Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Continued Stray Thoughts on the Current Political Climate

With the cascade of stupid, immoral, illegal, subversive, un-American, and possibly treasonous things emitted by der Sturmtrumper, his pet Congress, his supporters, and his administration reaching levels that make it nearly impossible for any sane person to keep up with, I’ve started just keeping a running list of observations on the matter.  Every time the list reaches critical mass, I suppose I’ll post it and start a new one.  Can’t hurt; might help.  Here’s the most recent list:

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1. I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, and cronies are the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to malevolent stupidity and catastrophically short-sighted power-hungry subversion, so there’s never a shortage of material whenever one chooses to begin paying attention again.

2. So the GOP has shoved Justice Gorsuch down the collective throats of the nation.  Let me be clear about this – the Supreme Court has been vandalized.  That seat belongs to Merrick Garland, a Supreme Court nominee who – for the first time in American history for a nominee who was not withdrawn by the president – was not even granted a hearing, let alone a vote.  Gorsuch’s entire nomination was illegitimate, and the fact that he sits on the Court today is a sign that the GOP cares nothing about the Constitution, the norms of civilized society, or anything other than raw power and partisan advantage.  Every GOP Senator who had any part to play in this should be removed from office, preferably on a rail, and forced to read The Federalist Papers until they have it entirely memorized and can recite it, verbatim, from memory, in a public forum.  All of it.

3. The modern Republican Party: above the law and beneath contempt.  But then this is a party whose standard approach for the last couple of decades has been that if they can’t win fair, they will change the rules until they do win.  Voter suppression.  Gerrymandering on a national scale, at levels so brazen and arrogant as to be without precedent.  Midnight legislation sessions where the opposition isn’t notified of bills or even the fact of the session itself.  Vandalizing the Supreme Court, as above.  Remember, kiddies – rules are for other people, not Republicans.

4. So after years – literally years – of der Sturmtrumper saying we should stay out of Syria, that Syria was not our fight, that Obama was some kind of idiot for even considering getting into that quagmire, and of the GOP Congress refusing even to think about it and rejecting calls to do something that might have actually prevented this madness when it was still feasible to have any positive impact whatsoever, we’re throwing random cruise missiles into that country in order to bounce the rubble a bit.  It’s kind of sad when Wag the Dog turns out to be so utterly prescient, but then we live in an era where The Onion is hard news and Fox “News” is black comedy, so there’s that.

5. Apparently it took the Syrians almost a full day to put that airport back into operation, so we can count that mission as being about as successful as most of der Sturmtrumper’s initiatives.  Just for perspective, 59 Tomahawk missiles at about $1.1 million apiece (the mid-range of the figures I’ve seen) comes to just about $65 million, not including the cost of actually launching the attack.  I wonder how many Meals on Wheels we could have purchased for that 24-hour pause in Syrian airstrikes.  This is what happens when you have amateurs in charge.  If you’re going to employ the resources of the United States military, the deadliest and most effective combat force in the world at the moment, you need to know what you want to accomplish, how you plan to accomplish it, and what you will do once you have accomplished it.  This “make shit go boom!  make uninformed voters feel good!” approach is just nonsense.

6. “I think we’ve had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency,” said der Sturmtrumper, 11 weeks after he was inaugurated.

7. How animalistic do you have to be to be afraid of having a meal with a friend of the opposite gender?  The message that Mike Pence is getting across here is that he views women as purely sexual objects whose entire purpose is to be the objects of his hormonal attention, and he wants us to think he is virtuous for not putting himself into that situation.  Hogwash.  Maybe if he started viewing women as Actual Human Beings, with ideas and interests entirely separate from his penis, he would discover that such meals are both appropriate and rewarding.  I have a great many female friends, and I enjoy their company because they are interesting and worthwhile human beings.  Mr. Pence needs to grow up.

8. The other problem with Pence’s position is that it effectively shuts out an entire gender from consideration for positions, promotions, or contributions to the republic.  If you’re that much of a middle-school boy that you can’t even talk to girls, you’re not going to hire them or listen to them.  You could not ask for a better summation of the modern Republican Party’s attitudes toward women.

9. “Those who ignore history are condemned to retweet it.”  (David Brooks)

10. Out here in the hinterlands, many of the public school districts in southern Wisconsin were closed this past Friday because some white male domestic terrorist (Query: is it terrorism if the perpetrator is a white male?  Discuss) knocked off a gun shop, stole more than a dozen high-end firearms, mailed a 161pp manifesto to der Sturmtrumper, and threatened to “shoot up a school.”  Meanwhile, the Wisconsin GOP has introduced bills into the legislature this year to allow people to carry guns without training or permits, and to allow them to carry those guns onto school grounds without notifying the schools or the police.  Can we just cut to the chase and call the GOP the Party of Terrorism now?

11. Although, let’s be real here.  One more asshole with a grudge and an arsenal who threatens to murder the innocent over some imaginary grievance in order to make up for his many shortcomings?  In the United States we call that “Tuesday.”  Thanks, NRA!

12. Apparently the Koch Brothers have been replaced by Robert Mercer in the coveted role of “Shadowy Right-Wing Billionaire(s) Pulling the Strings of the GOP.”  One wonders how they will take this demotion.  I’m hoping for platinum-alloy dueling pistols at three paces.  Even the solid gold bullets they will no doubt use could do damage at that distance.  Or perhaps they’ll just throw poor people at each other using trebuchets.  They could sell tickets.

13. And while they’re at it, maybe they can divvy out the other members of der Sturmtrumper’s team to each side as well, and make it a pitched battle.  I’d pay money to see that.

14. Have you ever listened to Sean Spicer and wondered whether he believes anything he says or if he actually knows that everything that falls out of his mouth could be used to fertilize crops?  Does he even understand that there’s a distinction to be made here?  Does he think that it doesn’t matter because the people who support der Sturmtrumper can’t be bothered to care one way or the other?  Enquiring minds want to know.

15. Seriously – I have no idea what he was trying to do with his defense of Hitler or his trying to make Assad seem worse than Hitler (both of which are ludicrous positions) or whatever that was, and I strongly suspect that neither does he.  All I do know is that he managed to enrage pretty much everyone with more than six working brain cells while not actually accomplishing his mission in any substantive way.  And if that isn’t a perfect symbol for the Sturmtrumper Administration, what is?

16. Our Confederate Attorney General wants to bring back the War on Drugs – an open-ended conflict against a poorly defined enemy with no clear vision of what victory will look like, very much like the Wars on Terror and Poverty, and thus similarly doomed.  Of course the War on Drugs did do a bang-up job of putting a whole lot of poor dark-skinned people in jail and then denying them the right to vote once they got out, so I suppose it fits pretty well with the overall GOP sensibility.

17. The civil war within the GOP over who gets to own the slow-motion train wreck of der Sturmtrumper’s administration is one of the most grimly amusing things I have ever witnessed.  What do you call it when a bus half full of white nationalist alt-right neo-Nazis and half full of wealthy right-wing libertarian corporate apologists drives full speed over a cliff?  2017!

10 comments:

LucyInDisguise said...

11. Wednesday, actually. Tuesdays are exclusively for white extremists focused on LGBTQ issues, remember? Thursdays are all about abortion clinics. Jeez. You're a Professional Historian! Can't you keep these things straight?

14., 15.: Rachel absolutely eviscerated him last night: https://youtu.be/8iPQ9ZQvuns
I laughed. I cried. I giggled. I sobbed. I committed Seppuku. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku ]
(Not really. At least, not yet. Near as I can tell, it is reserved to the Samurai. Just my luck, wouldn'tchaknow.)

17. We can only hope for 2017 at this point. Preferably prior to Easter. We could even hope that the reservation noted above will be lifted in time for the aforementioned bus passengers to engage in the ritual before striking anything valuable. Like the rocks at the bottom of the aforementioned cliff, mayhap?

Lucy

LucyInDisguise said...

Addition thought on terrorism (yeah, I know, this ain't about terrorism per se, but humor me a little 'cause this is at least pertinent):

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."
Kurt Vonnegut

Lucy

David said...

I love that Vonnegut quote. :) It pains me that so many of my students have never even heard of him, let alone ready any of his books.

I remember those people when they literally didn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain, and now they are captains of industry and government, and still I think they'd do better than the current administration.

Wednesday? Thursday? How come I never get the memos? I am so, so out of the loop!

(And the dirty little secret about historians is that we really aren't all that good with dates - I don't even ask for them on my exams. I do ask for order - "Which came third?" - because that forces students to put together a coherent story based on the evidence, but dates? That's why God made reference books.)

LucyInDisguise said...

Thor.

Giver of calendars.

(Or was that colanders - never could keep that Norse mythology straight ...)

And, who said anything about dates? Figs? maybe. Days of the week, probably. Prunes? of necessity. Dates? No friggin' way.

Lucy

David said...

I'm rereading Neil Gaiman's American Gods right now. I'm pretty sure the calendar thing must have been Loki.

Also the colander thing.

LucyInDisguise said...

Touché.

Or Toucan.

Whatever.

Lucy

Julie M said...

I enjoy the back and forth between you and Lucy almost as much as I do your posts.

Are you going to watch American Gods when it comes out? I can't decide if I want to or not, I usually prefer the written word. I keep thinking it's time to reread American Gods, but my TBR pile is too big now.

Have a wonderful egg day!

LucyInDisguise said...

Nice to be noticed from time to time ...

Watch out for rabid bunnies.

Lucy

David said...

@Lucy - you watch, at this rate I'm going to have to cut you in for a share of the profits here. Of course, mathematically you have already been given that share, but it's the principle of the thing.

@Julie - I will probably try to watch it, though my track record for watching TV is pretty poor these days. It's why I reread the book, after all. Now that I'm done I may read Anansi Boys, since they're kind of a set.

And a happy Easter to you both, whether you celebrate it or not - no reason not to have a good day, I think. :)

LucyInDisguise said...

I may have mentioned in the past that we'd have to stop meeting like this on-account-a 'cause peeplezz would start to talk ... I rest my case.

Catch on the easter post. Got some serious issues with that ...

Lucy