Friday, April 21, 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:


1. Anyone who doesn’t actually know what country he has just ordered bombed should not be allowed to order countries to be bombed.  This goes double if chocolate cake is mentioned anywhere in the reveal.

2. Way down in Alabama (“Boldly striding forward into the 13th century!”) the GOP has apparently voted to allow churches to create their own police forces, complete with all of the statutory enforcement power of the Actual Police.  Leaving aside the obvious problems with this as far as the separation of church and state are concerned – the GOP has made it fairly clear that they support theocracy for white evangelical Protestants, and the Constitution and the Founders be damned – there is also the question of what, precisely, a modern nation state is.  One of the quintessential features of a modern nation state is that it reserves both institutional violence (military and police forces) and justice (police and courts) to the central government rather than parsing them out to private militias or vigilantes.  It is one thing to have a private security firm to patrol and turn over alleged violators to the state for action.  It is quite another to allow privilege – “private law” – in its rawest form to be given to non-state actors.  It is also of a piece with the GOP’s continued refusal to address, let alone solve, the irresponsible proliferation of high-powered weaponry in this country, of course, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at this usurpation.  It’s not a good sign for the future of the republic, though.

3. Apparently der Sturmtrumper is so desperate to distract the nation from the ever-tightening noose of his Russian collusion that he is seriously working to get us into a war in Korea.  Because that went so well the first time, even before the North Koreans acquired nuclear weapons.  There must be a whole lot of meat in that Russian thing for him to go to these lengths.

4. If you tell me you are a Christian and then tell me you voted for the GOP in any election in the last decade, I will know you for the Pharisee you are. 

5. Like most thin-skinned authoritarians, der Sturmtrumper isn’t a great fan of protests.  They do tend to highlight the criminal and/or merely immoral things he is up to, and that is just not good for business.  Unfortunately the Founding Fathers put that right into the Constitution – a document der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, and cronies really ought to read someday – so what he is or is not a fan of is irrelevant. 

6. Of course, he could just do what every other president and presidential nominee has done for decades now and release his tax returns to the general public – we are, after all, his boss – and bring that particular protest to an end.  That would require transparency, however, and that’s not something that thin-skinned authoritarians are noted for either.

7. And on that note, is anyone surprised at der Sturmtrumper’s decision to withhold the visitor logs to the White House from public view?  Makes you wonder who’s coming to visit, doesn’t it?

8. So according to Business Insider, this will be a year for “staggering” numbers of retail bankruptcies.  And why this is considered news is an interesting question.  Wal-Mart was reporting years ago that their customers were running out of money at the end of the month, and that hasn’t changed.  This is what happens when you have people with a fanatically ideological commitment to supply-side economics imposing their will on a demand-side economy.  The net effect of that is to take wealth out of the hands of the poor and middle class and give it to the already wealthy who, not being stupid, just hoard it since there is no point building factories or hiring people to make things that nobody can afford to buy.  In other words, you get the Kansas Miracle, currently making that state an economic and societal basket case, also now in its fifth year here in Wisconsin and, despite a moderate slackening of pace during the Obama years, barreling down the national pike to your town courtesy of the GOP Congress even as I type.  Say it with me, folks: supply-side economics does not work in a demand-side economy.  Never has.  Never will.  The fact that there is an entire party dedicated to this kind of rapacious plundering of the majority and it hasn’t been lined up against a wall come the revolution is nothing short of astonishing, though probably for the best as far as peace and stability are concerned.  The signal achievement of the modern American right wing has been to convince 47% of the American people that slitting their own economic throats is their patriotic duty.

9. Not surprisingly, thanks to a steady diet of these policies since 1980 – a diet only partially reversed by the Clinton Administration in the 1990s and barely slowed under Obama thanks to the rigidly partisan fanaticism of the 21st-century GOP controlling Congress for much of his administration – we are now at a level of economic inequality that we have not seen since 1929.  That didn’t end well the first time.  It won’t end well this time either.  Remember folks – when the poor have nothing left to eat, they will eat the rich.  I don’t advocate this.  I merely predict it.

10. How exactly do you lose something as big as an aircraft carrier?  Also, isn’t the front end of one of those things fairly easy to distinguish from the back, so you can tell which way it’s headed?  This is what happens when you elect amateurs and ideologues instead of qualified people.

11. Remember when it was the North Korean leadership that was unstable, authoritarian, and a threat to world peace?  Good times, man.

12. Wouldn’t it be nice if I were actually wrong about all this?  That der Sturmtrumper and his minions, lackeys, and cronies were actually doing all this as a ruse to distract from their sneaky competence and how the US will see a new golden age of equality, leadership, and prosperity when all is said and done?  Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.  But you have to admit it would be nice.

13. Oh, who am I kidding?  When people show you who they are, you should believe them.  The modern GOP has spent the last quarter century conclusively demonstrating that it is a cesspit of greed, cruelty, misogyny, hatred, rigid authoritarianism, ideological blindness, and aggressive stupidity all dressed up in expensive suits and a thick layer of blasphemy.  I do miss having opponents I could disagree with and not fear for the survival of the republic.

14. Well, add South Korea to the list of allies der Sturmtrumper has managed to alienate – and you have to admit it’s pretty impressive to be at odds with both Koreas at once.  That takes talent.  It’s hard to be this staggeringly incompetent by random chance.  At this rate we’ll be back to isolationism and reduced to a backwater in world affairs by the end of the year.  This is of course about where we were in 1875, so at least it’s consistent with the GOP domestic policy agenda that way.

15. We’re now roughly at the 100-day mark in this administration, and there remain hundreds of Senate-confirmed offices left to fill.  You can take this as a sign of the grotesque levels of incompetence displayed in most areas of der Sturmtrumper’s administration, or you can take it as a power grab, since those functions are increasingly being exercised by family members or directly by 45.  Or both, really.  Why choose?

16. Our Confederate Attorney General is apparently flummoxed at the idea that Hawaii is an actual state.  How, he asks, could a judge on “an island in the Pacific” overrule der Sturmtrumper?  Dude, read the Constitution, learn some post-1865 history, count the stars on the American flag that you claim to worship in your idolatrous and vapid way, count the islands that make up Hawaii while you’re at it (hint: more than one), and try not to make such an utter ass of yourself next time.  Remember folks – this is the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.  Read it and weep.

17. Closer to home, the Wisconsin GOP is working feverishly to make judge-purchasing legal by getting rid of a law requiring judges with obvious conflicts of interests such as, oh, being on the receiving end of massive amounts of cold hard cash from defendants, to recuse themselves from those cases.  Because justice is simply another commodity for the GOP, just like health care – something the rich can buy and the poor will never have access to – and why this even surprises me beyond the sheer brazen arrogance of it I cannot tell you.

18. Canada too?  My, my, but der Sturmtrumper is determined to piss off and/or piss on every single one of our allies, isn’t he?  Prepare to be invaded by angry moose wielding hockey sticks, my fellow Americans.  But if you think that’s laughable, just remember – the last time the US tried to invade Canada we got our ass handed to us.

19. Apparently Wisconsin’s own Senator Ron Johnson – the Dumbest Man in the Legislature now that Rick Santorum has retired – thought he could get away with an easy time in front of high school students in Madison after hiding from his constituents for the last few months.  And, predictably, he got fried.  They had real, substantive questions.  They pressed him for answers when he tried to give them party line bullshit.  And how did he respond?  He lied to them, he ducked questions, and he generally acquitted himself with all of the aplomb of an airsick ferret.  Score one for the youth of America.

20. Number of times President Obama went golfing in his first three months in office: 0.  Number of days Obama spent at a golf course overall during his first three months in office: 0.  Number of times the current occupant of the Oval Office has gone golfing in his first three months in office: 13.  Number of days said occupant spent at a golf course during his first three months in office: 19.  Percentage of Trump voters who think Obama spent more time at the golf course than their candidate: 53.  It must be nice to live in a hermetically sealed bubble where truth is whatever is most convenient for your prejudices.

21. For comparison, Bill Clinton spent 3 days on golf courses during his first three months, while George W. Bush spent 0.  Just another reminder that the current administration is Not Normal.

22. I wish we had a sane government I could ignore and then write about other things.  I could use the break.  And so could we all.


Patrick said...

I see your Ron Johnson, and I'll raise you a Louie Gohmert.

Howdy from Texas!

David said...

And howdy back! :)

They do give us a wealth of choices for that title, don't they?

LucyInDisguise said...

Sorry I'm late, again. Getting to be a bad habit of mine. Let's get started, shall we?

1. Or President, for that matter. QED

2. A significant percentage of Christians seem to be entirely unhappy unless they have complete control over their environment - much to the chagrin of those of us who are not Christians.

4. I had a long response all typed up for this - all about Christ and the Pharisees. Decided not to go there. [Wholly inappropriate and way to snarky for a nice family oriented site such as yours. :) See number 2 above.] [[Also, it was running longer than your post, so there is that, too.]]

9. I would like to point out that Wally World IS the leading cause of people running out of money before the end of the month. Mostly, their employees …

10. How exactly do you lose something as big as an aircraft carrier? I will presume this to be a rhetorical question, as you also suggested the proper answer

12. [snark alert:] NO. I don’t have to admit anything. Were this true, it would be akin to playing a practical joke resulting in a massive heart attack and death. Even in hindsight, it would not be at all humorous. And the damage to the Republic would (will) take decades to repair. [/snark]

14. No talent at all required. If you play slot machines long enough, eventually you will hit the $10,000 jackpot. It will cost you about $25,000 to do that - but that is not talent, just totally random stupidity. I mean, chance. Definitely NOT talent.

18. ”Prepare to be invaded by angry moose wielding hockey sticks…: This hurt my brain.

First, I envisioned a herd of hockey sticks wielding angry moose. This gave me a 15 minute case of the giggles.

I had to turn this around by substituting man and knife as items wielded and being wielded. Still, I’m not entirely certain that this sentence is properly constructed, but am unwilling to expend the time or effort to diagram it.

And, no, I never claimed my sentence structure to be perfect (or even correct, for that matter), just noting something odd about that sentence. BTW, I favor the herd of hockey sticks iteration - angry moose are a formidable weapon.

And, I totally welcome our new Angry Moose overlords. (Absolutely HAS to be an improvement over the current overlords. And more intelligent, too.)

19. The video of that encounter is on youtube. AWESOME!

22. We don’t get no break - y should U?

Other than that, I got nuthin’ to contribute. Again.


David said...

Lucy, for someone who says they've got nothing to contribute, you sure do make the place a whole lot more interesting. :)

I went back and forth on how to construct that moose/hockey stick sentence, notably whether there should be a comma in there somewhere to clarify it, and then I decided I was WAY overthinking it and either way it was funny. Glad it gave you giggles - I shouldn't be the only one.

We live in a Pharisaical age - what John Scalzi referred to as Leviticans rather than Christians, since they seem to privilege the angry god of the Old Testament over the message of Christ. I'm not much of a church-goer and I generally don't worry about other people's beliefs so long as they're not bugging me about them (a courtesy I return), but I do have my beliefs and I resent how they are being twisted by so many narrow-minded bigots and empty-souled authoritarians. You know damned well the modern American Religious Right would have been right there cheering on Pontius Pilate.

As for the bit about how nice it would be if this were all a way to disguise the Machiavellian cleverness and future golden age being brought about by der Sturmtrumper, well, sometimes you just have to grasp at straws.

LucyInDisguise said...

Thanks. I think. Anyway ...

As much time as I've spent on Scalzi's site, I should have caught that - must have missed it somehow. That whole Leviticus thing does have a certain attractiveness, from a certain point of view ...

Said the ghost Jedi to his student.

Straws are all we have. At least, according to the old testament, the Egyptians gave the Jews some mud to mix with the straw they could make something substantial to throw.

Wher'd I leave that Angry Moose????

[still giggling]


David said...

I think if we had an army of angry moose (meese?) we'd be invincible.

This is the Scalzi post where he coined the term Levitican.. It's an older one, so it's easy to miss. When I first found his blog I went back and read his entire back catalogue, because that's the kind of academic nerd I am. It was fun.

LucyInDisguise said...

2004. That would explain that, then. I get Sundays, sometimes Saturdays, but little other free time to do any deep dives unless the truck goes down. Otherwise, 70 hours, 6 days.

And, so you see, there is a reason I spend time on your blog, Scalzi's blog, Stonekettle Station, Hangin
with the Hot Chicks over at Janiece's (and spell check helps me to nearly always misspell her name) and over at Eric's place wandering around with the Giant Midgets.

Old guy fears becoming the crazy old guy who lost track of reality - works hard at keeping in touch with same. Finds himself a victim of OSD. Follows sane people around on the 'net to keep one finger in contact with those who appear to have a grasp on reality.

And, of course, understand how to have a good time.

Hi Eric! Hi Jim! Hi John! Hi Janice! <<<SEE IT DID IT AGAIN!!! It really is not my fault!

Oh! Hi David - didn't see you standing over there ... Just covering the bases, you understand.

And, I think Tom & Jerry firmly established the fact that meese, and messes, are related to mouse, not moose. And, not to put too fine a point on it, they did that back in the middle of the last century.


LucyInDisguise said...

And, speaking of Jim's place, just got back from there ... if you haven't already read his latest, you should check it out:

It is relative.


David said...

Yes, the joy of academia is that you get to choose which 10-12 hours of the day you have to work. Don't get me wrong - it's a nice freedom. I got to see a lot of school plays when the girls were little and read things like Scalzi's back catalogue, and the only price I paid was working until 1am instead of 11pm. I'll make that trade every time. Not everyone has that luxury.

I try never to miss Jim's posts. :) He has a way with words and a fire behind them, and that's Must Read territory.

Someday you'll have to send me your Pharisee thing. I'd love to read it.

For all the many and valid complaints I have about the internet in general and social media in particular, the community I've found has more than justified the whole thing to me. I'm glad you find it worthwhile to spend your time here!

I will say that I laughed all through the 80s at Ed Meese, and not just because of his policy positions. Those too, I mean. But not just those.