Tuesday, July 25, 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. Again, I’ve been away from politics, focusing on other and less maddening things.  But sweet dancing monkeys on a stick you just can’t get away from it completely these days, can you?  If you’ve ever wondered what the end of the American republic would look like, well, now you know.

2. Secessionist and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, now the head of the Department of Energy because it makes as much sense as anything else these days, is publicly insisting that carbon dioxide is not a cause of climate change.  You know, folks, when they resort to lies this blatant and this utterly farcical, it’s a sign of one of two things.  Either they no longer care that you know they’re lying to you, or they no longer have any grasp of reality beyond their hermetically sealed ideological bubble.  Possibly both.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Not without hard drugs, anyway.

3. Apparently it’s hard to govern when you have no actual interest in governing.  Who knew?  The modern GOP is a subversive entity trained only in obstructionism, which works wonders when they’re out of power and can just screech from the sidelines, poke sticks in the spokes of American society, and suck cash out of their base since they don’t actually have to deliver anything for it other than the perverse joy of pandering to civic and economic illiterates.  But they control all three branches of the federal government, most of the state houses, and nearly all of the public conversation these days and have managed to demonstrate in spectacular and awe-inspiring fashion just how incompetent and empty they are by getting almost nothing done in the last six months, and what little they have accomplished has been detrimental to American security, prosperity, and long-term stability.

4. The most recent fiery implosion of Republicare is just the most obvious example of this.  Honestly – they’ve been having tantrums about the ACA since it passed in 2010 (after the second-longest debate in Senate history and with more than a hundred GOP amendments, so don’t let any right-wing revisionist tell you it was crammed down their throats in secret – that would be as if they had a bill that wasn’t released to the public, had no public hearings, and was voted on before the CBO could release its non-partisan analysis of the bill’s impact, kind of like, oh, Republicare) and promising to get rid of it literally from the day after it passed.  It’s been seven years and it’s clear that they have no plan, no constructive ideas, and no particular concern for the best interests of Americans who aren’t wealthy, white, and male.  I have been watching politics for decades and this is the most staggering display of sheer arrogant failure I have ever seen, up to and including the collapse of the Soviet Union.

5. The Russian noose continues to tighten as der Sturmtrumper’s own people continue to release damning information.  When Don (“Fredo”) Jr. publicly released emails confirming pretty much everything that has been reported and then missed the idea that this was perhaps unwise, you knew we were headed into interesting times.  The administration has gone from “didn’t happen” to “might have happened but didn’t mean anything” to “everyone does it” to “this is a positive thing” when it comes to foreign influence on American elections and the active collusion with enemy powers.  You know, we used to execute people who colluded with Russia to influence American politics.  Just pointing that out.

6. Of course this means nothing to der Sturmtrumpers base.  There was a meme that floated by me the other day, a cartoon of a newspaper front page that had two headlines.  The first, at the top, was “Trump Convicted.”  The second, down below, was “Trump Approval Rating Still 35%.”  And that, boys and girls, is why the republic is doomed.

7. Did he really mock up fake Time magazine covers with himself in heroic poses?  Good lord that’s petty.

8. While the GOP frantically works to make carrying guns mandatory in churches, schools, hospitals, and daycares (even while imposing strict security barriers in legislative halls, because when it comes to saving their own skins reality talks and ideology walks), an exhaustive new study from Stanford Law School has pretty much demolished the NRA talking point that more guns make people safer.  Surprise!  They don’t!  States with so-called “right-to-carry” laws see violent crime increase by 10-13% in the decade after such laws are passed.  Imagine!  Flooding the streets with easily accessible weaponry encourages people to commit violent crimes!  I am just agog with surprise.  Or I would be if I were an idiot, which apparently describes the ammosexuals who think guns make them safer.

9. There is no nobody staffing the White House Science Division, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the willful ignorance of the GOP these days.  Why have people study reality when you can simply fall back into a comforting ideological bubble?

10. For those of you wondering when the outright voter suppression efforts would start at the federal level, well, here you go.  Kris Kobach is the Secretary of State of Kansas – a man who has been repeatedly found guilty of lying in the service of restricting democracy – and he is the new head of der Sturmtrumper’s Voter Suppression Agency.  The VSA has now requested information about all voters from all states – the better to analyze which voters to target with new suppression laws like the one in North Carolina and the one here in Wisconsin.  Fortunately this is, for the moment, too much even for Republican states.  Mississippi, for example, pretty much told him to go to hell.  Mississippi!  But voter suppression has been a GOP plan since the 1980s and since it works for them don’t expect them to give up on it.  They know very well they can’t win free elections, and rather than change their policies so that they can they are quite open about changing elections so they don’t have to.

11.  This is why, by the way, ALEC – the right-wing legislation factory that writes the laws the GOP passes at the state level without bothering to read – is now lobbying for a repeal of the 17th Amendment.  Because you certainly don’t deserve to vote for your own Senators.  Only GOP-controlled state legislatures get to do that.  And if you want to know why, beyond the general GOP disdain for democracy, all you need to know is that state legislatures are easy to gerrymander in their favor while statewide Senate elections are not.  The party that blindly supports a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million Americans’ ballots is not going to look favorably on actual elections, after all.

12.  Three cheers for the First Lady of Japan, who apparently pretended not to be able to speak English for nearly two hours in order to avoid talking to der Sturmtrumper.

13. While I generally disagree with Senator John McCain on most issues, I will say that he is one of the few national figures in the GOP whom I respect and who seems to preserve at least some of the pre-insanity posture of his party.  The news of his brain tumor is saddening, and I wish him as much recovery and peace as he can have.

14. So der Sturmtrumper had a private meeting with his puppetmaster at the G20, with no American presence other than his own.  Think about that.  Trump, Putin, a Russian translator, and nobody else to monitor.  Can you imagine the panic attacks US intelligence community is having right now?  The sheer horrified damage control that they are frantically undertaking?

15. What are the odds that der Sturmtrumper actually receives any meaningful intelligence in his daily briefings anymore?  He’s already proven himself to be this country’s greatest security risk, and the professionals have paid too much in blood and sacrifice to get that information only to see it handed over to enemies by a simpleton.

16. Robert Mueller is widening his probe to include der Sturmtrumper’s finances, which makes sense given the scale of the graft and corruption that he’s dealing with.  Waiting for der Sturmtrumper to create a Constitutional crisis by firing Mueller in 3 … 2 … 1 …

17. So der Sturmtrumper has declared that he’s going to stand by and let the ACA fail and that he’s “not going to own it.”  First of all, he’s in charge, his party’s in charge, it’s his and he owns whatever happens whether he wants to or not.  Petulant whining does not change that.  You break it, you bought it.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is the duty of the President to protect the welfare of the American people and this toddler-level “If I can’t get my way I’ll take my marbles and go home and WON’T YOU BE SORRY” routine is both irresponsible and borderline subversive.  There is no attempt here to pretend that it’s anything other than a sore loser with nothing positive to offer having a snit at the expense of millions of Americans – many of whom voted for him, but that’s another study in self-delusion that I’m not going to get into right now.  Harry Truman’s old adage “the buck stops here” clearly comes as news to der Sturmtrumper, whose only interest in bucks is how many of them he can line his pockets with before parachuting out.

18.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if, when the multitudinous investigations finally all come to a head, der Sturmtrumper goes on a diplomatic mission to somewhere without an extradition treaty and just resigns and settles down?  I wonder what would happen next.

19. Reading the transcript of der Sturmtrumper’s self-immolating pity party interview with the New York Times was a punishment for the rational mind, it truly was.  It was a festival of misdirection, random unsubstantiated accusations, slander, easily disproven lies, grandiose egotistical self-wanking, and delusion.  Remember folks, this is the guy with his finger on the nuclear button.

20.  One of the big takeaways from that interview was how thoroughly der Sturmtrumper threw the Confederate Attorney General – one of his biggest supporters – under the bus and declared that the CAG’s recusing himself from a case where he had obvious conflicts of interest was enough to make der Sturmtrumper wish he had hired someone else.  Because loyalty goes to the individual, not the Constitution or the laws in der Sturmtrumper’s world.  It says a lot about the moral flexibility of the CAG that he remains on the job and didn’t take the hint and resign.  If Jeff Sessions had any dignity before this he would be one of the many dignity wraiths orbiting der Sturmtrumper now.

21. No, a President cannot pardon himself.  Don’t be an ass.  That violates a bedrock principle in Anglo-American law and jurisprudence, that you cannot be the judge in your own case.  This principle predates the Constitution, and the Constitution is built around it.  People should stop trying to argue otherwise, because it just makes them look stupid (which hasn’t stopped der Sturmtrumper, and the rest is left as an exercise for the reader).  FFS, even Nixon wasn’t corrupt enough to try that one.

22.  Nixon, by the way, would have had der Sturmtrumper’s lunch.  Pretty much every competent leader in the world already has.

23. Der Sturmtrumper is nevertheless loudly investigating the possibilities of pardoning himself and everyone around him.  Think about that.  We’ve gone from “Fake news” to “Justifiable” to “I can pardon my way out of this” in less than a baseball season.  While der Sturmtrumper cannot pardon himself, as noted above, it is true that he can pardon everyone else.  And then those people can be forced to testify against him with no grant of immunity (why would they need one?) and no right to remain silent (since self-incrimination is now off the table).  Won’t that be fun?

24.  Also, the US Supreme Court (Burdick v US, 1915) long ago established the principle that to accept a pardon is to admit guilt.  Not that the GOP cares – they’re happy with their criminal regime, since it allows them to shove their agenda down the throats of everyone else (or it would if they weren’t so screamingly incompetent) – but there would be no more hiding the fact that this is, indeed, a criminal regime fronting a criminal party.

25. Here’s the other thing: impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one.  Yes, it has to be rooted in high crimes and misdemeanors, but the process itself requires no particular crime nor the standard of proof that a court of law demands.  There’s nothing in the process that a pardon automatically stops.

26. Looks like Sean Spicer has finally gotten the hint that nothing he does is going to be of any use to anyone, let alone his long term interests, and abandoned the sinking administration of der Sturmtrumper.  His replacement is a cartoon character from the Simpsons whose nickname is Mooch.  Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

27.  Mooch – a man whose resume consists entirely of things that are Not Public Service – took it upon himself to declare that his opinion is more valuable and deserving of consideration on intelligence matters than the opinion of the vast number of highly trained professional intel ops fielded by any of the agencies the United States has set up specifically for that purpose.  Because this administration never misses an opportunity to shit all over the people who sacrifice to keep this nation safe if it means they can score some partisan media points with their base.

28. If you’ve ever wondered what living in a banana republic is like, all you have to do is look at the current GOP Senate plan to force Republicare on a nation that overwhelmingly doesn’t want it.  They plan to have yet another vote on their bill, but nobody – not even the GOP Senators being asked to vote – has any idea what’s in the bill.  GOP Senator John Cornyn, when asked whether “some people want to know the plan before they vote,” responded by saying “That’s a luxury we don’t have.”  Think about that, folks.  Think about the sheer arrogant stupidity that it would take even to conceptualize such a corrupt, authoritarian, criminally subversive idea, and then think about how much more arrogantly stupid you’d have to be to say it out loud.  And then, just because we’re doing this little exercise, think about how droolingly insane, rigidly fanatical, and mindlessly partisan your base must be that you know you can say such things and not be immediately run out of town on a rail.  And when you’ve done those things, you might have some sense of the depths of moral depravity to which the modern GOP aspires.

29. You know, when the Vatican calls you out by name as anti-Christian, maybe you should listen.  Do you think the Dominionist blasphemers currently running the GOP care, though?  At least Steve Bannon knows that the papacy is familiar with his work, though.

30. Looks like Exxon’s Own Secretary of State may be resigning soon too.  Seriously, it is so hard to get good sycophants these days.

31. Paul Ryan has publicly pushed back against der Sturmtrumper’s desperation strategy of defaming Robert Mueller, which is pretty much the only way der Sturmtrumper has to shake off the noose that is slowly strangling him.  It will be interesting to see where that ends up.  It’s probably just a coincidence that Ryan is next in line after the Vice President to succeed der Sturmtrumper when the fecal matter hits the rotary air mover.  The long knives are coming out, and if it weren’t such a threat to the stability of the US it would be popcorn time.

32. The Boy Scouts?  The Boy Scouts?  Yes, indeed.  The other day Der Sturmtrumper went to a Boy Scout Jamboree and whipped them into a partisan frenzy because, really, he’s certainly not going to be able to tell them how to be better human beings or American citizens, is he?  On the one hand, this is a consummate disgrace, one that his supporters will no doubt applaud.  On the other hand, the Boy Scouts only recently decided that bigotry was a problem, so perhaps der Sturmtrumper knew his audience better than I give him credit for.

33. Der Sturmtrumper also went out of his way to confirm a covert CIA operation in Syria, because really what else would you expect him to do when faced with the choice between American lives and security on the one hand and a few fleeting seconds of ego gratification on the other?

34.  Once again, for those who haven’t caught on yet, “fake news” isn’t “news that tells you things you don’t want to hear.”  That’s called “journalism.”


Unknown said...

Der Sturmtrumper also seems to have forgotten a second piece of Harry S. Truman's sage presidential advice: "Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day."

David said...

Truman was a fountain of good advice that way.

The problem comes when the audience he's pandering to enjoys the flavor and aroma of fresh turd and keeps coming back for more.

LucyInDisguise said...

1. Proving once again that you can run, you may even find a place to hide, but this is paranormal stupid - it will find you.

18. No country that does not currently have an extradition treaty with the US would allow Strumper inside their borders. Unlike Strumper, they have a well developed sense of self-preservation, and would see him as a threat. Case-in-point: N. Korea.

21. No, I will choose my own exercise routines, and I guarantee you that they will not be anywhere near that strenuous, Thankyouverymuch.

22. Only Nixon could go to China.

27. You should really stop using ‘Mooch’ - it is an insult to ‘Minnie, the’.

(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7ogK_unbqM )

At least that guy could sing and dance.

32. I am so done with The Boy Scouts. Even the apology from their CEO sucked. And, I know, there has been a standing invitation to the president to address the Jamboree for forever - but really? Nobody could see that coming and un-invite Strumper and His Band of Undesirables?

35. It would appear that, at least for the time being*, Trumpcare has died and Mitch is a sad little turtle. The women carried the day, and McCain merely put a bow on their achievement of holding the insanity back awhile longer.


* Next up: Zombiecare. And won’t that be a great time?

David said...

I think I need to find a way to work the phrase "paranormal stupid" into everyday conversation.

Minnie was the Moocher, not the Mooch. I like having the comparison, actually, since the current Mooch comes off so poorly by it and that just warms the cockles of my shriveled heart.

I have never been much of a fan of Boy Scouts - they were a quasi-military organization even before their takeover by the Dominionist right wing - and their record on treating American citizens as American citizens is shameful. I have friends with kids in that organization and they seem to find use in it, but I was always glad I didn't have to make that call. The Girl Scouts are a much more inclusive and service-oriented organization, in my experience.

And yes, that was a classic "sorry you were offended" apology, but really what did you expect?

Republicare is dead, at least for now - I have no illusions that they will try to reanimate its decaying corpse at least one more time but I'll take my victory where I can get it. Three cheers for three non-insane Republicans. May they take their party back to responsibility someday soon.

LucyInDisguise said...

There is no stupid quite like paranormal stupid. Even Forrest understood that.

I doubt your heart is all that shriveled. Tired, weary, fuzzy, but certainly not shriveled.

My mother was a Girl Scout Leader for more than 18 years - I spent my early years as a Girl Scout Mascot™ at many a day camp. My years in the Cub & Boy Scouts were overseen by the LDS Church and mostly skewed toward an utterly failed religious indoctrination.

Does anyone with a college education and a business or political title actually understand what an apology is supposed to be about? <<<< [rhetorical question] [Also, snark.]

der Stormtrumpeter already has the paddles out and the AED charged for Zombiecare - keep thy head low and wallet hidden.


David said...

Oh, lots of us with educations understand what apologies are supposed to look like. Even the politicians know, though they choose to use them for something else and therefore theirs look different from the ones that normal people use.

What I think is funny is that der Sturmtrumper is sitting in the White House demanding that the Senate - composed of 100 members who owe him nothing and who are already abandoning the sinking ship on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to save their own careers - conform to his schedule. He is about to get an education on how power politics actually works. Politics is a world of sociopaths, and he's going to be eaten by professionals.

LucyInDisguise said...

One can only hope that your eternally stubborn optimism is justified.

I, on the other hand, think that while he may be "eaten" by professional sociopaths, recent events indicate that he probably won't notice and will just continue staggering along - taking what remains of our republic with him.



David said...

You know, you're just about the only person who has ever called me an optimist. :) I'm from Philadelphia. Pessimism is my birthright.

The thing about being eaten by sociopaths is that it doesn't matter whether he notices. He will go down when the cumulative weight of GOP partisanship decides he's a threat to their interests (note carefully that I do not say anything about the GOP caring about violations of law, Constitution, morality, common sense, human decency, or ethics of any sort whether derived from religion or philosophy), and if he still thinks he's in charge he is welcome to the delusion.

Not that this won't go a long way toward the end of the republic, but still.

LucyInDisguise said...

I, reluctantly, concede the point.


Post: And, as previously observed, you are, in point of fact, a bubbly optimist.

By comparison to my of view of the world.

David said...

Well relatively, I suppose. Granted. ;)