Meditations on F**kery (2017Jul16)


Sunday, July 16, 2017                                              2:41 PM

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Meditations on F**kery   (2017Jul16)

It being Sunday, our thoughts naturally turn to God. What is God? Right now, I’m inclined to believe that God is the Summer—that bounteous blooming that gets Life through the less biddable Seasons, especially dread Winter.

Good, now we’ve gotten our Sabbath meditations out of the way, we can move on. I watched some TV news today (always a mistake) and heard people on the Right trying to call into question whether any laws have been broken. Well, yes, my law has been broken—when your entourage spends every day bending and twisting into unnatural positions, attempting to hair-split their way out of blatant perfidy, something has been broken—call it faith, or ethics, or morality—Trump’s administration has a black-hole where most people have these things—and we can all sense the absence of decency in this gang of apes that abuses authority under the guise of governing.

They like to latch onto a buzzword and throw it about until it loses all meaning—in this instance, ‘collude’ is on the chopping block. Fine, forget ‘collude’—‘collude’ makes it sound like something done in the open, anyway. This was done skulkingly, and still it tries to wrap itself in lies and claims of confidentiality and privilege. This was more ‘conspiracy’ than ‘collusion’ and that’s what they should be charged with: ‘Conspiracy’. They have conspired against the Constitution itself. They have conspired against us, the American people.

They have conspired in secret and withheld the truth from FBI investigators and Congressional hearings alike—their credibility would be zero—should be zero—but I believe, not in the president’s tweet-storms, but in the unbalanced mind they represent. HRC warned people, “When Trump tells you who he is, believe it.” And, while nothing else said by Trump et. al. could be taken on faith, we can say ‘If he tweets like he’s crazy, believe him.’

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I noticed one reporter asked Trump’s lawyer, J. Sekulow, when the president knew about his son’s meeting with Russians—and the lawyer responded vaguely, saying it wasn’t very long ago—and this is emblematic, systematic of their habitual recourse to thumb-twiddling when caught in a scandal. If someone asks me ‘when?’, I’d say a date or a time or both—or I’d ask to get back to them, if I didn’t know. But this lawyer knew, and wouldn’t say—he also avoided perjuring himself by giving any real answer—one assumes because there may be paper-trails that show Trump knew months ago, or even as it happened.

But for Sekulow to pretend that the president just got a quick notice a few days ago, or some such nonsense, that his son, son-in-law, and then-campaign-manager all had a meeting with a Russian posse with close ties to Putin—as if this wouldn’t have come up in discussions about Russia investigations over the last six months—or even before inauguration, when oppo-research on HRC still mattered. Expecting listeners to suspend disbelief enough to make that sound normal or sane—is asking too much of TV—even when you blanket the entire Sunday morning talk-show circuit.

But that is the ultimate Trump-camp hallmark: to strain credulity with shabby pretense of credibility. If it’s important, they’ve forgotten it. If it’s valued, they’ve dismissed it. If it doesn’t fit their narrative, they’ll cut off its feet and make it fit, by gawd. And finger-pointing? OMG—six months in, and Trump is still blaming Obama for problems with the Trump presidency—Thanks, Obama! And it’s always a little bit Bill and Hil’s fault, too—of course.

I can’t wait to see the ass-end of this f**ker—so I can get back to laughing at the inane and enjoying the ridiculous. Finding them among state policy is no joke. Let’s put f**kery back where it belongs—in a Monty Python sketch.

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Don’t You Dare Use the Word ‘Care’ (2017Jun23)


Friday, June 23, 2017                                               2:27 PM

Don’t You Dare Use the Word ‘Care’   (2017Jun23)

The Republicans never wanted those tens of millions of citizens to have health coverage—that would mean “socialized medicine” (that dreaded scourge that keeps the entirety of the-rest-of-the-developed-world healthy). Besides, worried the GOP, how will insurers and pharmacists maximize their profit-potential with the government looking over their shoulders?

And so the Republicans fought tooth-and-nail to prevent passage of the Affordable Care Act—they called it a ‘death panel’, they scare-mongered until scare-mongering became the habit of theirs it is, today. The Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act. Tens of millions of citizens have health coverage today because of it.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act would threaten the lives of tens of millions of citizens. Repairing the Affordable Care Act would be the obvious choice for any sensible person.

But if voters had any sense, these charlatans wouldn’t be elected into the offices they hold. How they can shamelessly wave their billionaires’ tax-cut in our faces like they’re “doing good” is beyond me—is there no limit to their dis-ingenuousness?

A child could see through their blatant posturing—just as a child could see through Trump’s blatant posturing, when he started tweeting about “tapes” of his convos with Comey. These dopey clowns that run our country would be met with gales of laughter, if not for the horror they practice upon the youngest and weakest among us—I think I understand Stephen King’s “It” a lot better now.

 

Pack of Dogs (2017Mar17)


magrittepipe

Friday, March 17, 2017                                            8:51 AM

I can’t say enough bad things about the Trump administration, or the Republicans who collaborate with him. I could simply describe what they’ve been doing, or, thankfully, what they’ve been trying to do (judges have, so far, held back his most traitorous executive orders). It makes my blood run cold.

And the evil goes so deep—first there’s Trump and his coterie—a ranker bunch of troglodytes is hard to imagine—but then there’s the Republican Congress as well, quietly doing even worse, more long-lasting damage to this country. Then there’s the barrage of hypocritical distractions—like Trump’s ‘Obama tapped me’ claim, or his wishful thinking about the media being unreliable. Then there’s the gutting of the State Department’s career lifers—the institutional memory of government—and the firings of Federal D.A.s—including the one who was investigating Trump. And the rolling-back of Obama’s last six months of legislation—for no reason other than it being Obama’s.

The perfect storm of a popular criminal winning popularity, the media’s lobotomy over HRC’s fitness to serve, and the extreme partisanship of the GOP, making them willing to go along with Trump’s mendacity—all of this puts our country in the hands of the worst bunch of cronies imaginable. One of these assholes actually used the word ‘compassionate’ when talking about cutting the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program.

I don’t think we can wait for grounds for impeachment—we need a national referendum on our confidence in Trump as head of state—followed by a special election. Otherwise, we stand on ceremony while this pack of dogs chews up America’s best furniture.

And that’s the trouble, isn’t it? You and I—we’re capable of feeling shame, capable of feeling a sense of responsibility, unable to see ourselves as better than our neighbor, unable to ignore ethics. What a disadvantage that puts as at! We’re like an old-fashioned guy, who’s too much a gentleman to strike a lady, facing off against a deranged bitch with a razor. We need to climb on our high horse, to strike down this monster with all the justifiable outrage of good Americans.

All that’s needed is a consensus that Trump is beyond the pale, that he is a mistake we made—we don’t need to wait politely for four years—we need to act. I call for a national referendum and a vote of no confidence in this pig masquerading as our leader. Or we can wait until they’ve done all the damage they can—and spend the next twenty years struggling to get back to where we were three months ago.

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Another Break With Ethical Tradition (2017Mar15)


ShirtwaistFire_01

Wednesday, March 15, 2017                                            3:32 PM

The Ides of March are upon us. And how fitting, when here in the present our would-be empress was character-assassinated, leaving the throne to a pack of criminals. And how paper-thin their pretense at public service—a quick bill to allow coal-waste dumping in local waterways, as an appetizer for removing 24 million from health insurance—and gutting the EPA (something even that old crook, Nixon, saw the point of enacting).

In what way are these shameless epicureans serving the public good? In what world are we not being sold out to the moneyed interests? And does wanting a ‘change’ in Washington mean wanting more protection for the big corporations and less concern for the average citizen—along with a heaping helping of incompetence and malfeasance? How is it that legitimate leadership has never before required so many PR people to be expert liars?

I saw a few minutes of FOX News today—they were clawing at Rachel Maddow’s reputation for revealing some information about Trump’s tax returns—claiming that making a big deal about them was liberal hysteria. No discussion (that I heard) addressed the fact that he is the only modern president to hide that information during the campaign—and continue to hide it, even after taking office. Neither did I hear anyone question why that is. But, boy, did they have fun ragging on Rachel.

Not that we should expect much different from a guy who won’t even put his assets in a blind trust for the duration of his term—another break with ethical tradition. Listen, my dad used to put me in charge when he was on vacation, too—it didn’t mean it wasn’t his business anymore. Ironically, while Trump has become the world’s most famous liar, he gets very emotional about how we should trust him to always do the right thing—I’d like to see him do one right thing.

An objective observer might remark on how ‘bigly’ the Trump camp jumps on any error, real or imagined, from anyone outside their circle—yet they minimize any errors of their own as if the rules don’t really apply when talking about such important poohbahs as Trump. But hypocrisy is a big word—and remember—‘nobody knew how complicated’ it would be to be president. How much more complicated would it become if he were to attempt to be a good president? Please. Let’s be realistic.

Ending the EPA is such a disastrous wish that many people are reassuring themselves by thinking, ‘oh, Trump’s too incompetent to make it happen’. My concern is merely the fact that he wants to. There was a famous fire in NYC’s Triangle Building a century ago—many women were killed due to the fact that the owner chained the exit-doors shut. The outrage over that mass immolation caused a few labor reforms. But here we are, one hundred years later, and Trump wants to chain the safety-doors to the entire country.

In what universe is this pig making a successful pretense of leadership?

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Even If Millions Die (2017Mar14)


SimonLegree

Tuesday, March 14, 2017                                        9:11 AM

Blizzard today—trying to make up for a virtually snow-less winter—everything’s shut down—we cross our fingers that the electricity stays on. They named the storm ‘Stella!’, mostly so everyone could do a bad Marlon Brando imitation, I think.

The SCOTUS nominee is being heard today—the Dems have found a case where he ruled a man was legally fired after he deserted his broke-down truck in sub-zero weather. This sort of warm-blooded-humans-vs.-cold-blooded-cash dichotomy seems to be the real dividing line in politics today.

Bernie Sanders’ socialistic leanings are the one side of it—recognizing the dysfunctional aspects of Capitalism and having a desire to make government more humane and supportive. The Right wants money to remain money, should mountains of corpses pile up or not. Of course, they can’t be that blunt—so they go with ‘small government’—meaning a government that stands by and watches while business owners eat their fill of human misery.

And it isn’t their cruelty that disturbs me—it’s the mindless inefficiency of allowing millions to sink into difficulties—difficulties that will become a public expense, eventually—instead of implementing a significantly smaller ‘preventative’ public expense, up front. That’s the thing with the Right—they bitch about spending money on people, about ‘caretaker’ government—but they never address the costs, going forward, of neglecting those people.

The Right has taken education and health care and made them profit centers—and dysfunctional. College graduates start their careers as indentured servants to the banks—two centuries ago, you had to commit a crime to be treated that way. Still, it pairs nicely with all the for-profit-prisons that are reintroducing African-Americans to slavery. Surgeons and specialists hold out their hands for money, like maître de’s who keep out the riff-raff. To the Right, life, liberty, and learning are commodities to be paid for, or withheld. Inefficient. Short-sighted. And, yes, cold-fucking-blooded.

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No wonder Trump is their idol—the most thoughtless, uncaring, authoritarian pig they could find. And don’t be fooled into gleeful celebration that Putin is now criticizing Trump—Putin wanted him in office because of the disruption he would inevitably create—now that he’s there, Putin is free to pile on with the naysayers—it even makes him look less complicit—so don’t be fooled.

But there is a strange beauty to the Right’s agenda—politicians who convince their voters that government is a bad thing—genius! Rich people who convince the middle class that the poor are the problem—inspired! Children of immigrants, in a nation of immigrants, that want to spend billions on a wall—to keep out the immigrants—incredible!

The Democrats, as uninspiring as they may be, are the only party that makes sense for a non-millionaire, or anyone who works for a living. That the Republicans can still make a pretense of representing the Silent Majority is indicative of our muddled journalism and our lack of education. The CBO estimates that 24 million people will lose health insurance under TrumpCare, but the GOP are rushing it through anyway—yeah, they’re on your side alright.

And with all the stumbling and bumbling in DC, the stock market still thrives—those people know what most voters do not—that the GOP is good for business, and will always be good for business, even if millions die.

MrPotter

Kamps for Kids (2017Mar04)


Saturday, March 04, 2017                                        7:08 PM

Americans are crazy. We started our country by revolution—and then decided we’d keep our guns, just in case, forever. If you think about it, to this day, if a state threatens to secede everyone takes it very seriously. Imagine—an over-two-century old union of more than fifty sovereignties—and if a single one of those states said, ‘we’re gonna secede’ no one would laugh. Even with the Civil War’s failed secession as an object lesson in how destructive that is—Americans still like to think of our country as a work-in-progress. States still like to think they are stand-alone entities.

It’s a natural mistake—look at Brexit—a union even greater than our own—and one of its strongest members sees no better move on the geopolitical chessboard than petulant isolation. The European Union may outweigh the United States, but they don’t have our experience—guys, you’re only supposed to threaten to do something as stupid as quitting.

I shouldn’t brag, though. With our new ‘alternate reality’ schism, I’m sure the citizens of several states would grab their guns and stand at the barricades, if Bannon told them to. And even without declaring civil war, the gun-related death-toll in America outnumbers the body counts of several military hot-spots around the globe. We love our guns and if you don’t like it, I’ll plug ya.

Which makes it kind of strange that military service is such a rarity in the USA. A very small percentage of our young people go through military service as a rite of passage. Enlistment and training were an assumed stage in any man’s life, in any country, for many centuries—a man who didn’t serve in the military was no man. This tradition stretches back to the coming-of-age rituals of tribal societies. And we have broken that thread.

Don’t get me wrong—I was turning eighteen the same year that draft registration was abolished—I was one of the first people to find out what it was like to live life without any contact with military training. And while the Viet Nam war was winding down, it was not yet over—so being left out was a good thing, as far as I was concerned.

And I’m not advocating military service as part of a healthy upbringing either. But the practical results concern me. With military training confined to the innocent bystanders of drive-by shootings—and that being pretty poor training by any standard—one wonders how well-prepared we are to deal with countries where military service is still the rule.

Not because they have bigger armies or anything—just because their young people have the harder side of life rubbed in their faces as a part of their life—and while that is extremely unpleasant, it is also very eye-opening. I think a lot of young Americans are walking around with droopy eyelids—and they are in danger of becoming caught unawares by others—not just on land or sea, but in science, in business, and in trade. And from what I hear, a few of them could use the exercise, also.

It’s natural for a sixty-one-year-old to go on about how kids today need this or that—and military training may be the worst possible choice. But it seems to me that America doesn’t need a large army—not today, anyway. So, enlisting a bunch of young people in a government program of a less-exclusively-military nature might be a workable idea—it would fit in with a well-planned infrastructure renovation program and have the kids leave with some job skills, too—kind of like FDR’s CCC program.

I don’t know. I do know that coming-of-age rituals are beneficial—they help confront young people with self-discipline and the rigors of adulthood—and prepare them to be serious members of the community. There are too many places for people to gather online—and not enough places where people literally gather—it’s easy for young people to just drift off and get lost. With some sort of civil service program, we could at least reduce those who drift off to those who really want to.

When we make it hard for young people to find jobs, we send a lot of good people down into cellars with bongs, where they wait for the world to come find them. What a waste of all that youthful energy and enthusiasm. This country’s aversion to anything socialist in nature will be its undoing in the end—some things are better achieved through socialist programs—that’s just a fact. But there’s always that handful of people who’ve found a way to make a buck out of the lack of a program—and they shout bloody murder about the reds taking over, as soon as you go for their rice bowls.

Of course, if anyone listened to me, I’d be eternally damned. The reality of such a program would be corrupt, inefficient, possibly even predatory, by the time the ‘serious’ people got hold of it. But if it was done nicely, people would actually benefit from it—and so would the country as a whole. Still, we have the Soviet Union as the ultimate example of a good idea that became a genocidal crime against humanity—so perhaps I should just shut up about camps for kids.

Hurry Spring   (2017Feb21)


Tuesday, February 21, 2017                                             4:06 PM

Well, today settles it—I get maudlin towards the end of Winter. I start writing poems, I start playing piano in a minor key, I write bitter diatribes with far more than my usual cynicism. My taste in music gets a little weepy, a little dirge-y—I read more than watch TV. It’s a whole ‘Spring-better-show-up-soon’ depression-fest.

Also, I tend to write a lot more personal stuff—half of what I write this time of year is either too personal or too depressing to post—and I go on and on about stuff that I’m pretty sure isn’t driving the throngs to my blog—but that’s February for me. I’m fading fast—and I need some sunshine.

Well, things have settled down a bit—I’m used to either rooting for a Democrat administration, or I’m worrying about the one, really-big mistake that a GOP administration is currently making—I’m not used to purely dysfunctional—that’s a new one on me—and, I suspect, on all of you as well. But normalization is inevitable—short of storming Penn Ave, we’re stuck with the Clown until 2020—and the more avidly we stare, waiting for an impeachable offense, the less likely one is—‘a watched pot…’ and all that.

I’m still getting used to an America that is not actively trying to exceed itself—I’ll miss that forever, or until it returns, whichever comes first. Never before has a candidate won an election with a message of despair. “Make America great again”—I’d like to punch that fucker right in the mouth—the only thing that isn’t great about America is your benighted ass, you fucker, and the cowering, feebleminded jerks who voted for your sick agenda.

But let’s not get ourselves all worked up, every damn day, over the same old tragedy. What’s done is done. The odds on Trump sitting his whole term are long—one definite drawback to not knowing what you’re doing: you don’t know the rules. And while Trump may rubber-stamp some of the GOP’s worst legislation, they will find it hard to actually work with him—everyone does.

Fortunately for the Republicans, their platform was already custom-tailored for wealthy bastards with no public conscience—but they will inevitably try to mollify their base with something—and that’s where they and Trump will part ways. Trump’s penchant for blaming the establishment will ring rather hollow in 2020, after four years of being the establishment, so it’s hard to see him pull this off a second time—unless he actually does something.

But like most of his kind, Trump’s greatest ally would be military strife—even Bush-43 looked more dignified with Americans dying all over the place. Thus, it isn’t that I don’t want Trump to do anything—it’s that I’m afraid his ‘anything’ has some dark options waiting. Improving education, creating jobs, fixing our infrastructure—these would all be laudable accomplishments—if Trump can improve anything on such fronts, I’ll be glad to reevaluate—but I’m not going to hold my breath.

As much as I look forward to the coming of Spring, it will be all the more bitter for being a time of rebirth in an new age of tyranny—for 2017, T. S. Eliot will have got it right: “April is the cruelest month….

Today’s poem and videos all contain cannibalized artwork from my one and only book of illustrated poetry, “Bearly Bliss”. It may seem ironic that my hand-tremors make me unable to draw, yet I still try to play the piano with the same hands—this is because I’m used to sucking at the piano, whereas I was once pretty good with a pen.

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