century-plus of moving-picture artistry.

One of the great charms of movies is the caught-in-amber historicity of the figures-of-speech from distant decades. The Runyonesque dialogs, the gangster patter, the particular speech of Americans during WWII—many different accents and expressions are jewelry-settings of distant times and lost neighborhoods. It is an essential part of each movie.

My hearing is so good that I often (i.e. always) use the closed-captioning while watching TV. And here is where I find the one annoying thing about TCM—the CC’s are typed by a young person with no ear for chronological jargon, without any experienced supervision. On some movies, typos and mis-hearings abound with every other screen of dialogue.

I recognize the expense of closed-captioning subtitles is prohibitive. However, with so much energy directed towards the restoration and preservation of the movies’ images—it seems wrong to attach, eternally, a faulty transcription of what is being said.

And it wouldn’t hurt to add music-titles and foreign-phrase-translations—though I suppose that’s extra. Anyway, in a perfect world, right?

A big fan,

Xper Dunn

American Snowflake (2019Jan12)

Saturday, January 12, 2019                                               1:27 PM

American Snowflake   (2019Jan12)

Sexism

Racism

Religious Extremism

Demonizing journalism

Scoffing at the Law

Dishonesty

We have seen the celebration of all the above faults under a Trump administration. We have endured ridicule for being overly precious about our ethics and our sense of fairness. We hear our Media give the White Nationalists every exposure and legitimacy—as if they were simply another ‘side’ of the story. We see our Supreme Court packed with predators.

Now we can say: yes, it does matter. Not only do the above failings mark a person as ignorant and without conscience. These failings now present themselves as backdoors for America’s enemies.

Where we once tolerated bigots, mashers, and white-collar criminals—in the spirit of inclusion—we now see that we can’t afford the risk to our national security on anti-American sentiments. In a global society, rife with YouTube recruitment and state-run hacker-co-ops, Americans must be fully American.

When we see racist or sexist Facebook posts, we must assume the poster to be treasonous, probably Russian. When some bible-neck puts Jesus before our Constitution, we must assume they are a mole from some primitive theocracy, like Saudi Arabia. And when someone shuts down the entire government for no clear reason at all—that man is a traitor. He should be tried and hung, while we still have our flag flying.

Stray Thoughts (2019Jan10)

Thursday, January 10, 2019                                              1:15 PM

Stray Thoughts   (2019Jan10)

We are not the top. We are not the end. We are children without experience or context. This universe was near-infinitely ancient, prior to the appearance of the first strand of DNA that allowed the first mite of scum to reproduce. Life was less-infinitely ancient, prior to the appearance of recorded civilization—which, itself, lasted tens of thousands of years before the appearance of our ‘planetarily-carcinogenic’ addiction to fossil-fuel technology.

Yet we go on preparing ourselves to be literally boiled in our own waste. Worse—not even ourselves, but our grandchildren. We will all die in air-conditioned comfort—our heirs will be slowly tortured to death on a poisoned planet.

If it is a tragedy to be without wisdom, how much greater the tragedy, when we have wisdom and refuse to acknowledge it?

People debate the existence of extra-terrestrial life—like much media, this is infantile fodder for debating the obvious—a convenient Rorschach-card of a conversation topic. Of course there is life out there. There are only three real questions.

One: Is astronomical distance an impenetrable barrier? If so, ‘life’ is a parochial affair, insulated from us and from each other by distances that defy comprehension.  Two: If ET’s could visit Earth, would they want to? And Three: If ET’s visited Earth, would they deign to communicate with humanity?

Outside of these three questions, debate is not just useless—it is an excuse to use UFOs as an analogy for xenophobia.

Humanity tends to conflate its present knowledge-base for the entirety of knowledge. We can laugh at ancient people who made this mistake—but we should remember not to make jokes of ourselves.

I miss the pre-Internet days—people like me (bookworms) were a thing. If anyone wanted to know how to spell a word, or how to calculate a percentage, or whether Bach came before Beethoven, or how to test the pool for pH levels—someone would say, “Ask Chris.” It was nice—being the know-it-all. It made up, a little, for being a nerd.

Back then, information wasn’t everywhere—you had to know where to look (which is still true, but not as literally). My name got passed around, just like a good car-mechanic’s, or a reliable pot-dealer’s. Of course, no one considered it my profession—because this was back when information was still ‘free’. People considered asking-me-a-question payment enough for the answer.

When I got carried away and started spouting more information than they wanted to hear, they’d say, “Stop. I don’t want to hear it.” And they’d walk away. I was the information-source—they’d turn me off, if they didn’t like the information. Nothing surprising there.

But they wouldn’t contradict me. They didn’t curate my information to suit their personal preferences—like trolls do now. Don’t take trolls personally, by the way—they are simply young people, glorying in the freedom to deny reality and social mores and common sense. It’s like a drug—taking away the constraints of gravity, for as long as one can stay at the keyboard.

But most of all, back when information still mattered, a madman like our current president—and the Senate goons supporting him—would have been justifiably laughed out-of-office. Hearings would have been unnecessary.

Somehow, the Right has taken ‘two sides to every story’ (which makes sense) and twisted it into ‘legitimacy for the self-serving side of a story’ (which is the opposite of sense). It sounds a lot like religion—something the secular do well to avoid in their business and government practices—hence the wise division between Church and State.

The Right has embraced the fact that propaganda works on a sizable percent of the governed—just as Fascists did in the Nineteen-Thirties—and chosen to abuse that knowledge, using today’s communications tools, rather than running “The More You Know” PSAs or some other, less malignant, more helpful, interaction with the people of the nation.

The most religion-like aspect of Trump-supporters is their eagerness to reject science, fact, evidence, and truth. This is where the tide of madness has risen highest. And the commercial media must share the indictment of their success—since the sensationalism-value of bat-shit-crazy gathers eyeballs better than a severed head rolling down the street, and executives are too greedy to factor in mental health concerns (or concerns for mass hysteria, come to that).

This eagerness to contradict school-book facts and sober science, though—we should probably take a look at where that comes from. We used to be one bad harvest from animals—we’ve evolved (like it or not) to live a simple life.

Yes we are clever apes, no doubt. But are we, as a species, adept enough to use the rules-of-the-road, our remote controls, our ATM cards, our on-line bill-paying, and our Twitter app? Police Blotters worldwide say no, not all of us, not every day. And that’s just the bare bones of modern life-skills.

If a Masters Degree becomes the default educational ‘job requirement’—where it used to be only for the unusually scholarly or dedicated—does that mean we are asking too much of ourselves, as a group? The trouble with Progress-as-defined-by-Capitalism is that we are hostages to it.

Progress doesn’t serve us—it conscripts us. And should we fall out of step, we get ripped to shreds by the cleverer apes, the greedier apes. Progress-as-defined–by-Liberals is less savage—we see a future where the robots take our jobs, yes, but we still get paid. Silly, I know—to a Capitalist. Those people can’t just take the Win and turn to a better way—and that’s going to bite us all in the ass.

The world is changing faster as technology explodes from yesterday’s successes to a thousand-times more successes tomorrow. But, as tech becomes more powerful, its failures become more dangerous. In fact, we should just pay everybody a nice salary, with benefits—and change our paradigm to shepherding our technology along safe pathways.

That is our new job, as a civilization. We have all earned a permanent retirement from hard labor—nobody does any large-scale farming or large-scale manufacturing by hand anymore. Our job now is to co-exist with each other, and maintain the global machinery of our economy, without a profit motive to screw things up.

If you still use the phrase ‘earning a living’, as if you were splitting fence-rails with Honest Abe, you’ve never seen a Dilbert cartoon. If you are more concerned with other peoples’ behavior than you are with examining yourself, you should be in politics (I’m not saying you’ll be good at—but your kind seem happy there).

And, yes, obviously, the underserved are far more eager to give up the current paradigm than the rich and powerful—and the rich and powerful are so damned selfish, they’d blow it all up in a war, rather than share any of it. So there’s that. I keep saying—it’s all about mental health.

Capitalism isolates people—discouraging cooperation—prioritizing individual ownership over use or fairness. As a nineteenth- and twentieth-century engine for change, Capitalism did its job. But its job is over. All done. But do we celebrate? No. It’s funny.

Mostly Democrats (2019Jan06)

Sunday, January 06, 2019                                        2:36 PM

Mostly Democrats   (2019Jan06)

If those who choose a career in civil service are mostly Democrats, as Trump suggests, that would be a stunning indictment of Republicans. Is the GOP completely devoid of interest in serving the people, except for elected or appointed positions of power and privilege? Does their party exist solely to disrupt and obfuscate our federal government?

Better question: Do the Republicans promote ‘smaller government’ because it is the road to ‘no government’? When has our government ever made a positive difference in peoples’ lives, while the Republicans weren’t fighting tooth and nail to hold back the changes?

Do the Republicans stand for anything other than evangelical fanaticism, wealth, and pop-guns-for-the-home? Their devotion to ignorance makes them natural recruits for authoritarian extremism. They don’t even represent the Conservatives anymore (whom I despised—but at least they clung, however tenuously, to coherency).

I think the Republican Party has embraced Corruption. After all, business is business—and the wealthy puppeteers behind the party see the U. S. Government as just another player—to be targeted for takeover. Most Americans are so money-crazy they’d express little alarm over the idea—but that’s because they fail to recognize the vital differences between business and democratic government.

For decades, the Republicans have claimed that government is too inept to be trusted, while pretending they were worthy of trust. Republicans have claimed that we can’t afford social programs, or even infrastructure, but slip billions to their rich buddies under the table. They are so blatantly dishonest and hypocritical that I’m awed by the dysfunction of it all—people actual fall for their bullshit!

Faith is a wonderful thing. But humanity is eternally plagued by those who would abuse the faith of others, without conscience or scruple. Trump is such, as is McConnell, Ryan, Cruz, Graham, Justice Thomas and that new fratboy Justice—all of them men without honor—in many ways, men without reason.

I’m on the side of the Congresswoman who wants to impeach the motherfucking pussy-grabber. (Pardon the raw language—I wanted to quote equal obscenity from both sides.)

It will take the next Democratic president years to undo all the damage and de-staffing of Trump’s conflagration of everything American. She or he will be lucky if, by the end of their first term, they’ve gotten us back to where Obama left us.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving on. The decapitation-traffic-accident of Trump’s presidency has put them all on notice—America has closed up shop. Look elsewhere for strength, justice, or decency.

Republicans Are Waiting For Christmas (2018Dec17)

Xmas 2018 Play List

Monday, December 17, 2018                                           12:34 PM

Republicans Are Waiting For Christmas   (2018Dec17)

What did Trump call his alleged felonies? ‘popcorn stuff’? ‘chicken feed’? ‘smock and mirrors’? Well—I guess that ‘lock her up’ guff is only one-way. (Or is it only one-gender?)

The Border Patrol Gestapo failed to save a 7-year-old refugee girl in distress—then excused their neglect by saying “she shouldn’t have been taken on a long trip without adequate food and water”. Turns out, the poor child had sepsis—something outside the assumptions of the prejudiced and, therefore, missed at the time.

Are we done yet? Can we admit that, annoying as they may be, those intelligent, educated people gave us a feeling of security and stability that no circus clown or reality-TV star can offer? When can the media go back to dismissing fools without giving them air-time? When can we all agree that this presidency is our lowest, most embarrassing moment for democracy—the day we found out it had its weaknesses?

The trouble being: democratic voters are not supposed to be selfish and uninterested—and candidates for democratically-elected office are not supposed to be poll-driven. They are supposed to lead us through the unpleasant but necessary solutions to injustice—not beg corporate lobbyists for money, and then conspire in corruption.

And let me point out, to all those who still support the concepts of ‘alternate news’ and ‘alternate facts’: if the country were blind to the truth, all this time, it could hardly have maintained its economy and military, such as they are.

That is to say, I have beef with our economic model and our current economic laws and policies—but no matter how I feel about it, America has the most stable, yet most robust economy (per capita) of any nation in the world. I think its paradigm is obsolete and its zeitgeist is cold-blooded, but it’s still doing it better than any other country.

Now, I hear you contradicting—but let me say this. Russia has a warlord economy. Or it could be updated—call it a mobster economy. It doesn’t respond to market pressure—or, rather, when it does, it is not an organic response, but imposed. And China—well, China has billions of people and half the world’s real estate. Even pre-industrial China had enough land and labor to compete in world markets—not that they ever wanted to, until recently.

If (to put it another way) all of China was run like New York State, the size and power of their economy would outshine all others, like the daylight the stars. But it has more to do with intent than with the specific laws and rules.

When America first rebelled, its new government had a very ‘we inmates are in charge of the asylum now’ feel to it. And the American culture matched that, with brash openness and a willingness to try new things that seemed very incautious to Old-World-ers.

Frontier living showed Americans the importance of mutual support and community—crooks were dealt with harshly, but honest businesses were points of pride for growing towns and counties. This attitude of a rising tide lifting all boats was not homogeneous or unanimous—but it was prevalent.

Europe’s, and the rest of the world’s, cultures evolved from the starting point of survival of families and tribes—and even at their most sophisticated, family ties and insular clubs remained the foci. American settlers struck out in large groups—and their survival was based on the good of the group, from the beginning of the first voyage.

But it is not so much the size of the larger coherency—it is the fact that even the least member had a job, an importance, on which everyone relied—and the reciprocal respect that came with that was the seed of individual liberty, as a cultural concept, rather than a broadsheet debate.

It is only now, centuries later, that elitism begins to creep back into America. Our goal-oriented ancestors would be mortified: People saying ‘I don’t care if Trump lies—I still support him’; Senators saying ‘I don’t care if Trump broke the law—I still support him’; Lawyers saying ‘Yes, I was dirty—but I had no concept of dirty until I worked for Trump’.

Unearned respect—this is something America never gave, until now. America has always been quick to knock down its idols—at the first sign of weakness. Now, they’ve raised an idol whose super-power is weakness: dishonesty, criminality—even treason. And greed. And lechery.

But the ones who are really getting away with murder are the Senate—the Republican-held Senate that denied Merrick Garland his due and then, for spite, gave it instead to a drunken frat-boy rapist. The GOP-majority Senate that has ‘pretended’ to investigate Trump for two years, found nothing, and made no comment on the eight indicted members of Trump’s circle who have already pled guilty, or been convicted.

These Senators believe in elitism—otherwise, they would feel shame.

Happy Holidays !

Emotional Difficulty   (2018Nov30)

 

 

Friday, November 30, 2018                                              12:59 AM

Emotional Difficulty   (2018Nov30)

Do you use civilization, or do you participate in it? Civilization, like life itself, is not something we asked for, but something we have thrust upon us with the implied understanding that its pros outnumber its cons. And, as with life, that depends on who you talk to, after the fact—not that the dead are ‘questionnaired’, regularly, but if you could, I mean.

I’ve been thinking about how each year’s (or make it month’s) round of new science research, new real-world lab and tech developments, new enhanced coding in the cyberscape—all exciting, many awe-inspiring—are also, most of the time, a scythe wiping away employment, skill-sets, and their attendant sub-cultures.

When science makes convenient alternatives to human workers, it also erases their way of life. If you read an O. Henry story or Damon Runyon story today, you’d need a glossary for all the occupations and pastimes that have been swept away with the cyber era. And good riddance to some of those cultural norms and social iniquities—although I’d venture, at this point, that they are not gone, but hidden in new ways.

No, the evil abides—but the jobs and the salaries and benefits and, most importantly, the easy pace of life back then—those things are all gone. When I first began office work, in the early 70s, I began with a normal, manual typewriter, until later, when I used an IBM Selectric II. All the bookkeeping was done by hand in green-paper ledger books, using an adding machine.

Now, when we went to calculators, and soon after, PCs, we only stopped using the one adding machine. When the new mini-computer system came in, we only stopped using two Selectric typewriters. When faxes came out we only stopped seeing that one messenger-guy that stopped in once or twice a day on his round of clients. And when our computer-based work-style stopped us using traditional stationary supplies and equipment, the big, lovely-smelling, tradition-heavy stationary store in Mid-Town only lost one business account.

If you’ve ever seen “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” in its film incarnation, you might remember the scenes in that movie—surreally infinite ranks of typists and accountants, using the same typewriters and adding machines. But those scenes are puny compared to the actual hidden army of such people who made up a sizeable percentage of the people needed to run a big firm (up until that time).

The street-messenger army virtually disappeared in the same fiscal year that fax-machine sales exploded. Today’s messenger delivers only physical objects and legal documents—and nowadays, he or she hasn’t the leisure of strolling around Manhattan on foot.

You can’t imagine the unlimited amount of petty jobs that had been presented to a new Twentieth Century—the bigger businesses got, the bigger the crowd required to do all the millions of details. And amongst that milling mob, there was also exchange of ideas and emotions. We often call early Twentieth Century America a ‘melting pot’ (as if all the disparate ethnicities actually combined) when, really, it was a ‘mixing bowl’. The crowds of people going to and from factories and mines—the same people seeking out gathering spots for recreation—that’s where the cohesion came from, IMHO. That’s what made Central Park so fascinating and popular.

For awhile, the more machines appeared, the more jobs were created—factory jobs, repair jobs, retail jobs, office jobs, packing and shipping jobs—a rising tide, in commerce, used to lift all boats. Nowadays, in case you missed it, the job market has no connection to the economy—half of us could drop dead and the rich wouldn’t even notice. There is a dangerous disconnect.

Simultaneously, virtually every aspect of our parents’ way of life has disappeared. I don’t mean that in a political way. I mean that in the sociological, archeological sense. The milk-man, public school, trusted bank, security blanket America is gone—and without judging the ups and downs of that, I would merely observe that it is emotionally difficult to watch the world disappear, right or wrong, good or bad.

Clarity of Vision   (2018Nov13)

IronMan

Excelsior !

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018                                           7:23 PM

Clarity of Vision   (2018Nov13)

One of our best States burnt up this past week-end. Climate Change is the kind of thing that takes a cooperative effort to respond to—and humanity has become too comfortable in a global culture of Capitalist competition. Our society’s every axiom tells us not to cooperate—and so we are doomed.

Or so I have heard people say. I think people have an urge to cooperate so strong that it can shoulder past the establishment’s limits. But it is much more difficult to recruit soldiers to a love-in of international cooperation than to say, a desert shoot-em-up that promises to bring all your gamer fantasies to life.

It’s always harder to build something than it is to tear something down. We have a fantastic planet. If we recognize that our present careless rapaciousness must inevitably destroy the entire eco-sphere—then we have a new mission on Earth.

We no longer need defend against alien invaders. We no longer need to vie for wealth, possessions, or power. We can be satisfied with the simple goal of leaving a viable planet for our grandchildren to start families in. Sounds easy, right? But we’ve been fucking off for way too long, as people do.

And we’re still stuck here—at the point of acceptance. Yes, you simple poopy-heads—we’re all gonna die from greenhouse gasses and ocean acidification and habitat destruction. Did you think the world was too big for us to make an impact? Well, it was—but that was two centuries ago.

Our leaders, our most powerful and prominent businesspeople, even our most pious ministers—are all in agreement: Don’t pay any attention to California burning—or Texas or Florida flooding—or thousands of Puerto Rican hurricane victims lost—blame it on God and keep laughing off the scientists—all the scientists.

The rest of the world sees it better—you have a few countries (sadly including the USA right now) too dis-informed to join Europe and the rest, all of whom are eager to get to work on climate-change solutions. Just another thing in which America has lost its preeminence—our clarity of vision.

Can we talk about the President? We’ve had presidents I didn’t like, presidents I got furious at—but never a president who made me ashamed. Trump makes me ashamed for him, for the government, for the country, and for myself (for being naïve enough to think this couldn’t happen). I’m ashamed of the entire Senate, because they have the power and the responsibility to react to Trump’s unfitness—and do nothing, and even say nothing. The whole farce is shameful. The Republicans have ceased to be a political party—they have lost all legitimacy. ‘Nuf said.

Excelsior !

Trump’s Senate, However, Is Just Straight-Up Crooks & Pervs  (2018Oct28)

20120930XD-GooglImages-WllmBlake-DeathOnAPaleHorse

Sunday, October 28, 2018                                       8:02 AM

Trump’s Senate, However, Is Just Straight-Up Crooks & Pervs  (2018Oct28)

We now have proof (if any further were wanted) that Trump’s ‘base’ are people who fail to understand the spirit behind America’s Founding Documents. It makes me sad to see these indoctrinated, but not educated, people worry the scraps of propaganda that the Right has fed them—self-righteous for the hell-of-it people, veins in their foreheads and finger-pointing like mad—more sure of their sureness than of their reasons.

Trump has taught them that words are meaningless—only bombs and guns have any real effect. He is wrong, mores the pity, but that is what he has taught them. He has also taught them that if they are pompous enough, it’s okay to disrespect women, gays, African-Americans, Native Americans, Muslims, Mexicans, Educators—you name it. Hate’s the new Love in Trumpland.

Trump’s Congressional Republicans, however, are just straight-up crooks and pervs—I couldn’t tell you how much understanding of American principles they have to bury down deep inside every day to continue as they are doing. It hardly matters. If these people had ethics, Trump would have made their heads explode long before now.

The Republicans’ constituencies are a marvel: They voted for Trump in 2016, yes—but they’ve been voting for these withered trolls as Senators and Representatives for decades. They vote this way in spite of clear proof that they are voting against their best interests—and voting in favor of blatant untruths and greed.

But I must add a caveat: If a person is smart enough to vote against the Republicans, but too lazy or stupid to do so, that’s actually worse. Democracy only works if you’re not a lazy sack of shit.

Clown Prince of Murder   (2018Oct21)

Jamal-Khashoggi-15390870_10154765309794844_4714301979347099637_n

Sunday, October 21, 2018                                       2:30 PM

Clown Prince of Murder   (2018Oct21)

I know—that title sounds like an old Angela Lansbury TV episode. But I feel it encapsulates both the horror and the farce of the present scandal. The murder of the journalist Khashoggi is his own fault—he should have known better than to set foot on the sovereign soil of the Saudi embassy.

But it serves to remind us of the Saudi culture—which strains mightily to contort its obsolescence into the 21st century mainstream—and which we turn a blind eye to, in hopes of one-hundred-billion dollars in arms sales.

This Crowny Prince liar starts with “Nope—didn’t happen” and ends, today, with “Yeah—dead—killed him—not my fault”. In his country, he can get away with that BS—and because our media reports even his lies, he may believe that we swallow it over here, too.

Personally, I can’t help thinking of the ‘Tom Cruise Paradox’: “If the captain gave orders that Santiago wasn’t to be touched—and the captain’s orders were always followed—then, why was Santiago in danger?” You know? I mean, these are the top aides to a guy who has people slaughtered and dismembered if they talk out of turn. Are we really supposed to believe that they acted autonomously? Ridiculous.

And everybody knows—has known—the truth for about a week now—well, since the day after the murder—whenever that was. And we’ve all known this Prince guy was lying—and that Trump was pretending to believe his obvious lie. And Americans aren’t worried about bone-saws. No, we’re just too greedy to let go of that sweet arms-deal money.

And all of it overlooks the questions of: Why any country needs a hunert-billion in arms?—or why the world, as a whole, needs a hunert-billion in arms?—or why the hell the manufacture of a hunert-billion in arms is a staple of the U.S. economy? And I’m sure some geek can spout the party line, about how fear and distrust force mankind to live this way—but I don’t buy it.

The people with the money and power want everything to stay just the way it is. The fact that it is impossible does not faze them. Holding back the tide of time is their main function—it’s how they maintain balance atop the pyramid, by keeping it from shaking too hard.

They smear change as disruption. They praise head-in-the-sand ignorance as security. According to scientists, these entitled farts are going to kill us all in about twenty years—by keeping us from doing what’s necessary, just because it’s too ‘expensive’. As if that word will maintain its meaning, once we all start frying.

And what they really fear is losing their death-grip on the status quo. Imagine the globe on an emergency footing, with all kinds of barriers and costs tossed aside in aid of the present crisis, with massive R&D projects focused on completely ‘non-profit’ aims. Heavens, the economic instability—survival isn’t worth it.

As we consume the natural bounty of the globe, we suppose that our comfort is part of our survival. That was the old way—comfort was the pinnacle. Now we see that health is the true pinnacle—that comfort without challenge leads to boredom and obesity—and is fatal in large doses. That is true for the Earth and for our bodies and for our societies—and we are running out of time to learn that.

But so what? Right? He’s the friggin’ Clown Prince of Sadly Arabia. What is it? MBS? Is that Mucho Bull S**t? I think it may be. Fuck that asshole.

Mr. Khashoggi –soldier of truth–may you rest in peace.

Why Fascism?   (2018Oct08)

musoTrump

Monday, October 08, 2018                                               7:43 PM

Why Fascism?   (2018Oct08)

Conservatives want to hold us back and freeze the future—they want everything to stay cozy and familiar. The faster and more disruptive the global rate of change becomes, the more dangerous Conservatism becomes to our country. Rather than embracing change (an American tradition, ironically) Conservatives want to go backwards, revisiting all the old issues they lost on, in the sixties and seventies.

But they know they lost—they know that they have to ‘hide’ their bigotry and sexism behind denials and rationales—so they double down. White supremacy is not suddenly rearing its ugly head because racism and misogyny have become popular again—no. These people are afraid of the future.

They fear the future because they are predominately uneducated, and conditioned to react negatively to adult-education and job-training. They fear the future because it’s harder to lie in a world with Google, it’s harder to exclude in a world with Facebook, and it’s harder to price-gouge rural folks who have Amazon (especially Prime).

Modern media and the Internet make it easier for them to spread rumors and conspiracy—but the same online-connection can give you the truth on multiple other websites. They can lead you to water, but they can’t make you stop drinking. The Fascists are shouting and angry—because they are peeing themselves with fear. Cowards and bullies always bluster to hide their terror—so, if someone invites you to join their hate club—tell them to grow a pair and embrace the future.

Unsupportable   (2018Oct04)

StatuOLibrty_06

Thursday, October 04, 2018                                             10:55 PM

Unsupportable   (2018Oct04)

So I heard Dr. Ford’s testimony (and Kavanaugh’s rant) then I heard Trump at a rally. He apparently remembered that Dr. Ford testified her most searing memory was the laughter of the predatory, drunken boys that roughed her up—so Trump thought it would be nice to get an entire stadium full of people to laugh at Dr. Ford’s pain.

This dishonorable, deceitful pile of crap has never had any business in the White House—and he provides daily proof of this fact. The Republican leaders who back him are equally without honor, or any sense of what honor might be.

When I saw the flood of women inundating Washington D.C. today—each and every one, by their presence, announcing, “I have been physically disrespected by a man, or group of men”, many of them arriving from Maine—and Alaska —then I thought back to Trump’s disgraceful strutting the night before—I felt rage.

Do these entitled, precious pigs think that they are invisible? Do they think we don’t see them? It’s easy to fill a stadium with bored knuckleheads—did he have any Nobel scientists there—at his rally? There were a couple of Americans who just won the Chemistry Nobel (along with a Brit). They might have enjoyed a dinner at the White House. Trump is not wise, but he is slick—he would expect, if two people created life in a lab, they probably wouldn’t want to hang with a tasteless ignoramus.

A real president would have given those Nobelists a public nod. Real presidents have always done so in the past—with good reason, as any thinking person would explain. But under Trump we don’t suffer mere incompetence—we suffer a total denial of moral awareness. The only ethics Trump is familiar with are the mouthings he’s learned are required of someone pretending innocence.

We must accept it—that surprisingly large percentage—millions of Americans who cannot be trusted to use a toilet correctly, forget about them using their brains, or their mouths. These people consider themselves the other party—they say there are two sides to things. But nobody else has to hide behind that BS. Why is that? When I go to the store, I pay my money—me and the cashier are on the same side. Someone has to explain to me how Public Service became so nebulous that it can have ethical quandaries over whether or not women shouldn’t get raped on the regular. How did these puss-bags ever get near a position of responsibility?

I know, I know—it’s a democracy. Sure. With no voters—except the nut-bars and the worried parents.

But still—Trump. He disgusts me. —And that army of sexually-traumatized women marching around Washington—it haunts me. There’s a T.S. Eliot line (which he stole from Dante) :

Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many.

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street…

(from “The Waste Land”)

I believe that a woman who is betrayed by a male friend or relative, or stranger—sees her previous life, her previous world, destroyed. She must evermore live in the new world—where men are predators without shame or conscience—where she is never again as safe as she was.

Women have the strength to endure these things—and to fight back—as today’s demonstrations proved. But, why the fuck should they have to? Do we really live in a country where more men are okay with this shit than are sickened by it? This has been a very disappointing and disheartening three years—the bottom ever recedes.

Having these farcically corrupt and hypocritical people be the leaders of our government—is proof that what makes a good campaigner does not make a good states-person. It’s unsupportable.

foundingDoc_02

Increasing Intensity   (2018Sep04)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018                                          12:45 AM

Increasing Intensity   (2018Sep04)

I’m always tempted to use the phrase ‘tsunami of bullsxxt’ when I think of the Republican party now. Mueller (and some helpful States’ Attorneys-General) are having success in uncovering a lot of corruption—and a lot of interaction—illegal interaction—with Russia (meaning Putin & Co.)—perpetrated by most of Trump’s entire ‘campaign cabinet’.

And now the Trump business and the Trump charitable foundation, and Eric, Ivanka, and Don Jr., are all looking down the barrel of tax-fraud and campaign-finance violations, especially surrounding the Inaugural Committee. Over $100 Million dollars in contributions (some contributed illegally by foreign entities—some stolen since). Cohen, for one, confessed to stealing some—but it appears unlikely his was the only wet beak.

Then there are the first two Congressmen to endorse Trump as a candidate—both facing indictments alleging corruption. This sect of the Republican Party is no Cub Scout Den—these folks have a very elastic understanding of ‘all men being created equal’, not to mention ‘public service’.

Now, when a floral horseshoe of charges, either convicted or confessed by a number of his circle, hangs around Trump’s neck—we are witnessing the unraveling of this manufactured ‘counter-culture’ of alternate-truth and non-facts and conspiracy theories like grains of sand. His so-called ‘base’ is about to be pushed back under the rocks it crawled out from—by the unison outrage of people who don’t yearn for an imagined past nearly as much as they do for a better tomorrow.

I use the word ‘tomorrow’ advisedly. I’m not talking about some ‘future’. We saw how quickly the Putin gang and the Alt-Right gang networked themselves into a de facto traitor-in-the-White-House—and with a host of avid cultists ready to excuse his every evil. If we are lucky enough to get a Blue Wave, we must use it to match their effectiveness—even if the truth is rarely as exciting as the dramatic lie, we must sell the truth with the same fervor as they hawk their ‘story’.

There was a time when we had sent astronauts to the Moon, long ago—and new Personal Computers were becoming something little children were playing with. Say the Eighties or thereabouts—when we started to think of ourselves as living in the future—‘George Jetson had nothing on us’.

And, of course, as in all transitional phases, we threw out a lot of babies with our old bathwater. The Sixties assassinations (highlighting public service and civil disobedience) were scarred over some—and the recent resignation of Nixon had soured many of us on the whole Authority thing. Not that we were surprised, really—no—but it was discomfiting to have it all spelled out and proved on tape.

Then Carter proved, in a way, that being a selfless, honest leader made easy prey for the jackals. And to twist the knife, the Republicans gave us a movie star—then overlooked Iran-Contra and his failing mental health, to christen him the ultra-Republican. And that is certainly true—flash over substance has been their business model, ever since Eisenhower left—and Reagan certainly personifies that credo.

The decades of hypocrisy—both in stealing oil from developing countries, and in defying the science behind the environmentalist movement, had made us ashamed of our American lifestyle—even though we (had we been asked) would have wanted things otherwise. The Ultra-Wealthy had a stake in the status quo—but the obstinance with which they shoved ethics aside to pursue profit has made the world what it is.

The hurricane season is something recent Republican presidents have not done well with—and that season is now upon us. When FEMA left Puerto Rico last year, they claimed great success and a very low mortality figure—double digits, I believe. But last week, Puerto Rico revised their mortality figures for Maria and concluded that nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the loss of electricity and clear roads and medical treatment—and drinking water!

I can’t understand why no one much cares about this in Washington DC. Tomorrow may be an unusually strong hurricane near the mouth of the Mississippi—and it seems that ‘unusually strong’ will ironically be ‘the usual’ for several years to come. So we have a president (oh how I hate that goon having that title) who did a lousy job on last year’s storms—and—he won’t even admit why the storms have increased energy every year.

I will never understand a person being so loosely tied to reality that they would deny it for purely political purposes. Trump knows as well as I do that Climate Change is real—there are pictures. And if he doesn’t believe the photos, he’s the president—he can fly a rocket up to the ISS and look at the polar ice caps himself—or, better yet, send Eric (that poor kid is better off where he can’t be subpoenaed).

With so much electronic interconnectivity, with so many environmental challenges, with so much new science and technology, and with so much income inequality—this is a bad time to decide we should follow luddites and anti-intellectuals. It is an even more dire time to be allow Inclusion and Peaceful Coexistence to be threatened by retrograde Nazis. What Trump did to children at our southern border was a Crime Against Humanity—whatever party you support, you should realize that the whole rest of the world sees it that way—because it was.

We really do live in the future now—but, instead of dazzling us with bottomless charity and industrial miracles of recovery and renovation, I suspect this year’s hurricane season will be, sadly, just as bad as last year’s, or possibly worse. And I mourn in advance the dead which Trump’s incompetence and bigotry will cause.

Unwelcome, Even On Twitter   (2018Sep02)

Sunday, September 02, 2018                                            6:22 AM

Unwelcome, Even On Twitter   (2018Sep02)

Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral. He would not have been welcome.

Trump’s disrespect and rudeness to McCain bothered McCain much less than Trump’s incomprehension of what made this country great—something McCain had fought for and risked his life for and had paid for in torn flesh and broken bone.

McCain’s daughter was well within her rights to point out Trump’s idiocy in calling for America to be made ‘great again’—since Trump had never done a thing to serve his country (and still hasn’t—quite the contrary, in the minds of most).

Trump’s tweeting out “MAGA” soon after daughter McCain’s elegiac comment—is a perfect example of the childish self-absorption that our president suffers from. God forbid that overgrown brat should sit there and take it like a man!

This MAGA business has been a symbol all along—a rallying flag for anti-intellectualism. Anyone who respected and loved America would never say such a thing. Only someone with a self-serving agenda (and a tin ear for surreptitious treason) would ever say we should “Make America great Again”.

Only a businessman who saw the crash of 2008 as a great defeat to America could say ‘MAGA’—thus revealing total ignorance of what makes America truly great. Hey, Trump—here’s a hint: you recently swore to protect, preserve, and defend it—but you forgot to read it.

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We Must Judge For Ourselves   (2018Aug31)

TrumpPutin

Friday, August 31, 2018                                           11:57 PM

We Must Judge For Ourselves   (2018Aug31)

There are so many convictions, indictments, confessions, and plea-deal-cooperating witnesses that I feel secure in pointing out (to anyone who doesn’t get their cues exclusively from ‘alt-news’ sources) that I was right about Trump—insofar as it was a mistake to elect him. As far as whether Trump is the mastermind of this corrupt insurgency of betrayal—or simple its witless front-man—that is still an open question.

I think it progressed, from simple high-stakes, white-collar, international money-laundering (And, really, who doesn’t engage in that?), to collusion with Russian operatives and their American stooges. At no point was Trump prepared to become our president—there is doubt as to whether he ever wanted to be president, as opposed to the fun of running for president. So far, his incompetence has led to thousands of deaths in Puerto Rico, thousands of children being traumatized at our border, and an increase in hate groups, and in their activity.

Our national reputation is in shreds—our president is, in a word, laughable. His ignorance, whether calculated, real, or a combination of the two, may play well with his willfully-blind base, but that crap don’t fly, overseas. And I really think the worst of it is the hyper-partisan unwillingness of our Republican Congress to observe the finer points of politics (ethics, say, or occasional honesty). That deranged septuagenarian in the Oval is not acting alone—nor is he invulnerable to Congressional oversight.

In fact, the Republicans’ obvious discomfort at accommodating their pet gorilla makes the presidency that much more a laughingstock—while showing us that Republicans are, in truth, without a platform, except to beat the Democrats (and the majority of voters) and make their super-rich donors happy. They inspire their followers with a burning resentment that blinds them to facts, and they point out a target—whether it’s immigrants, African Americans, liberals, women, gays, or overly-honest public figures.

The extent of this new media-network supporting the alternate reality of these truly-disturbed people is immense. The only defense against it is truth and logic—but they are so much less entertaining than conspiracy-theories and personality-assassinations. Plus, the assholes such as InfoWars host watsisname are always so full of outrage and indignation—it must be sincere, right? We really are so basic—people, I mean—just shout real loud and everyone turns to listen. If only there were a process, between hearing and believing, where people judged for themselves….

 

O, and, apropos of nothing, here are some brief thoughts from earlier in the month:

Friday, August 10, 2018                                           4:09 PM

Trump attacks the NFL protests because the humility of the act horrifies him. He won’t bend the knee—even to the rule of law—his ego won’t let him.

 

Friday, August 24, 2018                                           2:34 PM

Abortion is a practical issue so intimate that we feel emboldened to make of it an issue of morality. Morality is just a debate tactic, however, as history shows.

The Eighteenth Amendment banned alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933, when it was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment. That thirteen-year period forced virtually every American to participate in the sub rosa criminality of the underworld. It did not change human nature, it merely complicated it.

But we did not learn from this episode. Drugs remain criminalized. The harm to society has been so obvious that any reasonable person would have long since changed drug abuse from a Crime to a Health Issue. As with so many societal ills, our impulse to punish wrong blinds us to the potential of helping those who have been led there.

Those who wish to ‘re-criminalize’ abortion must admit that their motive, far from saving hypothetical infants, is merely to punish. We know that abortions were performed, back while it was still a crime. We know that, for some young women, an unplanned child is a foregone tragedy for both. We know that many of such women will attempt to terminate. Forcing them to do so as an outlaw serves no purpose.

Morality cuts both ways—it is not exclusive to evangelists.

Symptoms of Hate   (2018Aug07)

 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018                                       2:11 AM

Symptoms of Hate   (2018Aug07)

It’s so weird that hatred is having a ‘comeback’ around the world—and in the United States, which has historically moved forward on this front—slowly enough, surely—but never before backward. I hope this ‘blue wave’ thing materializes—not because I’m a Democrat, but because it will show that most of us are not on board with this new ‘fad’.

I think the gleeful braggadocio of their chanting and rallying for Trump shows that they are as shocked as we were—when ignorance and attitude won out over substance. These neighbors of ours knew that their day had past—that no one in America was going to play the racism game in public anymore, because the fight was over. Obama’s two terms proved that.

They couldn’t believe their luck—no one ever expected the White Nationalists, the Republicans, and Russia to pull a popular criminal out of their collective ass and make him POTUS. He announced his candidacy with hate speech—if you remember (I think the news showed it a few times). And then he won the Electoral College—suddenly, someone as supposedly disgraceful in his ideas as they were—had gotten the biggest validation a person can get. And ‘Leader of the Free World’, no less.

So of course the hate clubs are not only revived—they see a lot of press attention—and there’s no such thing as bad press, when you have a bad president. (If it’s bad, it’s fake.) Now young people are reportedly being indoctrinated into hate online—hate in many flavors, fear in countless conspiracy theories—it’s an explosion of self-loathing.

Everyone knows that bullies are acting out because they are themselves being mistreated at home or elsewhere—that’s what makes all bullies cowards. It has also been pointed out that many of the most hysterically anti-gay Republicans, Conservatives, and Evangelists are often found, in time, to be confused gay people—taught to hate what they are—and driven slightly loony thereby.

Well, Hate is no different. It’s as obvious as if they had it written on their faces. People who insist on division and prejudice (of any kind) can only be so extremely exercised over this viewpoint—because they are full of self-loathing and need to insure that at-least-someone is beneath them. They have so many people in their lives that make them feel inadequate (or at least it seems so to them) they suspect that they may be just the least-worthwhile person, ever.

And, while it is nice and convenient to hate the Haters—just as it is to hate criminals—there is more to it than the end-result: a racist, an anti-Semite, a misogynist, an elitist, a criminal—or some horrific combo of all the above. If someone taught these people to hate from a very young age, then they also taught them that people can be hated without being met—they taught them that everybody is supposed to judge everybody else. You can’t teach children to ‘hate a group’ or ‘disrespect women’—and expect their minds to stop there. And those other, unintended lessons will mess with a kid’s head, I’d be willing to bet.

In closing, I would point out: People who are taught to love their neighbor without condition or exclusion—virtually never switch to a life of hate and bigotry. Conversely, many people who are raised in a culture of prejudice have grown to reject that tradition and embrace love. Trump or no Trump, racism has had its heyday—and will continue to fade away, occasional road-bumps notwithstanding.

Not for nothing: ‘Zero Tolerance’ is just a ‘spin’-onym for Intolerance.

 

Improv – Story Told (2018Jul25)

 

Improv – Virgin Press (2018Jul31)

 

Improv – Story Story Night (2018Aug03)

 

ttfn.

Things Change—And Stay That Way   (2018Aug05)

phil-word-3

Sunday, August 05, 2018                                         3:32 PM

Things Change—And Stay That Way   (2018Aug05)

New tools used to be the goal, not the threat. Population used to be the goal, not the threat. All-you-can-eat used to be the goal, not the threat.

We used to herald new inventions—concrete, steel, steam, civil engineering, cars & lightbulbs—now, we fear the AI singularity, the Higgs-Boson reaction, the super-flu, the stealth-nuke, the EMP apocalypse—and, what’s more, we find our old inventions are toxic—and we must restrain ourselves, or choke on our own waste.

We have already crossed the red-lines of prevention for global climate disruption. Now, we need to begin to ameliorate the damage and cut back our carbon emissions even more harshly than we would have had to, decades ago. Yet the wealthy and empowered continue to neglect this threat—because its solution requires not competition, but cooperation.

We used to treasure a bumper-crop of babies. Past nations would often call upon its females to reproduce profusely, for the good of the country. (And if that isn’t chauvinist enough, just remember that male children were the hoped-for result—to replace all the young men lost in some recent war, usually.) In a sense, I’d call the Baby Boom of post-WWII America the most prolific effusion of spontaneous nesting, post-war, the world has ever seen.

Now, we have an inflated global population that can only be sustained by the global economic machine that makes it possible. As feral human tribes, humans required acres of land per person for a sustainable diet. Later agricultural techniques would lower that land-per-person ratio. Only modern agricultural technologies and powered systems of transportation and storage make it possible for huge metro-areas to concentrate people by the millions.

If there were a catastrophic interruption of the global economic machine—say a war, perhaps—it would be game over for all the city people. Without a regular influx of food and water—without waste removal—even if the electricity stayed on and the elevators kept working—it wouldn’t matter.

But don’t worry—I’m not advocating population-control—only crazy people think they can do stuff like that. What I’m saying is, the global economic machine needs to be carefully adjusted.

We obviously need major changes in our social structure, now that we are all connected on the internet. Controlling access to the internet is self-limiting, because people’s productivity corresponds to their internet access.

But an open internet is an invitation to disaster—bad actors can tear the whole thing down, if not countervened by ‘good’ actors. I use the word ‘good’ advisedly.

Humans evolved with an instinct to eat as much as we can—because food used to be harder to get to. There’s even an interesting book or two about how early civilizations had different staples, which influenced their development based on their amounts-of-protein and the amount-of-work-to-get-the-food. Early mankind lived a video game called Get The Food. We never had full tanks, back then—except on rare occasions.

We still have holidays. We still try to celebrate by consuming with gusto—but it’s not the same, if a full belly is our nominal status 24-7-52. Human ingenuity has gotten itself tangled up with human nature. Our urges and instincts come from a very different lifestyle—long, long ago. For just one or two centuries, we’ve been playing with our new toys.

Uranium, Petroleum, Plastics, Combustion, and Explosives—they comprise our modern world, with all its blessings and miracles. While we hypnotize ourselves with I-Pads, I think we are avoiding facing the real issue.

We don’t need to hunt anymore. We don’t need to fight anymore. We don’t need to get sick anymore, practically (i.e., relatively). Our lives got soft. It’s good—I’m not knocking it. In fact, as a disabled person, I have a vested interest in a soft, secure civilization.

We need to be raised to function in our society. That involves a lot of teaching by example and correction—we need to learn to wait for the walk light, learn not to lick the sidewalk gum, learn to look at a tiger in a cage at the zoo, instead of running for our lives.

All of this goes against our instincts. So when people say ‘you can’t change human nature’—I don’t buy it. That’s all society does—constrain instinct. And it is long past time society recognized the present threat—we cannot throw out community, just because the wealthy spit out words like socialism or communism.

It wasn’t just our democratic government that held capitalism in check—it had behind it a sense of community. That bond came of the need to work together—which characterized all successful settlements in history. Go back far enough and there’s a point in history where being outcast from a community was virtually a death sentence. Even today, being unpopular in one’s community can be very uncomfortable, even if you don’t know most of them.

The hyper-capitalist fascism we face today is illustrated by two things: (1) Trump’s recent Intolerance Policy that kidnapped children without even keeping lists of contact info—and—(2) Trump’s quote from the other day—that “if gas costs more—people will drive less—and that will be safer”.

If we’re electing people who’ll just sit in Congress and do nothing—while that level of insanity is perpetrated—mustn’t we be electing the wrong people? This era has taken the community out of politics and turned the whole thing into a game show. It has placed politics at a remove from our actual lives. People are being pandered to, with hate speech, and they are lapping it up. What gives?

There’s a lot of atheists out there—I’ve been one since I was eleven. I think it is important to recognize the sense of community and morality that religion helped to channel—it strengthened communities. If we no longer concern ourselves with the religious minutia, and the repressive authoritarianism and misogyny, we should still seek to maintain that communal bond—because it is what makes normal the lack of anarchy.

Rule-breakers, like our current Prez, invite the anarchy. All the quick-buck grabbers are inviting the anarchy. We Americans are so fixed on our freedom—what the hell’s it worth, if it’s the freedom of falling off a cliff? Empathy and community are the only bedrock for society—when money ceases to be a part of that balance, and becomes opposed to it—money becomes a threat. We all used to want the money. Now the people with all the money are trying to kill us all—without meaning to, of course. But does that matter?

phil-word-2

The President Is A Loser   (2018Aug03)

TP_Dome_03

Friday, August 03, 2018                                           5:20 PM

The President Is A Loser   (2018Aug03)

For those of us who weren’t fault-finding with intense scrutiny (though god knows there were plenty of those) President Obama’s eight years were rather legendary. His financial recovery efforts worked phenomenally—his Affordable Care Act passage was heroic. Oddly, those who would benefit the most were its most ardent opponents—and many Republican voters are now on record as supporting the ACA, but dead-set against ‘Obamacare’.

People will say that Obama didn’t stand tough enough—as if Bush-43 hadn’t already ‘toughed’ us into bankruptcy. All I can say is—he was tough enough to kill Bin Laden—and it’s a lot easier to defend a legacy as first black president who-didn’t-start-a-war, than as first black president who did.

My point, if I have one, is that Obama did a great job—and Hillary was the front runner in the last election because she promised more of the same. It wasn’t until the dog-whistling, lying Republicans teamed up with the lethal Russian GRU that people started chanting ‘Lock her up’ (as if they knew how their own damned emails worked).

Trump must concede the truth of Russian election meddling, because it is laid out in several indictments, literally step-by-step. But Trump and his Republican cadre can never admit that Trump’s election to office was the Russian’s victory—and a blow against the United States. Can you blame them?

Trump’s frighteningly-large number of followers—are people who cherish the United States’ traditional failings, and are uncomfortable with our historic, constitutional ideals. They wish to roll us all back to a less perfect union. Any change for the better is something they’ll embrace for themselves, but denounce for anyone else—their idea of a community is focused on the fence around it, not the heart at its center.

The founding fathers feared party and partisanship would quickly subvert the American Experiment into corruption and elitism. Scholars have questioned the dangers of our current two-party system—but, in the end, it seemed so perfect, like Yin and Yang. Conservatives and Progressives—one to hold on to the wisdom of the past and one to reach for the promise of the future—how, indeed, could we fail to have two parties?

But there’s trouble in this Eden—what if the Conservatives are not really conservative? What if they have had their paradigms swept away by a society and a culture changing at ‘ludicrous speed’? Have they been warped, even crushed, by the illogic of Conservatism in an age of vanishing industries, vanishing storefronts, even vanishing wires?

And what about Social Media and Conservatives? Has Conservatism been a false front for Elitism, all along? Does the transparency of a YouTube-world make it impossible for elitists to maintain their fictions of benign objectivity?

Hey, wouldn’t it be better to release a doctored video of Planned Parenthood doctors, trying to make women’s health care seem like a criminal enterprise? That’s conservative, right? When did they first jail Margaret Sanger? 1916, I think. The Conservatives of that time could arrest the woman. Those of our day are reduced to lying about her—so, that’s progress, I guess?

Anyway, Trump is a liar—to himself more than anyone else. Can you imagine the lack of self-awareness that allows him to think of himself as our president—without feeling any shame at all? Can you imagine being one of his supporting Republicans—pretending Trump is fit, Trump is innocent, Trump is sincere? When they know in their hearts that good people don’t have to lie that much. Yes, we are the victims—but we should thank heaven we aren’t the perpetrators.

StatuOLibrty_04

I’m Back Again   (2018Jul31)

20180731XD-Impeachments_01

Tuesday, July 31, 2018                                             6:48 PM

I’m Back Again   (2018Jul31)

Family and friends advised me to take a step away from the cable news-shows and give myself a break—after I wrote my last, deliriously-frustrated rant-post. I don’t post to blog every day—I try to post as seldom as possible (excepting the exceedingly rare inspiration for an up-beat subject). My political-backseat-driving is an obsession that even I have grown tired of.

As an example, I decided in May that I would try to post the word ‘Impeach’ on my Facebook Wall, every day. I knew I wouldn’t reach anyone besides my own friends and relatives, but I felt that Facebook, being at least nominally a Public Forum, made me responsible to treat it as such, inasmuch as a private nobody like myself was able.

Here are my almost-daily posts from that day to today—you’ll see that my style of posting evolved over time. In virtually all of these FB posts, I was constrained to just a line or two of characters—because I kept all of them short enough to allow the new-ish Facebook meme-background-style (it turns off, if you keep typing/editing your FB-update past a certain number of characters).

These are not meant to be wise or hilarious or great writing of any kind—they are simply the way I broke up the monotony of the task I had set myself. I hope (and I’m fairly sure of that hope, lately) that someday soon, that word ‘Impeach’ will be on everyone’s mind, every day:

Chris Dunn updated his status.

 20180731XD-Impeachments_02

20 May 2018 14:13 :

Impeach   –  (pass it on)

Impeach !

Impeach !  (Yes, there ARE two sides:  good vs. evil.)

23 May 2018 13:27 :

Impeach !

Impeach !  (GOP = Band of Traitors)

Impeach !  (We don’t look good in swastikas)

Impeach !

Impeach !  (President? More like Putin’s puppet)

Impeach !  (It’s enough already)

Impeach the PO(TU)S !

Impeach !  (grant a Pardon to the voters for being so gullible)

Impeach !  (His lawyers are sure he’ll commit perjury)

Impeach !  (Claims ALL the power, NONE of the responsibility)

Impeach !  (mental illness is not a political platform)

Impeach !  (I’m not wrong…)

Impeach !  (how long does ‘unfortunate’ remain acceptable in a president?)

Impeach !

Impeach !  (Or at least ask Putin to send someone else)

10 June 2018 01:05 :

[People keep talking about ‘what Trump said’, as if someday it’s going to be right, or true, or wise–but I believe that life is too short to waste that kind of time. So, instead, I have my own one-word statement which, as far as I can tell, is the only thing left to say: “Impeach!”]

10 June 2018 14:14 :

Impeach !  (he’s unfit, dishonest, and he’s got a screw loose)

Impeach !  (He’s not a president–he’s a wanna-be strongman)

Impeach !  (Nice try–woulda been nice–shoulda studied?)

15 June 2018 17:28 :

Impeach !  (Could be YOUR kids, next–how would that be?)

Impeach !  (The president is a criminal)

Impeach !  (You STILL think he’s a Good Guy?)

Impeach !  (Unfit is one thing, Monstrous quite another)

Impeach !  (I miss being proud I’m American)

Impeach !  (because, Yes–we do fuckin Care)

Impeach !  (Who needs a compulsive liar?)

Impeach ! (Or maybe a crooked, perv bully DOES represent US?)

Impeach !  (make the world a better place)

Impeach !  (Muslim Ban is Un-American)

30 June 2018 15:27 :

Impeach !  (I’m so tired of all this winning)

Impeach !  (or just keep on lyin’ to me, baby)

Impeach !  (he said ‘elite’, I think he meant ‘illiterate’)

Impeach !  (then, news-media can stop being his baby-monitor)

4 July 2018 11:24 :

Impeach !  (or shove an M-80 up his ass–I don’t care anymore)

Impeach !  (or explain why you side with a criminal)

Impeach !  (before the kidnapped, crying children are Yours)

Impeach !  (Congress, UR famous 4 doin 0, but now, 4 doin Wrong!)

Impeach !  (Lock him up—and free Reality Leigh Winner!)

Impeach !  (irresponsible + president = disaster)

11 July 2018 13:57 :

Impeach !  (he breaks his oath of office every damn day)

Impeach !  (Let Putin have him)

Impeach !  (go ahead, wait til after today’s secret meeting with Putin)

Impeach !  (at this point, claiming ‘innocence’ is confessing to blindness)

Impeach ! Impeach ! Impeach !

Impeach the Traitor !

Impeach !  (next time, let’s go with a public servant instead of a monster)

Impeach the Traitor!  (he’s created a ‘safe space’ for stupidity and racism)

Impeach !  We need a Real president

Impeach !  (We don’t need no ‘useful idiot’)

Impeach ! (Yes, I’m repeating–but at least I’m not repeating lies)

Impeach !  (He can tweet us into war, but he can’t tweet us back out)

Impeach !  (The Liar edited his Summit transcript–and the video!)

Impeach !  (He won’t correct the WH transcript or video of the Summit–unwelcome reality bites)

Impeach !  (The Racist decided to keep over 900 of the kidnapped children–that’s over 2 in 10)

Impeach !  (In today’s speech, the Idiot ridiculed the press for paying too close attention to everything he says)

Impeach the Traitor !  –  (or be one yourselves)

Impeach !  (while we wait for decency to return, indecency is redecorating the house)

Impeach !  (Let’s not be led around by our Dick)

 

Now, that last one—I actually posted today. After I posted it, I thought to myself, ‘It would have been better to say “(Let’s stop being led around by our Dick)” .’ but that just goes to show. I spend too much time thinking of public statements to make against Trump—and too little time remembering that my media platform (that is, my personal FB page) is only nominally a public forum—it isn’t really seen by the public, it is only available to be seen.

So I have added a Quixotic element to my online activity—I’ve been tilting at the windmills of my Facebook friends-circle, while the real monster is far away elsewhere, untouched by my efforts, no matter how I phrase them.

This past weekend has been a restful step back from all the political/media chaos—that stuff deserves far less room inside my head. It’s all so childish and not-smart—these politicians really expect a lot of ‘cover’ from a dark suit and a red tie.

Sure, it looks professional—but at some point, those expensive suits morph from lamb’s-clothing into exclamation-points of corruption. Part of the ‘suit’ image is the expectation of knowledgeability—and when the words coming out of their mouths are so bereft of intelligence, they expose themselves as being ‘empty suits’.

That is just one item from the long list of things that beggars my belief—how can people go on taking this stuff seriously? Our president is mentally unstable, compulsively dishonest, and has the mind-set of a career criminal (though not necessarily a successful one). Trump approaches governing as a megalomaniacal CEO would—he approaches the Justice Dept. the same way a criminal does. He blames the cops, he claims he was framed, he claims the other guy did it, he claims he wasn’t there—and even if he was, it’s not a crime to be part of a crime.

I knew that son-of-a-bitch was a criminal when he wouldn’t let go of the birther BS—before he even declared. I have watched in traumatized puzzlement as the stupidest people in this country ran to the voting booths—and the supposedly more-intelligent people sat at home, or voted for Berny, or even joined the cattle—voting for Trump despite their glimmers of consciousness. And don’t tell me ‘She won the popular’—yes, she did—but that psychotic moron should have been outvoted by a landslide.

It’s been a long series of disappointments—finally realizing that the Congress is so partisan, it wouldn’t impeach Trump no matter the madness and danger. I’m still waiting for sanity to be restored. And I am doing my best to hang on to what’s left of my own.

20180731XD-Impeachments_03

Should We Meet Again   (2018Jul24)

WH_demos

Tuesday, July 24, 2018                                             3:23 AM

Should We Meet Again   (2018Jul24)

Our president is lacking in some key areas. He’s without experience, without education, without fitness, without aptitude, and generally without understanding of the meaning of the presidency. He’s without honor, without honesty, without ethics, without morality, without impulse-control, without responsibility, and deeply neurotic.

Furthermore, he can’t spell, can’t admit to a mistake, can’t apologize, can’t empathize, can’t be faithful, can’t be trusted, and, for the most part, can’t be understood—in tweets or while speaking. All he’s got is that big fat mouth of his and the big mobs of embittered scum who enjoy his live hate-fests. (Let’s not call them Klan rallies—Yet.)

Now we have proof that the Republican whores in Congress will ignore all of the above, and continue to chow down on their sh*t-sandwich and call it filet mignon, as long as they get tax-breaks for the rich, and deregulation for the environment-rapers and the greedy, soulless bankers.

Those insubstantial excuses for men (and some confused women) will never admit that a public servant should serve one term, and let the results do the campaigning for anything more than one term. Hell, they even go to court to get unmonitored campaign funding, a rollback of the Voter Rights act, and race-based gerrymandering. They don’t even pretend to believe in democracy.

So, the president’s a traitorous con-man, the Republican party is a bunch of corrupt weasels, the Democratic party is just embarrassing (and just different corruption waiting its turn, really). Damn, I used to be proud of this country—even though I knew there was some corruption and some hatred—I still thought my principles were shared by a significant part of the country.

But no more Mr. Proud Patriot. This place is a shithole now.

Babies get locked in cages.

Industries are encouraged to go back to dumping shit wherever.

Medals of Honor, and the bereaved families of the recipients, aren’t worth a damn anymore.

Every effort to avoid WWIII, since WWII, has been discarded as ‘unprofitable business’ by the big ‘deal-maker’ who never wore a uniform.

There’s no mystery to why Putin wanted to help Trump become president. There’s no mystery to why the Republicans keep pretending he’s not dangerous, refusing to impeach in spite of unhinged episodes on the daily. And that jumpy, can’t-stay-long-enough-to-look-you-in-the-eye Press Secretary—how do you figure she rationalizes her little daily tap-dances, huh? There’s not even a mystery as to why people voted for him—people are fucking stupid as hell.

Media, you can stop now. You’ve made your pile off of helping flush us all down the shitter—and the mystery is gone, the spark has dimmed. There are no more surprises. Yes, Trump will do and say this or that—but we already know. He’ll be lying. He’ll be doing something un-American, cruel, and unproductive. He’s a liar and a traitor. What else can we expect? The sideshow has become a repulsive banality that won’t even get clicks anymore—so fuck along off.

The Republicans aren’t threatening the American way anymore—they’ve strangled it. They’ve killed our country, what most of us believed was our country. If I ever meet a person who votes Republican, ever again, I’m just gonna haul off and belt’em—fuckin’ deplorables. Do they deserve a random punch in the face, out of the blue? Maybe not, but I didn’t deserve theirs, either.

TrumpPutin

Bulls**t Walking   (2018Jul23)

Jeannine

Monday, July 23, 2018                                             1:29 PM

Bulls**t Walking   (2018Jul23)

The Earth’s surface is lush with a profusion of life—not as lush, not as profuse as a century ago, but still. If some wildlife is endangered, it’s not in my backyard’s biome, so why should I care? The Earth attempts to provide oxygenated, non-toxic atmosphere and drinkable fresh water—and so what if we sprinkle in a few toxins or carcinogens or hormones? It’s still good—you’re still breathing, aren’t you? Don’t be a wuss—it’s all good until we literally start to choke—and die of thirst—then will be plenty of time to deal with all this.

Money talks, BS walks. The Money says ‘full steam ahead’—and if that turns our atmosphere literally to steam, so be it. Money does a lot of stuff these days. It entertains you. Twenty-four hour news, websites tailored to your paranoia—are you not entertained? Ain’t it dramatic?

Money has a close, personal friendship with Carbon Dioxide. Maybe you’ve heard?—CO2, the by-product of Power and Energy. Well, that’s the ‘story’—actually, it’s the by-product of burning fuel. There are other ways to acquire Power and Energy—but Money made its first million with CO2, so we’re gonna call everything else ‘alternative energy’, just so no one forgets how inferior it is to petroleum. Hey, shut up—Money does the talking here.

Money is kind enough to govern us, as well. You didn’t think all those Republicans in both Houses of Congress just naturally turned out to be faithless whores, did you? No, no—Money pays them to be this way—the same Money that broadcasts all the rationales, that voters must swallow, to vote for those whores.

The truth is that Money is killing us, but it still speaks loud enough to keep us from hating it. It’s funny—originally, money was a great invention—portable assets, liquid assets—it was the first ‘internet’, in its way. But no invention of humanity has ever evaded our worst impulses, or our worst representatives—hell, we’re lucky we’re not all radioactive already. Money has become a weapon—and it’s pointed straight at our whole planet. So tote that barge and lift that bale—‘cause you don’t want to be poor when the grass starts burning.

20180723XD_WY_Sulphur_Fire

Republicans: How Embarrassing!   (2018Jul22)

Sunday, July 22, 2018                                              2:46 PM

Republicans: How Embarrassing!   (2018Jul22)

I see similarities between the McCarthy Red-Scare era and the Amoral Republican era. You’d expect it to be called the ‘Trump era’, I know—but it’s more accurately described as the Amoral Republican era. It began with Reagan’s shameless pandering to the rich and his marginalizing of the low-income population.

The bankruptcy of the Soviets, which we all hail as our victory in the Cold War, led to a revolt won by the Russian people—and the independence of the satellite states was a simple fact forced by that bankruptcy.

The US failed to secure their nuclear arsenal—which outlived the state that built it—and those nukes sit, still today, littered about the globe and under the sea. The US failed to provide a ‘Marshall plan’, after we finished slapping each other on the back for defeating the Soviets without the use of American lives lost. We turned our backs on the people who did the dying for us—and that led to Al-Qeada, Boko Haram, and ISIS.

Then came 9/11—which had many heroes and martyrs amongst the common men and women, of uncommon bravery— ever since which the Republicans have used the tragedy. They used it to lionize an inept President and his mistaken wars. They used it to lionize an elitist, bigoted mayor who just happened to hold office while real New Yorkers did all the hero-ing.

The Republicans have used 9/11 to promote cowardice and Islamophobia, panic and inhumanity. They’ve revived racism, in a country that seemed only years ago, to be headed in the proper direction. And they have done all this out of obedience to their paymasters—they laugh at the phrase ‘public service’.

Everyone knows one can’t do the people any good if you don’t get elected—and thus it follows that nothing you do to get elected can be wrong. This part of their amorality is the part that is opposite from the McCarthy era—McCarthy’s amoral egotism was exposed by the televising of the HUAC hearings—and by Edward R. Murrow’s reporting.

Today’s Republicans have hacked mass-media—and hijacked all of it as a megaphone for their misinformation campaign. They did the impossible—convincing Americans to worry about a great female candidate with no real scandals (but endless imagined ones) and not to worry about a blatantly, embarrassingly unfit male candidate. Even more embarrassing—the Russians were helping them the whole time. How’s that for an endorsement?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a do-over election? Too late—y’all had yer chance—and now Putin’s in charge. Ha- ha! The Republicans are doing a great job—a perfect impersonation of the band on the deck of the Titanic.

Olio   (2018Jul20)

Thursday, July 19, 2018                                           1:32 PM

Olio   (2018Jul20)

 

My darling, my sweetest one!

Water-cool joy flows through

My body, turned to aether,

Quintessence of love

And like a drug, it soothes me.

 

My ever-loved, my only star!

Fire consumes my chest,

Which bellows with yearning,

Throat parched with a longing

Only your kiss can slake.

 

====

Don’t tell me both sides hate.

What I feel is outrage—righteous wrath against enemies of the United States of America (even if they live next door).

I bridle at the hate, the destruction, the loss of hard-won yardage towards a more perfect union—I can’t deal with ignorance so sweeping as to equal treason, against a nation dedicated to enlightened humanity.

What you’re feeling is hate—what I’m feeling is outrage.

There’s a difference.

 

====

Friday, July 20, 2018                                                3:58 PM

I can’t imagine what Trump supporters must be going through—now that there is clear proof and common knowledge of the con they’ve fallen for. Lied to by dishonest Republican leaders, stirred up by an army of Russian spies, tricked into voting for a sorry excuse of a man—a man who made them laugh when he said, “You’re fired!” on TV—these people will eventually be furious. I just hope they’ve learned enough to redirect their anger in the proper direction.

People didn’t see the harm in reality TV. It was cheaper than hiring writers and actors—it was silly and raw—what could be the harm, right? The harm is that their ‘reality’ was and is heavily edited, to tell whatever story the producers decided to show. Producers knew that bad behavior attracts more attention—thus, bad behavior was promoted as ‘reality’ and still is.

Young people who watch TV are taught that idiocy and selfishness are the standard of behavior—so of course they see nothing wrong with a selfish idiot running for president. Especially one of their favorite stars. If they’d grown up watching The West Wing instead of Big Brother, this never could’ve happened.

But imagine the naked shame—of all that full-throated support of a crook who conned them—of all the lies they swallowed like scripture—of thinking they knew better than the pencil-necked geeks. I’d hate to be a Trump-supporter right now. Or that lone woman who sat behind Trump at rallies with the ‘Women for Trump” sign—or that lone man with the “Blacks for Trump” sign (so sad that neither could find enough people to justify the plurals).

Be gentle with them all, bless their hearts.

This nightmare will end.

The Russia-publicans   (2018Jul18)

WH_demos

Wednesday, July 18, 2018                                                7:21 PM

The Russia-publicans   (2018Jul18)

I’m disappointed that no one publicly asks why the agendas of Russia and the Republicans were so conveniently aligned during the 2016 election. Personally, I believe it has to do with Russia becoming a gangster-state with a mob boss for a leader, concerned with nothing but money and power. The Republicans are of the same mind, but feel hindered by having to pose as public servants.

The Republicans can’t overtly threaten their voters—they have to settle for disinformation campaigns that only do violence to the national consciousness. The Russian people have been at this longer—they know their leaders lie to them. They know this because it is against the law to question what they are told.

It’s not that Republicans are inherently bad (though that’s true enough for most of the elected Republicans) it is only that Republicans are the party of the rich. Cutting taxes and blocking regulations has always been their battle cry. (Ah, remember the days—Republicans used to tie themselves in knots to deny their link to wealth.)

Recent studies suggest a link between personality-type and political party. Thus, when I call Republicans the party of the rich, that would include those who are rich, those who are approaching rich, and those who dream of becoming rich—but use magical thinking to get there. The Republican party also attracts those who dislike change and those who avoid making waves.

As near as I can see, that makes about half the country. Elections, until recently, were not forgone conclusions in any race. However, if you have a charismatic candidate with a spoiled, pervy, quasi-criminal life-style, the Republican’s 50% drops down to 30-40%—which, sadly due to the Electoral College, is enough to win by.

I digress, but with a purpose—there is a syntactical quandary here. Whenever I lambast the Republicans, I can expect some Republican voter to take offense at my aspersions—as if I specifically meant him or her. Likewise, when I reach out to Republican voters, I cede undeserved humanity, even humanitarianism, to Republican politicians who have left their consciences far, far behind.

In the past, Democrats and Republicans went head-to-head—arguing the issues, not the candidate that represented their point of view. What could be said of the candidate (barring scandal—which used to matter) could be said of his or her voters.

But today we have Republican politicians and Republican voters—two entirely separate groups. If we try to damn the politicians, the voters take offense. If we try to tell the voters that they’re being duped (and, admittedly, it is bizarre) by both the Republican Party and the Russians—they get on their high horse and tell us that they are just as smart as we are. And contradicting them, at that point, is a waste of breath.

The fact is the Republican party, by being the party of the rich, has become the instrument of the rich—huge corporations and fabulously wealthy donors govern Republicans far more than Republicans govern the country. Money is all that matters to that power base—just as it is with Putin’s empire. So, the lack of connection to The People, and the obsessive greed, make Republicans and Russian Oligarchs a natural alliance.

And this is where the panic sets in—our very way of life is threatened, yet the threat stems from the dull wits of the next-door neighbor who hated Obama. We can’t make ourselves intelligent—and we have not made any provisions for the hurt feelings of slow people in a world under constant acceleration. Our Free Speech becomes a weapon on the Internet—and Trump has knee-capped America’s digital counter-intelligence forces (while waving the Space Cadet Force at us with his other hand).

This disgusting turncoat should have been impeached already. Continuing to give him the respect due to a serious president has gone past the point of farcical hypocrisy, into the area of ‘clear and present danger’. Thus, Trump and his family and goons are no longer the problem—he has given them ammunition for a hundred impeachments. The Republicans are the problem, here at the end, just as their unprincipled tactics created the opening for this era of mindless, hate-filled disgrace to our history.

The only thing more dangerous to our children’s futures than Climate Change—is being too stupid to worry about Climate Change, or the people it will kill. In a world where that is beside the point, you know something is terribly wrong.

Impeach !

Politics Free-Stylin   (2018Jul17)

WH_demos

Tuesday, July 17, 2018                                             2:05 PM

Politics Free-Stylin   (2018Jul17)

Usually I worry—I’m careful to be clear, calm, and correct in my statements. However, that puts me in a minority of one—so today I’m taking a day off. The following may not be journalism, but it is certainly how I feel.

Trump is a man without a country—an odd thing for our president to be. But money has no national allegiance, so the fact that Trump has no love for this country is understandable. He wasn’t interested in serving in the armed forces, he was frequently encouraged to enter politics, but always replied that he was too busy having fun and making money—basically, Trump never gave a shit about this government (or law and order) except for how he could circumvent the IRS, zoning boards, or charges of fraud.

But racism gets Trump excited with hopes of gaining approval from his late, KKK-marching, emotionally-distant father. There’s a cruel streak to it (well, when is racism not cruel?) as when he advocated bringing back the death penalty for the young black men tagged ‘Central Park Five’ by the press. When those five were acquitted of wrongdoing, Trump refused to accept a verdict that contradicted his obsession.

President Huckster won’t play by the rules—the rules are for experienced politicians, not for our special little boy—he won’t be a politician. He’ll be king—yes, king has a much nicer ring to it—and it has that age-old advantage of offering cover to an incompetent egotist—“I’m not wrong—you’re wrong. Off with their heads!”

Trump is a grotesque monster. He has re-branded Intolerance as ‘zero tolerance’. His family backs him up because he has raised them in fear—in fear of being cast out of Trump’s good graces at his slightest whim—and taught to fear non-super-wealth as the grinding poverty Trump so gleefully enforces on any non-whites he comes across.

If you think you’re thinking for yourself, that the media isn’t cramming their presumptions down our throats—then why is the word ‘impeachment’ so seldom heard, during the term of our worst ever president? They talked about it non-stop whenever any other president put a foot wrong. And why do we assume that the Republicans in power in Congress will ignore that remedy, no matter how criminal their chief asshole’s behavior is?

We are being taught by the Russians, and the Republicans, that our votes don’t matter—and they promote this lie because votes are the only thing that do matter—votes are the only thing that can veto the plutocrats who sit atop this country, feeding like hogs on the decomposition of American ideals.

So please—next November, vote like your country depends on it.

Half-Assing the Presidency   (2018Jul16)

TimeCover_refugeeBaby

Monday, July 16, 2018                                             11:02 AM

Half-Assing the Presidency   (2018Jul16)

When Trump’s cheerleaders say he does things differently, I cannot argue—however, that seems to put an unwarranted shine upon doing things poorly, incompletely, and without any sense of responsibility. Today’s New York Times Arts-Section reports that Trump’s administration has failed to award Presidential Medals for the Arts (or Sciences) thus far, creating yet another gap in the traditions of the White House. This is the same First Family that would have spaced out on the Easter Egg Roll last year, if the Easter Egg manufacturer hadn’t chivied them about their missing pre-order for the special wooden eggs.

The same article points out that Trump has an ‘awkward relationship with the arts’. He can hardly be called a patron (though, if you’re talking over-sized portraits of himself, his fraudulent charity might be interested). Collectible art has become its own investment-sector among the wealthy, but even so, Trump’s base precludes any public support of culture on his part, even if he had the wit to appreciate it. Culture, like science, is way off-brand for this administration.

Trump has no use for diplomacy or, for that matter, any function of the State Department. Even after replacing the top brass, Trump still has no use for the FBI. He gets uncomfortable with all the intelligence services, because they have this theory about the election. Also, they expect him to read this special morning briefing, every morning—and Trump doesn’t like to read—so he doesn’t read it.

Let me preface my next comment with some personal history—when I was little, my dad was fresh from serving as a Marine in Korea. He and my mom had five children, little money, and few prospects. But they sure knew how to work—my parents worked so hard, they worked nearly as hard as their parents had to, during the Great Depression. My parents were good parents—some of my friends’ parents’ behavior made that quite clear (other people’s families are like other planets—and some of them are cold and deadly).

Having said that: when we were very young, my father had the draconian and megalomaniac tendencies of the man who would become a self-made millionaire. He mellowed with time, but back then he could be strict, unreasonable, quick to take offense, and even quicker to lose his temper—a violent prima donna.

Having come this far, I still hesitate to say that Trump reminds me of my dad—it’s not fair to my dad, who was capable of both feeling shame, and seeing reason (eventually). All I’m really saying is: I’m familiar with the psychosis that inhabits the Oval today—I’m familiar with those shell-shocked, bug-eyed kids of his, too. I know when a man is substituting bluster for confidence—and when a man is more comfortable lying than allowing for imperfection.

But I hate to suggest an equivalence—my dad was no coward, no spoiled brat, and several-times-less of a bigot—and he worked his ass off, not just bossing people, but real working. His early parenting style, poverty-stricken and straight from boot camp, traumatized me more than my siblings—and he got better as time went on, slowly but surely. Still, this left me with a horror of people who insist on Authority taking precedence, even over Reason.

Which brings us back to Trump. At first, I felt fortunate—if he was without the slightest experience or in-depth knowledge of government, Trump would definitely do less damage than a real politician could, to forward his fascist deformation of America. Sadly, it turns out, the real politicians won’t behave so outrageously—but they’ll be outrageously silent in the face of Trump doing it. It’s tragic to learn just how shallow their lip-service to public service really is.

Trump’s agenda is two-fold: spoil anything Obama, and pander to the rich, especially himself. He doesn’t know from President—he just wanted to win a contest and purge his racist temper-tantrum. The greatest danger we face now is his growing awareness of and addiction to the immense destructive power of his office. Most people would be embarrassed to be torturing thousands of children and babies—and admitting that they started those internments without any plans to undo their violence. That would give most people pause. Not this clown.

Finally, to anyone who might suggest that Trump’s recent meetings with Kim and Putin are his ‘diplomacy’, let’s make a list of all the things those ill-advised coffee-klatches accomplished:

 

 

 

 

Ask Me Why   (2018Jul13)

LINCOLN BY GARDNER

Abraham Lincoln, is shown November 8, 1863. Lincoln sat for 33 photographers and 127 portraits, 37 of them by Gardner – “Mr. Lincoln’s Cameraman”. (AP Photo/Alexander Gardner)

Friday, July 13, 2018                                                12:30 PM

Ask Me Why   (2018Jul13)

We never dwell on the root of the issue. Why did Putin want Trump to win and Hillary to lose? For the same reason I wanted the opposite: because Hillary would have been a strong, competent leader—and Trump would threaten our values and, ultimately, our way of life. Hillary would have been a strong adversary of Putin’s, whereas Trump makes a ‘useful idiot’.

But it goes deeper than that—it’s not just Trump. We saw yesterday, at Strzok’s Congressional Circus and Sideshow, the Republicans—unwilling to give up their presidential election ‘win’, unable to admit that everyone who voted for Trump was duped, and pretending they don’t own the immortal shame of having supported a foreign agent as America’s chief executive.

In pursuit of this misguided delirium, the Republicans remain silent as Trump pulls one boner after another—flouting the law to ban Muslims and to  cancel DACA, flubbing Puerto Rican disaster relief—killing thousands, instituting ‘zero-tolerance’ (which sounds better than ‘full nazi’) as an excuse to torture thousands of children—and break their parents’ hearts (as if those poor folks don’t have enough troubles).

Being against immigration—which made our nation great. Being against science—which made our nation great. Being against free trade—which made our nation great. The Republicans are entirely in the thrall of big business and the super-wealthy—they wait upon the pleasure of the enemies of the People.

The cognitive dissonance yesterday, at that joke of a hearing, was deafening: the Republicans, censuring the FBI hero for his personal comments about what a horror-show a Trump presidency would be—as if it were a crime to see the approaching fiasco for what it was—a criminal encroachment upon the American political system. And, jeez, that mess was corrupt enough before these neo-traitors made their move.

Impeach !

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Ethics have No Promotional Budget   (2018Jul11)

Photo Mar 28, 12 17 26 PM

Wednesday, July 11, 2018                                                5:07 PM

Ethics have No Promotional Budget   (2018Jul11)

Lies are funded—partisanship spends most of its time fund-raising—lobbyists get paid the big bucks—and sensationalism sells. If anything is coming at you from a screen right now, the odds are high that it’s trying to sell you something. The games and movies, too—but those things are their own product—they try to sell you more by showing you pieces of the whole entertainment experience, and reminding you where to go to pay the money.

The other shows include advertising– trying to sell you something—as ‘brief’ interruptions—and they try to appeal to us strongly enough that we’ll endure the interruptions. Here’s where it gets convoluted—a televised (or streamed) news-show with sponsors should be bending over backwards to convince the sponsors of the professional and journalistic ethics of their shows.

One might blithely assume that the sponsors would be afraid to be associated with a new organization that couldn’t be trusted. This, sadly, is not the case. More often, the sponsors are only concerned with the numbers of eyeballs—and, to that end, the shows tend to hunt for sensationalism, violence, and conflict.

Which reminds me: Initially, public broadcasts were required to be, at least in part, providing a community service. That’s why the first TV news broadcasts were scrupulously journalistic.

Edward R. Murrow once famously said, “The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” In his era, TV-news reporters seemed to be taking on the mantel of the printed press—becoming champions of the people’s right to know the facts. (I identify with Murrow—he died of chain-smoking—up there in Pawling, in 1965.)

Then the nature of ‘show business’ soon brought that sort of idealism to a close. It’s lucky that journalism wasn’t named ‘the news business’, or papers would be just as worthless as the video-whores.

And, truth to tell, the papers are not the ethical ivory-towers they once purported to be, if they ever where—the printed word, having ceded the field to the digital, can no longer referee in squabbles of note. The papers, too, have shifted towards partisanship—or appeared to, where reason and common sense makes one side feel obligated to oppose the other side as an evil, rather than a difference of opinion.

My point is: greed, fear, and ignorance have limitless backing—everybody wants a piece of that pie. Fairness and justice go begging.

StatuOLibrty_05

 

 

 

War On Our Enemies   (2018Jul10)

wwII_07

Tuesday, July 10, 2018                                             12:40 AM

War On Our Enemies   (2018Jul10)

There are armies of highly-paid lobbyists swarming all over Washington, D.C.—their only object: to subvert the will of the people in any way that will profit the industry that sent them there, be they Monsanto, Mobil, NRA, Pfizer, et. al. That makes them, QED, enemies of Democracy. We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

There are a plethora of media outlets, radio, TV, in print, and online, which propagate misinformation in the guise of journalism or political opinion—these greedy rumor-mongers aren’t really ‘Big Evil’, they’re miserable grubs who see an easy buck—bilking the gullible. The Big Evil that results from their greasy scam is collateral damage, the toxic scum that this industry dumps into our clear water of discourse—the parasites that engage in it are only amoral pigs, not masterminds. In most cases, their ‘sponsors’ aren’t buying airtime for ads—they’re simply using these traitors as useful idiots. We must fight these enemies of Democracy: Limbaugh, Hannity, the entire Fox media, that asshat on InfoWars —for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

There are entitled, self-obsessed billionaires who bypass the lobbies (or more likely supplement them) by dumping money on some craven pol who thinks he or she is ‘swimming with the sharks’ on the road to power and position. The pols must overlook the quasi-criminal nature of such as Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, and Foster Friess, before they can accept the backing of people who think money equals wisdom (what is it about being rich that makes people so stupid?). We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

There are check-cashing businesses and loan cos. and banks and investment firms—all of whom long ago grew dissatisfied with merely using our money to invest in stable businesses, and splitting the interest earned—oh, no, no, don’t be ridiculous. No, a banker is a god—don’t you know? Some even see themselves as ‘masters of the universe’. The vertiginous mania of greed, as you can see, clearly makes them numb to the fact that such a label allows no plural. These people have computers now—their incessant drive, to separate us from our money, makes them dangerous in many new ways. The recent scandals at Wells Fargo, LIBOR, and Morgan-Chase show that customer-service has morphed into predatory behavior—joining advertising as a fellow ‘industry the world could easily live without’.

Our obsession with Capitalism has made it impossible for anyone to work in the banking industry and not suffer a psychotic delusion: that handling large amounts of money makes their skin glow and their shit stop stinking. We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

We all know who are enemies are. Even controlling the media doesn’t allow them to hide the simple truth—though it allows them to pile on so much bullshit that the truth is fairly obscured—still, if you look close, there it is. One Netflix comic has a line now: “They said, ‘the immigrants and single women are taking all the jobs’—yeah, right—the people with no money and no power are taking all the money.”

There is a group in America today that agrees with statements that are manifestly false—because they are couched in hate-mongering and finger-pointing. Those people, unfortunately, comprise a good 30%-35% of voters. The con-men will always get their votes, because they don’t listen to the words—they watch for the entitlement and the wink towards propriety. “Political correctness—bah!” There‘s their policy statement.

Somehow, the conservatives have conflated being tough with being dishonest (and that sounds like the reasoning of a criminal—not for nothing). I guess they got pushed into a corner—when we told them that petroleum-burning was going to kill us all. I mean, if I was filthy rich from gasoline, I’d have an argument or two, too. But I’d have to be a special kind of dick-head to keep doing it, even after the global flooding started, decades later.

Make no mistake—our own worst enemies are our apathy and inertia. I get it—the world may be in danger, but not today. Right? Sadly, our only ammunition is political involvement—running for office is like volunteering to be a political aircraft-carrier, volunteering is like the infantry—and votes, of course, are our bullets. Without the votes, we get slaughtered—and not just politically. Shit’s getting serious, dude.

wwII_08

The United States of Problems   (2018Jul08)

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Sunday, July 08, 2018                                              3:36 PM

The United States of Problems   (2018Jul08)

T’would seem the poisons we use to kill the bad bugs and plants are sometimes killing the good bugs and plants—the necessary bugs and plants—just as the antibiotics we use to save ourselves from bad bacteria are sometimes killing the good bacteria—the bacteria necessary for digestion. Our desperate need to fight evil—to save ourselves and our livelihoods—becomes a driving force. And that Force whispers to us, “The collateral damage is an unavoidable cost. Eat it!”

Everyone recognizes this situation—the paradoxical prison of high-tech civilization. Everyone knows that Climate Disruption is driven by humanity’s energy consumption—and everyone knows that we would suffer and die without the energy consumption.

But mere facts are only the beginning. We each choose our personal perspectives on those facts. The lowest perspective is a popular one: denial, dishonesty, ‘bargaining’ with logic—only the slack-jawed fail to see the self-destructive nature of that approach. The middling perspective is more mature, but still rather conservative: let’s compromise, let’s be bi-partisan, let’s move forward together. Problem: both perspectives dominate the social discourse—and both perspectives lead to inexorable extinction.

The most intelligent perspective on humanity’s tech/survival crisis is to examine our culture and commerce with fresh eyes—to make lots of changes that would all be non-starters in present popular opinion. It is sad that intelligence has gone so out of favor with Americans today—because intelligence is all that’s needed to transform a social-media full of trash-talk and dick-pics into a social-media that coordinates efforts to help each other.

Other nations have found out how strong the web is, when people feel oppressed. Well, America isn’t anywhere near that level of savagery—but we don’t need to riot in the streets. Uber was a bloodless revolution, as was Amazon, AirBnB, Google, EBay, and Etsy—but all these early paradigm-shifts had one limiting factor. They made money—in fact, they mostly made one guy rich. And many of us would consider their cultural disruption to take a back-seat to that one important result: rich! Americans think the Internet is only good for making people rich—but that’s only a small part of it.

Intelligent organization via the web can give super-powers to any endeavor popular enough to support crowd-involvement. Money only limits the choices, in that paradigm. And since our ‘Democracy’ seems to be slightly hacked, right now, maybe this would be a good time for community-minded folks to start uniting into more powerful forces. It’s in our country’s name, y’all.

People talk about how united we were during the Second World War—everyone pulling together to win the war. Well, Congress (such as it is) is not going to declare war—but if you think we’re not presently in a war for survival, well, you haven’t been paying attention to the nuclear arms and the hurricanes and floods and habitat-loss and mass violence and floods of refugees. And you certainly haven’t noticed the soulless, greedy bastards who make money from delaying public awareness of the dangers we face, right now.

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None Of That Matters   (2018Jul06)

TP_Dome_03

Friday, July 06, 2018                                                          3:25 PM

None Of That Matters   (2018Jul06)

I’d say: here’s a list of the music I’ve been listening to, lately—and list all the composers and bands and soloists that I listen to nowadays. I’d say: here’s a list of the books I’ve been reading, lately—and list all the books and authors that I’ve recently read. I’d say: here’s a list of the videos I’ve been posting to YouTube, lately—and list all the baby pictures and baby videos and piano recordings that I’ve recently worked with. I’d say: here’s a list of the music manuscripts I’ve been sight-reading, lately—and list all the books and composers and pieces that I’ve recently played or practiced. I’d say: here’s a list of the essays I’ve been writing, lately—and list all the titles that I’ve recently posted on my blog. But all of that would take forever—and who would want to read lists, anyway?

I’d talk about my vertigo, my intentional tremors, my migraines, my fatigue and shortness of breath, my precipitous weight-loss, my chronic muscle spasms, my intestinal difficulties, my emphysema, my transplant scars, my heart arrhythmia, and my lack of focus or short-term memory. Then I’d list all the anti-depressants, anti-diuretics, stomach-acid suppressors, anti-rejection drugs, OTC analgesics, nicotine patches, and corticosteroid inhalers which I take, to try and make it all bearable each day.

I’d talk about my wonderful family: my lovely Bear, my studious Boo-Boo, my Punkin (and her Hubby and her Princess), my late parents and grandparents, my siblings, my nieces, my nephews, and my in-laws. I’d talk about how lucky I am to have so many people, and so much love, in my life.

I’d even talked about the strange series of circumstances that led to my having more wealth and comfort than I ever dreamed of—in spite of being on disability for half my life. I’d talk about the seven colleges I enjoyed attending but never bothered to earn a degree from. If someone were foolish enough to ask, I’d even wax nostalgic about my old career as a computer coder and systems manager.

I’d talk about the history of the Universe, of our planet, of humanity, of civilization, of science, of art and music, of literature, of Europe, and especially American history—because, up until last election, I was very proud to live in what I considered the greatest country on Earth. I’d talk about the history of human rights, of freedom and democracy.

But none of that matters anymore—because I’ve turned into a sick old man who gripes about the crooks running our government and destroying our values and traditions (and our planet). That’s all I talk about any more. I’d like to change the subject—but I lie awake every night, I stew every day, obsessing over these horrendous traitors who somehow got the reins of a country they don’t deserve to live in, much less govern.

A Republican Will Look You In the Eye   (2018Jul6)

TP_Dome

Friday, July 06, 2018                                                2:14 AM

A Republican Will Look You In the Eye   (2018Jul6)

Capitalism, commodification, monetization—all lovely stuff, and anyone that thinks up a new way to ‘package’ a need, gets to be a Baller—cool, how exciting.

Except for lobbyists, who corrupt our legislators and bedevil our laws, all in the name of profit; for extremists and hypocrites, who conflate our politics with their oh-so-profitable zealotry, and hold the line against legislation that might really enforce equality and fairness; for arms-makers, who are the richest pigs on earth (mostly because they’ve sold death for so long, they can pretend it’s a basic necessity); for investors who refuse to connect their personal profit with the ubiquitous inhumanity of banks, industries, and the overly entitled.

It’s true that changing this nation-turned-crackhouse back into a halfway-decent home is a seemingly impossible task. The only thing that stopped them before was politicians—politicians who got votes by promising to protect you from these greedy, soulless bastards. Somehow, in the eighties, people starting talking about the economy—about how everyone’s lifestyle hinged on a healthy economy, so it was bad to yell at the rich people.

I saw that for the bullshit it was, back when everyone else was talking about how cool Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas were in “Wall Street”. But I was, and am, in a tiny minority of people. For over thirty years, wages have frozen, benefits and profit-sharing are history, work hours are longer, and work environments have become ever more dehumanizing.

When big industries lie to us now, we don’t laugh in their faces anymore—we actually listen to them, as if they had no profit-motive for every word, deed, or decision. We don’t even laugh at a clown like Trump—he has a whole TV news channel dedicated to spreading his ignorance and lies. And at least 30% of us are bitter and ignorant enough to hear what we want to hear, even when it’s so false, it contradicts logic. Thank you, Fox News—and Fuck you—very much.

A Republican will look you in the eye and tell you the $15/hour is just too much money to pay some people—that making the minimum wage $15/hour would only hurt business. Poor business—it might get an owie.

Let’s ignore the fact that that’s total bullshit—let’s just consider the fact that a politician (who presumably needs votes to keep the job) is publicly stating that paying a living wage, across the country, is no concern of the government—and that if it is, the businesses are more important anyway, so go fish.

A Republican will describe their big new bill as a ‘tax cut’, instead of the embezzlement it truly represents. A Republican will tell you they oppose abortion for ethical reasons—which would be easier to believe if they didn’t scoff at the ethical considerations of any other plank on their platform. A Republican will tell you that Trump has done nothing wrong—and is doing a great job. A Republican has nothing to say, however, when thousands of children are kidnapped, and are stilled being held in ‘detention centers’, denied reunification with the parent they were torn from, weeks, sometimes months ago.

A Republican will tell you that only 46 Puerto Ricans died from last year’s disaster—and that relief was provided, and all is well. A Republican will tell you that it was right to hold up Obama’s SCOTUS nomination, but it would be wrong to hold up Trump’s.

(Oh, and they’ll also tell you Trump is Not a racist). Though, if that is the case, then I have been using that word wrong all these years.

TP_Dome_02

We’re Being Betrayed   (2018Jun29)

american-flag-1

Friday, June 29, 2018                                                         6:30 PM

We’re Being Betrayed   (2018Jun29)

Thousands of Puerto Ricans died after last year’s hurricane—due to racially-motivated neglect—and then, Trump lied about it.

Thousands of children were kidnapped and emotionally tortured (and are still being held) by Trump—and then, he lied about it.

I get that people knew Trump was a sexual predator, a fraud, and a liar—and voted for him anyway—fine. But those thousands are still dead forever. And those thousands of children are still traumatized for life.

So why is Congress still waiting on Mueller to begin impeachment proceedings? Even if Putin had never come up—there are more than enough reasons to impeach Trump, right now.

He has disgraced himself—and in so doing, disgraced this whole nation. By standing with him, the Republicans in Congress have equally disgracefully chosen partisanship that smacks of treason—and certainly of betrayal of those whom they purport to represent.

The benighted boobs who see a hero in our National Disgrace are a far larger, multi-generational disgrace—of zealotry, hypocrisy, and self-delusion—people who desperately grasp for pride and respect, without any matching drive to earn such—or deserve such. They shout out their ignorance, entitlement, and bigotry for months—then pounce on a raised voice from the ‘libertards’ (i.e., anyone who disagrees) as monstrous incivility. It is to laugh at. It is a disgrace.

But, no—it’s just business as usual. Trump isn’t even taking heat for the five dead journalists—again, pretending he never called the press an ‘enemy of the people’ nor incited people against the press. No, Trump is busy picking just the right ‘new’ Supreme—one who will keep misogyny and corporate greed alive—and all the rich white men go ‘doo do-doo doo doo do-doo-do-do-do…’

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Trump’s Hate Is Our Shame   (2018Jun28)

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Thursday, June 28, 2018                                          4:50 PM

Trump’s Hate Is Our Shame   (2018Jun28)

I don’t know where the stupidity comes from. People rail against immigration, now, after it has been a pride and a blessing (even a necessity) for the two-centuries-plus of our history. Yes, there are bad actors amongst the immigrants—but not nearly as many, proportionately, as we already have among us (i.e. you and me)—there’s even evidence that large immigrant influxes have lowered the crime rate of the neighborhoods they enter.

There’s really only one excuse—9/11 happened, we became professional cowards, and suddenly ‘securing the southern border’ became an issue of national security—where it never before had been, not since the War with Mexico (1848), anyway. Nobody sees the beauty and the horror of what’s happening—the United States, Mexico, and Canada have no military at our borders—we’ve never had, and we’ve never needed them—and now, conservative fear-mongering is trying to destroy that.

We are all neighbors. But the United States of America seems dead-set on becoming that asshole neighbor that nobody else can stand.

Ball-less Wonders   (2018Jun22)

Friday, June 22, 2018                                               3:51 PM

Ball-less Wonders   (2018Jun22)

Evidence indicates the Federal Government’s policy is to refuse to re-unite the parents and children they’ve separated so far—when parents call to ask for information about their children, they are told, “That’s what you get for trying to sneak into our country.” This is the bully that you all should have been afraid of—here he is in all his glory.

The pit in my stomach today—is the other-shoe-dropping of the pit in my stomach I felt the night they elected this overgrown brat. Back then, I didn’t have anything specific to point to. But I do now.

Trump has ensured that, even if these kids ever see their parents again, they will have been fully traumatized for life by his little ‘political ploy’—thousands of children—thousands. Our president doesn’t really care—do U? Yeah, I kinda fuckin do. I am watching my country—my greatest pride—being transformed into my deepest shame.

When will the Republicans reclaim their manhoods? (Yes, I’m ignoring any Republic female senators or congresswomen—just as they ignore their own gender. And, go ahead, tell me all about how much respect they get from their peers—I’m listening….)

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We Are Immigrants   (2018Jun19)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018                                            1:43 AM

We Are Immigrants   (2018Jun19)

This whole country is nothing but immigrants and their descendants. That used to be a given. That used to be seen as the gift it is. People used to flock to where Lady Liberty said, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

If America has become too crowded and too popular to remain a golden door to the world’s asylum-seekers—fine. But we can at least show sympathy and kindness towards those who have crossed a desert, hoping to share the comfort and freedom we enjoy, only to be turned away.

The horror of what the border patrol has been ordered to do—tearing children, even infants, away from their parents—with no reassurance of, or information about, any future re-unifications of those families—makes me wonder what kind of people the patrolers are—that they haven’t rebelled at these asinine and inhumane orders.

But we know who is giving them orders—a corrupt and unconstitutional Administration that ignores the stricture against ‘cruel and unusual punishment’—not just for criminals, but for innocents, for asylum-seekers, for babies, for christ-sake. I am sickened—but somewhat more sickened by the realization that Trump wants us to feel sickened. He thinks he’s baiting the snowflakes—by emulating Hitler as near as makes no never-mind—this is Trump, ‘winning’. Can you imagine?

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And he really thinks that by repeating and repeating that the Democrats made this travesty happen—he’ll actually get people to believe it. The Democrats, that have had no influence for a-year-and-a-half before this celebration of cruelty broke out? Right, them—sure they did.

Again, the insane meanness of this traumatizing policy is overwhelming enough—but that it is a purposeful political ploy by our game-show president makes it exponentially more ghoulish. Can someone please wake the president from his feverish waking-nightmare—smack him across the face or something? And if he’s fully conscious—can we all just look around for that last ounce of dignity left in the United States—and impeach this motherfucker already? It’s not just this one policy I’m sick of.

Cowards—all of you. Afraid the immigrants are gonna get something that should go to you?—losers. Have you seen these immigrants? They kinda look like fucking People to me. You want to see a national security threat? Look to the douchebag in the Oval. There’s your enemy of the state.

But if you’re too dense to understand that—then the state I’m worrying about has already, de facto, ceased to exist—so fuck it all. You know, we really are all, ultimately, from somewhere else. The only thing that makes us E Pluribus Unum (from many, One) is our shared fidelity to the Constitution—and all that implies.

Trump doesn’t know a human right from a nightlight—he’s never seen a letter of the law that he didn’t try to use against its spirit—he’s a clear and present danger to the United States of America we all knew and loved. He represents a last, lost hope for all the bigots that got mad when Obama was president—but those crazy morons will tear the whole place down, if we let them.

And I gotta say—Democrats—I gotta see more fight in you folks! The Republicans are disgracing themselves at historic levels, probably hoping the FoxNews wall-of-lies will keep from tumbling down, until they have a chance to cash out. But you Democrats are missing every trick on the table—these goons are supporting the unsupportable; you should be in their faces, every day—a lot of this is unconstitutional; why aren’t you hammering on the anti-American Administration? Are you really gonna sit on your hands until the bad man goes away? Then don’t expect a blue wave. It’s called politics, dammit.

The Republicans better hope it stays ‘just politics’. With the right guidance, someone could have a couple million bleeding-heart protestors making a Woodstock on the West Texas-Mexico border. Those kids shouldn’t be left alone with just Trump, Sessions, and their goons.

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No Kidding   (2018Jun16)

Saturday, June 16, 2018                                           5:09 PM

No Kidding   (2018Jun16)

Just a couple of things. Trump said he wished he could be a dictator, like Kim Jong Un, and Steve Doucey of FoxNews (Why are they still legal?) responded with a shit-eating grin (as if to say, “Well, who wouldn’t?”—anal speaks to anal). Later, a real reporter asked him to confirm what he had said, and Trump said, “I’m kidding.” Then he proceeded to make his unfortunate remark the reporter’s fault—you know, for taking the POTUS seriously and, I guess, not having any sense of humor about human rights abuses.

But then, when asked about the families being ripped apart at the border, Trump said, “Oh, that’s a Democrat bill—they have to work that out.” And I felt it was heartbreakingly unfortunate that no one in the crowd said anything like, “Mr. President, you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about—and you don’t make any sense.” See, it’s times like these that the entire crowd should be laughing in his face—the guy is hilarious, except when he’s ‘kidding’.

Besides, I don’t think ‘kidding around’ is part of the job de-fuckin-scription. Can we please impeach this criminal?

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Free Speech vs. Dishonesty   (2018Jun12)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018                                            5:02 PM

Free Speech vs. Dishonesty   (2018Jun12)

Let’s review: Voting is a freedom—we are free to vote for our leaders—but voting is also a responsibility—we are expected to think like adults and vote for the best person to fill each office. Faith is a freedom—we are free to worship however we please—but Americans have a responsibility not to inject their personal faith into our public services and laws. Free Speech is protected by the Constitution—but Americans have the responsibility to be able to tell the difference between an opinion—and a big fat lie.

We cannot protect Free Speech from those who willfully abuse it to spread false information, such as Fox News. Did you know Fox News is banned in Great Britain? They are not such purists about Free Speech over there—and they were able to prove to the court’s satisfaction that Fox News did a disservice to any Viewer foolish enough to mistake it for Journalism.

As the domestic news continues—an endless river of dishonesty, whatabout-ism, hateful and stupid tweets, idiotic foreign policy, the dismantling and disrespecting of virtually every aspect of America’s institutions and policies, the blank-faced, empty-headed stupidity of a 70-year-old egotist who will actually tell you, “I’m very smart.”—I just don’t know what to say.

Americans—you have a responsibility to see all the way through this bullshit—to face up to the fact that that flabby bastard is lying to you—to everybody—that’s what he’s good at—that’s how he tricked you into voting for the worst (but most ‘popular’) candidate we’ve ever seen. Half his campaign staff have pled guilty—and he still calls it a ‘witch-hunt’—does that sound like an honest man to you?

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Oh, I Hope So   (2018Jun06)

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018                                               6:42 PM

Oh, I Hope So   (2018Jun06)

Some people are born with impressively large and powerful bodies. Some people are born with sharp and powerful minds. Some are even born with both. My first reaction has always been to envy such people—but I have learned to turn away from envy, or try to.

They have their roll of the dice, I have my mine—we are all somewhere on the human spectrum. And those placed at the high end can have difficulties and sorrows equal to those placed at the low end—just as we in the middle have the troubles of those in the middle.

We should admire such people honestly—after all, if we could be Adonises or geniuses, we wouldn’t say no—but we should save our respect for people whose wisdom is tempered by love.

‘Tough guys’ like to laugh at the ‘Boy Scouts’ of the world—and, in honesty, there is nothing so ridiculous as a failed Boy Scout. I have played the part—and, while I wasn’t laughing, everyone else surely was. But real character is nothing to laugh at. It has a strength that cuts through the ‘tough guys’ like butter. It has the ability to demand the respect of strangers—who won’t even necessarily know why—they’ll only know that they’re witnessing power.

People, whether lazy or ambitious, will usually scruple to put themselves in danger—people of character have no such qualms—you have to put them down to stop them. When you threaten people of character, you only confirm their decision that you must be opposed.

In the early days of the Revolution, the American colonies would seem to have been a target-rich environment for character—how else could a rabble have improvised such an unlikely military victory—and followed up, not with a new tyranny, but with the embryo of a global empire based on Liberty and Democracy? I fear that today’s America does not lend itself nearly so well to building persons of character—but I hope to be proved wrong. By my son, by my daughter, by my granddaughter, by all my nieces and nephews, and by their whole generations—oh, I hope so.

 

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Question: Why not grant clemency to ALL non-violent first-time drug-offenders unfairly sentenced to life in prison—who have already served two decades of their sentences? Why on earth stop at the celebrity’s grandma (bless her heart)?

Question: If the only thing that stops a bad man with a gun, is a good man with a gun, should all good men with guns head for the border-facilities where HSA is keeping all those children in cages?

Question: Paul Ryan—how long does ‘unfortunate’ remain acceptable in a sitting president?

 

XperDunn plays Piano
June 4th, 2018

Improv – with the Hand-Maid – Part 1

 

Selections from Musick’s Hand-Maid – Part 2

 

Improv – with the Hand-Maid – Part 3

 

ttfn.

 

And God Laughed   (2018Jun04)

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Monday, June 04, 2018                                            12:13 PM

And God Laughed   (2018Jun04)

The SCOTUS ruled in favor of the pious baker who cringed at making a same-sex couple their wedding cake. SCOTUS opined that all lower courts, and the civil rights group that brought the suit, were too derisive and dismissive of the man’s faith. By reaffirming simultaneously, paradoxically, the rights of gay people to be respected and treated equally, they avoided making any lasting legal statement—other than urging people to ‘get along’ without bothering the courts. Only people with iron-clad tenure would castigate the people for requesting SCOTUS do their jobs—nice work if you can get it.

We must ask if deciding a ruling, based on disrespect of a man’s faith, is somehow different from deciding a ruling based on respect for a faith? Serious practitioners of American law insist on the separation of Church and State.

In the eyes of one who shares his beliefs, the baker’s faith is dignified and profound. In the eyes of one who does not share that faith, it is an unfounded, albeit popular, delusion—a hallucination that only the baker can see. To ask Americans to show more respect for a man’s faith than for the rule of law—even when they don’t share it—seems to gnaw at the roots of ‘separation of Church and State’.

I support good manners as much as the next guy. When my late Grandma Dunn used to use the epithet ‘darkies’, I eventually chose to stop correcting her—because it simply confused her—and there were no African-Americans in our dining room to be offended in the first place. My commitment to the family of man did not require me to badger Grandma about the way the past had shaped her thinking.

I not only avoid being rude to the faithful, whenever possible—I even feel it is cruel to purposely remove someone’s belief, if it makes them feel happy and safe. But that is just good manners.

I don’t even want see religion go away entirely—for some people it is a great comfort. Ah, but the sharks are always circling—religion, as rationale for anti-social or hateful action, ranges from ISIS—to a bi-curious middle-schooler being bullied in the hallway.

As with the Trump-era claims of ‘reverse racism’ (Ha!), SCOTUS’s claim that the religious zealot was subjected to undue derision—ignoring the fact that it’s the same faith that once brought you the auto-da-fé—appears to take issue with ‘separation of Church and State’, under the guise of ‘rudeness’. Rust never sleeps.

Rachel Maddow and Me   (2018Jun02)

Saturday, June 02, 2018                                           3:27 AM

Rachel Maddow and Me   (2018Jun02)

Wouldn’t you love to see me on Rachel Maddow? There’d be the guest-who-makes-sense and Rachel, the host—then me, and the Trump-apologizer. It doesn’t need to be me, specifically—just anyone off the street with a scintilla of decency and a good set of lungs.

See, everyone else there is constrained—Rachel is a journalist, which bars her from expressing herself beyond the facts—the other guest will have a media reputation to protect, not to mention a commentator-circuit rice bowl that must be respected. Those people are not free to speak their minds.

I think it would offer great relief to the entire nation, if someone like me was sitting next to a bloviating Giuliani, or a drawling Conway, and could turn to them and say how I really feel about their torture of the Constitution and common sense. The media pretends they are trapped into reading out Trump’s daily tweets, no matter how ugly or ignorant—and politely begging to disagree with the downright criminal inhumanity spewed from the mouths of these Trump-zombies. The political-news shows don’t need to be so maddeningly obtuse in their format.

All they have to do is add one more seat at the dais—the ‘laypersons viewpoint’ person—someone who can just walk on for one show and walk away afterwards, opinion given, no strings attached. All of this insanity would be so much easier to digest if a normal person had a chance to respond to the face of, in real-time, these professional haters and skeeves. Even if it’s just to, say, call one of them a POS, and walk off set—even just that would help a great deal in suppressing this ‘amnesty-on-bullshit’ Trump’s got going.

We could do something like it at press conferences, too—have some pompous ass give a mealy-mouthed half-true answer to a simple question, then turn to the designated ‘laypersons viewpoint’ person—and ask him or her what they thought of the spokesperson’s response. In this way, we could begin to leaven all the bullshit, with frequent instances of regular folks calling bullshit.

Everyman-Reactions are a time-honored component of broadcast news—there’s nothing unprofessional about taking the pulse of the ‘man on the street’. But in the present media environment, we need those truth-tellers right on the spot, every time the people who are eroding our society open their yaps.

You’re thinking, ‘What about the yahoos?”—right? That’s the beauty of it—if a real Trump-supporter ends up in the everyman slot, it’ll still work out—because there’s nothing more embarrassing and futile than two idiots trying to agree with one another.

Zero Tolerance   (2018May29)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018                                            2:51 PM

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Foot-sore, traumatized, asylum-seeking youngsters—and their penniless, defenseless, desperate parent(s) trying to find a better world, a better life, for their beloved children—these are the people for whom POS Trump has zero tolerance. And this is the beauty of that POS—by enraging all decent Americans past the point of any patience whatsoever, he tricks us into saying we have zero tolerance for him. He prods us to become as ugly towards him as he is towards us.

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The POS has taken the GOP’s tactic of obfuscation—the claim of ‘alternative views’—to its logical extreme: that ‘good vs. evil’ is simply two different viewpoints. He must lie on a daily basis to do so, but by lying, he makes the case that ‘he knows we are, but what is he?’—and, due to the childish nature of such discourse, it forces all mature citizens to balk at a retort. We are not prepared for a president who is willing to take advantage of the fact that the POTUS can moon the world, stick his fingers in his ears, and bray ‘Nyah! Nyah!’ on national television—and no one can do anything about it.

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Prior to the current POS, all POTUSes were responsible, reasonable men who knew the difference between doing business and serving the public—not perfect men, surely no, but still with consciences of accountability. The only prior POTUS who, like Trump, felt that ‘if the President does it, it’s not illegal’, was forced to resign in disgrace. And even Nixon had the dignity to drop the pretense, when the writing appeared on the wall—he didn’t force his country to endure the shame of a criminal trial against his administration.

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Meanwhile, I just saw news footage of lines of dead-eyed, defeated refugees being herded thru barb-wired enclosures by heavily armed and armored guards. They trudged in what seemed an endless, tortuous process which, in my mind, is the way third-world countries let refugees know they are  not welcome. And in that line I saw a woman, about my daughter’s age and height (but much scrawnier) with a baby in her arms, about my granddaughter’s age.

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They did not look like they were about to enter the Land of the Free—they looked like they were being herded into a prison. They did not look like they were being cared for in any way—though they certainly appeared frightened, tired, and thirsty. Is this America? Is it right for our POS to take our nation’s great strength and power—and use it to bully the entire world, including his own country, his own government, his own family? How did this asshole abrogate the glory of the USA unto his sick, evil (tiny) hands? I have zero tolerance for POS Trump, or the GOP goons who maintain his ‘legitimacy’ in the face of mountains of evidence of unfitness.

But we can expect nothing more from a party that long-ago adopted unfitness as a political tactic, rather than a disqualifier.

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1,500 Missing—Presumed Dead   (2018May26)

Saturday, May 26, 2018                                           12:02 PM

1,500 Missing—Presumed Dead   (2018May26)

The explanations, excuses, and counter-accusations keep coming—almost as fast as the reports of foreign dealings and criminal activities drift into a mountain range of malfeasance. Let’s face it—Trump’s a helluva tap-dancer—but he’s also obviously a crook, a liar, and a treasonously bad president.

The saddest part is that Trump doesn’t really matter—he’s just a foil for the morally-bankrupt Republican Party, which insults us by pretending there’s nothing wrong with Trump—and uses the Trump distraction to swiftly advance their fascist-leaning, de-humanizing vision of White Nationalism. Far worse than Trump’s ignorant opacity—is Republican leadership’s scheming pretense of sharing his delusions.

And the Republicans themselves—mere puppets of the super-wealthy—slaves to the big-dollar donors—are conspiring to make businesses not just equal to citizens—but superior to them. If an employer can keep you working, shorn of your constitutional rights, given barely enough to eat, doing whatever he says to do—then you, my friend, are not an employee—there’s another word for what they have made you. I think you know what it is.

The Nazis’ excuse was “I was only following orders.” The American fascists’ excuse is always “I need this job—I should let my family go hungry?” They are both narrow-minded excuses for failing to look past the immediate and the singular. Americans will tell you that they’d give their lives to defend their freedoms—but find one who will give up his job for them. Americans are full of knee-jerk sentiments: ‘Live free or die’, etc. But find yourself just one of these hot-house ‘patriots’ who will actually inconvenience themselves for the good of others.

The Federal government has ripped 1,500 children away from their parents (in the name of national security, no less) and then proceeded to misplace them. Really? How do we know they’re not buried in a mass grave somewhere? Are we just gonna watch CNN until the ‘child found’ episode comes on? Or are we gonna find out what happened to that ‘Children’s Crusade’ of missing minors, ourselves?

Impeach!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018                                       9:19 PM

Iran and North Korea have nuclear programs and missile programs—and, as some talking-head just reminded me, North Korea has developed missiles that could reach the United States. This is a sobering thought, as the 24-hour cable news show intended. I certainly hope the rest of the world can convince these two countries to stop wasting their riches pursuing WMDs.

Nukes certainly don’t give the superpowers anything but troubles. And, realistically, say either one of those nations were to lob a nuke at the USA—what possible scenario leaves the aggressor-nation as anything other than a smoking crater? We have thousands of those things—and when terrorists plane-bombed the twin towers, we went to war with two countries for almost twenty years. You do the math—I’d say they were in for return-fire.

Nuking the U.S. is an old pipe-dream that the Soviets started—even Dr. Evil, from the Austin Powers movies, would find it a rusty concept. We are the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon. We’ve been developing nukes since 1945. That’s quite a game of ‘catch-up’ ball those little countries are trying to play. And what’s the endgame—a radioactive Western Hemisphere? Is that the ‘safer’ future these countries are working towards?

How stupid are these people?

How stupid are we?

 

Sunday, May 13, 2018                                                       7:04 PM

 

Don’t let me wake up regretting yesterday

Don’t let me go to sleep fearing tomorrow

Let me live each day

Let me dress and eat and work and rest

Let my friends and family be near

Don’t let me be separated from life

By the artifacts of greed

 

I’m wondering today: if the ozone layer and the Van Allen Belt are evolved as part of our biosphere or if they are a chance occurence of our solar system? When we damage them, are we simply messing with a random artifact, or are we cracking the protective shell of the living Earth? Not that it matters—if we are foolish enough to heedlessly destroy our planetary radiation-shielding, we will die, either way. It is only the poetic aspect of the question that interests me.

The Ethically Vacant Administration   (2018May10)

Thursday, May 10, 2018                                          2:08 PM

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We are closing in on the first anniversary of Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, Jr. turning in his resignation. You may remember he quit over Trump’s refusal to divest his businesses and Trump’s refusal to disclose ethics waivers issued for White House staff.

I would say that Trump has vindicated Shaub’s decision by neglecting to fill the vacant post. (Trump did appoint the OGE’s counsel as acting director—but that person has issued one single press release in 2018—which I take as a sign of ‘agency hibernation’.) Trump has still not divested in full. And the Ethics Waivers issue took care of itself—most Trump staffers with questionable backgrounds have since resigned, been fired, have confessed to the FBI, or are currently under investigation.

The few ‘Ethics-Waivee’s who remain, such as KellyAnn Conway, have become caricatures of credibility—character actors in the tragic farce of today’s White House. Trump brought in Giuliani to be a fresh face of falsehood on the media stage—but Rudy seems to have ejaculated prematurely, outdoing KellyAnn’s two-years-of-hyperbole in a single weekend round of talk-shows.

I had naively hoped that General Flynn’s exposure as an Oligarch-gopher and Putin-plant within the National Security Council would be laid at Trump’s feet. I had hoped the same about Manafort and Gates. And about Stone and Papadopolis. Now, they are even trying to question whether Cohen’s activities were ‘in any way connected’ to the president. Gee, I donno!

We must eventually reach a point where his mouthpieces will be claiming that Trump’s mouth or Trump’s hands may have been involved, but not his heart and soul. And somehow, that not only makes Trump innocent of any reality—but makes the crimes themselves minor misdeeds that don’t deserve media discussion. It all works out very neatly—don’t you see?

Childish Giuliani   (2018May07)

Monday, May 07, 2018                                            2:27 PM

Childish Giuliani   (2018May07)

We already have a president who speaks in baby-talk—do we really need to give national attention to his latest henchman? Trump won the Electoral College, so we’re stuck with his ravings—but Giuliani has no mandate other than Trump’s retainer. And here is where the media becomes part of the problem.

Isn’t Giuliani entertaining? Are you not entertained? Plus, Giuliani’s random quotes sometimes seem as if they might place the president in greater legal jeopardy, rather than extricating him from his many scandals. Oh, how exciting!

But what value is found in the pompous pronouncements of a beady-eyed gas-bag? Are we better informed? No. Is he speaking freely about the truth, or is Giuliani just shot-gunning the public with carefully-curated, out-of-context agit-prop? Well, everyone is laughing at him—so, maybe, the later.

My main outrage is over his twisting the Justice Department’s investigation into something that ‘bad guys’ are trying to ‘do’ to Trump. Now, he may be a lawyer—but we don’t need to pass the bar to understand what it would mean for a president to take the Fifth. It would mean that Trump has something to hide—something incriminating.

His goon-squad also tries to make the investigation into some sort of ‘invasion of privacy’—as if people who break the law have the right to get away with it, rather than be searched by the FBI. Well, a president should have known that the office required more than a little invasion of privacy, above and beyond even what normal citizens must deal with. To think that ends—that the line for the president’s ‘fishbowl’ ends—at criminal investigation—well, like so many things with this president—that’s just silly.

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Intel   (2018May05)

 

Saturday, May 05, 2018                                           7:18 PM

Intel   (2018May05)

“They want everyone confused. Confusion is control.” – Mark Felt (aka Deep Throat)

Let’s rack’em up: The Trump camp is lying as if lying were an Olympic sport and they’re going for the gold. The Republicans are morally bankrupt from having created this arena of false outrage and false promises—the manure from which Trump first sprang. The Democrats are having a very hard time distinguishing ‘progressive’ from ‘push-over’. The voters are interested in their own lives—most of them don’t recognize how important political participation is for a healthy democracy—and don’t recognize how an unhealthy democracy can change their lives in very scary ways.

The media-verse wants to put on a show—not to perform public service. They make money by creating a compulsion to watch the ‘drama’. That’s why they persist in granting credibility to a president who wipes his ass with it. I mean, really, it’s been two years now that they’ve paraded on a bunch of wildly dishonest and serpentine spokesmen and spokeswomen for the Celebrity-Crook Administration.

Not a one of them answers a direct question. Not a one of them is capable of conceding a single point in any interview—that’s not stubborn—that’s stonewalling. When Trump is filmed in his out-and-out lies, they come on TV and say, “Get a sense of humor—of course he was joking.” I don’t know—would that be any less oily a defense, if Trump actually had a sense of humor? Not that it matters.

But by insisting on ‘fair and balanced’, the 24-hour-news businesses hammer these blatant scandals into some kind of sporting event, where they air first one side’s volley, then the other’s. It’s not journalism—it’s prestidigitation—keeping us mesmerized, so we don’t notice the whole thing has become a childish joke that the powers-that-be don’t have the humility to be ashamed of.

 

Friday, May 04, 2018 7:57 PM            Subject: Patience

I needed time to rein in my outrage at the election upset. I finally resigned myself to it being as case of too much of the electorate being conned. If the bad guys can learn a new way to hack democracy, the good guys will find a patch, right? I calmed down and settled in for hard times.

I’ve strained to be patient for more than a year now, waiting for public officials of good will to find some way to depose the useful idiot, before Putin gains more say in policy than any American (and I think it’s pretty clear now that Trump is no American).

Besides, how has this jackass avoided a war or a market crash, making an infamy of himself while he spits on the flag and all it stands for? One time, during the campaign, he embraced and dry-humped an on-stage flag at a rally–he’s such a dick!

Oh, you poor intelligentsia—all your lives, most everyone you meet will seem dull or foolish. That’s the price you pay for being smarter than average—mathematically, the majority of other people have to be less quick—otherwise you wouldn’t be smarter-than-average. Even the adult’s programs on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) will seem geared towards children, compared to how quickly you can absorb information on your own.

And if you are so unfortunate as to become interested in politics, you will marvel at its blatant perversion into a tool of the rich and violent. And the far greater marvel is the potential, the capacity, which our technology has to transform this pre-industrial wage-slavery into a society ruled by all of itself, for all of itself.

Obstacle one: the feral nature of the rich and violent. They only use words to lie. They know the rest of us use words sincerely, so they add their lies to the mix—knowing that people believe anything they hear repeated often enough. Hitler invented the idea of whipping a whole country into a mob—and that technology has not gone undeveloped in the half-century since.

The idea that European city streets were winding and impractical—because those streets began as goat-trails and such, and the cities grew up adapting that old system, instead of replacing it—that’s always struck me as wonderfully human. But there is a social-meme version of the same thing, ideas that make society more tangled and confrontational—that we inherit from parents, teachers, elders, religious leaders—and, yes, politicians.

When Trump says ‘Mexicans are rapists’, who knows how he justifies such hate speech, such stupidity? His brain is full of goat tracks—worn down by his Klan-member daddy and his gangstoychik friends—plus all the spoiled coke-heads he clubbed with in the eighties. This ‘president’ can’t say for sure who he’s fucked—talk to his lawyer—talk to his lawyer—yeah, Donny—we’ll ‘check in’ with Cohen.

I blame Francis Ford Coppola—both Trump and Giuliani think it’s cool to rub elbows with cold-blooded organized-crime figures. Or is it ultimately Mario Puzo’s fault? I don’t know. We didn’t used to embrace crime so warmly. Maybe it was “The Sopranos” on HBO—maybe that over-normalized people whose business-model includes mass homicides.

 

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I Could Go On Singing   (2018May02)

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Wednesday, May 02, 2018                                               4:01 PM

I Could Go On Singing   (2018May02)

Kanye West talked sloppily recently and everyone jumped down his throat—and sure, he could have just said that Stockholm Syndrome played a role in the tragedy of American slavery—but Kanye West is a songwriter—he speaks impressionistically, not rationally.

The same for Trump—his whole career as a huckster, he’s always used sales-speak—he speaks impressionistically, not honestly. This is a core American problem—differentiating between reason and preference. Our First Amendment guarantees our right to voice our opinions—making our opinions sacred, to an extent. Factual, rational knowledge is a survival tool—making the hard Truth sacred, as well.

Therein lies the problem: yes, your opinion is sacred—and the truth is sacred—but (and this is very important) they are not the same thing. Mixing the two up is the go-to razzle-dazzle for every culture warrior and nationalist. Political platforms differ mostly in precisely how each ‘team’ decides to conflate opinion with truth.

Why do Americans have so much trouble classifying one from another? Faith. This country, at its bedrock, began as a place where people had the mental courage to confront the danger of theocratic government. We said from the outset—and with good reason, even in that tiny, nascent colony—that government and law must be kept separate from religion.

Before I continue, I apologize for seeming to equate faith with mere opinion.  That is not my intention. But men can and do have differences of faith even within a single congregation—and in this way, faith differs from scientific truth in a fundamental way. People can differ in their ideas about the source of creation, life, and beyond—and still agree on evidence and proof. Thus law and governance can only be righteous apart from religious vagaries.

Many Americans have always winked at this most important precept—assuming, naturally, that the majority religion (Christian Protestants) would still be given its due. Indeed, that is the case—‘Under God’ was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950’s by Red-Scare-panicked WASPs. “In God We Trust” is, inexplicably, on our money. (Then again, money itself is hard to explain—but I digress.) Mandatory school prayer wasn’t fought in court until the 1960s. Xmas, Halloween, Saints’ Days—many American traditions have a Protestant origin. Even Thanksgiving—while the quintessence of American traditions—was, is, and always will be, after all, for giving thanks to ‘God’.

This was—I emphasize ‘was’—an Anglican-populated colony for centuries before the Revolution—and so, for all the time before—and long after—the only usage for ‘separation of Church and State’ was to keep any of the Puritans, Quakers, Shakers, Episcopalians, et. al. from hijacking the law away from the whole. Catholics didn’t count—because everyone hated Catholics in England, where they’d all come from.

So, yeah, ‘separation of Church and State’ started out as something less than it is today—just like our Constitution, which originally intended to direct a mere thirteen colonies of farmers, sailors, and tradespeople, on how to govern themselves. ‘Separation of Church and State’ may have begun simply as way to stop the infighting among the first New England Puritans—but its genius and clarity are as much a part and parcel of our American Liberty as our Freedom of Speech. That used to be clear to all Americans.

And that reminds me of what I hate most about the Neo-Cons and Neo-Nazis. The evil these people represent was exposed and ridiculed out of the public eye, long, long ago—and with no small expenditure of civil disobedience, persecution, and even violence borne—and the bastards just re-issue it like some movie re-make.

The younger generations don’t have our memories—they don’t know the long story about how we should cherish every yard of social justice ever won by any good man or woman, over the centuries past. Thus, if some skinhead tells young people his holocaust-denial conspiracy theories, before a teacher has a chance to teach those kids the real history, in school—that’s irreversible—and it’s a crime against their minds.

That’s what I hate most about those evolution-denying, caravan-cowardly, money-grubbing…well, you know me—I could go on. But I’ve said what I had to say, for now.

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Improv – Green Dawn

 

Improv – An April Jigg

 

Anti-President   (2018Apr26)

Thursday, April 26, 2018                                        3:52 PM

Anti-President   (2018Apr26)

We’ve spent millennia fearing the coming of the ‘Anti-Christ’. Well, I say the hell with that—we’ve been overcome by the Anti-President. This pig is everything a president should not be. Trump does and says everything in the most anti-American way possible. He attacks our ideals and our heritage every time he opens his stupid yap. Some suspect him of shilling for Putin (and that may be where he hopes to score big bucks, or has already—who knows?) but he’s not that deep—he’s just trying to destroy the Federal Government and the dignity of all true Americans.

The United States budgets so many billions towards defense that it leaves us without the means to make America a place worth defending—high infant mortality rates, underfunded public schools, colleges with bills for lifelong debt attached to the degrees. Now, the greatest fit of elitism yet: Rich, fat fucks (whose only ‘life-challenges’ will stem directly from their personal lack of character) who want to pass a law forcing government-aid-recipients to get jobs.

They want the infirm, the disabled, the elderly—and especially caretakers of family members—to get, at least, a part-time job. Now, I don’t need to add to the many voices pointing out what a cold-hearted, sick bastard a person would have to be to even consider this agenda. No, I want to ask: ‘Where is the lobby for this agenda?’

Who the hell are the large numbers of the electorate who are pushing for this vital measure?—which will do more for our economy than if large corporations actually paid their fair share of taxes. Oh, wait—no it wouldn’t. Not at all. This attitude—that all government-aid-recipients are leaching away the life-blood of our economy—is a strange, revisionist way to describe what most of us would call simply ‘doing the right thing’.

I don’t want to get into a discussion on why, if corporations are loop-holing out of their income taxes—contributing nothing but the shittiest jobs—then how is it incumbent upon Congress to cut corporate tax rates by more than half? The Republicans can take a poll on that BS in November. But I’d point out that bleeding the most vulnerable, for some reason, suits the Republicans far better than any tiny fraction of corporate profits taxation that could easily produce triple the amount—or ten times the amount.

How are we so easily misled into believing those with the least money, influence, and power are at the root of our economic problems? Those poor folks are nothing more than the evidence of the irresponsibility and incompetence of those who have all the money, influence, and power.

I just want to point out—again—that institutions breed corruption. Take the oldest church, the oldest political party, the oldest athletic groups, the oldest rich people—they all, eventually, bend towards the nasty. Fucking Carson heard about the ‘labor camp’ legislation and wants to double down—with a 300% rent increase for residents of affordable housing. I tell you—these bastards don’t want just to have everything for themselves—they can’t really enjoy it unless they’re pretty sure everyone else is fuckin miserable. What a gang of crotch lice.

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Don’t You Miss America?   (2018Apr25)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018                                              2:12 PM

Don’t You Miss America?   (2018Apr25)

The pretense of a presidency held by an anti-government, criminal celebrity may be a heyday for journalism and comics, but I wish the people in this country would try to be serious for once. Our federal government’s bench is empty—more than fifty percent of federal staff have been fired or have resigned in disgust. All of Trump’s staff-picks and nominations have shown no inclination to do anything other than fail vettings, fail security clearances, or resign in scandal.

To pretend that Trump is a patriot takes a density of vision verging on opacity—yet to know Trump for what he is, and conspire in this pretense, is far the worse failing. He appoints nemeses to head agencies they’ve fought against for years—or he nominates people at random, thus leaving important positions vacant while the media discusses his mischief as if it were statesmanship.

Isn’t lying an impeachable offense? I find it difficult to hear of Trump speaking or tweeting bald-faced lies on the daily—if this is not madness, if this is not criminal behavior—it is still an unfitness that we shame ourselves by broadcasting every day—as news! This is not the behavior of a reliable person, never mind what we look for in our head of state. A compulsive, misanthropic liar is the kind of worker whom the rest of the warehouse staff puts up with—such people ought never be given responsibilities, much less public trust.

Isn’t being a scoff-law an impeachable offense? Most of Trump’s Executive Orders have been overturned by the courts as unconstitutional. Executive Orders are supposed to be stop-gap measures, looking towards future legislation—not a means to issue martial-law-type edicts that flout our constitutional protections. He even wants to silence the press—so that his lies will have more power.

Doesn’t a lifetime of bullying others mark Trump as a dangerous president? He’s likely to bluster his way into geopolitical quicksand and then hide under his bed when the missiles start flying—everyone knows a bully is really a coward.

But the towering miasma of corruption and perversity that is Trump is a mere landmark in our American political landscape—he is the shit-stained Washington Monument all of the craven, amoral Republicans turn towards, five times a day. Media journalist don’t pin down these fifty Senators and hundreds of Congresspersons, constantly browbeating them to explain their idly standing by while Trump makes a junkyard out of our once smooth-running vehicle of state—I wonder why? Is the media more invested in the circus spectacle than in functional government? Of course they are.

But what about you? Are you tired of Republican lies and fear-mongering, science-denial and Capitalist elitism? Have you decided to watch only Netflix until that far-off day when journalism (and government, for that matter) returns to Public Service? Do you find it ironic that the falsest Baal ever worshipped is known as a ‘reality’ star?

#DailyMissAmericaPageant

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Concerned Over Comedy   (2018Apr08)

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Sunday, April 08, 2018                                            2:34 PM

Concerned Over Comedy   (2018Apr08)

The new logo for HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is Mr. Oliver slumped over his desk, face down, with one forearm raised—index finger aloft—as if pausing during a collapse to interject, “And just one more thing…” It perfectly symbolizes satirical political commentary in the Trump crisis, wherein comics must first present the actual facts of a premise, wait for the reaction of horror and nervous laughter, and then proceed with putting a punchline on the end—as if the facts weren’t ludicrous enough.

Comics who wish to point out the paradoxes, the hypocrisies, the tomfooleries, and the blatant, outright villainies of political leadership—these comics used to rub their hands in glee when a president stumbled on an airplane ramp or a vice-president fired buckshot into a friend’s physiognomy—any target-rich environment that made their jobs easier for a day or two. Now, they are more and more like John Oliver—exhausted by the firehose of inanity coming from our seats of power—exhausted by its diluvian persistence, but even more so by its frightening instability and provocation.

John Oliver is a funny man and I enjoy his show—one of my top three shows—so, no shade being sent his way by what I’m saying: Last Week Tonight is not a comedy show pretending to be news—it is current-events-in-civics pretending to be a comedy. The reason it works is the political and social conditions of our time are laughably paradoxical, hypocritical, foolish, and blatantly villainous. Our country is so hagridden by ignorance, corruption, and selfishness—in both its individual ‘statespersons’ and its ‘institutions’ (remember the Donald Trump Trust?) that the rest of the globe is embarrassed for our electorate.

How could American voters, possessing the jewel, the most envied government of the entire world—how could these idiots have ever let things come to the present pass? How self-destructive and mule-headed can we be, to throw away the wonder of the world—to obvious crooks and transparent charlatans? How could Ignorance have so fully won the day?

Television bears some responsibility, as do Facebook and Putin—and, frankly, the Democratic Party, which took the best, most popular and historic choice ever presented—and pissed it away. But ultimately enough voters consciously chose to hurt their country this way—and I think many of them did so purposely. They expressed their anger in their vote—much like a rioting mob will burn down its own neighborhood.

We have to remember what voting means. You find someone who will do what you want—and you make sure that person gets your vote. You don’t wait for a bunch of strangers to present you with some ‘lesser of two evils’ contest—you get the person who will do what you want him or her to do. Hint: It has something to do with people—and a lot less to do with economic interests.

I applaud the mobilization of our youngest adults, and demi-adults, demanding more common-sense-based legislation on one particular issue—guns. Of course, having been shot at for quite long enough, we must hold these youngsters blameless for attempting to defend themselves, even politically. Teachers, as well, have mobilized—making the excellent point that one should not have to choose both to teach our children and live in poverty, as a package deal.

The plain fact is that these schools are underfunded—the teachers’ salaries are simply the vocal, visible part—the crowded classrooms, the lack of books and supplies and computers—hell, the lack of desks… You can’t neglect the next generation without nulling the value of everything else you might do. So, when the leaders tell you the answer is to arm these teachers with guns—the question is not ‘Should we elect new leaders?’ so much as ‘How the hell did they get elected?’

I’m sure there’s a laugh in there somewhere—I leave it to the professionals to find.

JOliver_02

Ethical Border Threat   (2018Apr04)

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018                                              5:04 PM

Ethical Border Threat   (2018Apr04)

Even after the Mexican-American War (April 1846–February 1848), neither the United States nor Mexico ever felt any need for an armed border. In fact, migrant workers have been a vital part of the USA’s agricultural infrastructure—and prohibiting their border crossings would have left American crops rotting in the fields and orchards. Even today, deporting and excluding Mexicans from our border would have a catastrophic effect on our food production.

Today Trump has called for the National Guard to man our southern border in force. No government masses troops on its border unless it plans to invade, or repel an invading force. Unless Trump plans to invade Mexico, it would seem that he is treating the migration of thousands of frightened, desperate men, women, and children, from what amounts to a warzone, as an invading force.

These people, recently dubbed a ‘caravan’ by media, are facing violence and death in their homes—they are taking a long journey to a strange land, fleeing for their lives. If Trump were a real American, he’d be sending those National Guard troops to the border—with food, water, and medical supplies. He’d be instructing them to welcome these refugees from Central America to the land of the free.

But Trump is not an American. He is a coward—he is the opposite of a real American. He may even be a traitor—we don’t know yet. But one thing we all surely know: the only thing approaching our Southern Border is an opportunity for American greatness—and the only threat is the one in the Oval Office.

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Votes Not Cast   (2018Mar30)

Friday, March 30, 2018                                            7:15 PM

Votes Not Cast   (2018Mar30)

There are many reasons for the ebb in my recent output. Most of all, it’s that I’ve said what I had to say—and I am too old to accept the current corruption and ignorance as a ‘new norm’. The media hypes it because it’s very much akin to a slow-motion building demolition—the USA, a mighty structure built over centuries, and our ‘leaders’ gnawing on it like an old carcass.

But sensible people (many of whom have gotten out of the habit of watching TV) are simply waiting for Mueller, or someone—anyone of character, to put our present administration out of the Oval Office and behind bars where they belong. If only sensible people numbered in the majority.

If only six or seven Republican Senators had the character to stand by whatever sense they have, this administration would already be under impeachment hearings. I want my next sentence to be: ‘Trump is a criminal, a traitor, a hater, an idiot, a chauvinist, a bigot, and a psycho—totally unfit for that, or any other, office.’ Imagine my frustration—realizing that our president has been described this way by so many people, even before his election, that I’m afraid I’ll lose my reader (hi you! …whoever you are) by being so trite and repetitive!

Trump is a paper tiger, set up to draw all attention to himself, while the Republicans grab for all the loose cash they can get—and pretend that they don’t have the power to remove this puppet of Putin’s from his illegally-gained electoral majority.

America is not about hate—so how did we end up with this rabid, racist dog being elected President? We can blame the lying Republicans, and the fucking Russians, and that asshole Assange—but we have to also accept responsibility for the actual votes. I don’t mean just the zombies who fell for Trump—the votes not cast against him trouble me far more deeply. All evil needs to succeed is that good people do nothing.

I’m buoyed by the appearance of these wonderful teen activists, taking on the NRA. I’m saddened as well—you know the adults are screwing up on a grand scale when their own kids can point to clear neglect—and call ‘bullshit’.

 

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Offended By Trump   (2018Mar11)

Sunday, March 11, 2018                                          12:53 PM

Offended By Trump   (2018Mar11)

I am offended by Trump, not because he is a criminal, a Russian mole, a nuclear threat, a racist, misogynist, or an Islamophobe, but because he does not respect our country. His patriotism is to himself and his money—period.

There is an order to civilization. In the end, it’s all about compromise—since compromise is the only alternative to strife. Trump, unfortunately, represents the forces of disorder and of strife—of ignorance and bluster.

Worse than Trump is his Congressional train of commodified Republicans—craven legislators with ‘the good of the people’ dead last on their priorities list—these are the weasels who blow with the fattest wind. They serve only themselves and, far from representing the people, serve instead those who place profit above community.

And they will pooh-pooh all of this as liberal whining—but they are either ignorant, or simply liars. Making accommodations for the underserved is simply good business. It costs less money to keep people in decent conditions than it costs to deal with all the aftereffects of extreme poverty. It is better economics to spend money on our children’s health and education than to have a generation of unhealthy, ignorant Americans. That’s not whining—that’s just common sense.

The American government, for a long time, served as a balance against the predatory aims of Capitalism—allowing the break-neck, cut-throat action of big business, without allowing it to enslave our society and rescind our human rights. We stand at a crossroads now—where either we can go on with the Hyper-Capitalistic fever-dream of those who shut their eyes to all but dollar signs, or we can start voting for candidates whose aim is to wrest our government back onto the side of the people.

The stock market is an excellent example of this blindness: when it goes up, it only makes rich people richer—but when it goes down, the poorest feel it the worst. Rich people ought to take into account the fact that they, as a group, keep shrinking down and down—and outside their mansions, the world becomes a less and less pleasant place to take a walk. I would think they’d want to have more friends—and nicer places to take walks. Maybe they live in such abject fear of change that they don’t even consider such things. Go figure.

 

Build and Break   (2018Mar01)

Thursday, March 01, 2018                                                8:44 PM

Build and Break   (2018Mar01)

I was just re-watching “Patton”, the scene of the Nazi counter-offensive that began the Battle of the Bulge—Panzers rolling over (and also through) the farmers’ stone walls, crossing their fields. I thought of how many years spent plowing up rocks, pickings those rocks up, carrying them over to be set in the surrounding wall. I pondered the contrast between those years of honest sweat and the brief, casual destruction of that work as an infinitesimal moment in that mad, murderous conflict.

Then I related that to Trump. How easy it is for the battering-ram of his blunt ignorance to smash through what it took centuries of thought and feeling to build. Our federal government is one of the great wonders of the world—our strength as a nation, as a people, has a potential that we, as modern Americans, stubbornly refuse to commit to—but it abides.

Unfortunately, cooperation and capitalism don’t go together very well. That’s a bad thing because democracy is cooperation—and capitalism is compulsory competition, wherein cooperation becomes a ploy used against the ‘weak’.

This is also why, though we’ve often flirted with a tycoon candidate (like Ross Perot) we’ve never actually done it before. Dare I say: Now we know why? Business is important, yes—but ‘governing’ and ‘doing business’ are so different as to be, in many ways, opposing activities—and a businessman like Trump has all the wrong instincts. He’s trying to win—he’s not trying to do good.

He’s not even doing a very good job of masking his struggles against the emergence of the truth. I’ve seen people so full of guilt that they start shouting rebuttals before anyone accuses them—but their age is usually still in the single digits when they behave this way. The White House’s group effort to back up the President’s ravings sometimes goes so far as to claim that a certain comment was a ‘joke’—that’s quite a show, though we’re in no position to enjoy it, as entertainment.

But I am most bemused by the duality of, on one hand, Mueller’s very official and technical case being made concerning the administration and the president—and, on the other hand, the ongoing mountain of public knowledge that accrues to us normal folk, just reading the papers every day. Whatever Mueller finally wraps up with, the investigation’s longevity is itself an opening for this firehose of bad laws, bad relations, bad oversight, and quasi-criminal ‘presidenting’. Trump is an historically bad apple—he cannot be removed quickly enough.

Last but not least—those of you who don’t like the strategic outlook following a Trump impeachment, when Pence would take over and do God knows what—you must accept that. Trump must not be allowed to finish his term as if he were just another president—our nation’s disgrace would be that much deeper and more lingering. And I wouldn’t worry too much about a President Pence after he’s appointed via impeachment—that doesn’t sound like political capital to me.

Let’s get rid of the Putin-puppet first—we’ll worry about the weirdness of Pence later. Every day Trump stays in office adds another layer of slime to our national pride.

 

Friday, March 09, 2018                                                     9:09 PM

We just got resettled back into our house, after a week without power, staying at the Danbury Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel was great, especially considering the alternative—Claire, Jessy, Baby Sen, and I (Spence stayed with Nana, who’d had a great fall earlier in the week).

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A Short History of Guns in America   (2018Mar01)

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Thursday, February 22, 2018                                           11:38 PM

A Short History of Guns in America   (2018Mar01)

If you want to get historical about it—in colonial America, firearms were a survival tool—used for hunting, and even protection from large predators, sure, but just as often required to settle differences between the colonials and the native Americans. Without discussing the ethics of the situation, the bloodshed and friction between the natives and the European colonists went on for centuries. The idea that Americans were at threat only from each other didn’t arrive until the late 1800s.

Also, the colonies weren’t all British at the time, and clashes between colonies (often sea-battles, mostly, between the Nations’ navies, over their harbors and resources) also gave reason for having a weapon close at hand. The French and Indian War (or ‘La guerre de la Conquête’) (1754-1763) was so recently over that George Washington had served in it, prior to the Revolution.

Once the United States had run off their British tyrant, there was concern that the British might return. There was concern that the French, too, might decide to abrogate our self-rule. Worst of all, new-born Americans were most concerned with their own new government becoming a monarchy, or even a tyranny, of its own. After all of their struggles, they were determined to avoid any return of the mistreatments they had suffered under British rule.

Thus the Second Amendment was an insurance policy against losing all that the war had been fought for—the colonial (now state) militias had beaten the British—and they would stay, ‘well-regulated’, as proof against anything that would again threaten Americans’ rights.

There was no question of an early American being ‘allowed’ a firearm—survival required one. It was only in the extremity of growing rebellion that the colonists were forbidden by law to stockpile powder or shot—or manufacture their own. Remember that this was a time in which it was still normal for one guy to ‘run through’ another guy over an argument—just jab a giant pin in his chest—nobody worried about flintlocks or pistols, except as military concerns.

The Second Amendment is about the militia, not the firearms. The arms were simply the equipment required by militiamen. There are other ways of looking at it—and the NRA will be happy to send you a brochure, I’m sure—but that’s the long and short of it, really.

After the Civil War, southern states enacted laws, “Black Codes”, prohibiting African-Americans from owning firearms. In the Roaring Twenties, Thompson Machine guns were outlawed. Gun rights waver in the face of fear—and little wonder—guns create a false sense of security and safety, while in reality making things more dangerous. The only person who is safe, in an armed society, is the person most willing and eager to use it.

We must treasure our traditions—nothing should impede a rural citizen’s right to go out and shoot his family’s meal—and I don’t see anything wrong with shooting ranges either. Statistics show that guns do not protect a home—on the contrary, they cause more trouble than intruders—and more often. But if we really have to, I suppose home security can stay, too—that can become a Darwin Award category, in the fullness of time. Get a Taser, some pepper-spray, and a honking big walking-stick and you can defend yourself against most people—without being convicted of manslaughter.

But beyond those special circumstances, and the normal police and official uses, the average person walks down the street with little cause to expect to be shot at. There are neighborhoods, of course—that’s society—there will always be insular communities—but going to such places is dangerous, armed or otherwise. My point is, I really don’t see the need for a gun. I’m sixty-two—it’s never occurred to me to run out and get a gun. What would I use it for?

Arming teachers is an idiotic notion—for proof, I point to the Florida State Legislature which recently enacted a law to do just that. Don’t be like Florida. Come on.

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Rock in the River   (2018Feb21)

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018                                            11:55 AM

Rock in the River   (2018Feb21)

Well, I don’t know. I mean, sure, it’s a serious concern—we Americans must take more care in discerning truth from agit-prop. But, overall, I’d still rather live in a democracy, which can be disrupted by lies, than an autocracy like Putin’s, which could be destroyed overnight by the truth. It’s funny—both Putin and Trump consider lying to be an important tool in their ‘work’.

I’ve always been an honest man—not due to any excess of virtue, but simply because lying well is not easy and I am terrible at it. Also, I don’t see much sense in it—lies are so temporary—they are self-inflicted land-mines that we give to the future. Every lie sets a clock ticking, a mystery-clock that decides when the truth will come back to bite us.

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018                                                7:52 PM

Some complain that the Parkland student survivors aren’t gun experts. O yes they are—the only ones who know more are their fallen classmates. I’m glad I’ve never been in a crowded classroom, hearing gunfire and screaming, seeing the blood and the panic—and the bodies of my friends on the floor. And if those complainers were referring to experts on what happens, on the other side of the barrel—I mean, really—who gives a fat fuck? Are you serious?

I’m fed up with the contrived sanctity of the Second Amendment. The Constitution has been amended before. (Did you know that the original version prohibited any kind of income tax? Why is it okay to throw that one out, just for bookkeeping purposes—but we have to keep the 2nd, weekly massacres notwithstanding?)

Are we not in the twenty-first century? Is it just me, who blithely walks down the street, from country lane to midtown sidewalk, unarmed and unafraid? Who the hell in this country so desperately needs to be armed? And why aren’t we doing anything to protect these people from whatever it is they are afraid of?

Canadians own nearly as many guns as we do— Americans are simply violent. Americans are violent because there is a paucity of love in America. The frenetic grasping at dollars has made it impossible for Americans to be good people. Lobbyists have slowly but surely created a legal landscape that fines one person for feeding the homeless, and rewards another for using public-education funding to segregate rich kids into private schools.

Even American charities have a hard time letting any of the donations slip through their own hands to the actual charitable works. I think it is a slow rot that has been going on since the Cold War—America’s rich assholes have always outdone the sincere idealists in messaging.

Look at the stupid things Americans have ‘debated’ for decades—whether women and minorities deserve equal rights and opportunities—whether a decent man keeps his hands to himself, or not—whether one sect of a two-thousand-year-old religion takes precedence over scientific observation. It’s hard to imagine that people will still argue these self-evident choices, even today, and that the rest of us don’t break out laughing.

This is no coincidence. Rich people perpetuate this garbage ‘uncertainty’ over clear ethical choices—and not because they really care—no—they do it because they glory in the feel of authority, the sense that they influence the world. Of course, they have to overlook the way they fuck with everyone else—never accomplishing anything positive. It’s a problem—being compulsively drawn to exerting authority—it happens a lot, but it is not a healthy situation.

At rare, random times, a person with authority may have the patience and goodwill to use power to build something good, or to help ease people’s lives. Far more often, sadly, authority boils down to making someone else miserable to prove that one can. Even sadder, such people are often without close friends whom may point this out.

You guys—you gotta start voting.

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Count The Ways   (2018Feb13)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018                                             5:14 PM

Count The Ways   (2018Feb13)

Given the virtual tsunami of problems with our Fake President, I’d like to try to at least develop categorizations that will streamline our perception of his failings as Chief Executive. I hope to relieve some of the confusion his prolific wrong-doings create by their sheer number and daily occurrence.

Fraud

Begin with his refusal to show his taxes, middle with unexplained firing of many Federal DA’s, at least two of which were actively investigating Trump’s affairs prior to inauguration, and end with his refusal to obey the emoluments clause. Include the millions in rent Trump’s interests receive from the Chinese government’s bank—which is only one of many countries doing the same, with many other millions paid to Trump.

National Security

Where to start? Papadopoulos, Flynn, Sessions, Alt-Prop collusion, Comey, Nunes and his magic memo? Or Trump’s attempt, his first week, to unilaterally demilitarize Russia’s western border—one could start there, and follow with his media-blacked-out meetings with Putin and Kysliak, segueing to Trump’s full-on-illegal refusal to implement Congress’s sanctions against Russia, and Trump’s stubborn ignoring of current Russian efforts to pollute the 2018 elections. Top it off with a cherry—most of the White House staff has no security clearance—nor any chance of ever getting one. Let’s face it—if he weren’t President, Trump would never get one, either.

Misogyny

Adultery (photographed), serial assault (confessed), accusers (20), sex offenders, abusers, and assaulters defended and befriended (several). His despicable lies about Hillary Clinton, or any other female Democrat, go far below the allowances made for politicking. He’s a pig—ask any woman who knows him. It’s revolting—I’m done with this part.

Bigotry

Long, long list here: the Central Park Five lynch-mongering, the questioning of a sitting president’s legitimacy, the enthusiastic urging of policemen to rough up their arrestees, the gleeful neglect of Puerto Rico after the hurricane (on-going)—I could go on, here, but let’s just summarize with the ‘shithole’ comment that so aptly defines our Fake President. As with the previous category—ask any minority—it’s a long list and they know it best.

Falsehood

He lies 90% of the time. That’s not an insult, that’s a measured statistic. ‘Nuf said. Although I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that his lies are damaging in direct proportion to the import of the issue being lied about—and, as Fake President, Trump has a wide range of issues of great import—all of which he lies about with the same flippancy with which he lied about Obama’s birth certificate for eight years. (Of course, you get some crossover with these things—Trump’s Obama’s-birth-lie is as evil a bit of bigotry as it is evil in its falsehood.)

Dereliction

While Trump busies himself somewhat with wrongdoings, he neglects any of the duties of his office. Hundreds are fired from important posts. Agencies are defunded, or helmed by their arch-enemies, or both. Appointed posts are left vacant—not just a few, but more than half. Irresponsible spending bills and tax-breaks-for-the-wealthy are paired with billions taken from social services. The Fake President sleeps in, rises late, refuses to read (or can’t read) his daily briefings, so he has someone tap-dance the information for him. Alas, some details are overlooked in the process. Golf, anyone? I’m hungry… and bored. (Again, there is seeming crossover here with National Security, since this is exactly what Putin would want us to do.)

Ignorance

Our Fake President clearly has no knowledge of, or understanding of, the basic principles of our national government. He hasn’t the patience or the insight to even recognize the importance of such things—his only interest would be in how to pervert it to his own ends. He refuses to listen to his own intelligence infrastructure—the most powerful intelligence-gathering effort in history—because they still think Trump’s the patsy that Putin got elected. Trump can never accept that truth—and the Intel folks can’t magically un-know it, just to please the president, so—stand-off. Or should I say—bottleneck? His unfitness came with a vast built-in ignorance, but is now compounded by a self-imposed information black-out (which leaves much more time for golf).

Beatrice

Now, I don’t know for sure if this framework is complete. As with all things Trump, the insane filth of it eventuality saps the spirit. Let’s just call this a first draft, shall we? Indeed, even our subcategories have become a too-long, too-enmeshed list of accusations against an office-holder, of an office whose prior holders have all been the opposite of this Trump scumbag.

Trump is a Fraud, a National Security Threat, a Misogynist, a Bigot, a compulsive Liar, a Derelict-in-his-duty Commander-in-Chief, and an Ignoramus. He is not only all of these things—he is all of these things in depth, with little paisley flourishes of bullying and spoiled-infant behavior making a roiling, nauseating frame around this masterpiece of corruption and unfitness.

His defenders will take issue with all of these facts—they will show debate-skills and tap-dancing worthy of Washington’s most exclusive liar’s club, the official spokespersons. They will fast-talk you sufficiently that, if you want to stay on Trump’s side, you’ll feel reassured. But if none of it is true, then why do they need a propaganda machine to broadcast their alternative truths? Oh—that reminds me—I left out his attacks on free speech and free press—O, and the hate-speech against non-white immigrants—ach, there’s no end to this crap.

My question, Republicans, is this: How much longer are you going to offer us this shit sandwich and call it roast beef? Are you-all just relieved that Trump is such a trainwreck that nobody noticed those two (count’em, two) states’ gerrymandering cases that your own courts overturned, due to racism on a scientifically-planned, cartographic level? Most of you are as bad as Trump, simply handicapped by vestigial threads of the sense of shame.

I will never understand why you people are still considered a political party—and not the subversive, extremist cult you truly are. Shame on all of you un-American, treasonous, privileged, prejudiced fucks. If I’m not being too subtle.

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Only the Truth   (2018Feb10)

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Saturday, February 10, 2018                                             8:17 PM

Only the Truth   (2018Feb10)

Only the truth can set you free.” St. Peter, I think. And so true. I love a good axiom. I’m used to the adult world having more regard for the truth—the truth doesn’t seem like the kind of thing we should lose track of—it’s as if some political party were trying to make ‘being an asshole’ a normal, okay thing. And there’s nothing more annoying than some asshole who lies right to your face—as if lies last forever.

Prominent men are dropping like flies, falling to long-overdue comeuppances (and public shaming) that the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements have brought to their ‘regular business practices’ of being pigs. I hear some of the more tone-deaf men trying to raise concern over the poor men who don’t get a trial before they’re condemned—but the irony of that is hard to miss.

Then there’s Trump. And I’ll remind everyone, before I go on, that Trump isn’t just a liar—he’s a bad liar, because he’s used to getting away with stuff and excuses are just part of that process. The fact that the media feel obligated to repeat his every lie—and the official lies of all his media avatars (I’m looking at you, Huckabee)—makes us start to suppose it’s normal for a president to lie like a rug, daily.

Trump brings this great ‘retro’ thing to his sexual-equality platform—sounds just like the fifties. “Remember, he said he was innocent…” was Trump’s comment about his wife-beating (2Xs!) StoCOS. That’s one way to say he denied the charges against him—I guess. But does it really stack up to two-wives’ testimony, a court-ordered restraint, and an evidence-photo of wife-one’s black eye? Then, just for laughs, a second aide resigns over the same kind of inhuman crap—and Trump doubles-down—what a pig! But we knew that, so no surprise, I guess?

The news has commented repeatedly that Trump avoided even mentioning the victims of the alleged abuses—and his Administration is too thick-skinned to even bother plugging that chink in their image. Plus, they probably know they couldn’t get him to do it. Trump’s response to his own twenty accusers makes it pretty plain that he has more in common with Sandusky and Nassar than with any decent person.

But my message today is once again aimed at the Republicans. Trump is psychotic—he has no shame. But you folks, presumably, have a sense of shared reality with the rest of the humans here on Earth. And you know that it is going to be a lot harder for you to show your faces, when this house of cards finally collapses.

People have been throwing around the word ‘treason’ quite a bit, recently—I, myself, see many of Trump’s words and deeds in that light. Here’s what I think Republicans should be concerned about—Trump, currently, is serving Putin’s interests more than the Republican Party’s. So, if you folks get away with keeping him in office a full four years—how do you suppose Putin is going to use those years? And what will a Congress-person be worth when he’s done? Can you say ‘Pyrrhic Victory’?

Besides, the truth always comes out in the end. The real question is: Will the rest of us have any kindness left to offer, when your wrongdoings come to light?

TrumpSukz

“Doi, yeah! Odderwize Idda done the fair and honest thing, like I ALWAYS does.”

Money Talks   (2018Jan31)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018                                          2:06 PM

Money Talks   (2018Jan31)

A train full of Republican lawmakers was headed for a retreat in WV today when it struck a garbage truck—one of the garbagemen is dead, the other two are in hospital—garbage is everywhere—all the politicians are fine. Talk about symbolism.

Trump made a speech last night, trying to re-brand his ongoing destruction of American values as a new type of modernized ‘American Dream’, that includes greed and fascism as accepted values—hip, hip, hooray, anyone?

Will someone please explain the difference between official, technical Obstruction-of-Justice—and the daily attempts to obstruct justice that we see from Trump—and, more recently, from his party faithful? The present charade around the so-called ‘Nunes Memo’, attempting to impugn Trump’s investigators before they can close their case, is just the latest in the blatantly public attempts to obstruct justice on-the-fly that we have seen all this past first year of President Enemy Agent’s term.

Trump’s actions—and those of his goon-squad—have all been clearly aimed at obstruction, not just of justice, but of government. Remember, most of Trump’s supporters are hoping he destroys the Federal Government—they’re not concerned, like you or me—they’re jumping for joy. Bunch of jack-booted, militia-manic traitors—pretending to be GI Joes, ignoring their responsibilities, to play Army with their friends.

Meanwhile, important positions are left empty, budgets are zeroed out, regulations erased. Only an enemy of the United States would do this to us. I don’t care if he colluded anymore—he’s doing something much worse—dismantling the federal government—making it easier for corruption to hide—and harder for justice to prevail. Trump is an enemy of the United States of America—but a friend to all lobbyists and campaign contributors. They should all be tried for Treason.

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Some Sucky Spots   (2018Jan30)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018                                                10:07 PM

Some Sucky Spots   (2018Jan30)

Conservatives give me a pain. They distort the Bible in the same way they distort the Founding Documents—politicizing the extremist viewpoints to sway public opinion, and equating it with Christian decency—just as they wave the Second Amendment around as if they believe that guns create a safe environment.

Decent Christians believe that we should love one another as we love ourselves, that we should treat each other as we would be treated. But Americans don’t do that—they put a price tag on everything—especially treats. And while I am no Christian, I have still managed to reach my sixties without ever using a gun—mostly because me and everyone around me had better things to do than play with guns—unless they were in the army or on the police force.

People would describe my area as a ‘nice neighborhood’. I suppose it’s a combination of people being busy and people not having much to tempt a thief. From outside my neighborhood, I imagine it looks privileged—though if you told that to folks here, they’d laugh—to them, ‘privileged’ means a much higher tax bracket.

My neighborhood’s virginity is important to me—if crime ever became commonplace here, I’d have to move away and live in the woods—or something. I fear that every nice neighborhood is vulnerable to hatred-born-of-fear and cruelty-born-of-commerce—any bad actor can pick our little pond to spread ripples in. Without pushback from a cohesive community, such things are not a matter of if, but of when. Such is my paranoia—or community spirit—you decide.

Back to Conservative pains in the butt- Question: If a handful of people own 80% of the wealth, with income-inequality and concentration-of-wealth steadily rising higher, how are we to view Capitalism as a long-term system for anything but the end of civilization? Or try this: If we cut taxes on big business, but raise them on families, so that we can keep pace with the monolithic economies of the undemocratic East, are not our citizens destined for the same autocracy and neglect afforded the people of Ukraine or North Korea?

Capitalism has not aged well—it used to have unlimited potential—endless room to grow—just like America, in its youth. By now, a lot of sediment has slowed the streams of commercial enterprise—once certain needs are filled by certain businesses, it becomes harder to find a new niche. Plus, the scale and interconnectedness of today’s business world makes paradigm changes problematical—so many moving pieces, pole-to-pole, around the globe—even in near-orbit, just above the atmosphere.

Capitalism has forgotten that Christianity is good for business. Once we had solved world hunger and begun educating the world’s children, no one is going to be willing to let that dissolve back into chaos—that’s a steady business for the foreseeable future—a new business with global value. It could pay as much as drug smuggling, once it got started—who can say? But do we fight for a piece of that pie—or do we shout “America First”, like a bunch of clansmen, and let the rest of the world take the lead in emergent economies?

I don’t know about you, voters. A third of you voted for that blowhard whose SOTU address I’m currently not watching—there is no need. Trump may change the details, but his story is pretty consistent: “I don’t take this country seriously and neither should you!—Cash is king!—Fuck you all very much!” Yes, that pretty much covers it—except for the over-the-top racism. (You know he does that so people will mention Hitler—and he can accuse them of hysterics, right?) You folks voted for a douche-bag—come on, admit it. You know you did.

Look, we didn’t know you were that mad, okay? You’re not Democrats, you don’t know how to protest for your own interests—you let some yahoo tell you what you’re mad about—and who to blame it on. But I have been in some sucky spots in my life. I can’t remember a single one I didn’t have to think hard about to get out of—I’ve never gotten out of a bad spot just by being mad.

Kingdom of the Blind   (2018Jan26)

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Friday, January 26, 2018                                          7:24 PM

Kingdom of the Blind   (2018Jan26)

There’s no end to this farce. The Republicans and Trump’s administration have attempted to co-opt the balance-of-powers our government rests upon—and now that hasn’t worked, they’ve started with the ‘hardball’. They’re on the attack—but their targets are problematic: the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, the DOJ, Journalists, and Emigrants. Why would someone attack all these things—rather like an enemy of the United States would?

Trump ‘knows more than the generals’ but slipped up on knowing which general had lied to the FBI. Trump ordered the canceling of every government regulation ever enacted—but did he read them first? Did he even bother to have his son read them, or his son-in-law? How does he know that someone won’t get hurt due to his happy-go-lucky, no-safety-regulations approach? Or is it just that he figures the business boom would be worth a few lives, here and there?

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I don’t think you Trump-supporters get it—that clown isn’t just in charge of the Administration of the Federal Government—he’s also responsible for your children’s safety, for your job security, for upholding the US Dollar as the world’s most secure investment. He’s so unfit, he doesn’t even know all the things he’s responsible for, things that no one has bothered to tell him yet.

Did you know they almost spaced out on the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House last spring? They’ve been holding that children’s delight since Roosevelt (Teddy, not FDR) but the Trumps weren’t aware until the egg-supplier called weeks before, complaining that the White House needed to place an order, as the hand-carved, hand-painted wooden eggs took some time to prepare.

Upset norms—sure fine. But don’t wipe your feet on’em, Trump. The presidency is not some bauble you won in a popularity contest—much as it must seem so to you. It is a responsibility so great that, if you had the sense to comprehend it fully, you would relinquish it to Pence immediately and disappear from public life. You think you’re just dicking around on reality TV—but, no, you’re committing treason, you’re pissing on the graves at Arlington—you’re an unnamable disgrace.

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But the Republicans (quick studies) are leaving you behind—once they make progress, attacking judicial and policing and intelligence-gathering agencies, they’ll be free to determine published ‘reality’—and they won’t stop with dismissing Mueller’s findings. But that’s corruption for a few weeks from now, nothing set in stone yet.

Congress is after these agencies—they are attacking the FBI, pressuring the DOJ, and dismissing the CIA. Aside from just how mindlessly foolish that is, it is even more hypocritical. The people that live off the public’s favor are investigating whether the FBI was showing favoritism.

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But wait—it’s not all of Congress, is it? No. It’s just the Republicans! I would think they be scurrying to arrange bi-partisan hearings on these very serious allegations—the Democrats must be alerted at once. Right? Oh. ‘No’, you say? Hmm….

So wait. So, the Republicans suspect that the Democrats are the Deep State—is that it? Is ‘Deep State’ just code for Democrat, like ‘New York’ for Jewish? They have to play their cards close to the vest, in case those traitorous Democrats find out about their counter-ploy? Okay, let me see if I get this: Republican = Good — not Republican = from Satan. Is that where we are now?

There are some irresponsibly imaginative Republicans in the House of Representatives today—headed by the head-spinning head spinner, P. Ryan. Ryan sees no way to upset the delicate balance of the state, just because he has an ‘unfortunate’ president leading his party. And, in truth, as big a douchebag as Ryan is, he’s still the one-eyed king in that bunch.

But for those of us with both eyes open, it’s a very stressful time. Will the voters beat back the United Fringe-bags of Trumpery? And can we do it in time?

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I Prefer the Corner Facing the Door   (2018Jan24)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018                                          2:30 PM

I Prefer the Corner Facing the Door   (2018Jan24)

Do we have laws? Or do we just have rules that apply when and if it’s convenient? Do we forgive the Trump-campaign’s fervor in ignoring ethical guidelines—on the excuse that they were young, foolish, and inexperienced in the ways of Washington? Do we say, “Oh, Trump’s just learning as he goes—teaming with Russian hackers to campaign, leaking classified info to Putin, raking in emoluments hand-over-fist, signing pro-racist XO’s that destroy separation of Church and State—these are just the clumsy stumblings of a puppy.”?

Well maybe, if the ‘puppy’ weren’t in his dotage—maybe if the Caligulan House-members with the dead eyes weren’t smoke-screening for this corrupt con-man, enemy agent in chief, racist sex-deviant Trump—maybe if… Never mind. That’s not even the point.

Did previous presidents have some ‘fatal flaw’ that, without affecting their fitness in any way, would have been politically damaging? Yes. And did party faithful rise to their defense, thinking that masking this one thing was a lesser sin than losing a good leader? Yes—I’m sure they must have. Was this criminal? Well, in all prior instances of the question, the answer is murky—and depends a great deal on one’s own politics.

The thing is—this is virtually unavoidable, since no angels have been elected to the presidency thus far—and, while we can expect many things from a president, we can’t expect perfection. Previous presidents have had to make their way in the world, catch the public’s eye, display character, and wield influence—at a minimum—to reach a place where they could be considered a presidential candidate, much less to win the election.

The average president, until now, has been a public servant as much as a public figure—usually an attorney-at-law. I assume they start to see politics as a way to ‘win a case’ for everybody, instead of one-at-a-time. Or maybe they just prefer social activism to the courtroom. In many cases, their charisma highlighted their character, rather than disguising their flaws. But life if not simple or easy—for them or for you—and no one reaches middle-age without having seen some shit—and, yes, even been in some shit.

Truth to tell, you wouldn’t want a president who hadn’t been tested by life and come through the other side with some character. Trump may be the first president to ever attain office without ever having been tested by life’s trials in any significant way.

And excusing a single flaw of Trump’s would be a piece of cake. I wouldn’t blame a single Republican for excusing Trump’s single flaw. But you know as well as I do that Trump has got an effing telenovela going on here—it’s not one thing—it’s not even one hundred things—it’s a non-stop firehose of flaw and unfitness. And defending that is where the Republicans have gone wrong.

Hey, GOPs—cut a corner here, cut a corner there—hell—it’s politics, after all—but you can’t just throw out the whole rulebook and expect the rest of us to trust Republicans. And I’m not talking about trusting Republicans over Democrats—I’m talking about trusting Republicans enough to turn my back on them.

The Pied Trumper   (2018Jan22)

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Monday, January 22, 2018                                                3:15 PM

The Pied Trumper   (2018Jan22)

I remember, ‘bout this time, last year, someone replied to me, “Shut-up and sit down—the grown-ups are in charge now.” I found it a swell-headed thing to say, at the time—but now that the new book “Fire and Fury” has hit the stores, in which virtually everyone describes Trump as ‘childish’, I don’t see a lot of comments like that anymore.

Now Trump has already decided to eject nearly a million hard-working, patriotic citizens (in all but name) simply because their parents broke the law. He decided to cast these souls into the outer darkness without ever looking a single one of them in the face. That may be ‘grown-up’, but it is not anything any decent parent would ever do—and if parents aren’t part of the ‘grown-ups’ then the ‘grown-ups’ are kinda fucked in the head. You should pardon the French.

There is a population of plague-bearing rats in the United States—that significant minority of us who are more likely to join in on a ‘ganging up on’ then to be concerned about the innate injustice of a gang of people against a single person. These people make a virtue of cruelty against strangers—yet cry the loudest at any imposition upon themselves. Their bitter resentfulness would prefer the total demolition of others’ security over any effort to face their own insecurities.

Trump has called these rats out of their holes, politically speaking—all the anti-social folks who resented the progress of social justice over the recent decades—and given them hope. They’re all running around now, full of hope that Jim Crow, and women chained to stoves, and gays beaten to death in alleys—‘the good old days’—are about to return.

And instead of leading them away from America, he marched them straight into voting booths, just like the NRA does. He’s well on his way to ‘normalizing’ the fact that the President of the United States is a pig. He’s fired half of the staff any real president would need to do the job properly—which makes for less insiders, to comment to reporters on how little is done in the White House.

My favorite Trump quote is: “America kills people, too.” It was an inane response to a question he had been asked, it was a childish thing to say—but it remains one of those rare Trump statements that are factually true. The media missed a trick there—asking Trump to affirm the sanctity of human life, sincerely, may be more than his acting skills can handle. His previous comments (or should I say delirium) on Roe v. Wade make it clear he’d rather obfuscate than pontificate on this issue. Trump’s major role, right now, as I see it—is to stand tall, as the one remaining sexual predator who is immune to the #meToo movement—hence yesterday’s crowds at all those protests.

Just yesterday, some Trumpster replied to my previous comment:

PBurt: Chris Dunn What treasonus act did he commit?

Now, this ain’t my first rodeo—and I know that once we get into the thicket of 20 Russian contacts, over 30 fired or resigned Admin Officials in the first year in office, Nepotism, Comey, Flynn, and Papadopoulos—well, it’s just a diversionary tactic—‘pretend ignorance’. So I says:

CDunn: Let me count the ways… (Did you want technical, official acts—or should I include all his assaults on the ideals of our country?)

But I know he may come back—the zeal of the unreasoning overcomes my placid sense of reality every time. And it’s funny how the people with the most mania are always more worked up than the people who have it right. Still, there’s a danger there—and it is, perhaps, an unlooked-for blessing that Trump has come along and alerted everyone—communities, and countries, require engagement from their people—not just the nut jobs—all the people. It’s called democracy.

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