Category Archives: Politics

Trumpeka Blues

My latest assignment with the Salt Handlers Inspection Team has me evaluating the salt mines in the greater Topeka, Kansas area. Despite the fact that Topeka is the capital of Kansas, it is not a very interesting place to kill a weekend. (I googled a few lists of things to do here and a bowling alley appeared on at least two of them.)

Luckily I rode the scoot over from Misery, so I’ve been contenting myself with exploring the surrounding countryside. I had planned to post a few photographs, but I ended up not taking any. In more than 300 miles of riding, I saw nothing but fields of corn and soybeans, and cow pastures. It’s pleasant riding, the roads are pretty good, with very light traffic, but I saw not one damned thing worthy of pulling over to take a photo.

The salt miners I have been working with are just about as interesting. I hate to sound elitist, but on several occasions in the past week, while making conversation during the long drives between salt mines, the word “dullard” has entered my mind.

But my sample size is small, and consists solely of salt miners. I’ve had very little interaction with the local civilian population. However, this morning, while I was eating breakfast before my ride, I did happen to overhear a lively conversation between two fans of our reality teevee preznit. It was a couple of late middle-aged white men (because, Kansas) discussing the “diabolical” plot by our previous preznit to destroy our country. These two gentlemen expressed concern that this plot might still not be entirely foiled, because Michelle’s husband had so divided our country that it might take strong measures from our cartoon-character-in-chief to set things right.

I don’t know exactly what measures these men were referring to, but I recognized the implied violence behind their words, because I have heard this same argument so many times, in so many places, from so many white men, ever since a black man had the audacity to get himself elected preznit. It was an event that evoked such a rage in a portion of the populace that I honestly don’t know if they will ever get over it. A rage so intense that it blinds them to the incompetence of our reality teevee preznit. They can’t see it here in the heartland, but the rest of the world certainly can. From The Guardian:

The common factor in all these situations is Trump’s self-induced powerlessness and ignorance, his chronic lack of credibility and presidential authority and consequent perceptions of US and western weakness. And in the case of all three actual or potential adversaries – North Korea, Iran and Russia – these perceptions are highly dangerous. Precisely because US responses, actions and reactions can no longer be relied upon or predicted, by friends and enemies alike, the potential for calamitous miscalculation is growing. This uncertainty, like the chaos in the White House and the extraordinary disarray of the American body politic, stems from Trump’s glaring unfitness for the highest office. As is now becoming ever plainer, this threatens us all.

Ouch. That would leave a mark on anyone less clueless.

The Ugly Amurkin

I don’t want to become a one note Johnny, but damn! Our reality teevee preznit is making it hard for me to think or talk about anything else. He just completed his first trip abroad since taking office, so now he is truly an international laughing stock.

The first stop on his trip was Saudi Arabia, where he read (poorly) a speech in which he lectured Iran about human rights and funding terrorism. I know what you’re thinking. Is that the same Saudi Arabia that is owned and operated by a single family, where women are basically property, not allowed to drive a car or even be outdoors without a male escort? Is that the same Saudi Arabia that practices an extreme form of Islam called Wahabbism, holds public beheadings and funds Sunni extremists and terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIL all over the world? Is that the same Saudi Arabia from whence Osama bin Laden and 19 of the 9/11 hijackers came? Why, yes. Yes it is.

But they signed a contract to purchase 100 billion dollars worth of products from our defense industry, and they pledged 100 million dollars to his daughter’s slush fund non-profit organization. So I guess that counts as a win, right? He did say, during his campaign, that we would get sick of all the winning. I think I’m there.

From there, the preznit moved on to Israel. I was traveling home from Wisconsin, so I may have missed it, but other than declaring he had just got back from the Middle East (?!?), it appears he didn’t step on his dick while there. Of course, I did hear that he was exhausted, so maybe he slept the whole time.

Then it was on to Brussels for more embarrassment at the NATO summit. In his speech there, the preznit refused to confirm U.S. support for Article 5 of the NATO agreement. (That is the part of the NATO agreement which assures support for any member which is attacked, basically the heart of what NATO is.) He did, however, find time to chide the several countries which are not yet meeting their commitment to spend two percent of their country’s GDP on defense. (He seems to think those countries somehow owe that money to the U.S. and is clearly oblivious to the fact that they have until 2024 to meet that spending commitment.)

So, to restate, our preznit lectured several countries about their failure to meet future commitments while refusing to meet our own current ones.

And then it was on to Taormina, Sicily, Italy for the G7 summit.  It appears the rest of the assembled world leaders had never seen The Apprentice, and therefore did not envision our preznit as the super smart and successful billionaire he played on his reality teevee program. Instead, they saw the ignorant buffoon he is in real life, describing his diplomacy as that of a “drunk tourist.”

The six other nations of the G7, along with 150 or so other smaller countries, reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. Our preznit did not.

The leaders of the six other G7 countries went for a stroll on the cobbled streets of the ancient city of Taormina. Our preznit followed in a golf cart.

Sigh.

And then it was home, where he declared his trip a great success. His admirers ate it up and labeled any evidence to the contrary as fake news. I know one supporter who says he “woke up a lot of the world’s leaders to the fact that there is a new sheriff in charge and he is making himself heard.” At least that one is partially true. The rest of the world has woken up. They have woken up to the fact that we elected a narcissistic, imbecilic film flam man as preznit. He is not respected at all, only feared, because he is so ignorant and unpredictable.

His incompetence is showing more and more every day. On the world stage, he can’t just keep saying he is doing a great job and have people believe him like he did on his reality teevee program. The rest of the world can see he doesn’t have a clue what he is doing and is not interested in learning. But surely he is capable of feeling shame, right?

Right?

Intelligence Is A Constant, However Population Keeps Increasing…

I’ve noticed over the years that a good snapshot of my mental health at any given time can be found in my reading habits. Since I am always reading something, usually more than one thing, a casual observer would just see some goober staring at a tablet and assume I am watching cat videos or porn. But it is books that have always been my sanctuary. A relative measure of my overall happiness lies not in the quantity of reading material I consume, but the quality.

I’ve usually got some works of fiction or literature going, and when my life is relatively stress-free and relaxed, I like to read about science and history, philosophy and sociology, even politics and economics. But when my mind is troubled, I gravitate towards science fiction, so it is with some concern that lately I find myself diving into John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. It’s good stuff, but I’ve already read it, so these are indeed perilous times.

I’ve come to the conclusion that our democracy is broken. Sure, it was damaged before, and for a long time our government has been mostly millionaires busily making the world a better place for millionaires, while the rest of us race to the bottom in our trickle-down economy. But our new reality teevee preznit has destroyed any sense of normalcy. His know-nothing theory of governance seems to be to just do or say whatever pops into his head at any given time and then brazen it out when someone points out that he once said or did just the opposite. It is like watching a clumsy ten-year old boy fall down and then, when his friends laugh at him, lamely pretend that he did it on purpose.

Yesterday the Pulitzer prizes for 2017 were announced. David A. Farenthold of The Washington Post won the National Reporting prize for a series of articles detailing how our new preznit boasted for years about giving millions of dollars to charity, when in reality he gave away almost none of his own money, and routinely diverted funds from his charitable foundation for personal use.

…the Trump Foundation’s largest-ever gift — $264,631 — was used to renovate a fountain outside the windows of Trump’s Plaza Hotel.

Way to give back, Donnie. That’s just the kind of person he is, though. David Farenthold won a Pulitzer for chronicling what anyone who has been paying attention has known for decades. Long before there was an internet for him to scam people with his phony university or his phony vitamins or his phony charitable foundation, Donald Trump was the jackass who routinely stiffed the contractors who worked on his development projects and the banks that financed those projects.

Before he set out to destroy our government by running it like a business, he was the guy who filed for bankruptcy protection six times. Before he wasted 90 million dollars worth of missiles on an empty airfield in Syria in a show of leadership, he was the cretin who brought his wife and his mistress on the same skiing vacation, and bragged about it.

The only people who believe his constant stream of bullshit are the ones who long ago turned their right to think for themselves over to the Fox News Outrage Channel and the rest of the right-wing noise machine. The problem is, that still amounts to millions of people. Here is a brief, pretty much verbatim conversation I had with a co-worker a couple of weeks ago.

Him: [reading a story in the newspaper about our reality teevee preznit taking credit for a company deciding to expand and create a few hundred new jobs] “You know, a couple of hundred jobs here and a couple of hundred jobs there. Pretty soon that starts to add up. He’s putting some people back to work.”

Me: [pointing out a paragraph in the story that states in plain English that the expansion and new jobs were first announced two years ago] “It looks like this decision was made before he even started his campaign.”

Him: [nodding] “Yeah, he’s really starting to make a difference.”

This militant ignorance is what passes for modern conservatism. Half of our citizenry isn’t even paying attention, and half of the remaining half is willfully blind because their team of incompetent, racist greed heads is winning.

I think about a Voltaire quote from way back before the United States existed as a country: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” And I worry about what will happen when this administration inevitably goes off the rails. Who will they scapegoat?

Like I said, we are broken. We are an empire on the downward slope, perhaps irrevocably, and it feels like the only thing I can do about it is stock up on ammunition and sci-fi novels.

In The Time Of Trumpanzees I Was A Monkey

We are into our second week of life in Amurka with a reality teevee preznit, and surprising absolutely no one, our new government has turned out to be a shit-show. Our new preznit has zero knowledge of how to run a government, and zero interest in learning. Like the campaign before it, his administration will be based on bombast and spite.

And it will be largely fact free. Our new preznit has powers that are truly Orwellian. He has rendered objective reality malleable. Truth is meaningless if enough people are willing to believe the “alternative facts” and dismiss empirical evidence as fake news. Sadly, there are a lot of believers. If there are as many as he thinks there are, this country is in deep shit, because when all that matters is belief, there is no difference between government and a cult.

But I’m an optimist at heart. I’ve got my own beliefs I guess. I believe sooner rather than later, most Amurkins will see this man for the petulant 70-year-old child that he is. Vastly unqualified, unfit for the office, and so insecure that he is still whining about an election that he won and claiming his dick inauguration crowd was bigger than Michelle’s husband’s was.

The people who elected this man might be gullible enough to believe his bullshit about bringing all the good-paying manufacturing jobs back while they continue to spend most of their disposable income buying cheap Chinese crap from Wal-Mart, but they can’t ignore a government as off-the-rails as this one. They aren’t insane. I’m pretty sure…

Hillz Making History

Back in February, I made a rather bold prediction

…here’s how I see this election going down. Hillz will carry about 45 states in giving reality teevee guy an epic beat-down, and on her coat-tails the Democrats will re-take control of the Senate. Then, upon taking office, she will nominate Michelle’s husband for the empty Supreme Court seat the Republicans refused to fill. All around the country, Republican heads will pop like teenager’s zits. It will be glorious to behold.

Well, I may have been a little overzealous back then, nevertheless I did my part to make my prediction happen today. The obligatory:

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I’m still very confident that we are going to elect our first woman preznit today. And I think the Democrats have a pretty good shot at taking the Senate. But despite the fact that one of our political parties nominated a raging buffoon, the race is still going to be close. Hillz is not going to win 45 states. She is probably not going to win Misery, and she almost certainly won’t win the county I live in. Too many assholes like the owner of this truck I spotted in the parking lot of the Home Depot last week.

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Without ever laying eyes on the owner, I can guarantee you that truck belongs to an overweight, angry, late middle-aged white guy. (Yes, I realize I am describing myself, but I look this way ironically.)

Anecdotal evidence that the people of Misery will seize the moment and put us on the right side of history: (1) Voter turnout at my polling place is the highest I have personally ever witnessed. (2) I saw a real old-timer, probably in his late 80s. After filling out his ballot, he rolled by me in his wheelchair on his way to the ballot box, and I noticed he had filled in the bubble next to Clinton/Kaine. It made me smile and left me holding onto a sliver of hope.

Flaming Out, Melting Down

Hee hee. Today, Michelle’s husband told the the reality teevee asshole to quit his whining about a rigged election. If this were pro wrassling, that would be a forearm smash coming off the top rope. Followed by tagging Hilz in to finish him off in the debate tomorrow. I can’t bear to watch, but I bet it will be epic.

What desperate accusations and proclamations will reality teevee asshole make next? I’m pretty sure he has bottomed out vote-wise, but he’s going to keep throwing red meat to his followers right up until — and probably even after — Hilz hands him his ass on November 8th.

Speaking of his followers, I went looking around the intertoobz for a quote I had always heard attributed to Mark Twain:

It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.

Well it turns out Mark Twain never said that. Carl Sagan said it better anyway:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

I really believe this inability/unwillingness to admit what a horrible human being they’ve attached themselves to is at the heart of all the Trumpkin’s anger. Deep down inside, they know. It’s got to be humiliating.

Refreshing? Not So Much

This is a real thing. Apparently the reality teevee asshole’s campaign is giving it away here in Misery. One of my son’s friends stopped by the estate with a six-pack.

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I had a sip. It tasted like narcissism with a hint of loser flop-sweat. It left me unsatisfied and inexplicably full of rage. I wanted to grab a Mexican Muslim by the pussy and throw them over a wall.

Yeehaw

Well… Come January 1st, we are going Wild, Wild West here in Misery. The Legislature has over-ridden the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 656. Check it:

The marquee section generally allows gun owners to pack them concealed without the need of passing the special training and paying permit fees the state has required since 2004.

As a concealed carry permit holder, who has had that special training, paid those permit fees over the years, and passed the background checks, I am deeply offended — and a little frightened — by the notion that any and all of my fellow citizens are suddenly responsible enough to start going around strapped. This part makes it even better:

Another key change is in the definition of “stand your ground,” which generally protects a person using deadly force to defend his or her home or vehicle. The new law no longer requires people to attempt to back away from trouble in public, as in a tavern parking lot, before using deadly force if there is fear of bodily harm.

I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who shouldn’t be anywhere near a firearm. Any time, let alone when they are angry or buzzed. (You might call them hillbilly white trash, I call them family.) An average 6th-grader has enough historical knowledge to know there was a time in Amurka when everybody went around armed all the time. That same 6th-grader can tell you that was before we brought civilization and law and order and the principle of commonwealth to the frontier. Laws were passed to disarm the populace for the good of society as a whole.

When our Legislature first passed this bill earlier this year, I thought it was irresponsible, but I — and the Legislature — knew it was going to be vetoed, so I just assumed it was a symbolic poke in the eye to the anti-gun liberals. The foolhardiness and sheer hubris of over-riding that veto is astonishing. This will not end well.

I could go on, but I gotta roll. Making another ammunition run.

Genghis Con

This summer, as part of my personal mental health regimen, I have been trying my level best to ignore as much of the election season madness as possible. My efforts have been largely unsuccessful. It is difficult to ignore the fact that the Republicans have nominated a Multi-Level Marketing, World Wrestling Federation, reality teevee guy for preznit! It’s like an episode of Creature Features from back in the ’70s, but it’s in color, and it’s real. A giant, orange asshole is in the process of consuming one of our two viable political parties.

I think it’s already too late, but some of the old school Republicans are fighting back, with a sternly worded letter. Many of the signatories of the letter were part of the gang of thugs from the dubya administration that instituted torture as part of our foreign policy, so it bothers me that I agree with anything they have to say, but I really believe America needs to listen to this:

“Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

I think it is too late for the Republican party because I don’t think there are enough good, decent human beings who happen to be conservative left in the party to wrest control back from the reality teevee guy’s legions of rabid, screaming fascists. A couple of decades of the right-wing noise machine stoking fear and hatred has distilled the party down to an angry, ignorant rump with genuinely no interest in policy or governance. They are ready — eager, even — to tear it all down and blame it on political correctness. What does that even mean, anyway?

A Question

Something weird happened to me at my polling place today. I walked in with the intention of choosing a Republican ballot to waste my vote for the presidential primary on John Kasich, the reasonably sane, but not really, it just looks that way because everyone else in the GOP field is crazier than a shit-house rat candidate. But at the last minute I chose a Democratic ballot, quickly filled in the bubble for Ghostface Hilz, and fed the card into the electronic reader. I’m still not sure why I did that. Maybe I just wanted to help finish putting Bernie out of his misery.

But that’s got nothing to do with my question. For weeks I have been all over the intertoobz reading story after story after story about how the reality teevee guy has harnessed all the angry voters across Amurka, and that really does seem to be true. My question is this: What happens to all that anger when the inevitable happens? What happens when the Donald loses to Hillary in the general election or, FSM forbid, he gets elected preznit and then can’t deliver on all the outrageous promises he has made to those angry voters? Where does the anger go? From my viewpoint, what this nation desperately needs right now is a spite bleeder valve.