Monday, June 25, 2018

Week of 06/25/2018

The Narcissist and His Ego-Wall
It is the biggest and most grotesque case of hypocrisy in human civilization.  The fact that the United States of America, a nation created from immigrants, would have a horribly dysfunctional problem with other people coming in. 
Oh, we have no problem whatsoever with people who look like us and sound like us that want to come to America.  But we take issue when “other people” come.  People who don’t look like us or sound like us or speak English like us.  It didn’t matter if it was Irish, Italian, German, Greek, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, Haitian, or Mexican.  It didn’t matter if they were Jewish, Muslim, or even Christian.  If they weren’t like us, if they didn’t speak like us, if they came from someplace else, they suddenly “weren’t welcomed” in this supposedly “great” nation of ours.
The events of the past few weeks of this column’s posting only magnifies this glaring hypocrisy.  America’s biggest showman of this hypocrisy is a narcissist who swindled his way in a self-professed “rigged system” to become the President of the United States, and the victims of this hypocrisy have been families taken into camps near the border with Mexico.
President Donald Trump and his lackey, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, enacted what they claimed was a “zero tolerance policy” about illegal immigrants back in April of 2018, but didn’t implement it until recently.  Basically declaring that anyone coming over from Mexico was guilty-until-proven-innocent of breaking the law and throwing them in detention centers.  But the most insidious of their actions was to separate the children from the parents they deem to be criminals and put those children in separate “holding areas”.
By now we’ve all seen the images of crying kids in cages, warehoused like animals in some closed-up WalMart store, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and some mylar runner’s blanket.  It was worse than the sickening display of Muslim concentration camps of twenty years ago in Bosnia-Herzegovina, not only because it involved children, but because it is going on here in America.  A country that is supposed to be better than this!
Even worse has been the way that Trump and his acolytes have been dismissing and excusing the policy of taking kids away from their parents. With the complicit Secretary of Homeland Security lying about there being “no policy”, to Trump’s out-and-out lies about this going on because of some non-existent law passed when Bill Clinton was in office, to Fox News propagandist Laura Ingram claiming that these detention centers were like “boarding schools” or “summer camp”.  Let’s not forget the favorite claim of the Trump propagandists that these crying children are all “crisis actors”.  And, when all fails, we have the demented troll himself, Jeff-Beau Sessions, claiming that it’s okay because “the bible sez so”, and White House Hack “Mean Girl” Sarah Sanders saying it’s okay because “it’s very biblical to enforce the law”.  You know, for the law that really doesn’t exist, which justifies a policy that they created that they also claim “doesn’t exist”.
During this time, we’ve also seen the Narcissist Trump “save the day” with an executive order to override the policy that he implemented, which is like the arsonist putting out the dumpster fire that he started and then demanding praise for doing it.  But it is a “save” in claim only, because his policy is still blanket-detaining people who cross the southern border and evaluating whether or not they “deserve” asylum status later… if at all.  And the kids already separated?  Well, we are supposed to take the word of the very people who claimed that a policy “didn’t exist” and that the victims were “crisis actors” that those same kids are being reunited with their parents. 
We are supposed to trust the word of known liars who just got caught lying to the world.  Think about that.
But there’s something else lurking that nobody wants to really discuss, and that is the underlying motive for all of this misery and suffering.
President Donald Trump wants his ego-wall. 
You know, that colossally-expensive monstrosity that would divide the United States from Mexico and be the largest U.S. structure in the world.  One that could be seen from space.  The monument to his ego.  The one that he promised that Mexico would somehow pay for.  That has been his premiere campaign promise, and it should be painfully clear to everyone that he will do anything to get it.  And it is also painfully clear that he does not care who really pays for it, just as long as that “someone” is not Donald John Trump.
This is not the first time that Trump has threatened harm to people if he doesn’t get his ego-wall.  It was this time last year that Trump promised a “deal” with the Democrats in Congress concerning the children of illegal immigrants, many of whom are now adults, and are threatened with losing their education and even being sent back to a country they do not remember being in.  It was a deal that Trump then revoked when the Democrats balked at his ego-wall.  He’s threatened vetoes on spending bills that don’t include spending on his ego-wall.  He’s even threatened to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his ego-wall funded immediately.
And now he has threatened children to get his ego-wall funded.  Shocking, yes.  But anyone who truly grasps who and what our President is would know that this is normal for someone like him.
Let’s get brutally honest here... we are dealing with a narcissist who will do anything and everything to get his way.  Narcissists have no concept of boundaries.  They have no sense of empathy.  They do not care if they do harm.  They do not care who gets hurt as long as it is not themselves.  All they care about is getting what they want.
And our narcissistic President wants his ego-wall.
We need to understand that as long as this man is in the White House, he will do everything he can to get his monumental ego-wall built.  If it means making deals, if it means cajoling people, if it means threatening them, bullying them, starving them, shutting down the government, making people suffer, even threatening the safety and very lives of women and children to get it done, so be it.  As long as he has the unchecked executive power to inflict pain and misery, his will be done.
There are some people who think that we need to appease this man.  Give him his ego-wall just to shut him up.  The problem with this is that we have just rewarded what he’s done.  We’ve embarrassed our nation in the eyes of the world, showing them just how far away we have abdicated our own principles to appease Trump.  Everything that we’ve stood for, everything that we represented, everything our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents came to this country for is all flushed down Trump’s golden toilet.  And all to appease Trump’s ego.
And then what?  Now Trump knows what it takes to get what he wants.  Anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship knows what will happen next.  When the abuser threatens to kill the family pet or hurt the kids and they get what they want, they know that’s their next go-to.  The next time around, they start with killing the family pet or hurting the kids, because they know it works.  And if it doesn’t, then they escalate.  The next time around, Trump will start with the horrible stuff, because now he knows that this is how to get his way.
It’s probably a good thing that Trump has pulled America out of the United Nations Human Rights Council.  As long as Trump is in the White House, and as long as the GOP is serving as his enablers, we have no business being there.  We may have forfeited any claim of championing human rights a few presidents back, but we should be more concerned with what additional atrocities America will be guilty of in our quest to appease our narcissistic leader. 
Because, when it is all finished, Donald John Trump will never be held to account for his actions.  We will.  America will.  Ask the people of Germany or Japan if you don’t believe me.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Week of 06/18/2018

California Divorce?
On election day in November 2018, voters in the State of California, aka the California Republic, will get to decide as to whether or not they want a divorce.
Not from their spouses.  That’s been going on.  Hell, that’s almost a rite of passage in that part of the country. 
I mean a divorce from their state.
Voters will get to decide in this coming mid-term election con-game whether they want to split their state up into three.  San Francisco and capital Sacramento would be part of “North California”, San Diego would highlight “South California”, and the greater Los Angeles area along with five counties north of it would stay “California”.
This radical idea is the brainchild of bitcoin champion Timothy Draper, who originally came up with the idea of splintering California into six states in 2014, but he couldn’t get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.  This time, his re-worked idea of a three-state split got more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot measure.
The idea of breaking up California – the most prosperous of the 50 states, not to mention the third largest in geography – is neither shocking or new.  There has been plenty of displeasure in the state for a long time.  This is a state that is as dysfunctional as many of the families there.  You have a wide variety of interests and demographics from one end to the other and they have a hard time tolerating each other.  It was only a matter of time, especially in our growing hyper-partisan fragmented nation, that someone would float the idea of breaking up the “family” and have it stick.
And really… maybe it should be broken up.
Let’s get brutally honest here… no state in the United States of America was ever meant to be forever.  The nation was always created with the idea that its size would change.  We’ve always thought of that change as expansion, but it can also very well mean change from within.  And if the people of California feel that they are not being represented or governed properly on a state level, then they have every right to either get the representation they feel is due, or else break apart from that state and form a new one.  Or two.
Now, I can understand why this idea would be terrifying to some people.  The liberal faction of the Democrats have had a lock on California politics since forever.  Hell, California is one of the key electoral states needed to win the White House.  You break that state into three, and you break up the electoral delegates.  Texas and Florida, far from liberal bastions, get the political attention.  You break up the power structure and the attention when you break up the state.
At the same time how many times have we heard the conservative extremists in Texas whine about secession?  It seemed like every election over the past two decades, we’ve heard Texans whine and whine and whine about seceding from America.  In fact, the only thing that shut them up was that Donald Trump is now President.  Funny how a partisan shift would change their minds about America.
I also know that even if the voters approve the measure, it’s still far from a done deal.  Once approved by the voters, the final decision would still have to be made by Congress in accordance to the U.S. Constitution.  You know, that gang of dysfunctional and corrupt sociopaths that can only pass legislation that is either self-serving or serving their special interest buddies and campaign sugar-daddies.  The ones who can’t stop spending money and still whine about it.
Opponents of the split are relying on that gross ineptitude of Congress to be a “circuit breaker” should they lose in November.  After all, if Congress has failed to authorize statehood for Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Guam, then certainly they wouldn’t want to mess with California, right?  Why force the flag-makers to change the flag that GOP desecrate every day with their antics?
Well how about this reason: because it would actually give them more legislative power in Washington.
California currently has two senators and 53 legislators.  Split the state into three, and you now have three states, each with two US Senators.  Granted, the congressional maps would all have to be redrawn, but given the political leanings in both the areas that would become “North” and “South” California, there is a very good chance that the GOP could pick up at least two new Senate seats from those two “new” states.  It would all just be a matter of how those new states would divide up the representation.
Now compare that to the other proposed “states”.  Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia all lean liberal.  Give them statehood and you get two Senators for the Dems for each of those territories.  That’s six Senators all siding with the Democrats. You can see why a GOP-controlled Congress is not eager to see that happen.  Splitting up California, on the other hand, gives them a good chance of coming out stronger.
And, certainly, this idea should give other state governments pause, even if it doesn’t succeed.  Career politicians have relied on the complacency and apathy of the voters to do whatever they want.  This has created a political divide that is getting more and more agitated.  This could lead to calls for other states to possibly split up.
Imagine, if you will, the states of Florida and Georgia splitting.  The Florida Keys have actually seceded from America on at least one occasion!  The “Panhandle” part of Florida could easily call it quits if they don’t like what’s going on further south.  And there is a noticeable disdain for the Atlanta area through the rest of Georgia.  Could there be a “North” and “South” for Florida and Georgia at some point?  That’s something to consider.
If California does split up, though, they really only have themselves to blame for it.  You can only push any kind of idealism for so long before people question whether or not you’re living in the same reality as them.  Not everyone likes kale or tofu.  Not everyone is a vegan or a vegetarian.  And you can’t expect gender discrimination to suddenly end just because of a hashtag shaming movement.  Or, for that matter, any kind of discrimination.
History has shown time and time again that when governments fail to represent their people, they create the call for revolt.  Great Britain learned that the hard way starting with America.  America learned that with the Civil War.  Hell, we ended up with Donald Trump in the White House because of that.  California’s fate now depends on whether or not enough people are pissed off at the way things are to want them to change.