Monday, July 31, 2017

Week of 07/31/2017

GOP Health-fail And Other Thoughts
This past week the GOP learned that it’s easier to destroy the United States than it is to govern it.
For far too long, they served as the resistance to all things Barack Obama.  They sabotaged government operations, blocked needed appointments from being filled, prevented a federal budget from being enacted and held up continuing resolutions, and even shut down the government.  They threw temper tantrums about the Affordable Care Act and made it their mission in life to repeal and dismantle and otherwise destroy it.
All the while, they’ve been promising their cult-like supporters that “things will change” when they are in charge.  When they were the minority party in both houses of Congress, they promised they would change things.  Then, when they took over both houses of Congress, they said that they couldn’t do anything as long as Obama was in the White House.  “Don’t worry,” they told their sheep, “just wait until our guy is in the White House, then we’ll fix everything.”
Well now they have no excuses whatsoever.  The GOP runs both houses of Congress, they have their “non-politician” savior in the White House, and a judiciary that is slowly moving their way.
So why can’t they get things done?
Sure, they finally got their Supreme Court justice in place, after spending over a year intentionally and maliciously blocking Obama’s nominee.  They’ve started spitefully dismantling all things Obama, mostly through President Trump’s executive orders – you know, the very thing they threw tantrums over when Obama used it.
But the crown jewel of their hate and anger – the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare” – is still in place.
To borrow from the late Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”: “What happened?  Did your balls fall off?”
These guys promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Hell, they promised to repeal-and-replace it!  And it was supposed to be on day one!  Day!  One! 
Six months into the Cult of Trump and it is still law.
And the GOP can’t blame the Democrats for this, even though they already are, because that political gang of systemic failure can’t find their own asses with a Sherpa guide, cadaver dogs, and GPS!  They can’t filibuster things anymore.  The GOP cheated and changed the rules to make sure that the Democrats can’t stop them… and they are still failing!
This past week (as of this column’s date), the GOP-controlled Senate had their marathon debate over healthcare.  This was their all-or-nothing attempt at passing something, anything, that would rid the world of “Obamacare”.  Every plan proposed, every idea cobbled through their corrupt sociopathic minds concerning healthcare was on the roster.
And it didn’t matter what they passed either!  It could be anything!  Because all they had to do was get something passed and then they could “fix things” through the reconciliation process with the House of Representatives, which already passed “their solution” weeks ago.  And then whatever that was agreed to could be passed with a simple majority in both houses, and then it was up to Trumpaconallus to sign it.
The GOP-controlled Senate only needed 51 votes, or 50 and Vice-President Pence.  They have 52 GOP Senators.  They needed only one of those bills to pass.  Just one.
Every single program lost.
Straight-up repeal: fail.  The Senate’s super-secret “fix”: fail.  Trump’s bill: fail.  The bill that the House passed: fail.  The “Skinny Fix”: fail.
I’d be shocked about this if I was one of those red-hat-wearing Trumpets.  I would!  This was their time, this was their party, there was nothing in the way stopping them, and still... they.... failed!
And yet, having been in this for as long as I have, I can only laugh at it all.
I laugh because I’ve seen this before, time and time again.
I’ve seen this every single time the GOP wants to “fix” the tax system.  They schedule this monster-marathon of bills to consider, every possible tax solution, and every single one of them fail.  There’s something for everyone to like, and yet not one of them gets passed.  Not one!  They can agree to nothing.  And it was by design!  They intended it to fail so they can wash their hands of the whole thing and say “you know, we tried”.
So now the orange-skinned-wacky-man has promised that he will “let Obamacare fail”, which is what he supposedly promised to do from the beginning, which makes it the third or fourth historical revision of all things Trump.  And by “let”, he really means willfully sabotaging it at every opportunity and then blaming the Democrats for not kissing his ass and going with the Cult.  And, no, I am not making that up.  He’s already vowed to shut off the required subsidies to the insurance companies if he doesn’t get his way.  Typical tactic of a malicious landlord, something that New Yorkers know all too well.
But, hey, what do you expect from a narcissist with a questionable business history who make promises straight out of CNBC’s “American Greed”?
Speaking of President Small-Hands, he seems to be on a roll as well.
First he appoints Anthony Scaramucci as his new White House Communications Director, which forces out the pathetic hack Sean Spicer as Press Secretary, then Scaramucci has an open pissing contest with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and forces him out.  Oh, and there’s a nasty little history behind that too.  Speaking of history, Mocch the Douche’s marriage may soon be history as well, according to a few reports.
Meanwhile, Trumpaconallus is openly bullying his favorite demented Keebler elf, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  He’s out there telling cops to openly assault people like the goon squads he expects them to be.  He’s unilaterally declared that transgender people are not allowed in “his” military.  He’s embarrassed the Boy Scouts of America for turning an annual jamboree meeting into a political rally… for kids that are too young to vote.
And all the while, the demented panda bear in North Korea is laughing his chubby ass off as he’s launching missile tests towards Japan, and all that Trump’s people are doing is saying “we can use force if we want to.”
What happened to that bravado, Trumpy?  Where’s the bluster that you wielded at your personal demented Keebler elf?  Where’s the same bully attitude you use to go after CNN and the New York Times and MSNBC and anyone who mocks and questions you?  Where are your balls, sir?  Where are your balls?
Hell, South Korea is saying they can’t trust the United States to protect them anymore.  Now they want nukes!  And, you know what?  They’ll get them.  Because the world knows that the United States cannot be trusted as long as Donald J. Trump is in the White House!  So South Korea will get nukes the same way that India got nukes… through Russia.  Or some of the other nuclear countries.  They may even get them from North Korea’s patron, China.  One way or another, South Korea will become a nuclear nation because of what that demented panda bear is doing just above the 38th Parallel and because they cannot trust the United States as long as it is under the control of the Cult of Trump.
So much winning...  Tired of it yet, ‘Muricans?
Let’s get brutally honest here... this kind of chaos and overall fail is precisely what we get when we elected a narcissist to power and saddled him with a party full of sociopaths.  The GOP is so obsessed with getting a win, any kind of win, that they are making stupid mistakes.  And Trump can’t help but bumble his way through the mess.  He’s a narcissist and that is what a narcissist does.  If the attention is not on him, then that’s a problem that he has to address with stupid things like the transgender ban or bullying his elf or telling cops to be abusive thugs.  It’s all done for attention.
Look, the Affordable Care Act really is a mess.  It was crafted by insurance companies, pushed by corrupt politicians, and signed by President Obama on the pretense that it would be “fixed” later on.  It’s designed to accommodate corporate greed, and the reason why it is failing the American people right now is not because of the system, but because the greedy corporate insurance companies and greedy pharmaceutical companies and greedy hospital corporations want even more money and nothing is stopping them.
Can it be fixed?  Absolutely.  But the GOP does not have the courage or the morals to do it, the Democrats lack the competence to make it happen, neither of them want to work together to get it done, and the President of the United States is a narcissistic self-promoting clown who is more interested in getting attention than doing the actual work of the office.  In short, Washington may have made the mess, but they refuse to own or fix it.
But, hey, this is what you voted for, ‘Muricans!

Update: Just hours after this column was posted, Anthony Scaramucci was removed as White House Communications Director, supposedly at the behest of the newly-sworn-in Chief of Staff, General John Kelly.  So now Mooch The Douche has lost his wife and his job.  If he loses his dog he'll have a country hit on his hands.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week of 07/24/2017

Understanding the Cult of Trump
I think a lot of people will tell you that the worst of the Star Wars movies was Episode 3, “Revenge of the Sith”.  The one thing that would make the repulsive Jar-Jar Binks forgettable is the transformation of Anakin Skywalker from potential hero into a whiny little bitch just so they can then turn him into Darth Vader.
George Lucas took the most iconic badass villain of all time, his own creation, and turned him into a whiny little bitch.  And now whenever we see Darth Vader, we know that under that black helmet and noisy respirator is nothing more than a whiny little bitch.
But during that whiny little bitch period, there are a couple of scenes that need to be pointed out.  The first is when Anakin tries to convince Padme, the woman that he loves and the mother of their unborn children, that he can somehow “control” Emperor Palpetine and that he can even overthrow him.  Keep in mind that Palpetine is Anakin’s mentor and the great mastermind that was responsible not only for the grand takeover, but even responsible in an indirect way for Anakin’s very birth.  So to say that Anakin can somehow overthrow Palpetine is delusional arrogance.  This is compounded when he boasts to his one-time friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, that he has brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to “his” new empire.  Not Palpetine’s empire... “his”.
It’s this kind of blind arrogance that makes me think about the GOP leaders during our national occupation of the Cult of Donald Trump.  People keep looking at what President Trump is doing and a lot of them are asking why the GOP leadership is tolerating this.  Why is Trump treating the GOP leadership like employees of his failed businesses?  Worse yet, why aren’t they correcting him and reminding him that they were elected by the same voters that put him in the White House?
And every time I hear that, I think back to those two scenes from “Revenge of the Sith”, and of that whiny little bitch played by Hayden Christensen who boasted that he could somehow keep his own master in check.  No, the GOP leadership can’t remove Trump, even if they wanted to.  Even if they had a solid, constitutional impeachment case against him, they cannot bring themselves to do it.  It’s not in their nature.
Of course, President Donald Trump is nothing like the fictional Emperor Palpetine.  Palpetine was a master manipulator who worked in the shadows to get himself in power.  Donald Trump has been and still is a self-promoting narcissistic clown act who can’t help but hog the limelight.  The only thing that works in the shadows with Trump is his gold toilet at Mar-a-Largo.
And Trump has something on his side that Palpetine never did... a cult that he can unleash just as merciless as any clone army.
That brings me to something that bothers me as well... and that is the continual call from those in the media to ask what will it take for Trump supporters to somehow change their minds six months into this “grand experiment”.  Oh they don’t like what Trump has been doing with his Twitter-tantrums and his insane appointments and his embarrassing comments, but they still won’t give up on him.  They can get screwed over with their healthcare, they can lose those jobs that Trump promised to either “save” or “bring back”, they can watch as the GOP takes money out of their pockets and hands it to the millionaires and billionaires, and they will still support Trump and the GOP to the bitter end.
And that blows the minds of the liberals and their friends in the media.  It drives them insane!  How?  How can that be?  How can otherwise rational people support someone who does everything in their power to screw them over and betray everything they claim to support?
Well the answer to that is simple: it’s not rational.  That’s what happens when you find yourself dealing with a cult.
Let’s get brutally honest here... the secret behind Trump’s support is that a good percentage of them have essentially been conditioned that way like followers in a cult.
Now, to be fair, we’re not talking about every single Trumpet.  I’m sure there are some that just like the personality.  Trump certainly knows how to talk his way into getting what he wants and to talk his way out of trouble.  Some people find this appealing.  Certainly his numerous wives do, or at least did at some point.
And Trump didn’t create this cult himself!  That also needs to be pointed out.  The conditioning has been going on for quite some time now; long before Trump started even teasing a run for the White House.  The conditioning was for the benefit of the GOP hierarchy, with messages coming in from conservative talk radio in the late 1980’s, with the rise of Fox News in the late 90’s, with the use of email chains in the early 2000’s, and with the explosion of social media in the past decade.  And then you add to it the plethora of books and so-called “documentaries” that only “the privileged” would have access to.  Simple messages and ideas of obedience, conformity, tradition, so-called “heritage”, the talk of being “under attack” from an “insert-the-enemy-here”, and the rejection of compromise.  Everything that would define a fascist state were being sold as “American values”, and lapped up by those that appealed to them.
It didn’t really matter who would inherit this cult-like group just as long as the GOP benefited from the result.  It could be anyone in the Oval Office as long as it was under GOP control.  It could have been Senator John McCain or it could have been Mitt Romney if they didn’t lose to Barack Obama.  Any one of those sixteen-or-so wannabe contenders for the GOP nomination last year could have inherited that following and nobody would have been concerned about it.  The only difference is that this time around, the following went to a manipulative narcissist who knows how to use it to his advantage.
Now I know at some point someone will play the false equivalent card and claim that liberals have some sort of cult following all their own, but I’ve been in this game for over two decades now, and I know from experience that the liberals don’t have anything remotely like that.  That’s why they’re stymied by the GOP’s cult following.
If an ethic group doesn’t like what the so-called “liberal champion” is supporting, or if they feel short-changed by that person, they don’t “primary” that person out; they just stop voting.  The elderly used to be fixated on that “third rail” subject of Social Security and Medicare, but too many of them have been co-opted by the GOP’s cult conditioning to worry about it now.  And you can’t exactly challenge established norms and still preach religious conformity.  In other words, the liberals lack the wherewithal to even consider anything resembling a cult program, never mind implement one.
So believe me when I say that the cult-conditioning that the GOP has performed over the past few decades is uniquely theirs.  Ironic when you consider that one of the tenants of GOP conditioning is that there is some sort of “liberal indoctrination program” to be fearful of.  But, again, that’s how both fascists and a cult operate.  They create an enemy and they project their own failings onto that enemy.
What the people who are opposed to Trump and his cult need to understand is that you will never appeal to either the GOP hierarchy or their indoctrinated masses to abandon their support of him.  I don’t care what he does or says, they will never give him up.  Ever.  For the hierarchy, it’s a matter of power, and for the followers it’s a matter of conditioning.  They would rather cut off their arms with a plastic knife than to give up Trump.  So they can’t be counted on to either keep Trump in check or to reject him.  It will never happen.
The people opposing Trump should stop trying to win over the 35-or-so-percent that will support Trump no matter what.  Instead, they need to rally the 65-or-so-percent to some kind of common ground and a course of action that will keep Trump in check and counter the self-righteous indignation of the Trumpets.  America may resemble more of a fascistic plutocracy in recent years, but the mechanisms of a democratic republic are still there, and if we don’t want to see America go the way of the Republic in the fictional world of “Star Wars”, then we need to make sure those mechanism are used now before it becomes irrelevant.  After all, this is why those mechanisms were created in the first place.