Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump's Kobayashi Maru

The Presidency is an unwinnable game. It's an impossible job at best. How do you reconcile a Constitution that nobly aims to protect the rights and lives of every individual and every minority group with an electoral scheme that rewards gerrymandering, dirty tricks and plain old corruption to generate some artificial consensus by majority rule. Hell, if Obama couldn't do it, who could? Donald Trump didn't think he'd win the election. He didn't want the job, but he craved the fame.

Now, he's stuck. He can't do anything that would bear even the appearance of losing face. He's a self-described "winner" at all things competitive. He's lived his whole life bullying, lying, cheating and scamming others to promote himself and he's gotten kind of rich doing it. He hasn't really "won" in terms of becoming the richest man in the world, but, dammit, he's become the most famous blowhard in history. The problem comes in actually trying to do the job of governing, as the President is supposed to do. Trump is clearly in over his head, but he can't admit that. He's intellectually lazy and inattentive to details. Thinking about matters of great importance is too hard for him, so he resorts to relying on pre-digested sound bites from comic book news sources. He sputters and fumbles when he talks about substance, but he can lead a "great" cheer, especially when it happens to promote him personally.

He can't drain the swamp. He can't speak for the people. He can't balance the budget. He can't restore a manufacturing base to the United States. He can't deliver the kind of tax reform people want. He can't provide "Better than Obamacare" health coverage AND cut spending. Each one of those goals is mutually exclusive from the others. He really shouldn't try to keep a promise that no one ever really wanted him to keep. He doesn't have much time in which to create a Presidential legacy. He will start to build a wall because it's going to have his name on it. He may even reform health care because it'll be called Trumpcare from now on.  Doing any of those things, however, would placate a vocal minority at the expense of alienating another, powerful constituency. The problem is, there's no consistency among constituencies. He doesn't understand that pro-lifers don't care about ISIS; tea-partiers don't care about trade balances; billionaires don't care about food stamps.

He doesn't understand that if you crack open the head of an American voter, you'll find nothing but a sea of contradictions - a veritable cornucopia of cognitive dissonance. Build a $20 billion dollar wall, but don't raise my taxes; repair the bridges and highways that I drive on every day but don't raise my taxes; give me a license to pollute but don't raise my taxes. Stop spending money on an outdated and unnecessary military and I'll gladly pay more for social programs (That one might cause his brain to explode, but that's a story for another time). He's still not going to pay taxes, himself. He wins vs the IRS. He also wins vs his contractors and his employees. He wins vs the media. He wins the hearts, if not the minds, of the disaffected "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" crowd.

He's well on his way to becoming the least effective, most unpopular President in history. Each lie he tells, every breath he takes, diminishes his stature. He's made a career out of failing up in the business world. Every time the shit was hitting the fan, he could declare bankruptcy and still stand in front of a hotel, or an airplane, or a golf course named TRUMP. There is no Bankruptcy Court for failed Presidents. There's only impeachment, or a grand failure named the Trump revolution, when the Democrats take back the legislature in 2018, or the humiliation of not even being considered for re-nomination at the 2020 Republican Convention. He may be a laughingstock around the world, but he still has legions of knee-jerk supporters who believe in him. He needs one last chance to preserve a fraction of whatever shred of dignity he's clinging onto in his own mind.

He needs to rig the system before it chews him up and spits him out. He can only do so if he finds a way to resign from office, say for health reasons, or because the job is too stressful or too dangerous for his wife and kids (poor things). A well-timed heart attack before the next big terrorist attack (which will probably be aimed at a Trump Hotel near you, by the way) should provide the perfect cover for him to quit while he still has a handful of zealous supporters out there to keep the debate going for years. He'll be out on the golf course, nursing his health, massaging his own ego and reminiscing about what he coulda, woulda, shoulda done if he didn't have to step down at the peak of his popularity. He deserves the rest.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We're Going to Need a Better Fence!

The Party of Fear and Hate brings you another four years of Greed and Arrogance!

Let's "rebuild" the biggest military force in the world! Let's restore our crumbling infrastructure! Let's give huge tax breaks to the ultra rich! Let's even give health care to everyone! But first, let's put a stop to all of this unscrupulous bullying and bad-mouthing coming from the liberal media, career bureaucrats, millions of women and anyone spouting those goofy "facts." They hurt our feelings.

As Abraham Lincoln may have observed:
You can fool some of the people all of the time (2004: Bush wins second term), and all of the people some of the time (2000: Gore wins, Bush owns Supreme Court), but you can not fool all of the people all of the time (2008: Obama wins, 8 years of prosperity and sanity are stonewalled by say anything, do nothing Republican machine). 2017: THE SKY IS FALLING!

We have nothing to fear but fear itself
And terror
And panic
And horror
And dread
And shock
And alarm
And trepidation
And apprehension
And carnage
And immigrants
And non-"great" people
And gays
And the media
And Progressives
And Liberals
And Socialists
And The Truth

So why are these rich, white guys so defensive? They have all the money, all the land, all the oil, all the branches of government, all the drugs, all the money, and sexy FICO scores - what are they afraid of? Bunch o' pussies.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Into the Fray

Mission Accomplished?

"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." - James T. Kirk

Now there's a mission statement we could live with.

Mission Impossible?

The 1/21/17 Women's March inspired me to update a few thoughts on religion, politics, and the future. And to envision a world where women take us on a voyage to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.  It's pretty clear that Donald J. Trump is not just the most powerful man in the world, he's the most dangerous one. Not since Dr. Strangelove have we seen paranoia wield such influence in the halls of power. It's also obvious from his recent performances at press conferences and photo-ops that he's still the arrogant little pissant he always was.

If we do not learn from the pictures painted by our popular futurists, are we not destined to repeat our prospective mistakes, for the first time, again. Have we not learned anything from the post-apocalyptic visions of 1984, Brave New World, Mad Max, Blade Runner, Terminator, Sleeper, Tank Girl, or Max Headroom? Aren't we living with elements of all of those sci-fi prophesies now? Whether Big Brother assumes the form of a government, a corporation, or a dictator, are we, the people, not all left to serve a false idol of one sort or another? If we don't realize that we the people of earth are hurtling through space alone together on a big blue starship pretty soon, I fear that we will all succumb to DJT's 20:400 foresight and end up living in a desolate, oil and water deprived, android-populated, corporatocracy with nothing but a nose running our lives like a soiled tissue. Such is the danger of a Trump legacy - he may not want to bring on the Apocalypse in a religious sense, but he sure as Hell thinks he knows what's best for all of us and he'll do anything within his power to force it down our throats, consequences be damned!

How did the Republicans manage to seduce, betray and abandon middle America without anyone noticing that the preacher was a con artist? Whither religion in this administration's future? Or is that wither? Perhaps the GOP's culture of scandal and corruption will finally lead some of our good-hearted, God-fearing, middle America dwelling, flag waving, chest beating patriotic red staters to question whether God really speaks to DJT or the Republican National Cadre. Is DJT the Devil, instead of our savior? Maybe even Jack Van Impe will put the rapture on hold while we sort this out.

Is DJT the Devil? Of course not. Satan, by all accounts, is much smarter than that. But then, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist." - Keyser Soze (or was it?)

Trump and his minions, however, just SCREAM the Seven Deadly Sins. First: Greed, that one's pretty obvious - selling influence, votes, government contracts, and the rest of us down the river is standard operating procedure. Next: Pride, or Arrogance, virtually defines the next great "uniter not a divider," a man who so desperately wants a flattering, Reagan-esque sobriquet that he invents them himself. The dean of the Frank Sinatra School of Diplomacy and the architect of what could prove to be the least productive and most destructive Administration in American history hasn't even been able to wrest a cutesy nickname out of the Fox network. Third, if you're still counting: Wrath, the aimless man's raison detre, the unspoken motive for every bile-filled invective he tweets. Number four would be Sloth, the prime motivating force among Trump's Bush-league Transition Team of Junior Under-Achievers. And what about the rest of the Seven Deadlies? Well, um, you know, Greed, Pride, Wrath, Sloth, and, uh . . . Grumpy? . . . Sleepy? . . . Dopey? Is he the Devil? I don't think so; he lacks the style, the panache, the efficiency. Satan's tool? You decide.

If not one devil, maybe another?

Everything about the Republicans' culture of corruption reeks of that ol' debbil, spin. The foibles of Trump's lies and malapropisms are routinely shrugged off (not nearly as effectively as by The Teflon One of yore, however). Each criticism is met by a not-so-equal and opposite smear campaign and fingerpointing ("banana-fana-fo-fana"). The Trump Litany of blaming Obama, "the liberal main stream media," the "cut and run" Democrats, the "tax and spend" liberals, and maybe your grandmother is starting to ring hollow even among the GOP's core supporters. This sure as hell ain't yore granddaddy's Republican Party!

Are we to return to the Bush legacy of unbridled Greed, Arrogance, Fear and Hate? Or will, finally, moral outrage over the amoral modus operandi of far too many republicans pull back the curtain to reveal that there's no Wiz in the Wizard of Aw-shucks. Just follow the yellow brick road - there's no place like the place where the pigeons come to roost.

Remember those Founding Fathers the neo-cons are so fond of summoning up for endorsements of everything from corporate welfare to undeclared war? Those guys were not exactly conservative in their time (why do you think we called it a Revolutionary War?). If they had modeled our government based on what the best thinkers of 250 years prior had done, we'd be living in a 1526 era feudal system where moneyed oligarchs treat indentured servants as property - a two class system where rich landowners control everything and working people tithe their hard-earned income to the overlords. Oh, wait a minute, have we come full-circle already?

We need to rein in DJT's ambitious agenda for American totalitarianism while we develop a strategic plan for the fate of humanity some 2, or 4, or 20, or 50, or 100 years from now.

You say you want a revolution?

Ladies, it seems the ball is in your court. Let us know how we can help.