Saturday, November 2, 2019

Response to Shuffleboard in Florida

(See: Just Above Sunset : Shuffleboard in Florida)

Re your "In 2016, Donald Trump turned the world upside down. In 2019, the world returned the favor – his world was just turned upside down.”

I wish.

In truth, Michael Gerson is right. Unless something like a huge meteor hits the earth, then nothing will stop the GOP dinosaurs in the Senate from acquitting him.

I think the idea of Trump shooting someone dead on Fifth Avenue, without losing any of his Republican support, is literally the case. It's a good bet that the truth of whatever the House of Representatives charges him with will take a back seat to the question, “Seriously, who do we want as president -- on the one hand, Donald Trump, as hideous as he is, or on the other, whichever so-called way-too-serious 'woke progressive' candidate the Democrats offer up?”

Those Democrats who have been demanding impeachment from way back will all be shocked and disappointed, of course, but they just can’t place themselves inside the head of anyone in the opposition to figure out why we failed. They probably think Republicans are putting party above country, failing to realize that Republicans may actually believe retaining a president who nominates judges of their own conservative persuasion, instead of judges who won't try to repeal Roe, is putting country first, and that it might be actually EASY for them to see that holding up aid to Ukraine, in exchange for investigating whatever the Bidens may or may not have done, is no big deal -- and certainly not worth all the fuss of replacing Trump with Pence.

And even if the country DOES fall apart? No problem! They'll just start another one, only this time, one more to their liking!

We’re doomed. What can we do to change this? Nothing. Maybe pray for a meteor.

And about that line, “I have been treated very badly by…” Guess who always says that?

Exactly! President Whiney-face! He seems to use that phrase at least once a day, and sometimes two or three times!

Is there anyone anywhere who, at some point or other, hasn’t treated him "very badly"? Hardly a name comes to mind, which comes as no surprise since, being such a world-wide jerk, there's hardly a soul HE hasn't shit on first.

He’s the planet's biggest victim! What's so weird is that whiners of Trump's ilk, who are so often heard complaining about being mistreated by others, so often turn out themselves to be the biggest thugs and bullies.

And why does anyone vote for bullies?

Because there's this odd belief, mostly but not exclusively among conservatives, that the world is too rough to be run by nice guys. They seem to forget that the tough guys who attempt to create thousand-year reichs tend to find themselves at the end of their lives in underground bunkers, forced to marry their girlfriend just before putting a bullet in their own head.

And something else worth noting:

If you remember the playground bullies from your youth, they were all about process and no substance. It's not WHAT they say, it's THAT they say it, and that they say it totally out of any context, and they say it over and over and over, ad nauseam. In fact, their success usually depended on their overpowering reality with their own nasty nonsense. Some things never change.

Also, much of their power over their victim is derived from the acquiescence of whatever crowd of toadies happen to be nearby. Why are toadies so obsequious to bullies? It may be that they're afraid of him, or at the very least, they see no percentage in taking the side of some goody-goody who is likely to end up being humiliated.

A typical bullying session back then might have looked like this:

Bully: They tell me your mother is a whore.
Toadies: Whoooa! HA! HA!
Victim: What?!? My mother's not a whore! Where'd you hear that?
Bully: Your mother is a whore.
Victim: My mother's NOT a whore!
Bully: Yeah, she is. Lots of people say your mother's a whore.
Toadies: HA-HA! Your mother's a whore! Your mother's a whore! HA!
Victim: No, she's NOT! Stop saying that!
Bully: Your mother IS a whore.
Victim: If you must know, my mother died when I was in kindergarten.
Bully: Yeah, yeah, your mother's a whore.
Toadies: HA-HA! Your mother's a whore! Your mother's a whore! HA!
Victim: In fact, before she died, my mother was awarded a Nobel Prize for finding a cure for some disease that had killed millions of people in Asia! She wrote several novels, all on the New York Times best-seller list! She was famous! She used to date Warren Beatty! She was friends of kings and queens and presidents, was always being interviewed on Entertainment Tonight, and used to spend her holidays with the Beatles!
Bully: Your mother's a whore! Everybody says so!

It could go on and on like that, with the bully and the toadies just repeating some random lie over and over, paying no attention whatsoever to whatever the victim says, until the victim just gives up and walks away, secretly wondering if there's anything to the rumor that his dearly-departed mother actually WAS a whore.

But the good news is, years later, the bully will end up in the gutter, with no actual friends and no woman who would ever admit to ever knowing him, much less having slept with him, and finally, the day will come when someone on the school's Facebook page posts the news that he has fallen on hard times, is penniless, has moved to Florida, and they even post a photo of him, flabby, no longer sporting that phony swoosh of blond hair, struggling with his walker outside a McDonald's, trying to bully his way to the head of the line, hoping to make it in before they shut down the "Early Bird Special".

Or at least that's my sincerest hope.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Response to So Sue Me

(See: Just Above Sunset: So Sue Me )

Three thoughts:

(1) Of course, this is not really a “return to normal”. Normal was back when reporters and anchors would never call ANYONE, much less an elected official, much less an American president, a liar. Trump changed all that, and there may be no going back.

(2) Also, something that may or may not quality as irony here is, if Trump really wants to “end the endless wars”, he should start by ceasing his destruction of all the institutional war-ending mechanisms the world has studiously created since the First World War, including the UN, NATO, and yes, even the EU. Famously not a very learned man, he doesn’t seem to even realize that all these, and many other peace-mongering instruments of international order, have been working quite stealthily to keep the planet in relative peace for about a century.

(3) And finally, maybe someone at CNN should countersue TRUMP for false advertising every time he brags in public about Trump Doral, while including mentions neither of (a) the resort's famous bedbug problems, nor of (b) how hot and uncomfortable it is in Miami in June.

And that’s all I have to say. For now.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Response to A Government of One

(See: Just Above Sunset: A Government of One)

Some things that we are missing here:

Although it may have already been widely known before this whistleblower blew the whistle, it seems that by promising to release Congressional funds to Ukraine in exchange for help “getting” Biden — if, indeed, that is happening — Trump is attempting to bribe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

That may not seem like a big deal but it is bigger than merely breaking election laws (which is something else he is doing), since “bribery”, aside from being a “high crime or misdemeanor” in itself, in that it is wrong-doing specific to Trump’s high position in the government — that is, something you or I would not be capable of committing due to our not having that power — it is also the second of two specific grounds for impeachment listed in the Constitution:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Also, the fact that he may be involved, through “his" justice department, in blocking the Intelligence Inspector General from releasing information to Congress, and thus impeding its Constitutional responsibility of investigating the executive branch, means he may also be obstructing justice.

And when you think about it, remember the Mueller team looking into whether Donald Trump committed “collusion” with a foreign government to interfere in America's elections? If it turns out he indeed prodded Ukraine into damaging the electoral chances of candidate Joe Biden, as suspected, then it’ll be pretty hard for him to get away with that “No Obstruction, No Collusion” stuff this time, since that will be obvious to all that this is exactly what he’d be doing.

And by the way, something that is also not being much talked about is the fact that Trump seems to be reluctant to fulfill our traditional role as “protective umbrella” of oil in the Gulf, such as in the Saudi raids, which may be sending a message to Russia that we will also not fill the similar role, under NATO, of protector of former Soviet members from being reclaimed by Russia. If this too happens, we will have even more evidence of Trump’s collusion, “after the fact”, with Putin.

It seems amazing that the founders hadn't anticipated what we should to do with a president like this one, but apparently the 1787 Constitutional Convention was dragging on into an unusually uncomfortable summer, and in the hot hall, with the windows shut to keep curious outsiders from hearing what was going on, rather than work any longer on creating an office of the chief executive, everyone just decided to go back home.

Still, at some point in our not-too-distant future, we need to somehow find a way to make changes to the Constitution, in order to provide ways to prevent any American president — especially one ignorant of how America came to be the way it is, but is still determined to rid it of its distinguished history — from flushing his country down the crapper.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Response to Constructive Disbelief

(See: Just Above Sunset: Constructive Disbelief)

I like your theory, that Donald Trump is asking Americans for their "willful suspension of disbelief" in exchange for him supplying them with more excitement than they’re used to receiving from their supreme leader.

Of course, he’s gotten used to his audiences doing that, having performed in so-called "reality television", and while it probably did work on those people out there who chose to watch his show, he forgets that for most of us out here didn’t watch it. He’s relying on a deal made with a receptive but relatively small audience, forgetting that it’s an agreement that doesn’t come with the unwritten social contract implied in Democratic governance, which is the contract that most of us have with him.

In short, the American people didn’t hire him to entertain us, we hired him to execute the policies that we, the majority, through our elective representatives, want him to do.

He seems to be making the mistake that virtually all his predecessors had the decency to avoid, which is playing to the peanut gallery that elected him instead of using the opportunity provided by his accidental victory to build on his base and to govern for all Americans, even those who didn’t vote for him. And if he thinks that pleasing the minority instead of the majority of the country is the proper thing to do in this situation, he should stop and examine how he’s destroying the country, and then do the decent thing by just resigning.

And while he’s up and reexamining his abilities, he should stifle that silliness about him being an “artist” at making "great deals” — a reputation apparently birthed from somewhere inside his own skull and popularized by his former alter ego spokesman, “John Barron”, back in his New York City days — since it’s becoming more and more evident to everybody that his deal-making skills rival, say, those of the late Yasser Arafat, which is to say, "Lots of whiz-bang excitement, but in the end, nothing worth bragging about.”

He may think the public doesn’t mind his constant bullshitting, but he’s wrong; we do. All he need do is ask us.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Response to The Fog of Doubt

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Fog of Doubt)

So in the original “The Emperor’s New Clothes” story, nobody in the empire had the guts to tell him he’s naked, but in our version  that is, the one the planet is being forced to endure presently  EVERYONE is telling him what he needs to hear, but he just refuses to hear us!

And so what’s the moral of this version?

The lesson here is, President Fruitcake — who not only imagined someone told him Dorian would probably hit Alabama, but is now imagining that he heard the so-called “fake” news media apologize for doubting his word! — is even more delusional than we originally thought! Maybe someone should start dusting off those “25th Amendment Remedies”. 

Have you noticed that just about everything everyone has been observing lately about Trump only serves as evidence that he’s suffering from some mental disorder? For example, those words of Barbara Res: "To him, all the watching TV and tweeting is work, so he believes he’s on the clock 24-7, 365.”

Do totally bonkers people even know they’re bonkers?

He seems to never be in touch with reality. He seems to act on the assumption that there is no actual reality until he himself creates it, such as the whole business that all the experts were 95% sure the hurricane would hit Alabama. Doesn’t he realize that this sort of thing can be checked out? No, he doesn’t, because in his mind, all that’s needed is for him to say all these people were saying this back then, and Presto! They were saying it!

No joke, this guy is seriously ill!

But you know, his mental health notwithstanding (I don't like the idea of picking on mentally ill people), I might be persuaded to favor the nuking of those hurricanes, but only if it could be guaranteed hat Trump himself would be personally hand-delivering the bombs.

And as for the great stock market that Trump is riding to victory in 2020?

I’m surprised that nobody's talking about today’s economy as being a huge bubble, kept afloat by speculators who are misplacing their faith on all these Trump-supporting Tinkerbells who naively believe, for example, that coal is coming back, and so is manufacturing, and that Donald Trump, being a highly experienced businessman, not to mention a “stable genius”, will WIN the trade war he's waging on the rest of the planet!!

Our fate, once again, totally depends on the Wall Street Bubble People! We’d like to think they don’t know what they’re doing, but they do! The Bubble People only pretend to be ignorant of the fact that they’re invested in a bubble that will sooner or later burst. In truth, they are only gambling that they’ll know how to time it so they can sell out before the high prices come tumbling down.

As for me? It’s the same thing! I’m just hoping that our financial guy, the man in whose hands my family's investments are trusted, will know what to do once that long-overdue Apocalypse finally comes to town.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Response to Not Wanted

(See: Just Above Sunset: Not Wanted)

I hear what Charles Blow is saying here, but have to kind of disagree.

He implies that if you’re not a minority, you have a choice that minority folks don’t have about whether to either look the other way, or even to get into line to follow Donald Trump. But that would assume everyone values only their own skin and the skin of their own kind.

My deep-seated beef with Trump and his followers is that he and they are trying to destroy my country, to which I have no choice but to fight him, and to make sure that either it doesn’t happen or I go down fighting.

If it feels inevitable, and doesn’t at all seem like a choice I get to make, then in effect, it isn’t one.

In fact, I can’t help but suspect that most of those complaining about an "Hispanic Invasion”, including the El Paso shooter and those like him, come from families who arrived here in the 1800s or later, which would make them the real invaders, not the Latinos.

And even from the perspective of myself, someone whose family arrived here in the early 1600s, a decade or so after the Mayflower, I myself might regard not only the shooter but the whole Trump family and administration, from the president on down — and certainly all the cretins who show up at his rallies to cheer and sneer — as recent invaders of my country who, rather than understanding and appreciating the American values that greeted them on their arrival, are threatening to abrogate them, without serious consideration of the history of their new-found home, and they all wear stupid red hats to prove it.

In  short, maybe all these late-coming whiners should just pack up their silly hats and go back to their own miserable countries!
----

But other than that, Blow is outraged by the same things that I am: 
It is still unfathomable to me that the federal government took children away from their parents without a system for reunification, that some of those children may never see their parents again. 
Even if this were only one child it would be outrageous and egregious. Unfortunately, it is more than one.
Ironically, Trump started his hideous "family-separation policy” — which is, at the very least, Nazi-like — down in El Paso:

From July to October 2017, the Trump administration ran what the DHS called a "pilot program" for zero tolerance in El Paso. Families were separated, including families that were seeking asylum, and children were then reclassified as "unaccompanied" and sent into a network of shelters with no system created to reunite them with their parents.
If that doesn’t shock you, maybe you need to read it again. Here, let me help you:

The United States, under this president, ran an unpublicized program of kidnapping children from Immigrants trying to cross the southern border, at least some of them legally seeking asylum, then deliberately changing the status of the children to hide the fact that they had parents, and then hiding the kids in a "network of shelters with no system created to reunite them with their parents.”

The intent seemed to be scare the crap out of any invaders from the south into staying away from us, and especially not to bring their children, at least if they wanted to ever see them again.

And by the way, how’d that “deterrence” theory work out?
Government data from 2018 suggests that the family separation policy did little to deter migrants from crossing the US border illegally.
Yet it's still going on today, whether by pretended or actual incompetence.

And where does it all stand now? How many kids remain un-reunited with their families?
A followup government report released in January 2019, revealed that while HHS had previously said that the total number of children separated from their parents was 2,737, a new investigation revealed that the actual number of separated children was several thousand higher, with the exact number unknown due to poor record keeping. 
HHS is not able to identify or count children who were released from the government’s custody before officials started identifying separated families. 
Following a court ruling in 2019, government officials stated that identifying all children would require a joint effort of 12 to 24 months duration led by a team of officials representing HSS, ICE and CBP.
In other words, nobody seems to know right now how many kids were separated, but they promise to have the answer within maybe a year or two.

I guess the people who need to be outraged about this, the people who, one would think, would be demanding heads roll, are out sick, suffering from Trump Fatigue. Score Trump 1, and the rest of us 0.

Meanwhile, what is the administration doing about it in response to critics?

We’ll start with one such critic, Elijah Cummings, Democratic chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, blasting Kevin McAleenan, Trump’s Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, about living conditions of migrant mothers and children in border camps:
Outlining additional areas where McAleenan has offered a different account than government watchdogs, Cummings said he was troubled to hear DHS painting a rosier picture of its work at the border. 
“And therefore, I guess — you feel like you’re doing a great job, right?” Cummings asked. 
McAleenan responded his department was “doing our level best,” before being cut off again. 
“What does that mean? What does that mean? When a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower?” Cummings said, his voice shaking. “Come on man. What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position.”
Then, on Saturday morning, Fox News Channel attempted to change the subject by countering Cummings's rage with a “what-aboutism” report from some young woman appearing to be a Baltimore local “citizen’s journalist” who showed us a video of trash outside and inside an abandoned apartment in Cummings’s home district.

Trump happened to be watching, and his resulting tweet was the start of his campaign against Cummings, apparently calculated to weaken the influence of one of his main congressional critics.

All of which should remind us of what Trump wanted us to forget, that all the damage from the White House’s family separation policy is still out there!

Thanks to Trump and his evil minions, some kidnapped kids are still sitting in their own feces and being denied a shower, while others have been placed in American foster homes, and while others, for all we know, are being rented out by human traffickers.

Yet, not only did the criminals say it may take one to two years to find out how many kids they sucked into their clutches — meaning, some of the kids they stole are gone for good, whether through simple incompetence or evil intent, and nobody seems to be seriously considering putting the bastards behind this in prison.

Maybe we need to — right now, while we’re thinking about it — take the names of any government employees who were involved in the commission of these crimes (who are possibly assuming they will get away with it on the grounds that "they were just following orders”) for use in whatever trials will be held after this crowd of thugs eventually loses power.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Response to The Man’s Word

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Man's Word)

“The cognitive linguist George Lakoff said the word 'invasion' was a potent one for Mr. Trump to use because of what it allowed him to communicate. 'If you’re invaded, you’re invaded by an enemy,' he said. 'An invasion says that you can be taken over inside your own country and harmed…'”

The weird thing is, we think of “invaders” as people who want to break into the country to do it some harm, whereas, in this case, the invaders are apparently families, coming here to improve their lives and contribute to the country’s well-being, while the people who are doing harm to the country are already living here. (And you know who you are!)

Daryl Johnson is right about Trump, as was Charles Blow in yesterday’s column. You can demand that Trump stop talking about “invaders” and such, but trying to convince him to be more careful of what he says kind of misses the point.

For one thing, I actually don’t want Trump to wake up some morning and become a good guy, since everybody will still know he got to be president of the United States by being both a lamebrain and a self-centered jerk, so-to-speak, and that will set a bad example for future generations, who need to know that you shouldn’t expect that doing bad stuff is the best way to get good stuff done.

And, in fact, it’s not necessarily Trump's rhetoric that keeps the alt-right active, it’s his very existence!

Since the very day after his election, American white power has found an environment much more welcoming to them, the most blatant example being news stories of white school students suddenly aware of the overnight change in America, openly harassing kids of color, shouting they should go back to where you came from.

White Supremacists now know they have a substantially friendlier audience for trying stuff they wouldn’t have been as likely to have tried under Obama.

But did Donald Trump make force them to be that way? I think that Charles Blow’s viewpoint covers this — that these two malevolent forces have been traveling on parallel roads, each just happening to look over and derive encouragement from seeing the other. To paraphrase the poet, neither of them needed a weatherman to tell them which way the wind was blowing.

Racists and the other deplorables are, for their own survival, a duplicitous group and so they easily overlook an equally disingenuous  president Trump occasionally disparaging them as he reads robotically from a teleprompter (so much so as to suggest that he’s mocking), since they know he’s being forced by circumstances to lie. If that weren’t the case, Trump wouldn’t do it, since it would risk losing his base. This is how evil survives in a world that’s mostly hostile to them.

Is Trump actually a racist? And am I suggesting that he’s a closet racist?

Sure. Why not. All we need to make that call is to remember one example of many.

Back in May of 1989, when he lived in New York City, Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in all four of the cities major newspapers, calling for the return of the death penalty after five minority teenagers, none of whom he knew from Adam, were accused of raping and badly beating a female jogger in Central Park:
"Mayor Koch has stated that hate and rancor should be removed from our hearts. I do not think so. I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer ... Yes, Mayor Koch, I want to hate these murderers and I always will. ... How can our great society tolerate the continued brutalization of its citizens by crazed misfits? Criminals must be told that their CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS!"
Maybe partly because of Trump’s ad, the five African Americans and Latinos were found guilty and served several years in jail, but twenty years later, were all exonerated by DNA evidence after another man confessed. They then sued the city, and settled for millions.

Was Trump ready to apologize? Nope. In fact, he doubled down, calling the settlement "a disgrace." "Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts”, he wrote. "These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels.”

Has he ever apologized in the years since? No. If you add up all the cases like that one showing his attitude about minorities, you’re justified in concluding that Trump is indeed a racist, and whatever he says, with or without TelePrompter, doesn’t really matter. What matters is what he believes and what he is while in office, which is a racist, and if he’s trying to convince America he’s otherwise, he’s not doing a very good job.

And as for the trade war, I find it hard not to side with China.

Yes, they’ve been getting away with their shit for years, but I hate to reward our leadership for thinking that being an asshole is a way for our country to deal with it.

It just goes to show you, and it never occurs to you until it happens, that when you live under a tyrant, it's hard to know who your friends are.