Monday, July 30, 2018

Week of 07/30/2018

Trump Welfare
As a general rule, I refuse to accept the notion of “unintended consequences” when it involves anything concerning the government.  Any form of government, large or small, has an inherit responsibility to deliberate over any action they make and the possible consequences of those actions.  That is why they are there in the first place.  If they do not do this, then they are guilty of incompetence, period.  They cannot and should never be allowed to plead ignorance for what happens after they pass a law or enact a policy or impose regulations.
That especially includes our orange-skinned narcissistic self-professed “very stable genius”, President Donald Trump and his sociopathic gang of enablers and myrmidons in Congress.
The Narcissist Trump sells himself as a master dealmaker.  A lot of the stupid things he does is apparently done as a way for him to offer a solution to a problem that he created, so he can then pat himself on the back for the “masterful deal” that he made “for us”.  He’s like the attention-seeking arsonist that sets fires so he can call himself a “firefighter”.
Case-in-point, the Trump Tariffs.
Now, bit of history here. Once upon a time, before the federal income tax was made part of the U.S. Constitution, the only constitutionally-recognized form of income for the federal government was through tariffs and duties.  They served a dual purpose of getting revenue for the government and also in preventing other countries from undercutting businesses in America with cheaper goods.  In fact, the GOP’s predecessors, the Whig Party, prided themselves in continuing Alexander Hamilton’s idea of using tariffs to supposedly “protect” American goods and services.  The push for “free trade” didn’t even come about until the end of World War II as one of the many ways to hold off the scourge of communism.
Fast forward to today...
The Narcissist Trump thinks that America isn’t being treated “fairly” in global trade, so he’s slapping tariffs on goods coming into America from countries like China, Canada, and Germany.  Those countries are then jacking up tariffs on the products that we export to them.  The end result, of course, is that everything will soon be more and more expensive.
The Narcissist Trump thinks that those other countries would be “hurt” by the tariffs so they’ll come begging to him to “renegotiate”.  The fires are set, and now the arsonist-firefighter is waiting for someone to cry “fire” so he can put them out.
But the truth is that those other countries will *not* be hurt by the Trump Tariffs in the least.  We will.  America will.
Companies and countries that get hit with the tariffs do not pay for those themselves.  They pass those costs to the consumer in the form of higher prices.  So that soda can that used to cost $1 in the vending machine may soon cost $1.50 or even $2 because of the added price of aluminum for the can.  That $7 cup of coffee from Starbucks may cost $10 because of the coffee being imported.
The whole idea behind tariffs is to make it more expensive to rely on the imported goods, so we would favor our own.  But that presupposes that we have those. 
We don’t make aluminum like we used to back in the day.  We don’t grow coffee like the Latin American and South American countries do.  Your already-expensive SUV or truck will soon be more expensive because we don’t make many of the components in that vehicle in America.  We only put them together and slap logos and labels on them and sell them in America.  We have gotten so used to getting stuff from other countries that we stopped making them here.  That’s why it’ll hurt Americans long before it bothers any other country.
The Trump Tariffs will hurt everyone, but Narcissist Trump thinks that it will hurt the American farmer more than anyone else.  So much so that Narcissist Trump wants so spend $12 billion taxpayer dollars on aid to those struggling farmers.
So now we have Trump Welfare to go with the Trump Tariffs. 
I know that word “welfare” feels insulting to the Trump cultists and his enablers, but that is what it is.  It is welfare to farmers.  A government handout to those Narcissist Trump feels will be “hurting” from the Trump Tariffs.
Bear in mind that this comes just months after Narcissist Trump’s cronies instituted new policies that cut down on the other kind of welfare… the ones that help those already hurting from our maliciously abusive economy.  A maliciously abusive economy where wages have been stagnant for so long that already-hard-working Americans have to ask for help just to make ends meet.  Hell, one certain notorious big-box store is known for showing their low-paid employees how to apply for that help.  And that also includes people who are on disability that are being told they need to find work to keep getting the money they need to make ends meet, even though many of them are not able to work in the first place.  Those are the people that were deemed to be “deadbeats” by Narcissist Trump and his gang of sociopaths and that money is now going to be given to the farmers to compensate them for the Trump Tariffs.
Let’s get brutally honest here... the whole mess is just another example of the sheer incompetence of our narcissistic president and his toadies.  Narcissist Trump, the self-professed master of “the deal”, clearly did not grasp the full extent of his Trump Tariffs and how they will hurt the very Americans that voted him in office, and his band-aid solution with the Trump Welfare going to the farmers only adds insult to the injury he incurs on us.
His gross incompetence on this matter was made plain in June when Harley Davidson announced that they would be moving their manufacturing overseas, partially to escape the Trump Tariffs.  Narcissist Trump responded with an outright tantrum, threatening to tax the American company into bankruptcy.
This is who you elected, America.  An incompetent man-child with an eggshell ego who calls himself a “very stable genius”.  You should be so proud of yourselves!  Winning!
Of course, America will not be winning this.  America will be paying the price for the follies of Narcissist Trump for years to come.  We will pay for this with higher prices, a sinking economy, and a sullied global reputation.  Like all other deals broken by Narcissist Trump, the rest of the world will look at our future trade deals with a hint of mistrust, always having to wonder whether the next elected leader will proclaim that we’re not being “treated fairly”.  Instead of bargaining from a position of strength, we will be begging for forgiveness in future trade negotiations, apologizing for our momentary lunacy, and trying in vain to let the world know that Narcissist Trump is not representative of the nation.
Protectionism and tariffs only work when you are in a position to be self-sufficient.  You’re only hurting those other countries with tariffs if you still have the same products here for people to turn to.  Otherwise, you’re just price-gouging your own people. 
We have enjoyed the blessings of a global economy for sixty years; struggling to reach a point to where the world can enjoy our goods and services, and vice-versa.  And, quite frankly, we’ve gotten so used to that blessing that we now depend on those other countries for the little things.  That is why Narcissist Trump’s “America First” trade policies will not only make us “America Last”, but also “America Lost”.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Week of 07/23/2018

There Is No “Bottom” With Trump
You would think that the people behind the Trump Resistance Movement and those in the media would have learned something very important by now when it comes to the Narcissistic President Donald J. Trump.
Besides the fact that he is a narcissist, the one thing that should have been pretty obvious when it comes to Trump and his enablers and his cult worshipers is that there is no such a thing as “bottom”.
That was the word being uttered by a lot of people after the past week’s horrendous Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.  When Trump, with literally the whole world watching, rejected his own intelligence agencies for “the word” of Putin when it came to Russia meddling with our 2016 Presidential Farce.  Worse, this came after he belittled and sabotaged any support for our NATO allies, so he was spiteful with our allies and then supportive of our enemies.
The backlash was spectacular, and the continual and almost scripted retort was that Trump had gone “too far”.  That not even his allies and his sycophants and his myrmidons and his cult supporters would ever support this!  Even Fox News, the very propaganda media that created Trump’s candidacy in the first place, was saying they couldn’t support what Trump was saying and doing in Helsinki.  Fox News!
“Have we reached rock bottom yet?” asked columnist SE Cupp.
And while there was a part of me that thought that it would be true, I knew better than that.  I knew that no matter how bad it looked and how bad it was, Trump would find some way to weasel through it, and that his cult followers would follow him no matter what.
Sure enough, that’s what happened.  Trump’s propaganda ministers at Fox News went from “we can’t explain this” right back to “Trump is the greatest ever and if you don’t believe it then you’re an enemy of the state” within days.  Days!
And I know this has the Trump Resistance pissed.  And rightly so.  This is yet another instance where Trump can do something so outlandish that it defies explanation and he gets away with it.
And I knew that he would.  I knew that Trump would be allowed to get away with it because I remember the lessons of history, and the warnings of a writer who died far too soon by the name of George Orwell.
Orwell’s classic story “Nineteen Eighty-Four” told a depressing story of a dystopian society firmly in an authoritarian stranglehold.  But what makes the story even more heinous is how complicit the masses were conditioned to blindly accept the word of the government without question.  This is particularly true when it comes to what Orwell called “doublethink”. 
In one scene, a newscaster, in the middle of his broadcast, gives the infamous line “we have always been at war with Eastasia” when in that same statement he earlier said that the government was “always at war with Eurasia”.  The masses watching this don’t even think for a moment that this is wrong, and they blindly accept the contradictory change as fact; even going so far as to violently tear down flags and banners that supported the previous statement made just moments earlier.  That is how conditioned the masses are in the fictional country of Oceania.
The late Jack Kirby also painted a world full of people equally in the throws of dystopia for DC Comics.  His creation of the hellish world Apokolips, ruled by the evil tyrant god Darkseid, is full of what he called “Hunger Dogs”.  But they were not “dogs”; rather, they were the ordinary people of the world who had been trampled on and subjugated to work in pain, misery, and squalor without question for so long that they have no hope for anything other than the sweet release of death.  They have no concept of freedom at all; only of blind obedience and fidelity to their “god”.
But we don’t need to look at books or graphic novels to see examples of this complicity in play.  History has given us plenty of examples as well, and I don’t even have to pull up Germany and Italy in the 1920’s and 30’s to prove my point.
Look at Iraq.  Until his overthrow and execution during the Iraq War, Saddam Hussein committed some of the most heinous acts imaginable.  And yet, the people of Iraq loved him.  They worshiped him.  Granted, a lot of that was because he was known to squash any kind of resistance, but even when Baghdad was liberated and his giant statues were taken down, there were plenty of elderly citizens who cried and mourned the fall of the old guard.  They may not have liked what Saddam did, but they were conditioned to accept his rule as one appointed by god.
The cult followers of Jonestown and Waco proved how conditioned people could be to blindly follow their “leader”, even as that leader does horrific things.  And not only do they support that leader, and justify what he does as “right” and “god-ordained”, but they’ll follow that leader all the way to their literal deaths.
And now we see that same complicity when it comes to our own narcissistic President.
When the infamous “Access Hollywood” recordings were made public in the 2016 campaign, there were plenty in the Trump Resistance and the “Never Trump” crowd that thought that Trump’s own words would do him in.  They thought that this was “bottom” for Trump and his cohorts.  This was his own voice making these boasts.  And yet we listened in absolute disgust as the propagandists in talk radio and Fox News would explain and excuse it as “locker room talk” and “boys will be boys” and the entitled boasting of a so-called “Alpha Male”.  And the masses accepted it blindly.
When news of his affairs started getting about (not that his infidelity was ever a secret – Hi Marla!), the same religious crowd that stand piously in self-righteous judgement of the actions of others announced that they would give Trump “a mulligan”.  An apt reference since he plays far below subpar.  The people that were quick to condemn Bill and Hillary Clinton over Bill’s affairs, who stand in pompous judgement even today over gays and lesbians and transgendered people, that hate sexual expression, would turn around and give Donald Trump “a mulligan” for his activities and nobody questioned that.  Nobody!
Let’s not forget that Trump himself even boasted openly that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City in broad daylight and never lose a voter.  That in and of itself should serve as an indication as to how committed his cult worshipers are to him and his ideals.
So why should anyone be shocked to see Trump suck up to Vlad Putin, throw his own intelligence community under the bus, to embrace and act like the third-world dictators he admires, and then have his own party, his enablers, his myrmidons, his propagandist prostitutes, and his blind cult followers go along with it?  Why should we be surprised to see the very people that used to praise our friendship with our allies during the Iraq War and Afghanistan War suddenly be dismissive of them because of Ol’ Orange Stain?  Why should we be shocked to know that Trump is defecating on the American Flag while at the same time demand that football players and everyone else be forced to stand to the national anthem, and his gun-toting flag-waiving cult followers see nothing wrong with any of it? 
Let’s get brutally honest here… there is no such thing as “bottom” when it comes to Donald J. Trump or his supporters.  It does not exist!  At all! 
We are dealing with a self-promoting narcissist who has enablers and soothsayers and, quite literally, nobody that is able to tell him “no”.  That, in and of itself, is dangerous, never mind that this same narcissist is currently the President of the United States.  Add to that a sizeable segment of the population that has been groomed since the 1980’s to accept the creeping fascism of their party and to blindly support their “appointed leader” in the same way that the Iraqis supported Saddam Hussein, and you have someone who has literally no limits to what they can do or how far down to sink us.
This is who he is, and this is who they are!
And this is more of a condemnation of the Trump cultists than of Trump himself, because Trump is able to do what he has been doing knowing that his cult followers will support him no matter what.  These are the masses that claim to be “real Americans”; who wrap themselves up in that same flag that Trump defecates with his antics; who claim to cherish freedom and yet want to censor the media; who sing praises for law enforcement but still crucifies the FBI; who spit on immigrants and then claim that their ancestors were “settlers”; and who treat our allies as enemies and condones Trump sucking up to our enemies. They are the living epitome of the “blackwhite” mentality of Orwell’s “doublespeak”, holding two diametrically opposite beliefs and calling them the same.
The rest of us, including those who are not yet members of the Trump Resistance, need to stop deluding ourselves into thinking that Trump will go “too far” or do something so outrageous to alienate his supporters.  His supporters will not abandon Trump.  They would and have already abandoned their principles, their morals, and any semblance of honor and respect to support the self-professed “very stable genius”.  They have become more “Trumpians” than Americans.
The real question is what will it take for the rest of us to do something about Trump and his cult followers.  The ones that sat on their fat asses in 2016 and didn’t vote for anyone.  If our country is still supposedly run “by the consent of the governed”, then what will it take for you to stop consenting?
We know that Trump and his cohorts and supporters have no “bottom”.  What about the rest of you?