Saturday, February 24, 2018

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. Just in case you thought the GOP actually respected the law or the Constitution (and more the fool you if you did), there is always the Pennsylvania GOP to remind you that the modern Republican Party is nothing more than an authoritarian dictatorship on the rise.  Consider the recent bitch-slap administered to the state GOP by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over the radically gerrymandered districts set up by the GOP in that state – a set up that “clearly, plainly and palpably violates the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” according to the Court.  Would the PA GOP acknowledge their criminal wrongdoing?  Would they correct their theft of recent elections and allow the citizens of Pennsylvania to choose their own rulers rather than have their GOP overlords shoved down their throats?  Don’t make me laugh like that!  Of course not!  When power is at stake, the GOP knows only one strategy – damn the laws, damn the republic, damn the Constitution, damn morality and common decency, and up yours, neighbor!

2. More specifically, the PA GOP has a) called for the impeachment of the Court justices who dared try to limit the absolute authority of the GOP in all cases whatsoever, because Fascist is apparently just another word for conservative these days (good lord, guys, stop confirming my stereotypes once in a while, would you?), and b) submitted a new map of electoral districts that somehow managed to be EXACTLY AS GERRYMANDERED as the unconstitutional one!  Astounding!  Under the old map, the Democrats routinely received about 50% of the vote and got 5 of the 18 PA House seats.  Under the new map, guess what would happen!  Go on!  Guess!  If you said “5 of the 18 PA House seats,” you win the Obvious Prize.  As the Washington Post put it, “Jowei Chen of the University of Michigan created 500 computer-drawn district maps optimized for Pennsylvania’s traditional redistricting criteria of compactness, contiguity and equal population.  Among those maps, ‘the highest number of classified Republican districts was 10, and in none of the simulated plans would 13 of the congressional districts be classified as Republican’ as they are under the existing maps.” 

3. The GOP: because democracy doesn’t produce right-wing rulers, so some other method must be found.

4. Is anyone surprised at the fact that der Sturmtrumper won’t let the Democratic response to the Nunes Memo be released?  Seriously, it’s like the guy is a cartoon villain sometimes.  Of course, given the fact that Nunes (“Trump’s Stooge,” according to at least one newspaper in his district) managed to cobble together a memo that was so entirely without merit that the Democrats might well end up using it in their own campaign ads, perhaps the response memo doesn’t really need to be released after all.  [EDIT: apparently der Sturmtrumper has decided to release a heavily censored version of the response memo – mostly, I suspect, to get the original Nunes Memo back into the news cycle for a day or two.  But hey.]

5. Of course, the mere factual emptiness of the Nunes Memo isn’t all that important to the GOP.  They know it’s all lies.  They don’t care.  But the point of the memo was not to put facts in front of an impartial world.  It was to announce a partisan intention to a hyperpartisan base.  Charles Pierce once noted that we no longer live in a world where Truth is measured by how well it describes objective reality – we live in a world where Truth is measured by strength of belief.  By releasing this thin tissue of nonsense, the GOP simply takes another step toward bolstering its own bubble and retreating from reality as we know it.  This will get progressively more dangerous as the bubble gets closer and closer to being popped.  When the facts are finally laid before the impartial world, expect violence and retribution from the affronted right wing.

6. A study conducted by several Oxford University researchers points out the obvious, except that they document it with hard evidence.  Supporters of der Sturmtrumper consume more “junk news sources” (i.e. propaganda, lies, troll-bait, and sheer fabrications) than “all other groups put together.”  Specifically, on Twitter, der Sturmtrumper’s supporters consume 55% of the fake news, while on Facebook der Sturmtrumper's “hard right” (as distinct from the merely Republican) consumes 58% of the fake news.  Folks, the right wing lives in a bubble of their own making and they are becoming harder and harder to reach by people out in the real world.  All those surprised by this, raise your hand and be prepared to tell us how long you were in that coma.

7. Did you know that failure to applaud der Sturmtrumper counts as treason?  Wow.  Won’t someone take this idiot aside and explain to him the concept of a republic, please?

8. That someone would be Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).  Duckworth is a decorated combat veteran who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down over Iraq in 2004.  “We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy,” she said.  “I swore an oath – in the military and in the senate – to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.”  Der Sturmtrumper – a “five-deferment draft dodger” in Duckworth’s words – has not responded.  Real heroes don’t take shit from puffed up fools, and Duckworth is the real deal.

9. Apparently der Sturmtrumper was denied permission to build a casino in Sydney, Australia, because of his mob connections.  The Police Board of New South Wales called Trump “unacceptable” – “the Trump mafia connections should exclude the Kern/Trump consortium” from consideration, they said.  Keep that in mind as you watch der Sturmtrumper’s unfolding relationship with the law.

10. Der Sturmtrumper has decided that he’s eager to sit down and talk to Robert Mueller under oath.  “I would love to do it, and I would like to do it as soon as possible,” he said.  “I would do it under oath, absolutely.”  That gelatinous roar you heard following that statement was the heads of der Sturmtrumper’s legal team exploding.  They don’t want him to talk to Mueller under any circumstances, and especially not under oath.  They have pretty much admitted that there is no way der Sturmtrumper won’t perjure himself.  The man can’t get through his own mailing address without lying – brazenly, openly, shamelessly, and self-convincingly – so there’s no way he could survive an actual interview with an actual opposing lawyer.  Der Sturmtrumper’s lawyers have pretty much demanded that he not speak to Mueller’s investigation at all, ever – in effect, pleading his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.  As the New York Times observed, “His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators.”  That’s what his lawyers are willing to say publicly!  Note that der Sturmtrumper doesn’t actually have the right to refuse to cooperate with a criminal investigation.  That question was litigated under Nixon and Clinton and the results are very clear – presidents are not above the law and must comply with criminal investigations, though there may be certain areas of privilege that they can claim.  Grab yo’ popcorn, folks.

11. Okay, now you can say that the Democrats sold out the Dreamers.  Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick sometimes politics sucks all around. 

12. The new budget is conclusive proof that the GOP only cares about deficits when the black guy is in charge.  When it’s a white guy running up the bills, they’re all for it.  Honestly, the hypocrisy would be sickening if it weren’t wholly expected.

13. Odds of John Kelly surviving until April?  Small and getting smaller with every statement of “absolute confidence” that der Sturmtrumper issues.  As one GOP source in the White House said, “The more Kelly plays up that he’s being the adult in the room – that it’s basically combat duty and he’s serving the country – that kind of thing drives Trump nuts.”  Another GOP source reported der Sturmtrumper referring to Kelly by saying, “I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things.”  Well, somebody has to.

14. The latest GOP assault on ordinary citizens comes in the form of a concerted effort to repeal paid sick leave.  Apparently forcing people to come to work while sick is the new face of conservatism – or the old one, since it’s a strategy straight out of the Gilded Age.  This despite the fact that we have a particularly deadly strain of the flu rampaging through the US at the moment, and the fact that sickness rates overall decline when people are not penalized by their employers for staying home when they are unwell.  Let’s see here, public health and individual rights on the one side, corporate profits on the other – which will the GOP support?  Hmmm….

15. More news keeps dribbling in about President Bannon’s unceremonious departure.  Newsweek quotes him as saying that he was “sick of being a wet nurse to a 71-year-old man” when he left the White House.  Aren’t we all.

16. So now that the Black Guy is no longer president, all the cowardly little ammosexuals no longer feel any great need to rush out and buy Big Compensating Firearms.  “They call it the Trump slump,” said SUNY-Cortland professor Robert Spitzer, and it’s why Remington just declared bankruptcy and Smith & Wesson’s profits fell 90% in the last year.  “Gun sales have become politicized to a great degree,” Spitzer said, “Gun purchases recently have been made not just because someone wants a new product but to make a statement; not just because of fears that there might be tighter regulation but also to make a statement against Obama.”  The US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world – 88 guns for every 100 people – but gun ownership overall has been declining since the 1970s.  Hunting has declined, younger Americans aren’t generally interested, and the gun lobby has not made much headway into any market that isn’t older, white, and male.  The reason US gun stats are so inflated is that fewer and fewer people own more and more guns, and they’re just a sad little group of people afraid of the world aren’t they.

17. And as if on cue, there is yet another school shooting here in the US.  Another one!  Seventeen dead children and still the ammosexuals insist their right to own guns counts for more than the lives of the innocent.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL, FOLKS.  This is what happens when a radicalized right-wing shoves its agenda down the throat of what had once been a republic.  This is what happens when the cowardly and the insane team up to convince each other that their toys outrank your children.  No other country in the world does this to its children, not even countries actively in the middle of civil wars.  Remember that, next time some shithead ammosexual tries to tell you he (almost always “he”) deserves his guns because fuck your dead children that’s why.

18. Oh, look – stocks for gun makers are up!  As if on cue!  The blood of children is good for American business.

19. You cannot be pro-gun and “pro-life.”  Snotty Facebook memes don’t change that.  The next pathetic distraction machine who tries to make that argument to me will be laughed at until Hell freezes over and then told to fuck right off there by dogsled.  Honestly, sometimes you just have to wonder at people’s stupidity.

20. If you ever wanted to know the full spectrum of just how morally bankrupt and socially undesirable the American right wing is, consider the slander and death threats now being thrown at the survivors of the Florida massacre by any number of right-wing “news” outlets (and no, goddammit, I will not link to them – it took several rounds of eye bleach to get those stains off my own retinas and you don’t need that aggravation) and commentators.  Because when real Americans stand up for their rights, you can always count on the right-wing to go full-on batshit insane against them.

Get this straight, you soulless moral lepers: those kids have more courage, more grit, and more American spirit in their little fingers than the modern right-wing has in its entire squelching membership.  Thanks for proving it so clearly.  Now fuck off sideways.

21. It is more and more coming to light that the NRA took a significant sum of money from Russian sources in order to sow discord in the last election.  Is anyone surprised by the fact that the National Rifle Association has become a front for Russian influence here in the 21st century?  Imagine – the NRA and Putin’s Russia, two groups with no tolerance for dissent and an eager willingness to employ violence against opponents, joined at the bank account.  The NRA long ago crossed the line from responsible advocacy group to domestic terrorism sponsor, and they deserve the contempt and scorn of every American patriot.

22. Meanwhile elsewhere in the petit-Fascist takeover of a once-proud republic, it looks like Robert Mueller has been busy.  A grand jury has returned indictments for 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and conspiring to defraud the United States, according to CNN.  The purpose of these Russians, according to the indictments, was a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system” through information warfare.  Looks like it worked. 

23. So, yeah, look for the next big distraction from der Sturmtrumper any time now.  Like the cornered rat he and his party are, they will do whatever is necessary to keep you from noticing the real stories.

24. Such as, oh, a big parade!  A military parade!  You know, like the ones they have in pissant tin-pot dictatorships!  There’ll be dour-looking men in unearned uniforms so full of clanking brass medals that you’d swear it was a wind-chime convention!  They’ll stand Mussolini-like on some balcony while Big Explody Things carried by soldiers move slowly past them for review!  Won’t that be great!  Of course, this is all coming from a five-time draft dodger (vide supra, “Cadet Bone Spurs”) who has no idea what American military power is actually based on.  When asked if he wanted such a parade, President Dwight Eisenhower – who, as the former commanding officer of Allied forces in the European Theater of Operations during World War II knew a thing or two about the realities of military power, responded, “Absolutely not.  We are the pre-eminent power on Earth.  For us to try and imitate what the Soviets are doing in Red Square would make us look weak.”  And so it does.  Whatever happened to der Sturmtrumper’s Big Parade, anyway?

25. You think der Sturmtrumper will obey the law and actually enforce the sanctions against his Russian puppetmasters, as overwhelmingly approved by Congress (yes, even by the Republicans in Congress, bless their hearts)?  Or will he show the same contempt for that law as he does for all the others?  Three guesses, first two don’t count.

26. “The only thing more stunning than the scale of Russian interference uncovered today is the fact that an American president is taking no action to protect our country against an ongoing threat.  This is a dereliction of duty.”  (Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State)

27. Hell, even der Sturmtrumper’s own National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, is convinced.  “As you can see with the FBI indictment,” he said, “the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute for a couple of reasons.”  Not that der Sturmtrumper is prepared to do anything about it, or even acknowledge it. 

Folks, how many times does it need to be said?  The United States lost a war against Russia in 2016, a war we didn’t even know we were fighting, and now the Quislings are in charge.

28. David Frum – a fairly reliable conservative voice over the years – is blunt about this.  In response to der Sturmtrumper’s rage-Tweet festival over the slaughter of high school students – a festival that included nothing even remotely appropriate to the occasion – Frum castigated the current occupant of the Oval Office.  “As the rest of America mourns the victims of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, President Trump took to Twitter,” Frum noted.  “Not for him the rituals of grief.  He is too consumed by rage and resentment.  He interrupted his holidaying schedule at Mar-a-Lago only briefly, for a visit to a hospital where some of the shooting victims were being treated.  He posed afterward for a grinning thumbs-up photo op.  Pain at another’s heartbreak – that emotion is for losers, apparently.  Having failed at one presidential duty, to speak for the nation at times of national tragedy, Trump resumed shirking an even more supreme task: defending the nation against foreign attack.”  Frum notes how systematically der Sturmtrumper has refused to take any action to prevent future such attacks and slander and obstruct investigations into the ones that brought him to power.  “Trump continues to insist that he and his campaign team did not collude with Russia in the 2016 election.  We know that they were ready and eager to collude – that’s on the public record. … The public does not yet know whether the collusion actually occurred [EDIT – actually we do, it’s just a matter of to what degree and what effect].  But in front of our very eyes we can observe that they are leaving the door open to Russian intervention on their behalf in the next election.  You might call it collusion in advance – a dereliction of duty as grave as any since President Buchanan looked the other way as Southern state governments pillaged federal arsenals on the eve of the Civil War.”  Well, that analogy may be more apt than Frum thinks, at the rate things are going.

29.  Is anyone else amused by the febrile rage of right-wing Twitter warriors over the loss of thousands of their followers and echo chamber buddies?  They claim censorship!  Persecution!  Purges!  They howl in indignation!  The fact that Twitter deleted those accounts because they were confirmed as Russian bot accounts doesn’t seem to matter to them.  And that tells you all you need to know about the modern right wing in America.

30. When people blame “Washington” or “Congress” or “both sides” for the current dysfunctional government, I just laugh at them.  It’s not both sides.  It’s one side.  Specifically, it’s the Republican Party, which is standing in the way of not only what the Democrats want but also what large majorities of registered Republicans want.  68% of Republicans want legal protections for the Dreamers – that they should be allowed to stay and given a path to citizenship.  Yet the GOP president and the GOP members of Congress have repeatedly blocked any such thing.  92% of Republicans support requiring background checks for ALL gun buyers (a figure in line with every other political group in America – it’s one of the few political issues today that shows almost no variation in support across parties), and 56% support a ban on any kind of gun modification that would convert guns into automatic weapons.  Yet the GOP Congress killed universal background checks and voted against any attempt to limit automatic weapons.  If you want to solve a problem, first you must identify the problem.  As long as you stick with the “both sides” nonsense, you will be mystified.

31. Seen on Facebook: “‘We’re going to be strong on background checks’ says the guy whose White House staff can’t pass a security clearance.”

32. If more guns meant more safety, why don’t right-wingers let people carry guns at CPAC?  Or the GOP convention?  Asking for a friend.

33. Emma Gonzalez, the student survivor of the Parkland massacre who has emerged as one of the most effective speakers on behalf of people who don’t want to be shot to death by morons with high powered firearms, made an interesting point regarding der Sturmtrumper: “I think the best way to deal with this is to ignore him,” she said.  “I think we can all agree that the things that President Trump tweets is nothing that will have a lasting impact – unless it’s a negative lasting impact – on the people around us.”  And oddly enough, this is exactly the same advice that American lawmakers (both Democrat and GOP) and national security officials are giving to foreign leaders.  When your children are leaders and your leaders are children, things have gone awry.

34. You know, maybe if “mental illness” was really a factor in all these mass shootings, der Sturmtrumper shouldn’t have revoked the regulations that were scheduled to go into effect when he took office that would have kept mentally ill people from buying weapons of mass murder.  Or maybe the whole “mental illness” thing is just a smokescreen designed to make you forget the simple fact that people use guns to kill people and the solution to the problem is pretty obvious.  You think?

35. The numbers are in: since der Sturmtrumper took over the US government, tourism to the United States has dropped by 4%.  This sounds more impressive when you look at what that number actually means on the ground – $4.6 billion in lost revenue and about 40,000 lost jobs.  But MAGA, right?


LucyInDisguise said...

7. Pointless effort. “Republic’ (noun) ≠ ‘Trump’ (not-nown.) Any explanation that does not actually accentuate HIM will pass right through his head without being acknowledged, properly following the laws of physics. [See Note 1, below]

8. Duckworth (renown) = Heroine (noun) a woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. And she proved my point (see above); He didn't even respond.

9. “the Trump mafia connections should … preclude his occupation of the Office of the President of the United States. [There. fixed that for ya.)

10. Just bought me a brand-spankin' new hot air popcorn popper. Even has Orville Redenbacher's name and logo on the side, for whateverthatmaybeworth.

11. The Democrats sold out the Dreamers. There! I said it!

20. I watch these kids (and not just the survivors of the massacre) and tear up with pride and admiration. Not since the Viet Nam war, and the fight end that conflagration, and the battle to get 26th Amendment passed and ratified have I seen this level of passion. From anyone.

Let us agree to refer to 'these kids' as Youthful Leaders (or some variant thereof) hereinafter, shall we?

May Odin and Thor infuse these Youthful Leaders with the will and power and resolve of 100 million Vikings to drive back that useless hoard of guns (and their owners) and use their franchise to help rid us of the Grand Old Putrefaction.

(Actually, 100 million may be a little overkill. I know the power of one [married to her], so maybe we could scale that back to 1,000. {Calculating} Nah. Overkill it is. Better safe and all that.)

25. Uhhh, behind which door is the industrial waste compactor? I’ll take door #2! Final answer. (oh. wrong game shows … shit.)

27. Don't think the war is over - not by a long shot - so we can not have 'lost' the war. Not yet, anyway.

We have, however, lost all the battles to date. But stay tuned, we always seem to start late and come from behind and ultimately win the war. Of course, in WWII, we had Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander, and in Viet Nam we had Johnson, this time we have [LoOk WhO iT Is!] so there is that …

32. Okay. That's it. We're done. You said you wouldn't tell anyone! (Oh, wait ... you didn't actually identify me - nevermind.)

33. See #20 above. Add appropriate emphasis where appropriate.

35. I thought we agreed: MANEA. (I’m wearing that hat everywhere in this overtly Republican County in Northern Nevada; the reaction has been surprisingly weird.)


Note 1: The laws of physics (I forget exactly which one) clearly state that anything entering a vacuum will accelerate dramatically once there is no longer any friction to impede forward motion. Or something reasonably close to that. In Drumph's case, I suspect we could achieve a practical approximation of lightspeed. Nothing in all the Universe sucks quite like that vacuum.

David said...

7,8. Well, pointless to der Sturmtrumper, but maybe not to those listening. The laws of physics will eventually turn der Sturmtrumper into a black hole as he slowly folds up into his own lower intestine and disappears, and I'll be over to share some of that popcorn when it does.

9. Well, it was a direct quote. You're right about the proper word, but the source is the source after all.

20, 33. I find those Youthful Leaders truly inspiring, mostly because they clearly have right, morality, and justice on their side and they're not shrinking back from the shower of bastards that is trying to drown them. I wish them well. Kick ass, American patriots, kick ass.

27. I think we're onto a new war, one that we may yet win though the jury is out on that. Of course, there are serious historical arguments to be made that WWI and WWII were simply different phases of The Second Thirty Years War, so if you want to see them as all one, I won't say no.

32. I'm canny that way. Too clever by half, that's me.

35. I'm genuinely curious as to the reactions you have gotten for wearing that hat. But yes, I'd dearly love to have this country not be embarrassing anymore, and that starts with getting rid of der Sturmtrumper, his minions and enablers, and the domestic terrorism sponsor that took over a once-proud sportsman's organization.