Election 2020

Election 2020
Gaseous Little Baby Man Dirigible Implodes!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Defining Days!

These are the days...

How we react to events of the day, will define us. What are our essential qualities? Every one of us has a responsibility to be informed, to take a stand. Not taking a stand is taking a stand. Jean Paul Sartre would remind us that we are responsible for everything. For all our sins. And everyone else's sins too. Even those who don't believe in sins.

Are you a collaborator?  A quisling? What is your vision of yourself? What is your vision of America?

Foundational questions are bubbling up. Every day. Time seems to be speeding up. Instead of the "outrage of the day," it's now the "outrage of the hour."  Exhausting.

But we have to speak, stand up. Bad shit is in the air. We have given the keys to the car to a sick man, and looks like he is willing to drive us all off a cliff.

It is easy to destroy things. Much harder to put things back together. We have to hope that our Democracy is resilient. We have to be strong, tough-minded. 

We haven't always lived up to our own ideals. But to ban people based on their religion is UnAmerican. This is a foundational issue. What we say, what we do, will define us for the ages.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Human Beings Are Often Wrong!

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." - Vince Lombardi

"I'm just talking to the Universe." - Yoko Ono

I was wrong. I was wrong about Lombardi. When I was a kid, I hated Lombardi. My father was a salesman, and he had these motivational tapes featuring Lombardi. I despised that motivational crap. I did not like that man.

Many years later (1999), I read a biography of Lombardi, "When Pride Still Mattered." I fell in love with the man. Great man. Great coach. An inspiration. I was wrong.

I was wrong about Yoko Ono too. When I was young I thought she was the woman who broke up the Beatles. Stole John's heart and killed the band. I did not like that woman.

I was wrong. I later learned that Lennon wanted out, and fell in love with Yoko, an amazing conceptual artist, and together they embarked on a pretty dazzling artistic adventure. Yoko Ono is one of the most influential artists of our time. An inspiration. I was wrong.

This is a roundabout way to get to my point this morning. Human beings are fallible. Often we are wrong. It's best to keep that in mind at all times. Lots of havoc, pain, chaos, is around every corner. History is littered with the tragedies that come with Human Beings who have Big Ideas, who want to move mountains, and move people around like chess pieces.

The best venues for the big ideas is in sports or in arts. Channel the creativity,  practice the art of creating and destroying in those realms. Politics is a dangerous place. Push too hard and the masks of our rationality are easily fractured. No telling what horrors and phobias, and madnesses are seething beneath the masks.

We have an ill man, a man of unsound mind, in the White House, and he is surrounded by the worst people. The worst people imaginable. Sounds overwrought? I think not. Clear-seeing. What's a poor, humble Pilgrim to do?

The Coach would tell us, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Get ready for some tough going. And the Artist would tell us, "Open your box..."

Open your box,

Open your box,
Open your trousers,
Open your thighs,
Open your legs,
Open, open, open, open, oh.

Open, open, open, open,
Open your legs,
Open your flies,
Open your ears,
Open your nose,
Open your mouth,
Open, open, open, open, oh.

Open your cold feet,
Open, open,
Open, open, open, let's open, let's open the cities.

Open the cities,
Open, open, open the world,
Open, let's open the world.

Open, open, oh
Open, open, oh!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"No Donny, these men are Nihilists."

Steve Bannon, Trump's evil brain ("He thinks Darkness is Good"), was in my dream last night... not a good man... made me think of this...

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There's nothing to be afraid of.

Trump's first week and his favorability ratings are at 36%. He's dropped 8 points in 7 days. You do wonder about those 36% folks. What's wrong with those people? If Trump could somehow keep up this kind of performance, in 2 months or so, he will be looked upon about as favorably as the Ebola Virus! Although, I suppose that isn't likely, there is a core of "true believers" (see previous post), who think that naked, unsound, egomaniac is just perfect.

So what's changed? Everything. We no longer listen to the radio. We used to listen to NPR, we'd have the radio on every morning, late afternoon, early evening. Ever since the election, no more. We don't want to hear the things we don't want to hear, and we especially don't want to hear that mad, unsound, ill (in mind & body) person who now occupies the White House speaking gibberish.

I'd rather read the transcripts,  and watch Alec Baldwin's impersonation. 

So instead, we listen to music. Lately in the Jazz category: Chet Baker, Miles Davis. I love all eras of both of these towering musical geniuses. Chet with teeth, or without. Miles in his cool jazz era or his wild fusion experiments. Thrilling. Pure love.

Also we just scored a bunch of new CD's... we still listen to that great format, love to pore over the little booklets, admire the cover art, read the lyrics and production notes. My latest thing is to play an album over and over. Just let the music wash over me. These are the records on our "hot list" at the moment:

1. Bon Iver "For Emma, Forever Ago" (2007) - Justin Vernon has an incredibly beautiful voice. This is the famous "remote hunting cabin" album. One man, alone in a cabin, singing his soul. Amazing. Beautiful. I just love to hear the man's voice.

2. Sturgill Simpson "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" (2016) - I thought, based on Sturgill's 1st record, that he was sort of an "Outlaw Country" guy. A cosmic cowboy. A voice like Waylon Jennings, a head filled with hallucinogenics. But this album is a kick-ass R&B record. The Dap Kings horn section joins him. Tight, loose. Sturgill has a lot on his mind. Explains it all to his newborn son. A stunner.

3. D'Angelo - "Black Messiah" ( 2014) & "Voodoo" (2000) - I think "Black Messiah" might be one of my all time, all time favorite records. We've had it for awhile. I have listened to it over and over and over. It just gets better. Sexy, slippery, slinky, funky, silvery, cool, hard to hold, easily works it's way into your head, your heart, your soul. Features the best drum/bass combo in the known Universe: Questlove and Pino Palladino. I would call this music "avant garde" R&B/Funk/Soul. Nothing quite like it. "Voodoo" may be just as good, still working thru it. Certainly both records are truly extraordinary.

Listening to these albums is a healing. Good for the soul, good for the head.  Good medicine to chase away the blues, and all that bad JuJu in the air. A necessary antidote to the poison.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sometimes We Underestimate the Power of Hate.

Yes, following my little thought-train from yesterday (see previous post), I woke up with this burning question: "Can extreme ideas destroy the reasoning functions of our minds?" I was reminded, (by my brother), that someone already covered this territory...

Eric Hoffer wrote a book in 1951 (another time and place in a galaxy far away) called "True Believer,"  - social psychology about mass movements. 

Wikipedia summarizes: "Hoffer analyzes and attempts to explain the motives of the various types of personalities that give rise to mass movements; why and how mass movements start, progress and end; and the similarities between them, whether religious, political, radical or reactionary. He argues that even when their stated goals or values differ, mass movements are interchangeable, that adherents will often flip from one movement to another, and that the motivations for mass movements are interchangeable. Thus, religious, nationalist and social movements, whether radical or reactionary, tend to attract the same type of followers, behave in the same way and use the same tactics and rhetorical tools. As examples, he often refers to Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, Christianity, Protestantism, and Islam."

As for me, I am kind of hung up on the idea that any (and all?) extreme religious or political ideas destroy the reasoning parts of our brains: toxic, pernicious, brain-killing, soul-destroying, empathy & compassion-erasing ideas.

What are extremist ideas? I would think it relates to when, or if, or how, someone puts their ideas into action. The extremist embraces an idea and hates to consider any alternatives. The extremist is defined and unified by not only what they embrace but by what they reject, what they hate.

Sometimes we underestimate the power of hate. It is a unifier, a driver, and endless source of energy.

I am beginning to think any extreme ideology is a sickness. An illness. It actually short-circuits a healthy brain. There is no reasoning with someone filled with extreme ideas. There is no room for others, for alternative views, alternative ideas. That kind of extremism leads to hate. A hate-filled mind is a terrible thing to behold.

So examples of mind-sickness: misogyny, racism, white supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobia, religious fundamentalism of all stripes, political extremism of all varieties.

Try reasoning with a committed Trump follower. Not possible. Or how about a Fundamentalist Christian? May as well put a fork in your forehead. Do not get in the way of a suicide bomber. They are gone, baby gone.

It is an "invasion of the body snatchers" thing. As  Karl Popper reminds us: “Knowledge consists in the search for truth… It is not the search for certainty.”

Anyone who is absolutely certain is dangerous. And in a way, ignorant. Their intelligence is stunted. And they are on the brink, on the verge of being unreachable. Unreasonable. And ridiculous. When someone says, "I alone can fix it." Head for the hills. Or prepare for an intervention. I recommend heavy sedatives, a jacket with no sleeves, and a rubber room.

So how to maintain a healthy mind? Psychology Today has a few suggestions. I would say be humble. Lean to the light. Look to fill your head with thoughts of love, grace, compassion, empathy. Avoid extremes, risky behaviors, risky ideas. De-toxify!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Those Who Resist, the Resistance - The Yossarians!

Is crazy a virus? Crazy - "one who is or acts crazy; especially : such a one associated with a radical or extremist political cause." 

The French coined the term "la folie a deux " - the madness of two, a shared psychosis. And, a group of psychiatrists claim that schizophrenia is the "insanity virus" that lives entwined in every person's DNA.

Can religious fundamentalists, political extremists, terrorists of all kinds, for instance, be examples of a "crazy virus" passing from one person to another? Can a mainstream political party become infected? Could half of a nation? Could a whole nation? A whole continent?

Does it start with one charismatic, fully-infected person? Can that person spread the crazy not only by physical contact, but by visual cues, and strings of verbal nonsense? Can the crazy be passed from one man's lips to millions of ears?

Can teeming masses of seemingly well-educated, intelligent people easily succumb to the crazy? Look to history, especially look to some of the highlights from last century. And look at your TV and newspapers today.

Those who resist, those who are resistant to the crazy, those we will call the Yossarians...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Those Who Follow Are Fools, Sick & Mad Too!

Yeah. We are "going to the mattresses" inside our heads. Every day, (and it's just been days), another outrage.

We have to fall back on some basics. There are truths. There are facts. There is common sense. There is common courtesy.  There is still... Respect, Dignity, Intelligence. Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.

Peace, Love & Understanding.

The laws of physics are not going to be over-thrown. We (so far) cannot defy the laws of gravity. Mathematics still works.

We don't have to accept falsehoods. Lies. Or "alternative facts!" As Merriam-Webster recently Tweeted: "A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality."

Do we all still believe in "objective reality?"  

"The objective reality is the collection of things that we are sure exist independently of us. Every person is able, in principle, to verify every aspect of the objective reality. Anything that cannot be verified in this way is not part of the objective reality. The 20m tall ironbark tree in my neighbour's yard is part of the objective reality. It's presence can be verified by any person by simply looking at it, or a surveyor determining its position, by taking a photo of it etc. Moreover, the absence of the tree would imply that the tree does not belong to the objective reality."

Karl Popper reminds us that: “Knowledge consists in the search for truth… It is not the search for certainty.”

Call out the lies. Every day. Refuse to live with the lies. That road leads to madness. If we are led by a charlatan, a fool, a sick madman, (and indeed we are), those who follow are fools, sick & mad too.

Eugene Ionesco in his play "Rhinoceros," explains the process:

"University professors, students, intellectuals were turning Nazi, becoming Iron Guards one after another. We were fifteenth people who used to get together, to find arguments, to discuss, to try to find arguments opposing theirs. It was not easy...From time to time, one of the group would come out and say "I don't agree at all with them, to be sure, but on certain points, I must admit, for example the Jews...". And that kind of comment was a symptom. Three weeks later, that person would become a Nazi. He was caught in a mechanism, he accepted everything, he become a Rhinoceros. Towards the end, it was only three or four of us who resisted"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bumpy Ride!

So, yes, the bottom line: We have embraced a new little experiment. What happens when you turn over the most powerful position in the Free World to a Narcissistic Sociopath (see previous post)? An unsound mind fighting windmills and common sense from any corner. Looking forward to a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unsound Mind...

If you have been paying attention lately this might ring a bell...

Traits of a Narcissistic Sociopath

How do you spot a sociopathic narcissist?

1. A driven quest for power. If a narcissistic sociopath cares about anything other than himself, it is destructive power and control over people.
2. Behaviors that seek love and admiration. To be sure, this isn't needy love. It's not even emotional love. It's superficial. A narcissistic sociopath sees love and admiration as power tools to manipulate and dominate (Do Sociopaths Even Have Feelings?).
3. No apologies, no guilt, no remorse under any circumstance. A sociopathic narcissist believes that he is a gift to the world who makes it richer and more colorful. Therefore, his calculated, even cruel actions are always justified.
4. Invincibility. The narcissistic variety of sociopath believes he is indomitable. Even punishment and prison can't stop him. They're merely part of the game.
5. Wholly self-serving. The needs and wants of others are insignificant and undeserving of consideration.
6. Act as the producer, director, and only actor of his own show. The narcissistic sociopath casts people in roles that increase his power and sense of importance and when bored, casts them aside.

Sometimes a person is perfectly matched for the position in life they hold. It's a beautiful thing to behold. Sometimes a person is perfectly unmatched for the position in life they hold - expect holy hell on earth!

Trump's team is already leaking like a sieve. As Josh Marshall writes this morning: "The Trump White House not only leaks like crazy. It casually leaks the most intimate and humiliating details about the President - hurt feelings, ego injury, childlike behavior, self-destructive rages over tweets, media failure to credit his own grandiosity. We have simply never seen this level of leaking, with this little respect for the President's dignity or reputation, this early." 

And this from the Washington Post: "Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media’s failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment."

Are the top people surrounding the man starting to bail already?

By the way. Here is the full transcript of Donald Trump's Speech to the CIA on January 23, 2017, 3:53 PM. 

I recommend you read the whole thing. Unfiltered. Sort of chilling, creepy. A psychological snapshot; rambling, self-aggrandizing, delusional, superficial, totally strange. This man is in the wrong job, for sure. A very sick man. An unsound mind.  

Here is a brief excerpt of the actual speech (no kidding!): Donald Trump: "You know, when I was young and when I was -- of course, I feel young. I feel like I’m 30, 35, 39. (Laughter.) Somebody said, are you young? I said, I think I’m young. You know, I was stopping -- when we were in the final month of that campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops. Speeches, speeches, in front of 25,000, 30,000 people, 15,000, 19,000 from stop to stop. I feel young.

When I was young -- and I think we’re all sort of young. When I was young, we were always winning things in this country. We’d win with trade. We’d win with wars. At a certain age, I remember hearing from one of my instructors, “The United States has never lost a war.” And then, after that, it’s like we haven’t won anything. We don’t win anymore. The old expression, “to the victor belong the spoils” -- you remember. I always used to say, keep the oil. I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. Now, I said it for economic reasons. But if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil. But okay. (Laughter.) Maybe you’ll have another chance. But the fact is, should have kept the oil.

I believe that this group is going to be one of the most important groups in this country toward making us safe, toward making us winners again, toward ending all of the problems. We have so many problems that are interrelated that we don’t even think of, but interrelated to the kind of havoc and fear that this sick group of people has caused. So I can only say that I am with you 1,000 percent.

And the reason you’re my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. (Laughter and applause.) And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number-one stop is exactly the opposite -- exactly. And they understand that, too.

And I was explaining about the numbers. We did a thing yesterday at the speech. Did everybody like the speech? (Applause.) I’ve been given good reviews. But we had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I say, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining, the rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and he said, we’re not going to let it rain on your speech.

In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops. And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we’ll go right through it. But the truth is that it stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny. And then I walked off and it poured right after I left. It poured. But, you know, we have something that’s amazing because we had -- it looked -- honestly, it looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on -- and by mistake I get this network, and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that’s not bad, but it’s a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around -- you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed. So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty. And I think they’re going to pay a big price."

Monday, January 23, 2017

"The Largest Protest in U.S. History!"

One of the odd things going on in America: Liberals & Progressives actually are winning, & in many cases have won, the Culture Wars. We have been winning since the 60's. Civil Rights. Women's Rights. Gay Rights. Planned Parenthood. Obamacare. De-Crimilization of Marijuana. Medical Marijuana. Medicaid. Medicare. Social Security. Multi-culturalism. We are a more diverse and inclusive society. Of course, there's lots of work to do. And we are always fighting those who want to go backwards.

And there are a few issues like Gun Control that we just haven't been able to make any reasonable or sensible progress.

Still. Look at Pop Culture. The Hippies won! The mainstream culture enthusiastically embraced the sex, drugs & r&r ethic. Maybe a little slower to embrace the peace, love & understanding side of the equation, but that's coming along too. No doubt. Of course, at the same time our Politics is now being dominated by the Right Wing Conservatives. State Houses. House of Representatives. Senate. White House.

Some of this is because the GOP does not play fair. They just win. They use anti-democratic means like "gerrymandering," and "voter suppression." We are the only modern Democracy in the world that has an established party that is always trying to make it harder for people to vote. So it's now the Tyranny of the (old & white) Minority in America.

We have party at war with the real America. The Liberal/Progressive America is young & brown & black & female & gay & multi-cultural. The demographics of the country are moving towards a more Progressive/Liberal future. And the Conservative/Retrograde GOP is fighting tooth and nail to stem the tide.

It won't work. But nothing ever comes easy. Sometimes the forces of progress have been complacent. Or unfocused. No more. Saturdays Women's March was the largest protest in U.S. History. Let that swim around in your head for a minute. The largest protest in U.S. History! A sleeping giant has awoken. As Matt Yglesias over at Vox puts it: The Opposition Finally Takes Trump Seriously. Check out this handy little graphic:

One other great thing. I believe the Trump Era will be great for Pop Culture. More good music, literature, political writing. The Culture War will heat up to a fever pitch and Progressives/Liberals will get busy. That's a good thing.

Suddenly, for instance, Saturday Night Live is relevant (you just know Trump is watching and seething), and funny again. Who would have predicted!?Alec Baldwin has a great few years ahead of him doing his pitch-perfect Trump.  And be sure to check out the "cold opening" from last Saturday's show. 

Putin: "I promise we will take care of America it's the most expensive thing we've ever bought." Brilliant. Satire is best when you take reality and nudge it slightly forward. Trump is writing the scripts, the comedy comes from the performance. BTW - Trump is not Putin. America is not Russia. We are in good hands, because we have each other, a big, bursting, overflowing coalition of humans.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Soviet-Era Shit-Show. This was Not a Well-Attended Inauguration.

It's funny. The stone has been lifted from my shoulders. The pennies have been snatched from my eyes. The dark gloom has vanished...

As soon as the Little Baby-Man was sworn in, my mood changed. I realized that all the dark energy of his campaign, all the lies, all the insults, all the bad feelings, all the bad blood, all the dark rabble-rousing is now all on him!

Strange how that works. The man now is in a position of power, a position of responsibility. All eyes are on him. Every decision he makes will be under a microscope.

And he is not a popular man.

He is opposed from all corners. He garners no respect. And the people against him do not fear him! He is not Putin. This is not Russia. We are a well-organized populace. We have a constitution, a court system, the rule of law, a mature democracy, a free press, and a rich history of political activism.

Little Baby Man is a stupid man, one who will most likely do stupid things. 

But the people won't support him. We won't just go along. We will stand up. We will oppose. We will resist. We will raise our voices. And the other elected people in government will realize that backing the Little Baby Man is a losing proposition.

They will jump ship. Throw him under the bus.

My lovely companion and I went to the Anti-Inauguration Rally on Friday night. We stood around with a crowd of people across from Little Baby-Man's Chicago Hotel. There was a marching band playing Darth Vader's theme music, there was a little black pig dressed in a sweater, there were lots of cool & funny signs, and people. Lots of people. Some of them were professional protesters who probably protest everything - the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, Lyndon LaRouche weirdos, Anarchists, Nihilists -  and some of them were like us, folks who can not accept Little Baby Man as a legitimate President.

The next day my lovely companion went to the Women's March, which she tells me was an amazing, exciting, enriching, over-flowing outpouring of folks throughout the streets of downtown Chicago. I read this lovely sentence this morning: "Yesterday we saw the largest protests in American history." So much energy. So much good feeling. A sleeping giant has awoken. And every one of them stands in opposition to the new regime.

This is Democracy at it's best. How to channel that energy? I don't rightly know. But it is a true force for good. And the folks who marched are the ones who represent America as it is today. A true coalition. We the people. Not Little Baby-Man! 

Sean Spicer, Little Baby Man's new Press Secretary had a "crowd size presser" yesterday. It did not go well. He took no questions. He was seething with anger over press reports that Little Baby Man's inauguration was not well-attended. And Spicer lied. Repeatedly. It was like a Soviet-Era kind of shadow shit-show. I don't think the press was impressed or will be humbled, silenced or scared.

Spicer actually had the balls to say this: "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period. Both in person and around the globe."

Hah! Don't believe your lying eyes! Every day we must do our best to see the truth, refuse to live with the lie, search out the facts, refuse to believe what Little Baby-Man or his henchmen tell us. They are pathological liars. Their first instinct is to lie, brazenly... this was not a well-attended Inauguration!

This little experiment is already going up in smoke. Karma is a bitch!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sounds Like a Cheap Marvel Comic Ripoff!

This happened yesterday...

The Dark Wraith slowly emerging from his hermetically-sealed sarcophagus to deliver his tuneless words of doom...

He actually delivered a full dose of doom (actual words from his speech):

"Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

And well, what's a poor little Pilgrim to conclude? Only the Dark Wraith can save the day! Sounds like a cheap Marvel Comic ripoff. Sad!

BTW - the best little tidbit of the day came from Katy Tur of NBC News on Twitter. Looks like they were expecting big crowds yesterday. Instead, lots of empty bleachers and thin crowds. I guess the Dark Wraith and his tired schtick of doom isn't all that popular. This absolutely made my day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 - Inauguration Day - A Day of Mourning in America!

January 20, 2017. Inauguration Day. I have heard it may rain in Washington D.C. today. I hope so. It would really be quite appropriate -  a cold, steady, hard rain.

We are in mourning around here today. A certain American idea is dying a little bit today. Hopefully, only a little bit, but dying is dying.

We don't elect a Ruler in America. We elect a President. He (or she) is supposed to be a "servant of the people." Sometimes it works out that way, and sometimes not. It's a powerful position, and this will be the 45th person to fill the office.

I can't imagine a less deserving person to fill the office. As they say you can respect the office, without having to respect the person filling it. This particular man does not command respect. He has basically huffed & puffed his way into the job; insulting Americans of all genders, races, creeds, and colors. He has insulted legitimate American heroes - John Lewis (civil right's hero), John McCain (Vietnam POW), the Parents of a fallen Bronze Star Muslim American Soldier.

So I guess in that way, this new version of President is quite unique - he brings people together by insulting them! I believe the vast sea of humanity that has been insulted by this man shall unite! A Movement of the Insulted!

I refuse to say or write his name today. If I were to describe him I would use words like this: Confidence Man,  the Short-Fingered Vulgarian, Big Little Baby Man, a Foul-Mouthed Bully. Not a man inclined to work hard to earn our trust. Not exactly a uniting force for good.

So a new day dawns. It feels like death. A death sentence. As Dylan once sang: "They are selling postcards of the hanging..." 

I am usually, congenitally, of an optimistic frame of mind. Looking for the silver lining. So my silver lining: I don't think this new President will last. I expect him to implode. Probably sooner rather than later. 

I just hope as Dylan also sang in the "Day of the Locusts:" - "Well, I was praying the pieces wouldn't fall on me..."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Fear & Loathing in Washington D.C."

Holy Shite...

According to McClatchy DC: FBI, 5 Other Agencies Probe Possible Covert Kremlin Aid to Trump

FBI, CIA, NSA Treasury Dept, Justice Dept & Director of National Intelligence. The FBI got a secret warrant on Oct 15 to access bank records, payments and money transfers between Russia & U.S. Trump and his team are at the center of this investigation. 

This seems like blockbuster news. 

"Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said."

"The working group is scrutinizing the activities of a few Americans who were affiliated with Trump’s campaign or his business empire and of multiple individuals from Russia and other former Soviet nations who had similar connections, the sources said."

What are the penalties for colluding with a hostile foreign power to tamper with a U.S. Election? What did Trump know, and when did he know it? And what of the Trump/Putin connection? Will Trump be frog-marched in handcuffs from his own Inauguration? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Every one I know is pretty much freaking out..."

Every one I know is pretty much freaking out. Funny. Seems they are freaking out more than I am! Which has surprised me. If you read my posts over the last few months, you might think this new political era dawning has been an all-consuming obsession with me, and in one sense it's true, it is very much "top of mind," every day.

At the same time, I am spending lots of time writing songs, rehearsing with our band, recording music, playing shows, listening to music, doing the daily chores, sinking into good books, watching movies, and long-form cable series. I have become an avid Netflix user. I am filling my life up with my passionate diversions: life, music, love and creativity. 

But every time we go out and meet other people, it's clear that folks from all walks of life think that their America has taken a dark, terrible turn. Some are fretting, and some are almost resigned to a new darkly sad, politically-scary existence.

Maybe that's what's freaking me out about the people we meet who are freaking out. Folks we know are sort of accepting the new way, and acting as if we are all helpless, and "there's nothing we can do." And I am also realizing that I don't just live in a little progressive, liberal bubble - a good portion of the country is appalled and outraged, and befuddled that the Big Little Baby Man, Mr. Con Man will be taking the oath of office in a matter of days.

I suppose I am a bit more optimistic that this won't last. I am more defiant. I know that this is not normal. And quoting Jeff Bridges "The Dude" who was quoting GH Bush "This will not stand." 

Little Baby Man will be entering office with the lowest approval ratings in modern times. He has major ethical conflicts of interest, he is personally morally repugnant, has no idea what he doesn't know, doesn't seem to care about anyone or anything except his own ego and vanity, he has true legitimate enemies in Washington D.C. in Hollywood, New York, in the capitols of all our major allies around the world, all their intelligence services AND it looks like he has been compromised and is being manipulated by a hostile foreign power.

These are not ingredients for a good and long Presidency. I think the Fat Man is going down. Soon. In an early round. So my freak-out is leavened with healthy dose of the anticipated karma pay-back soon to come down!

Of course, I was one of those who never thought the man had a snowball's chance in hell of "winning" the job (always remember he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes), so I suppose I could be wrong. But everything I know tells me this man is a walking, talking disaster, and he is one wrong step from catastrophe, disaster and a swift and true justice. For sure!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Paul Krugman Says It Better Than I!

Paul Krugman of the NY Times says everything I've been trying to say over the last month or so. He says it much more eloquently and succinctly. "The Tainted Election." Maybe I should have just waited for him to write it all down in one place?

I am so happy we even have a Paul Krugman. If you have been paying attention, he is a powerful voice of reason with a great soapbox in the Times. He is not afraid to speak and write against "conventional wisdom," especially when that wisdom is pretty much bullshit.

Paul Krugman explains it all for us:

"The C.I.A., according to The Washington Post, has now determined that hackers working for the Russian government worked to tilt the 2016 election to Donald Trump. This has actually been obvious for months, but the agency was reluctant to state that conclusion before the election out of fear that it would be seen as taking a political role.

Meanwhile, the F.B.I. went public 10 days before the election, dominating headlines and TV coverage across the country with a letter strongly implying that it might be about to find damning new evidence against Hillary Clinton — when it turned out, literally, to have found nothing at all.

Did the combination of Russian and F.B.I. intervention swing the election? Yes. Mrs. Clinton lost three states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – by less than a percentage point, and Florida by only slightly more. If she had won any three of those states, she would be president-elect. Is there any reasonable doubt that Putin/Comey made the difference?

And it wouldn’t have been seen as a marginal victory, either. Even as it was, Mrs. Clinton received almost three million more votes than her opponent, giving her a popular margin close to that of George W. Bush in 2004.

So this was a tainted election. It was not, as far as we can tell, stolen in the sense that votes were counted wrong, and the result won’t be overturned. But the result was nonetheless illegitimate in important ways; the victor was rejected by the public, and won the Electoral College only thanks to foreign intervention and grotesquely inappropriate, partisan behavior on the part of domestic law enforcement."

Of course, there is more to the story now. Trump may actually be an agent of Russia.  As former Chess Champion and famous Russian Dissident (Yes, it's probably a good time to brush up on your Russian Dissidents), Gary Kasparov says on Twitter... 

Yes, and it seems that Mr. Trump is almost assuredly a Russian Asset. Witting or unwitting? If hard evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, or Trump's team and the Russians emerges, all hell will break loose. I mean, isn't that treason? 

Partisan gridlock or no partisan gridlock, treason kind of takes it all to a new level.

I am counting the days for the next shoe to drop! Oh yeah, and by the way, Trump is an illegitimate President. Not my President!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Walking Backwards & in Circles - A Sign of the Times?

Birds. We have birds. We live with birds. We are bird people. We have two cockatiels, two budgies, and we are "babysitting" 6 little finches (2 society finches and 4 zebra finches) for a few months for a family member.

Lots of tweeting and chattering around here. We love birds. Descendants of the dinosaurs don't you know? One of the cockatiels has lived with us for nearly 20 years. He is another essential family member. My best friend in the world.

One of the zebra finches has come down with a mystery illness. We put him in isolation next to the big cage for the finches. He can't hold his head up. He sits on the floor of the cage most of the day. It seems like he has some kind of paralysis or something.

Of course we took to the Google. We are thinking that he either badly bonked his head, or he has a nasty viral infection, or an inner ear problem. Supposedly pretty much untreatable. He can move around - he can twirl around in circles or walk backwards. He does eat. He is lively. I give him fresh water via an eyedropper frequently throughout the day.

We have decided to name him Beckett, after Samuel Beckett, the great Irish Playwright, who often wrote about characters dealing with impossible situations. So now our little Beckett has become a cause, a mission. Every day, we check in to see if little Beckett is still carrying on.

He has a buddy. Another little finch who looks like an unlikely combination of zebra & society finch. So he's a little hybrid bird, a boundary-crosser, we've named him Marley, after the great boundary-crossing musician Bob Marley.

So all day, little Marley looks over Beckett. They chit-chat back and forth with each other. It is a beautiful thing, two little birds communicating with each other in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

So, of course, Beckett has become sort of a symbol, or emblem of our times - spinning in circles, always going backwards.  Not sure, every day we look for signs that Beckett is getting better. Is he a bit stronger today? Eating more frequently with more gusto? Standing up a bit? Did he just fluff his feathers?

We take heart that he is eating, drinking water, breathing, talking to his buddy... one day... at a time... one more day... alive... maybe a bit stronger, right? Maybe? Maybe? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The U.S. Cannot Have a Russian Dupe or Asset in the White House. Not Acceptable!

The story isn't going away... instead, it is the story of our times...

U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump, compromised by Russian Intelligence. Vladimir Putin of Russia, conducts a hacking/disinformation campaign, and simultaneously sabotages the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and the Republican candidate Donald Trump. Russia undermines the 2016 U.S. Election and sows doubt and confusion about free and fair elections around the world.

Trump is to be sworn in on January 20, (will it really happen?), and becomes President under a massive black cloud of illegitimacy. The man who spent years questioning the legitimacy of President Barack Obama, (claiming he was not a U.S. born citizen, even though early on there was no doubt Obama was born in Hawaii),  enters office crippled with a brewing espionage scandal, major business conflicts, rumors of a sex tape and major financial crimes. Trump still defiantly refuses to release his tax returns, suggesting that there is incriminating evidence buried within. 

You hope that the New York Times and the Washington Post and all the major newspapers have investigative reporters on the case. You hope that the FBI and the CIA and the NSA are not compromised by ideology, and that they will diligently, doggedly search for the truth.

I don't know if it's encouraging or disheartening to realize that some of the best reporting and intelligence so far is coming from overseas.  First there was this report from Israel that U.S. Intelligence warned Israeli Intelligence not to share secrets with Trump and his team because they have been compromised by Russia.

And there is this excellent narrative from the Independent in the U.K. about Christopher Steele, the M16 British Agent who compiled the infamous dossier on Trump and Russia. Seems Steele believes that the FBI may have sat on the file and the investigation of Trump even as they tried hard to come up with something against Hillary Clinton. Very, very disturbing.

Still it's a great read. Why does it take a British newspaper to spell things out so clearly?

I am confident that even though we are in a hall of mirrors, the truth, or at least the gist of it will come out. Too many players now on the case. You would think that all the key Intelligence Services are trying to get to the bottom of things; so many of our allies worry about a Russia/America alliance. I expect the Israelis, the Germans, the French, the British Intelligence Services will all help uncover the truth.

Same thing with the major investigative reporting teams around the world. This will not stand. The U.S. cannot have a Russian Dupe or Asset in the White House. Not acceptable!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

So, It's Judgement Day, Every Day!

There is a war inside your heart, your mind. You hear a voice: "Nothing has changed. Nothing." You hear another contrary voice: "Everything has changed. Everything."

Really, you are caught in a net. A dream has died, it has vanished. A vision has been broken into pieces, disfigured beyond recognition. What you thought you knew turns out to be quite wrong. What you thought...

So now. What? 

Silence is not an option. Silence is acquiescence, assent. Silence is a cop-out. Being non-political or a-political is not an option. Or it's a totally unacceptable option because choosing not to choose is just another choice too. Whatever happens going forward is on all of us!

How "existential" - we are all responsible and guilty for all the choices we make, and those we don't make too; as individuals, as a society, as a country, as beings in the world. We are responsible for every damn little thing.

So it's Judgement Day, every day...

And we all must decide where do we stand, what do we say, what do we do?

Those who collaborate, enable, support the Despot will be judged harshly by the cold, dead, eyes of History.

You Little Pilgrim must stand with the Resistance, the Opposition. You must raise your voice, march, vote, refuse to live with the lie. You are now a Eternal Dissident. You must resist and oppose at every turn; in that way you will be judged a bit less harshly by the cold, dead, eyes of History.

Viva la Resistance... it's the only way forward...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Just the Tip of a Big Whomping Iceberg!

Yes, back to the intrigue...

What is unfolding? Maybe it's not so important what bodily fluids Trump may or may not have exchanged with prostitutes at a room in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow back around the Miss Universe pageant a couple years ago.

Except, of course, maybe it's a bit of "leverage" the Russians would want to use to motivate, to extort Trump.

Maybe it's just as important to follow the money and influence that may or may not have been exchanged with Russian Oligarchs, the Russian Mob, and Russia's very own Tinpot Despot. Trump's team is made up of some sordid, shady characters who seem to have deep ties to a hostile foreign power!

Maybe this flood of stories hitting all the newspapers and cable tv outlets is just the tip of big whomping iceberg?

I am confident we will find out. It's all too juicy of a story to go away. The little political narrative of the improbable new Maverick coming to shake up Washington D.C. has been erased. Blotted out. Not the story!

Now we have our very own real-life "Manchurian Candidate."   And as Josh Marshall says it's also a bit of a "Hall of Mirrors:" - "Everything we are hearing is disjointed, half-contradictory, actions are taken that have no clear rationale or explanation behind them. It is not just troubling. Much of it simply doesn't fit together."

And there's a new twist, Israel's largest daily newspaper is reporting that: U.S. Intel Sources Warn Israel Against Sharing Secrets with Trump.

Holy Shite! This is not normal...

"The Americans implied that their Israeli colleagues should “be careful” as of January 20, Trump’s inauguration date, when transferring intelligence information to the White House and to the National Security Council (NSC), which is subject to the president. According to the Israelis who were present in the meeting, the Americans recommended that until it is made clear that Trump is not inappropriately connected to Russia and is not being extorted – Israel should avoid revealing sensitive sources to administration officials for fear the information would reach the Iranians."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Barack Hussein Obama - A Balm for Our Weary, Battered Psyches and Souls...

Let's take a short break from Big Little Baby-Man and "cloud cuckoo land." I don't really understand what's happening. It's all getting curiouser and curiouser. Something very weird & disturbing is unfolding. Something terrible has happened, and someone terrible has been elevated before us, a man unworthy & unsavory, a disgrace, an abomination, a walking car crash. 

In the meantime, I'd like to turn to Barack Hussein Obama. If you haven't done so already, please watch his farewell address: 51 minutes, 25 seconds of goodness. It will soothe your weary, battered psyche & soul. 

What to say about this man? I do love him. I love who is, what he represents, the way he acts and presents himself to the world. To me he truly embodies the best of America. A mix of White & Black. A true "boundary-crosser." I think of other world-shaking boundary-crossers like him and can only come up with the mind-blowing and unlikely musical hybrids -  Bob Marley & Jimi Hendrix - unique Human cocktails.

Obama's own personal history is so unique, he can not be put in a simple category. His Political Enemies couldn't really take on the man, they needed to invent another character all together; they tried to paint him as a radical, Kenyan, Socialist, not American-Made, a secret Muslim & Liberal out to destroy the U.S.

So absurd.

Obama has never played the partisan politics game. Maybe sometimes to his detriment. He always "went high, when they went low." Which means some times you do the right thing and lose. But Obama is always playing "the long game," and you can see he believes that reason, truth, honesty, virtue & hard work will pay off in the long run and move us forward.

So inspiring. So powerful. A truly beautiful man. I think of words and phrases to describe him: classy, eloquent, inspiring, brilliant, compassionate, honest, full of grace, hard-working, forgiving, positive, radiant, illuminating, enlightened, soulful, funny, American, the best of us, one of our better angels, a man, a good man, a really, really good man. 

I am, we are all, lucky to have seen and heard this man in real-time. I wish him the best. We need him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

British & U.S. Intelligence: Mr. Big Little Baby-Man May have Some Serious Kinks, and Mr. Putin May Have Video!

Okay. So I guess we have been waiting for the "other shoe to drop" on Trump. BuzzFeed News has just dropped a big ole shoe: "Reports Allege Trump Deep Ties to Russia!"  These reports come from British Intelligence.

Trump took to Twitter to furiously deny everything, but I guess, based on our past experience with the serial lying Mr. Little Baby-Man, his furious denials probably means is there is something to the reports. Where there is smoke there is fire!

And Kevin Drum tells us that U.S. Intelligence believes "Evidence of Trump-Russia Ties Might Be Credible." So yes, okay, but where is the meat in this sandwich? Is it all bread, and no baloney?

No, indeed there is some credible baloney appended to the reports. Supposedly Mr. Putin has some "compromising material" on Mr. Little Baby-Man, and it seems Mr. Little Baby-Man may have some serious kinks. Does Putin have any of this on video-tape?  Enquiring Minds want to know. 

You may ask "What kind of kinks?" Word is: "Personal perversion!" "Golden Showers!" "Sex Parties!"

If a hostile foreign government can black-mail our President-Elect, can he really be sworn in on January 20? What are the odds against? I'm thinking there is a good chance suddenly Mr. Little Big Baby-Man decides he needs to step down to spend more time with his family!

Yes, we have entered Weirds-ville. Getting weirder by the moment!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Village Idiot Experiment: Every Village has it's Village Idiot!

Yesterday's post about Meryl Streep's speech, and the reaction to it, (see previous post), started me thinking about the debate about "Who are the real Americans?" Maybe, really, a silly, pointless question.

You would think the Native American Indians would win that debate hands down, but off course they were conquered, massacred and shoved off to reservations. Not in the conversation.

There is this idea that "real Americans" live in the heartland. They live in small towns. Rural places. They are those left behind by the new economy. They are distinctly not multi-cultural or open-minded. Also, of course, they are distinctly white.

They are supposedly tired of being "politically correct," which seems to mean they want to be free to speak openly about their racism, sexism & xenophobia. They don't like all those elitists in Hollywood & New York talking down to them.

So when a wealthy, successful, highly-rewarded Hollywood actress dares to speak, lots of those real Americans, and their Little Baby Man leader shout her down. Pretty ridiculous. Especially when her speech was basically about common decency, and seeking the truth. Pretty damn uncontroversial.

So yes, let us not forget, Meryl Streep is a real American too. And Bruce Springsteen, and Beyonce, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Lebron James.  These are all successful folks who have a social and political conscience. I, for one, am happy and inspired that they choose to speak their minds in the public space. They are using their celebrity to further their vision for America. How American.

They have just as much a right to speak their minds as a Celebrity Reality TV Guy.

They are just as real as Trump and his supporters. It truly does take a village. In this case of course, Trump is playing the Village Idiot, and he is rallying his rabid mob around him trying to shout down everyone else. Of course, it's a rare thing when you make the Village Idiot the leader of the pack, but we have entered weirds-ville. Let's call it the Village Idiot Experiment!

It won't work. Really. For sure. American is too big, too complex, made up of way too many races, ethnicities and sensibilities to be reduced to one imbecile thing.

There is room enough for all of us. The main thing, we all need to be engaged, with eyes open. We can not let the loud know-nothings voices, drown out the soft know-somethings. That's Un-American!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Meryl Streep Speaks the Truth About the Little Baby-Man!

Yes. Of course. I have always loved Meryl Streep. One of our great actresses. An artist. Complete. And her speech at the Golden Globes ripping into Trump is pitch-perfect, essential. And it takes guts to stand up on a stage and challenge the Little Baby-Man at this juncture. Thank you Meryl Streep! Our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you...

"But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. O.K., go on with it.

O.K., this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth." - Meryl Streep

BTW - The Little Baby-Man later took to Twitter to deny that he made fun of a disabled reporter. Unfortunately for him it is on videotape. It's amazing how that Little Baby-Man can lie so brazenly. He wants to tell us: "Don't believe what you see. Don't believe what I said yesterday. Just take me at my word today." Ridiculous Little Baby-Man!

BTW #2 - Seems Trump's spokeswoman, Kelly Anne Conway is really taking to her job of defending the indefensible"You always want to go by what comes out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart."

Hah! That's a good one. Don't judge the man by what he says or does, judge him on what Kelly Anne tells us is "in his heart." Yikes! They really must think we are all gullible little sheep.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

That, in the end, is always the killer...

Karma. "Ethical consequences." And the "nature of a person's next existence."

Right. So Benjamin Netanyahu has been riding high in Israel for quite a while. Allowing/encouraging the building of settlements in the Occupied Territories. Seemingly putting off a peaceful solution with the Palestinians to another time and place in a galaxy far away. Treating Obama and Kerry with total disdain. Seems like the karma-train is loaded and ready to roll.

Is his next existence coming now?

Sounds like a major corruption scandal is brewing for Mr. High-Flying Guy. You wonder if finally everything is gonna crash down around him? This sounds pretty serious: "a series of tapes in which the prime minister’s own voice is heard."

That, in the end, is always the killer, "the harder they come, the harder they fall... one and all..."

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A "BFD." No Way Around It!

The New York Times tweeted this yesterday afternoon... 

I think this is a BFD (big fucking deal)! No way around it. If it's to be believed, then, well, yes, not only did Trump lose the Popular Vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes, and sneaked in via the Electoral College - but Putin helped him do it. 

Does it "delegitimize" his win?! Yep. For sure. Is it bad for America? Yep. For sure. 

Should we be surprised that Trump will madly spin this info? Nope.

You can read the declassified Intelligence Report here. This "annotated" version with notes and clarifications is a really helpful and informative read. Also Zach Beauchamp, who has emerged as a tremendous resource for me over at Vox, has a nice recap of the report.

So yes, if all this is true, it's a bombshell. Alternatively, if it's just an elaborate hit-job by U.S. Intelligence on the incoming President, well, then, maybe, that's an even bigger bombshell.

Is it really possible that "no drama" Obama would endorse and release this if he thought it was a lie? Not on your fucking life!

I think our incoming President is finding out that soon he will not be controlling the narrative. Maybe tweeting in the middle of the night has worked wonders during the election and pre-inaguration period, but soon, he will learn the lesson that all other Presidents had to learn - yes, being President is a position of power, but reality  is bigger and deeper and more complicated than one man's little story.

Reality bites deep and hard. Never fails.

BTW - I do think this is the way the New York Times screams that something really important went down, Saturday's front page...

Friday, January 06, 2017

"No to the Tin-Pot Despot!"

When the Tin-pot, Despot comes to town, well, you have to speak up, right?! I suppose it's the least a thinking, feeling, engaged, politically & culturally aware person can do. 

There is no room for cowardice. 

Things have taken a terrible turn. And silence is not an option. So yes, I am all for Democrats logging a formal challenge to Trump's Electoral College Victory. 

There is nothing wrong with raising the challenge. Even if they and you (and I), know that it is "symbolic" or unlikely to succeed. 

It turns out usually the greatest causes are the ones unlikely to succeed. There is nothing wrong with speaking the truth, and failing. It happens all the time. As they say, "When they go low, we go high." Even if that means we lose some of the time.

Anyway, suddenly Rep. Ed Perlmutter is now my new political hero, here is his statement:

"This is not about trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming President," he said. "This is about the fact that our liberty, freedom and democracy were compromised by Russia’s intrusion into America’s election. We cannot allow a foreign nation to ever influence our elections because it harms our liberty, freedom and independence. This is bigger than just one election, and for the sake of our democracy, we must remain vigilant."

Amen, brother. Although, in my humble opinion, stopping the Little Baby-Man from becoming President would be just the ticket. A collateral win. Just saying...

BTW - "Senior government officials" in Russia celebrated when Trump won the election... something smells really, really rotten  here, fishy, like a complete rotted fish carcass left too long in the midday sun... phew!

I say, "No to the Tin-Pot Despot!"

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Yes, We Have Entered Weirds-Ville!

Yes, one of the over-arching themes around here lately is that we have entered some kind of "Weirds-Ville." The whole election cycle was strange, odd, anti-democratic, debilitating, dehumanizing, and unappealing.

And the result was less than edifying. To say the least.

And it seems our political polarization & dysfunction are an existential threat to our Democracy.  I am sure Karl Marx has a theory for it all. Don't have the time to search for it. Probably something to do with the Decline of the West, late-stage Capitalism, and blindness and laziness of the Human Herd. Okay yeah, right. But we do have Cheeseburgers and Beyonce!

I am truly baffled and troubled by Trump's strange new alliance with Putin/Russia/Wikileaks/Julian Assange.   I wonder is Trump such a slave to his own needy Ego that he just can't stomach the idea that Russia may have helped him get elected, and in that way delegitimized his Presidency at the same time?

You'd think he could take the ego-hit and move on. It's just "weirds-ville" when the President-Elect basically goes to battle with the current sitting President, the CIA, the FBI over the Russian hacking story.

So that leads me to think there is a deeper truth buried in all of this, and I wonder, what is Trump's worry? What is he hiding? Is he really just a cringing little Baby-Man? Does he really only want to hear flattering things about himself? Will he always fly off the handle if he hears something he doesn't want to hear? 

Does the man have any clue how all of this looks to the bigger world? Does he care? I am left with the theory that Putin has dirty pictures, or videos of Trump. Or there is a trail of dirty money from Russian Oligarchs or Mobsters that leads right to Trump Tower.

And if any of this is true, does Trump really think he can bluff his way through it all? I do think there is a monster story/scandal brewing under the surface, and I wonder how long it will take to unravel and roll out... yes, we have entered Weirds-Ville...

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

A Sick, Twisted, Solitaire!

Okay. Something clicked for me yesterday. You know how you're at a party, and it's really out of control, vodka is flowing, people are smoking, chitter-chattering, the music is loud, and someone has started a poker game in the kitchen? You're high, woozy, and everything seems a bit out of focus.

And you decide to sit down to play. And the guy running the poker game declares that for this round there are multiple Jokers in the deck, and 2's, 5's and 7's are wild, and the nickels are now dimes, dimes are quarters, and one dollar bills are fives.

And that Dude starts to deal and chatter and squawk as he tosses cards on the table. And your head is spinning, and it's sort of hard to follow along, and you think maybe the Dealer is insane. That's the new Washington D.C. 

A place where Democrats despise the man who will be running the game, and Republicans are actually afraid of the guy. They will do anything to stay in his favor. Oh, there are a few Republicans who think they can play along, use the guy for their own purposes, but really this guy is playing a game for one. All for one. Everyone thinks they're playing some kind of mad Poker. But really it's a sick, twisted game of Solitaire.

You know this guy, the new dealer in town, is just like this guy... except, without the charisma, the fashion sense, the humor and the malevolent genius...

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Full-On Creep is Full-On Display!

One other difference between Nixon & Trump (see previous post) - we didn't know that Nixon was a paranoid, vindictive, alcoholic, madman, creep with an "enemies list" until after his landslide win in 1972, the Watergate scandal rolled out, and we finally got to listen to the tapes. We may have suspected all of the above, and certainly that was the gist of HST's reporting, but Nixon hid behind a mask of pragmatism and competence. The reality of Nixon's venality outstripped HST's imaginings.

Not so for Trump. Every bad quality he possesses has been on grand display from the first. We know that Trump sees enemies in every corner (these "enemies" are just average Americans who don't support him), and he even tweets about them“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”

Not so cool. Not so funny. Not so normal. The full-on creep is full-on display! Remember how Obama told us there is no Red America, No Blue America, that he was President for all of us. Big difference right there.

Let's hear it from that other Boss, Bruce Springsteen:  “I’ve felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now,” he said. “It’s as simple as the fear of, is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job? Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in the position of such responsibility? I think he’s going to make as big a mess as he can, and I don’t know what that’s going to mean,” he continued, “but we’ll find out shortly.”

“When you let that genie out of the bottle — bigotry, racism, intolerance… they don’t go back in the bottle that easily if they go back in at all,” he said. “Whether it’s a rise in hate crimes, people feeling they have license to speak and behave in ways that previously were considered un-American and are un-American. That’s what he’s appealing to. My fears are that those things find a place in ordinary, civil society.”

By the way, Sam Wang over at Princeton Election Consortium tells us it is "polarization" between Democrats & Republicans that has destroyed our abilities to make rational distinctions. Folks are so blinded by political polarization that many of our citizens thought that Hillary Clinton was worse, or at least no better than Trump. They can't see the difference! Which from my perspective, over on the Left side of the equation, is totally, completely ridiculous.

And maybe the danger now is that Trump has such lowered expectations that whatever havoc he wreaks is already being integrated in our worldview. Could this be true: "Today, majorities of Americans do not express confidence in Trump’s ability to prevent major scandals, use military force wisely, or handle an international crisis. Trump’s extreme low scores in these domains are concerning for the coming year."

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