Thursday, November 28, 2019

Response to No Thanks

(See: Just Above Sunset : No Thanks )

"And it may be time to let this go.”

Why should they do that? Isn’t the Republican bullshit machine working for them anymore? But it is still working, which is why they have no incentive to “let this go”.

In fact, Truth is not the Trumpy-headed Republican's best friend. Their ability to synthesize  chaos out of nothing but the moldy darkness inside their own brains has been working for them just fine, thank you!

The fact that these people can trick even ONE person into believing that this annual “War on Christmas” silliness is actually being launched by liberals instead of themselves is a skill they have no earthly reason to abandon. So good luck with that.

The one thing everyone needs to learn and remember from all this from one holiday to the next is that, when the “Political Correctness Police” show up at your door to stop you from saying something or other, (1) they'll be wearing MAGA hats, and (2) what they bully you to stop saying won’t be “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Thanksgiving” — nobody, anywhere, cares if you say that! — it’ll be “Happy Holidays”.

Trumpies are trying to change America for the worst, and so, now it's -- Whoops! There goes Freedom of Speech!

Ever since, in my memory (I think when I was ten years old), some people started browbeating us on how to celebrate Christmas by demanding that we not "take the Christ out of Christmas”, I’ve considered starting a group to urge everyone to “keep the ‘X’ in ‘Xmas!’” Maybe I need to revive that.

One of our ad campaigns could say, “If anyone doesn’t like the way we celebrate our holidays here in America, maybe they should move to the North Pole to live with Santa Claus!”

And I'm thinking that could be followed by this parenthetical tagline:

“(SUGGESTION: Bring a houseboat!)"



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Response to Our Neighborhood Now

(See: Just Above Sunset : Our Neighborhood Now )

I really enjoyed the way CNN summarized the breaking news of Monday's court ruling, which was that a federal judge informed the White House that “'Absolute Immunity’ is ’not a thing’!”

Sooner or later, it was bound to come down to someone explaining the way things really are to Donald Trump in the go-to language of a Middle Schooler. I love it!

I have two suggestions, plus one comment:

(1) I’m more and more thinking lately that Nancy Pelosi is wrong to narrow the focus of the impeachment to just the one article, concerning the famous phone call, which for some reason too many Americans find not necessarily all that impeachable.

Still, how anyone can think that a U.S. president, casually and for his own personal reasons, betraying one of our close allies, and one that we’ve promised to protect, putting them at risk of being swallowed up by one of America's long-time adversaries, is not the commission of a huge crime, is a mystery to me.

(In fact, I’m at a loss. I need these people to tell us what sort of crimes they think would be impeachable. I suppose the reason we don’t hear any Republicans coming up with any of those right now could be because they’re afraid of coming up with something Trump might have actually already committed, or that he might accidentally commit soon, god forbid. That could be very embarrassing! But if so, I have to agree, given that you never know if Trump will zig when you zag, they're probably right to be cautious.)

All we need in the Senate trial is one guilty verdict on one article, and I suppose threatening to hand Ukraine over to Russia is a better candidate for a guilty verdict than most, but it’s not the only thing he’s done wrong. 

In fact, I imagine that failing to fulfill one's oath of office to protect the Constitution (such as ordering his people to not cooperate with impeachment proceedings, a remedy spelled out the same Article Two of the Constitution that he cites as authority that he can do any corrupt thing he wants) is another. After all, we have so many misdeeds to turn to here, maybe we really should increase our odds by piling on.

When if comes to other crimes we could bring up, we can draw inspiration from Max Boot’s list of giveaways included in the price paid by Republicans when they chose to sell their souls to Trump:
When the Republican Party sold its soul to Trump in 2016, the price included overlooking his attacks on Mexicans and Muslims, on Gold Star parents, on a disabled reporter, even on John McCain; his abysmal ignorance of basic matters of public policy (he had never heard of the nuclear triad); his open collusion with Russia (“Russia, if you’re listening”); and, of course, his boasts about sexually assaulting women. ... 
Trump has dramatically escalated the cost his supporters must pay to stay in his good graces as we approach his fourth year in power. The price came to include overlooking his racist rants (e.g., telling congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from); putting kids in cages; kowtowing to Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other tyrants; abandoning America’s Kurdish allies; obstructing justice and stonewalling Congress; declaring a state of emergency to spend money that Congress has not appropriated for a border wall that we don’t need; lying nonstop; using the presidency to enrich himself; and disparaging the press as “the enemy of the people.”
There are, of course, many many more, but I suppose there is a point at which America will simply stop paying attention and drift off to sleep.

(2) Also, we need to push back on this idea that maybe we should just skip the impeachment, and let the upcoming elections decide the impeachment question.

The problem with that is that elections and impeachments are not the same thing, and serve two totally different purposes.

Elections ask the people to choose who (and also who’s vision) they want to run the country, whereas impeachment asks the government to determine whether the president committed any “crime” or “crimes” against the country, and should be removed from office because of it. Just as a priest who sexually molests a child should be fired and reported to the police, even if the Bishop likes the guy’s work, a president who commits a serious breach or law or rule should lose the job and shouldn’t even be allowed to run for future office, no matter what the voters think. (And by the way, part of the impeachment process includes an option allowing the Senators to vote to bar him from serving in any elected office in the future.)

(3) And finally, only because I haven’t heard anyone else mention this particular thing having to do with that Trump tweet, "We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”:

Trump, of course, having never served in the military (rumored to be because of bone-spurs — maybe on his brain, one might guess), never learned first-hand that America does NOT train its boys and girls to be “killing machines”. In fact, soldiers and sailors and Marines are not machines of ANY kind, they’re human beings, and when did it become anything but an insult to say someone is NOT a human being, but is, instead, some sort of machine, without a brain?

Trump has, once again, unknowingly stepped into doodoo of his own creation, thereby insulting the noble heritage of our military that traces itself back to George Washington, and also misrepresented the values of the country it serves. Trump has never understood that America's power comes from its goodness, or at least from its attempts thereto.

So I suggest that Trump's reckless destruction of the American command structure should also be included in the articles of impeachment, as should Trump's unilateral betrayal of our allies, the Kurds, even if Republicans decide these crimes are no big deal.

(4) Okay, I lied. Here’s one last thing that the Republican sock-puppets need to realize about us “Never-Trumpers” (which, for my money, is a way-the-hell better thing to be than an “Always-Trumper”) whenever they accuse us of trying to impeach Trump "simply because [we] don’t like him!”

First of all, they’re exactly right: I’m for impeaching Trump simply because I don’t like him.

But why don’t I like him? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not because I arbitrarily flipped a coin to decide whether, “Heads, I like him”, and “Tails, I don’t like him”. The real reason I don’t like Donald Trump can be summed up thusly:

President Trump is a stupid shit-head, and keeps doing stupid shit-head things.

In fact, being an annoying and stupid shit-head was essentially his whole campaign. He promised to do things to piss off the good guys and please the bad guys. And he kept those two promises. 

But who are the good guys and who are the bad?

The good guys tend to be people, trying to do good things for people in need. The bad guys are the ones trying to undo what the good guys do.

I didn’t used to believe in “Evil”. I saw it as too religious for my liking. But with the success of this president and his “Always-Trumpers” followers, I changed my mind. I became an empiricist. I now realize there are good people in the world, trying to make the world a better place, and there are bad people in the world, whose goal is to undo all the good done by the good people.

During the campaign, Trump promised all his followers that he’d annoy the establishment, a promise he kept, but now he’s whining that the establishment is trying to impeach him! And for what reason are they trying to impeach him? Simply because “they don’t like my policies!”

That’s true, we don’t like your policies, especially the ones having to do with destroying America’s place in the world, trying to undo all the good it’s been doing, and replacing it with evil.

But also your policy about you being a stupid shit-head.


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.