Monday, September 24, 2018

Week of 09/24/2018

Injustice Prevails
I’m going to say something that I don’t want to say and something that more and more people will not want to hear.
Barring some kind of last-minute earth-shattering revelation, such as treason, the United States Senate will confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next justice of the United States Supreme Court.  It will probably be a close vote, clearly along party lines, but it will happen nonetheless.
I don’t want that to happen, but it will. 
I don’t want him on the Supreme Court for the very reason why our narcissist President Trump picked him in the first place… because Kavanaugh thinks – or at least implies - that the President is untouchable.  As a practical libertarian, that stance automatically disqualifies him in my eyes.  Everything else about the man, including the allegations he sexually assaulted a young woman when he was 17, just reinforces why he shouldn’t be sitting on the highest court in America.  And, believe me, there is a lot more about him that is just plain wrong besides what he did in a cushy elite prep school.
But it is how this whole thing is being carried out that really disgusts me.  I’m talking about how the conservatives, the Trumpets, the propagandists, and especially the members of the United State Senate, are behaving when it comes to this whole process.
Now I can understand why Trump is acting the way he is.  He is an impudent narcissist with the patience of a small child in a Wal-Mart.  He wants what he wants, and he wants it yesterday.  And if someone like Kavanaugh will kiss his ass and suck up to him, then Trump will treat that person as though he was an Old Testament judge appointed by God almighty.  We saw this with his blind support of the disreputable, dishonorable, and disgusting Roy Moore.
But it’s the actions of everyone else following Trump that serve as a disgrace to the whole human race.
From the Senate Judiciary Committee, we have its chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, who so is seemingly obsessed with setting a land speed record for approval that he doesn’t seem to care about finding the truth about what kind of person they’re trying to confirm.  He appears to treat these new accusations like an inconvenience, as if the sole purpose of the Senate is to rubber-stamp Trump’s selections through.  If this is true, then he’s guilty of dereliction of his duty as a member of the United States Senate, not to mention guilty of gross incompetence.  Then again, he is an old man who is perhaps too senile to do his job.
Then we have all the people who would rather excuse the “youthful indiscretions” of Kavanaugh and blame the victim for what happened... which Kavanaugh himself is still denying ever happened. 
So which is it?  Is it that he never did it, or is it that he did it but it’s “okay” because “boys will be boys”?  And if it is “boys will be boys”, then you need to explain how the teenagers who took part in the notorious “Central Park Wilding” incident of that same decade that were even younger than Kavanaugh at the time and yet the call was for them to go to adult prison for life for their supposed “youthful indiscretion”.
Even worse is the load of bull from people like former Florida GOP wannabe Gina Sosa, who actually asked “what boy hasn’t done this in high school?”
Really?  You really want to go to the misandry playbook of the late man-hater Andrea Dworkin?  Really?  You *really* want to say that all men are rapists?
And this other load of bull about why the accuser didn’t report it to the police... Remember William Kennedy Smith?  1991, accused of rape, the victim did report it to the police, but, because he is white and rich and has connections, he was acquitted.  What sort of message did that send rape victims then?  The victim did everything she was told to do, and yet her attacker got away with it.
Remember the Catholic Church and their problem with pedophile priests?  Nobody went to prison back then.  The Church bought the silence of their many victims and shuffled the pedo-priests around.  That problem never went away!  It would take decades before the perpetrators would even be criminally charged, if they were still alive!
So, you want to try that one again?
 “He never did it.  It never happened.  She’s lying.  And even if he did it, it didn’t matter because boys will be boys and we can’t punish him for something he did when he was young and stupid, but it’s still her fault if it did happen.”
*That* is what you are telling the world, conservatives! 
That is what you are telling the world!
A goddamned hypocritical screed that is an embarrassment to the whole human race.  It flies in the face of everything you claim to be all about.  Morality, responsibility, accountability... you have pissed that all away.  You have forfeited those standards.  And the fact that it is coming from people with money and power and influence only makes it worse, because it says people with those things can do any goddamned thing they want and never be held to account for it.
There is one way that Kavanaugh could save some face at this point, and that would be to own up to what he is accused of.  Admit it, but then say that he learned from it.  But that would take courage and character, two things I have yet to see from someone like him.
And yet, barring any kind of truly earth-shattering revelation, the GOP will get away with it.  They will get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court, no matter what he admits or denies, and no matter what anyone else says about him.
Because let’s get brutally honest here... this has absolutely nothing at all to do with whether or not Brett Kavanaugh is qualified or capable or even the right man to sit on the Supreme Court in judgement over anything, never mind on judicial decisions that can change the nation.  This has to do with one thing and one thing only: power.  Raw, naked, inexcusable, unchallengeable partisan political power.
This is about a narcissist in the White House who manipulated to have not just one, but two Justices on the Supreme Court.  It is about a hypocritical hyperpartisan political party that is exercising the same power to ram through two nominees to the Supreme Court that they used to deny the previous President of the United States to appoint his own nominee to that same court. 
And, as much as it galls me and it galls an ever-increasing number of Americans, they will get away with it. 
This is a gross injustice that is decades in the making.  This is the molestation of a system designed to ensure that the most qualified of people get a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the country.  A molestation that the GOP will get away with just like the pedo-priests got away with their actions.  Why?  Because they can.  Because they have power and money and influence.
This is what you voted for, people.  A corrupt political party of abuse, excuse, and misogyny. 
Or, as our narcissist president would call it... “Winning”.  Tired of it yet?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Week of 09/17/2018

Only Conservatives Are “Allowed” To Go Negative On Trump
In a recent “New Rules” rant in the HBO series “Real Time With Bill Maher”, host Bill Maher whined about why conservatives are the only ones to come up with zingers on our narcissistic president, Donald J. Trump.  Maher listed the various ways certain conservative people are able to refer to Trump as an “idiot” or a “moron” while the liberals and the progressives and the rest of the failed Democratic Party say less than nothing. 
It should be noted that most of the quotes that Maher pointed out made about Trump were never made in front of a camera.  In fact, they were second-hand quotes, from someone who heard that person say something supposedly in confidence and then they blab it to someone like Bob Woodward, who then publishes it in a book, and then that person has to publicly deny ever saying it to keep their job.  Very rarely do you have someone like Steve Schmidt with the courage to go in front of the camera and lay it all out and weather the consequences.
It’s funny too, because earlier in that same broadcast, Bill interviewed former Secretary of State John Kerry, and Kerry laid in some pretty choice words about Trump.  So it’s not like there is a lack of criticism from the left.  Hell, Maher and the rest of the liberal media personalities in places like Sirius XM and the late-night network shows have an endless stream of choice words and zingers.  That’s their bread and butter.  That’s what keeps them in the media spotlight and keeps generating interest and keeps them employed.
I would presume, then, that what Maher really wants to know is where the scathing criticism is from those in office.  Where’s the criticism from those with a “(D)” next to their names?  Where are all of the zingers about Trump’s perceived ignorance and sickening narcissism from the party that should be looking to assume control in the upcoming mid-term election hoax?
Well, since those people with a “(D)” next to their names will not answer that, Bill, I guess it’ll be someone like me that will have to answer it.  And, for that, I’ll start with a scene in the classic movie “Animal House”.
In “Animal House”, Delta House seniors Otter and Boon are watching as one of the pledges gets verbally abused by his ROTC superior.  Dressed in golfing attire and getting ready to putt a few golf balls, Otter says “He can’t do that to our pledges!”  To which Boon adds “Only *we* can do that to our pledges.”
And thus we have the “rule” that the failed Democrats have been adhering to, much to the dismay of the rest of America.  You don’t speak ill of the other party.  You only speak ill of your own.  And, of course, Dems don’t speak ill of their own party, lest they find themselves on their own.  Just ask Bernie Sanders.
From a highbrow intellectual standpoint, it sort-of makes sense.  If the Democrats criticize the GOP, it’s dismissed as nothing more than a cheap partisan attack at best.  It makes them look petty; whining simply because they’re not the ones in power.
And, sadly, that perception is not far from the truth.  Whenever I see that power-monger Nancy Pelosi or the failed Chuck Schumer criticize anything from the GOP, I cannot help but see the petulant whining of a failed and impotent party.  To hear them say “that’s not right” and “that’s not fair” when it comes to Trump and the GOP is like hearing a spoiled daughter whining because her daddy won’t buy her a pony.  They are every bit the entrenched entitled career politicians that not only need to be replaced, but their continued entrenchment has given cause for the extremists in the GOP to be as belligerent as they are today.
What doesn’t help the Democrats is their perceived role in American politics as being the fallback party for when the GOP fails.  For years, the Democrats have been operating as the fallback choice when the GOP goes too far or when they become too scandal-ridden to keep their majority control.  That’s how they got back control of Congress in 2007, only to lose it four years later without so much as a single complaint or cry of outrage.  They just assumed and accepted that it would happen.  Even today, with mid-terms coming up, the Democrats are not trying to prove that they are the “better choice”, only that they are not “the worst”.  There is a distinct difference between the two concepts.
So let’s get brutally honest here... as unfair as it may seem, only those in the GOP can be seen as criticizing Trump and the rest of the conservative neo-fascist lot and have it mean something.  Only the conservatives can stand up and say “Hey, you’re betraying everything our side stands for!”  If it comes from the Dems, it gets dismissed as partisan whining.  If it comes from someone like me... well, then nobody really cares.
Of course, the GOP doesn’t abide by that kind of rule themselves.  They’ve been attacking Democrats endlessly and without mercy, honor, respect, or morals for decades now.  They certainly showed no morals or respect whatsoever when it came to the eight years of Barack Obama.  But, then again, what do you really expect from a gang of narcissists and sociopaths?  That’s how the world ended up with Donald Trump in the White House.
What Democrats need to do is not only clean up their act, but also start pushing for serious retribution on the party that has been kicking them around.  When Richard Nixon was forced out of office – showing more respect for the office than Trump ever will – the Democrats started putting in new rules to make sure that future abuses of office would be exposed and punished.  The very independent prosecutor that the GOP used against President Bill Clinton came from those rules.  For the past few years, the GOP have been the ones coming up with – and negating – the rules.  Now that the abuses of the GOP have become public and brazen, the Democrats will need to step up and push for those abuses to end and for the abusers to be held to account.
Sadly, such a concept would be beyond the scope of the current batch of Democrats in office.  They don’t know how to govern.  They only know how to play the game that has been set up and to keep the seats warm until the GOP get their act together.  It is up to the newer players, the so-called “upstarts” of the Democratic Party, to replace the failed old guard.  Or wait until the remaining members of the GOP, the ones who still stand against Trump and his cult, find the courage to end the madness from within.
What we are witnessing is the absolute failure of our dominant political duopoly, where zero-sum extremism between both parties have led to one side being impotent co-dependents and the other as belligerent extremists increasingly divorced from reality, no different than the extremists in the Middle East that we are so fond of detesting and mocking.  Bill Maher and the rest of the liberal and progressive personalities can chide the Dems all they want, but, ultimately, this is where the hyperpartisan extremism has led us to.  It’s too late now to ask where that party’s spine went.  They sold it along with their souls to keep their cushy entitled seats at the expense of the rest of the nation.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Week of 09/10/2018

“Anonymous” Is No “Deep Throat”
In the past week of this article’s posting, President Donald Trump has no doubt been feeling a little threatened.
Normally his enemies are the media, liberals, reason, reality, the truth, and anyone with a functioning brain that is not kissing his ass and applauding like some toy circus animal.  And, yes, you can count me in as one of those with a functioning brain.
But now he has a new enemy, one that he probably never suspected, and one that is probably the most dangerous for him... and to our country.
His newest and greatest enemy is his own people in the White House.
First there is Bob Woodward’s upcoming book “Fear”, set to release on 9/11, which claims that White House staff consider the President of the United States as “unhinged”, “an idiot”, and they actually remove papers from his desk before he can sign them.
Then there is “Anonymous”; a supposed “Senior White House Official” who penned an opinion article in the New York Times confirming that he (or she) is part of a quiet “resistance” movement in the White House to “contain” Trump’s unstable antics and reassure the world that what Trump says and does is the opposite of what is really going on in the White House.
Now Woodward’s look at the White House is really nothing different from what he’s been doing in the years after he first got fame exposing the antics of the White House under President Richard Nixon.  Woodward has gotten plenty of dirt about what really goes on in the White House that every president before Trump have not been comfortable with.  Woodward talks with the people that work there, not just relying on what the President or his handlers have to say.
And, yes, there are a lot of comparisons between Nixon and Trump that Woodward is quick to point out.  The paranoia.  The insanity.  The back-talking.  Woodward himself says that the White House today is a lot like when it was just before Nixon resigned.
I was only a child when the Watergate scandal broke and when Nixon resigned from office.  I didn’t know why he was resigning but I remember my parents took the news seriously.  Years later, I had to learn what really happened and how a botched break-in would bring down a sitting president.  I learned the role that Woodward and his partner Carl Bernstein played in exposing the truth, and the role of their source... a shadowy figure known only as “Deep Throat”.
It would be forty years before the identity of “Deep Throat” could be revealed.  It ended up being W. Mark Felt, former Associate Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Someone who kept quiet about what he did, and even openly denied his involvement until it was clear that anyone that could get revenge on him were long since dead.
Those who would demand the Times give up the identity of “Anonymous” would do well to keep that in mind.  If Felt didn’t openly admit to being “Deep Throat”, it would have remained one of the great mysteries of the Watergate scandal.  And, again, prior to the great reveal, Felt openly denied being the source.
But “Anonymous” is a different character than Felt’s “Deep Throat”.
Let’s get brutally honest here... “Anonymous” is not like “Deep Throat”.  He (or she) isn’t even close to what Felt did.
“Deep Throat” didn’t work to quietly sabotage the Nixon White House.  He didn’t steal documents from the President’s desk or quietly reassure the world that there was a “private coup” going on that would neuter the President’s intentions and actions.  All “Deep Throat” did was point Woodward and Bernstein to where they should look and who to ask questions.  He was an informant, not a saboteur.
“Anonymous” and his (or her) cohorts are saboteurs who are undermining their boss to advance their own agenda.  That’s not being a hero.  That falls under acts of insurrection even worse than what the GOP was doing to Trump’s predecessor for the prior two terms.
There are two trains of thought as to who “Anonymous” is and what their motivations would be.
The first is a radical idea: that “Anonymous” is really Trump.
It’s not the first time that Trump has played a con on the media.  He’s created fake identities before to advance his agenda.  And to come up with the idea that there is a “shadow coup” going on in the White House plays right into Trump’s continual claim of a “Deep State” that he’s supposedly trying to eliminate.  “Anonymous” would be the confirmation of everything he’s been telling his cult followers is going on.  It would send his base into a frothy rage and support him doing everything he can to shut it down.
The other thought would be “Anonymous” really is someone in the White House... and, given the use of the rare word “lodestar” in their article, it suggests that it is either Vice President Mike Pence or at least someone familiar with his speeches.  If that is the case, then the motive would be to set the stage for removing Trump from office through the 25th Amendment.
Invoking the 25th Amendment doesn’t require any kind of validation or certification.  There is no test.  No hearings.  No doctors are needed.  There is simply a letter signed by the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet members that declares the President to be unable to fulfill the duties of the position, and that the Vice President would assume those responsibilities as Acting President.  Pence could file that letter today if he could convince that majority to go along with him.
But, if Pence did that today, then he’d have to deal with Trump’s cult followers.  A horde of self-righteous myrmidons that live in a state of perpetual delusion, firmly believing that Trump is some God-appointed savior freeing the world from a corrupt cabal of pedophiles (no, I am not making that up) that have been keeping them in poverty and misery.  Pence may have the religious extremists on his side, but that still wouldn’t protect him from the wrath of the Trumpets if he's seen as overthrowing their savior. 
Pence would need a reason to act.  He’d need a preamble that he could sell to the Trumpets.  “Anonymous” and Woodward’s book does that nicely.  Trump is “unstable”, an “idiot”, “not well”, and he needs to be handled to keep his “worst impulses” from ruining the nation.  It gives Pence the justification that wouldn’t even have to come from him. 
I know Pence has firmly denied being “Anonymous” or considering invoking the 25th Amendment, but keep in mind that Felt spent forty years firmly and publicly denying that he was “Deep Throat”.  So whomever “Anonymous” is, they’re not going to openly admit it anytime soon if it leads to retribution.  They’ll lie and deny and offer up every kind of test to supposedly prove their denials.  Kind of like what Pence is doing now.  Hmm...
But even that does not warrant what “Anonymous” and the rest of the so-called “steady state” are doing there.  It doesn’t matter who is in the White House; they are entitled to a staff that will carry out what that President asks.  It doesn’t matter if it is a good and competent administrator, or an incompetent and narcissistic buffoon who behaves more like a child than his own children.  Short of something extreme, i.e. starting an all-out unprovoked nuclear war, that President needs to stand out or fall on their own.  If the president is inept and incompetent, mentally unstable, prone to dangerous or embarrassing antics, then there is a remedy for that. It’s called the 25th Amendment.  That’s why it is there.
If you feel that your “job” is to protect the White House from the President, then, simply put, you need to find another job.  That one is not yours to presume.