Another day, another new low for Trump


Let’s say you’re one of the Navajo veterans of WW II who used your native language to create coded messages that the Japanese military couldn’t possibly figure out. You survived battles in the South Pacific, where Japanese soldiers usually fought to the death rather than surrender. You’re 90-some years old now and at a White House ceremony in which the President of the U.S. is supposed to be commending you for your military service.

But this is no ordinary president; this is Donald Trump, a thin-skinned blowhard who turns every speech he makes into an opportunity to promote himself while defaming real and imagined foes. This time the target is Elizabeth Warren, who years ago invented the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and has criticized Trump recently for trying to appoint Mick Mulvaney as interim head of that agency. Mulvaney, a Trump toady, is on record as wanting to close down the CFPB.

But you don’t know any of this, so you listen to Trump’s speech and are amazed to hear him turn his tribute to you into an attack on someone he refers to as “Pocahontas.” You look at this bloated old white man with the orange skin and freaky yellowish hair, your president, and you wonder what the fuck he is talking about.

Afterwards, if you’re still lucid at your advanced age, you’ll find out Trump was ridiculing your heritage as part of a crude attempt to ridicule Warren, who asserted long ago that she is part Native American. You’ll find out he has a long history of putting down minorities, because that’s the sort of talk that appeals to his base.

You might hear of a press release from Debra Haaland, a Native American candidate for Congress in New Mexico: “I can’t begin to express how angered I am by the display of ignorance in our White House today. The president’s actions disgrace the history of Pocahontas, Native Americans, Navajo code talkers and all Native American veterans who served and died for this country.”

She got it half-right. Trump is as ignorant as a fence post, but his defining trait is malice toward anyone who ever criticized him or resisted his power grabs. He can’t disgrace you or any other Native American. He can only disgrace himself and all the white people who voted for him despite ample evidence he was a buffoon and a would-be dictator.

In the end you might ask yourself, hey, how did a sack of garbage like Trump make it all the way to the White House? Is this the country I fought for?

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Posted in history, mainstream media, Nativism, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

I do not recall, y’all


My hard drive died last week, just like that, as if my laptop had had a heart attack. It’s the ideal way to go if you’re old — boom, lights out, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Except that the last two chapters of my novel-in-progress were on the hard drive and I hadn’t made a back-up file, so everything I’d written was gone. A computer repair guy referred me to a forensics specialist, who told me how much he’d charge to recover the data. He might as well have quoted me a price for brain surgery, it was so far beyond my budget.

I tried to piece together the lost chapters from memory but came up with nothing but fragments of sentences and only a faint recollection of how I’d tied up the plot’s loose ends.

I kept thinking of U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions being asked under oath to help explain why he and many others in Donald Trump’s posse crossed paths with Vladimir Putin’s posse during the presidential campaign.

Sessions told House members “I do not recall,” over and over. He had “no recollection of the details” of his discussions about Russia with former Trump aide and convicted perjuror George Papadopoulos. Or of much else.

I thought damn, is my memory as bad as this dude’s? I have no recollection of the details of my lost chapters, only the memory that they once existed. I do not recall why I made the stupid mistake of not backing up my text.

But things could be worse.

I don’t look and act like the Ku Klux Klan’s elfin mascot.

I’m not an old Confederate masquerading as someone morally qualified to head the Department of Justice.

I know the difference between defective and selective memory.

Most important, I can dispense with my previous version of events and create a new one without having to worry about going to jail for it.

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Mass shootings don’t faze gun freaks


From a New York Times editorial published in 2015, soon after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA:

…Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens…

It’s a lot like the editorial the Times published just after the latest mass shooting, in Sutherland Springs, TX, and the editorials they published after mass shootings that took place between those in San Bernardino and Sutherland Springs.

Hurray for the Times advocating gun control. The problem is, it would take a grassroots effort to vote out the politicians who are anti-gun control, and grassroots voters on this issue are usually white middle-aged Trump supporters who think they need firearms to protect themselves from blacks, Muslims and the gov’mint.

They are the sort of peeps who get a hard-on by going to gun shows in godforsaken places like Oaks, PA.

They don’t like gun control advocates, and they are no more likely to give up their gun fetish than they are to read an editorial in The New York Times.

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Kelly should have kept his mouth shut


Remember when John Kelly was chosen to restore order in the White House? It was only a few months ago. The talking heads on TV effusively praised the new chief of staff. He was, after all, a former Marine general, and the media in this country think more highly of generals than saints.

For a while, Kelly was seen but rarely heard, and it was sketchily reported that he was making progress on the job, blocking the door against corrupt bozos who previously had easy access to the Oval Office. A widely seen photo showed him backstage hanging his head as Donald Trump told reporters that both sides were to blame for violence at a protest by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. I think we were supposed to believe Kelly was a man of principle, measured and careful, embarrassed by the remarks of his clownish, bigoted boss.

But there’s something wrong with this picture. Why would an upstanding old soldier like Kelly sign on with a draft-dodging, fraudulent sociopath like Donald Trump? Was he a high-minded public servant trying rescue Trump from his own stupidity and nastiness, or just a rigid right-winger who liked being close to the center of power?

We might still be guessing if Kelly hadn’t spoken out against the mother of a slain black soldier who said Trump disrespected her. If he hadn’t compared the present to the good old days when religion and women were “sacred.” If he hadn’t said the Civil War could have been avoided through compromise on slavery. If he hadn’t said he’d only take questions from reporters who were “gold Star parents or siblings.” (Kelly’s son was killed in action in Afghanistan.)

Turns out Kelly has a lot in common with his boss, who brings out the worst in all who get close to him. Lie down with Trump and you get up smelling like shit, even if you’re a general and a Gold Star dad.

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(Not so) special delivery from UPS/Swift


ups-truck[1]

When the music’s over, turn out the lights. 
— The Doors

Yo Taylor, I’m curious as to why your handlers are using UPS trucks to help sell your new album, and how many edgy but lesser known artists could have benefited from a portion of the millions spent to market all your awesome whitebread hits.

OK, I’m not that curious.

Marketing is what it always was — a tool for convincing shoppers that a silk purse and a sow’s ear are the same. And edgy is out. Those bold, innovative rockers who were as commercially successful as you and Justin Bieber and your buddy Kanye West are fading or gone. They only make news when their obits appear.

Nowadays, sugar pop and hip-hop rule. Rock ‘n’ roll, once a force for change, survives mostly as background noise for beer commercials and video games. Good music is being made but most young rockers can’t get past Square One, where they earn pennies playing dive bars and streaming on Spotify.

I know, I’m a dinosaur. I can’t warm up to simpering divas or songs with weak hooks and dumb lyrics. Haters gonna hate hate hate. Look what you made me do. I guess this means we are never ever getting back together.

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Trump has a lock on ‘worst person’ award


Former cable news show host Keith Olbermann used to do a segment called “Worst Person in the World” that shined a light on a politician or personality who had made news that day by doing something unusually cruel or dishonest.

Olbermann never minced words. He must have liked San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich’s reaction to a recent Donald Trump lie. A reporter had asked Trump why he hadn’t contacted the families of the four U.S. soldiers killed in action in Niger a few weeks ago. Trump said, “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls.”

Popovich, a U.S. Air Force veteran, responded with this statement to Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation:

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.

Olbermann couldn’t have said it any better. Trump proves every day that he is indeed a pathological liar and a mean-spirited moron who isn’t qualified to work as a doorman at Trump Tower, let alone as president of the United States.

Olbermann would have had to drop the award segment if his show were still on TV, or else go on each night and intone “Donald Trump… worst person… in the world!” No other public figure even comes close.

 

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Category 5 climate change denial


Warmest climes but nurse the cruellest fangs: the tiger of Bengal crouches in spiced groves of ceaseless verdure. — Herman Melville

Another week, another hurricane in paradise. This one is called Maria, and it just ripped through the densely populated area around San Juan, Puerto Rico’s largest city.

Last week, the ever-subtle CNN posted the header NURSING HOME NIGHTMARE for a story about how the post-Hurricane Irma heat was killing people at an old folks’ home in Hollywood, Florida. My God, how could such a terrible thing happen? The talking heads on cable TV and Gov. Rick Scott demanded to know.

I can think of better questions, like why would anyone be surprised by killer heat in a state that would be mostly swampland if not for drainage and mosquito control and, most importantly, air-conditioning. And why should anyone expect Florida to continue growing at its current rate as climate change brings increasingly severe weather and ever larger natural disasters.

Put another way, how long before people from colder climes understand that moving to South Florida and coastal regions of other Gulf states is arrogant and stupid, given what we now know about the importance of preserving wetlands and conserving energy.

As Vox recently noted, “South Florida is slowly, incrementally going to become uninhabitable.” But the lemmings still flock south, even though Miami came within a few miles of suffering the same fate as San Juan, i.e., an almost total wipe-out.

Many Americans seem to think geographic change will bring them happiness and prosperity, even in a rotten time like ours. Real estate hustlers and corrupt climate change deniers like Rick Scott will continue to do all they can to encourage this delusion until real estate values, and the real estate itself, are underwater.

 

Posted in climate change, enviromentalism, Gulf | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment