THE INCREASING STUPIDITY OF THEIR ARGUMENTS TELLS ME ALL I NEED TO KNOW – THE SHINBONE STAR

One thing I learned back in my college days* was if your enemies are walking into an L-shaped ambush, let them walk all the way into the kill zone before firing. They then have two choices: run and die, or stand and die.

The Trump Administration is running headlong into an L shaped ambush formed by the Democrat-led House of Representatives and public opinion, and it is done.

Donald Trump can stonewall, whine, accuse, demand, plead, and threaten …  and then what? Only his truly hard-core cult members refuse to see that this guy isn’t fit for the office. He could light himself afire before he is impeached and those people would cheer him for owning the libs.

The MAGA folks love it when Trump does some nasty shit that owns the libs, but when they see him sell out our Kurdish “allies” to our Turkish allies, those folks have to wonder in which of these allied camps do they stand. If they have half a brain they’ll finally realize they ain’t in the Right camp because they ain’t J.P. Gotrocks and they’re right there with the rest of the people Trump considers to be losers. Unfortunately, most of his non-wealthy supporters aren’t that smart.

It was inevitable that America would end up in this situation because white America selected a stupid and venal asshole (whose only accomplishment in life was being born rich) to replace Barack Obama, who is the embodiment of the American Dream … except he is black.

Trump is the poor man’s idea of what wealth looks like and the loser’s view of winning. And he isn’t black.

Trump has bullied, bought and bankrupted his way through life, but for the first time ever, his modus operandi isn’t gonna work and he is panicked. You know the shit is deep by how excruciatingly stupid are the excuses from the few remaining GOP sycophants unashamed to lie in public.

In a September 23, 2016 article for The Atlantic, Salena Zito wrote:

“It’s a familiar split. When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Peter Thiel, tech billionaire and Trump supporter said in October 2016:

“I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. . . . I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally . . . their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ . . . What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.”

Last week Jim Jordan said Trump was joking when he asked China to investigate the Biden boys. “You really thank he was serious?” During the 2016 campaign we were told to take Trump seriously but not literally. Now we’re being told not to take him seriously … he’s a bad joke … got it?

Stick a fork in this bastard, he’s done. This “strategy” of putting his fingers in his ears and yelling incoherent bullshit while his sycophants stonewall in court with stupid process arguments is coming to a close. One charge in one jurisdiction or another is going to crack the dam and the flood of provable crimes will wash away America’s Trump Error.

The GOP donor class has used him and the complicit Republican Party to squeeze the last petro buck out of the earth. In the process, they have destroyed traditional alliances and caused worldwide chaos. Trump didn’t quite get them everything they wanted (worldwide authoritarian plutocracy) but he got them enough (massive redistribution of wealth upward and a stacked federal judiciary) for now.

The GOP and Trump have hit the point of diminishing returns, and so they are no longer viable. This is going to be Watergate, ABSCAM and Iran-Contra all rolled into one, and the GOP as a party should not survive.

What’s next will be a test of the American people across all demographics for “do we continue on the path the Founders set us upon to create a more perfect union,” or “will we take the road towards Steve Bannon’s vision of a Fourth Reich?”

I’m betting on the USA.

BTW, I never served, was never an official member of ROTC but I am a proud member of the National Honorary Society of Pershing Rifles. Don’t ask me how that happened, but one of my fraternity brothers is Gen. Colin Powell.

(Note from Marilyn on Colin Powell: He grew up just a few blocks from me and we went to the same elementary school!)

MAYBE IN FUTURE WE SHOULD JUST KEEP OUR HANDS TO OURSELVES – REBLOG – The Shinbone Star

Our sister paper, “The Amazon Washington Post,” has reported that our traitorous lump of a president has spun more than 12,000 lies or misleading claims during his time in the Oval Office. But one rare truth from the fetid lips of Donald Trump — as also reported by The Post — is just as troubling:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, right, pull the strings on their new Oval Office puppet, Donald Trump, on May 10, 2017. Trump, the beneficiary of Russian help to win the election, told his masters he thought it was great.

“President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries.”


While it’s not surprising to see Trump say he’s unconcerned that a traditional enemy of the United States would see it as beneficial to help him win an election, the part that really bothers me is Trump’s reported justification: “because the United States did the same in other countries.”

True?

Of course, it’s true, and I give Trump credit for saying it.

No American, liberal or conservative, is being honest with himself if he thinks such a thing had never occurred. The United States, probably more than any other nation on earth, influences policy in other countries, and often by means a lot more intrusive and deadly than was the salting of a few Russian lies all over your Facebook feed.

What gets me is the holier-than-thou outrage — especially from my fellow liberals — that a foreign adversary would ever do such a thing to the good old U.S. of A.

But don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost my mind by attacking liberals, I still have plenty of venom for conservatives who may accept that interference occurred, but don’t think it’s a problem that the Russians got exactly what they wanted in their boy Trump.

From a foreign policy perspective, perhaps one takeaway from all this should be that the United States, the world’s so-called “preeminent democracy,” should take more of a hands-off approach to how other sovereign countries conduct their business. At the same time, we must take steps to increase safeguards on our own election process.

Of course, that’s too simplistic and will never fly. But it’s something to think about while the impeachment train is rolling, hopefully toward a time when our Long National Nightmare is finally over and we can start to rebuild and learn from our mistakes.

MODERN CAPITALISM AND CORPORATE CORRUPTION IN ONE MEME – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t usually publish stuff I find on Facebook, but there’s an exception to every rule. This made me laugh and I really need a laugh. It didn’t get to me until I got to Canadian Capitalism. Then, I lost it.

WARNING: This is a meme, not reality. Don’t go there. Just don’t.

capitolism-explained

BECOMING A POLITICAL PESSIMIST – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I used to look forward to reading the news. I know it sounds crazy, but every day I looked forward to reading about another advance in the Mueller investigation. It seemed to be moving inexorably toward its ultimate goal – the exposure of the crimes of Trump, his campaign and his family.

In my fantasy world, there would be a day of reckoning. Trump would be forced to resign or would be impeached. We’d get to watch all the shady characters around Trump get their comeuppance. Justice and the rule of law would be restored. And all this before the 2018 midterm elections!

Mueller is my only hope that something so cataclysmic will be revealed that even the soulless, spineless, amoral Republicans will throw up their hands and say “This is enough! We’re out!”

Unfortunately, my fantasy world is crumbling around me. The forces of evil seem to be winning – or at least not losing. Instead of anticipating exciting news from Mueller’s probe every day, I dread the day I’m going to read that Ron Rosenstein has been fired and that the Mueller investigation has been terminated. I know it’s coming. It’s just a question of when and how.

Once Mueller is gone, I’ll have nothing positive to look forward to politically except the 2018 elections. And they are too far away to get my blood boiling yet. Without my daily dose of hope from Mueller, I have nothing to blunt the impact of three and a half more years of a Trump Presidency. That is truly depressing.

I also don’t put too much hope for salvation on the upcoming elections. Even if the Democrats win the House of Representatives in November, they can impeach but they can’t convict and remove Trump from office. Only the Senate can do that with 67 votes – way more than the Democrats can even dream of winning.

So, barring a thunderbolt from Mueller, and soon, I can’t foresee anything keeping Trump from serving out his full term. And the damage he can do in three and a half more years is mind blowing!I feel for the country and fear for our democracy. I cringe at the thought of what this country will look like after four full years of a Trump Presidency.

I’m also selfish. How will I get through each day of Trump without a total moral and emotional breakdown? What will I cling to each day to get me through to the next? I can try to avoid the news. But for me, that can only last for a few days. I’m addicted and so is my husband. He’s even worse than I am.

Maybe after November, it will be enough for me to watch a Democratic House pummel Trump and renew criminal investigations into him and his merry band. Maybe that will be enough to keep me sane. Maybe it will be gratifying enough to watch the inevitable decline of the Republican Party. Maybe that will keep my spirits up.

Maybe watching Trump squirm under a Democratic thumb will brighten my days.

Who knows what will have happened by the time November rolls around? I pray it will be something with which I can maintain my equilibrium until the next national election.

THE REVOLUTION RESTARTS AT THE REGISTRY

RESTART – WHEN YOUR LICENSE EXPIRES


Some years back, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided they could save a few bucks if they stopped reminding people to renew their drivers licenses. We are all supposed to remember what year our license expires. Since drivers licenses are good for five years, pretty much no one remembers. If you miss the date, you can’t renew online. That means ONLY in person.

Registry of Motor Vehicles – Worcester

It doesn’t matter if it’s one day or 3 years overdue. If the license has expired, you must come to the RMV in person — to get an eye test. According to the RMV, there is a direct, if somewhat obscure and mystical connection between an expired license and failing eyesight.

Note: After 4 years, you have to start over as if you never had a license at all, including written and road tests.

To save us even more money, the Commonwealth decided to close down all the kiosk RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicle) mini offices at malls where you could get simple tasks completed quickly and conveniently. Then they closed more than half the local RMV branches, keeping only the main offices open.

Between one thing and another, the result is a guaranteed daily pile-up of disgruntled Massachusetts motorists at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Wait here!

Garry discovered his license had expired and came home upset. I tried to renew it on-line, but though it had expired less than two weeks earlier, he had to renew in person because he needed an eye test. A punitive eye test. It is your punishment for not noticing that your license was expiring. He wondered if he could defer it. No one wants to go to the RMV, but there’s no reprieve. Driving around with an expired license is not an option. Should something happen –even a minor fender bender — you would end up getting hit with a fine that would make your head spin.

We headed up to Worcester, which according to the RMV office was our nearest branch. That turned out to be untrue, but we needed to get it done and had barely enough time. Away we went. It was a trip backwards in time.

And still we wait.

I remember saying many years ago that when the revolution came, it will begin at the motor vehicle bureau where frustrated, tired, aggravated citizens get bounced from place to place in pursuit of accomplishing a simple goal in a reasonable length of time. That we were at the RMV at all was because some moron thought sending a postcard to licensed drivers every 5 years was costing too much money. I’d like to see a cost analysis on this brilliant piece of legislation.

There used to be dozens of queues at the RMV. In the bad old days, you waited on whichever line you thought was the right one until you got to the front, discovered you had been waiting on the wrong line, and were directed to some other place to restart.

After several hours of bouncing from line to line, with the queues getting longer and angrier as the day wore on, at 5 o’clock sharp, they’d close and tell you to come back another day. The new method eliminates lines. Not a queue in sight. The Powers That Be have used chaos theory and a non-linear approach to eliminate lines and logic simultaneously. It’s a new world, a science fiction world, a completely incomprehensible world.

To get you oriented, everyone starts on a single information line where you get a little deli counter paper ticket. On it is printed a 3-digit number preceded by a letter. We were I-256.

There are letter codes A, B, C, D, F, G, I and Z. I do not know what any of them mean or if they mean anything. I don’t know why those letters were chosen as opposed to other letters. It’s all part of the non-linear thing. In the front lobby, there is a single, rather small illuminated sign that flashes the next number up. There is no order to what combinations of numbers and letter might be next.

Any combination can be called any time to any window. There were about 24 queues, though not all were open. If you got lucky, you could hear a sotto voce announcement I’m sure Garry couldn’t hear at all and I could only hear parts of and only sometimes. There were words to the effect that “We are now serving A-132 at window 14” and that number would flash on the screen. Sometimes they would flash the number for a couple of minutes, sometimes for just a few seconds.

They might be serving Z-542 at window 2, followed by D-234 at window 17. Everyone hovered near the screen because the noise level precluded being able to hear anything. When finally your number was up, you had to dash madly to whatever line you were called, which could be a long run (in my case, hobble) to the other side of the building. No way to know how soon you would be waiting. You didn’t dare leave, not even to go the bathroom.

Garry was baffled. I said that the RMV had eliminated bourgeois linearity and gone to a non-linear chaos-based formula.

“What?” he said.

“Completely random,” I assured him. We were both having flashbacks to the near riots of the 1960s as the lines in the motor vehicle bureau would stretch into the street and around the block.

Finally?

There were just as many people waiting now as then, but there were no lines, just folks sitting on hard benches with dull, blank faces or milling around wondering what happened to order and logic, and why don’t they simply send a postcard reminding you to renew your license? It took three and a half hours.

I took some pictures. Security concluded I was a terrorist.  I took the pictures quickly. By the time they told me to put the camera away because “this is a State building!” (what that had to do with anything I don’t know), my camera was out of sight and I was standing around looking bored, annoyed, and out-of-sorts. Like everyone else.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Finally, they called us. Garry got a new picture which is nominally less horrible than the one he had for the past 10 years. He passed his eye test, signed an autograph for the lady who served us (who became much less rude and more helpful after recognizing Garry as the TV guy), and we finally got out of there.

Are they really saving money? I don’t think they actually pay for official mailings anyway, so it this simply one more way to annoy us? I don’t believe for a moment the savings are not more than offset by needing many more people at the RMV  rather than letting us renew our licenses on our computers. At home.

PIE IN THE SKY

Not long ago, I read a post detailing how America fares when stacked against other countries.

CapitolBuilding

We aren’t the richest or the most productive country . We have relatively high unemployment. Purchasing power per capita is unimpressive. We get salaries that sound good, but the cost of living overran our paychecks long ago. We’ve lost more jobs to automation than outsourcing. One machine, one robot replaces a dozen or two workers.

US_Income_Distribution_1968 (1)There are few jobs for unskilled laborers that can support a family. We manufacture too little, depend too much on service-based work.

Americans are convinced their government is awful. Corrupt. Really, our government is merely inefficient and mired in oppositional politics. Funny how after morons are in office, nobody voted for them. How did that happen?

Statistics are fragments, not a story. We’re having hard times and I doubt we’ll see the end of them quickly. We have work to do. Rethinking where people will work and what they’ll be paid.

Figuring out what we want from our government. Without the hyperbole and entrenched party positions. For all that, we don’t exactly live in Hell.

Statistics need context. We are not even close to a seriously corrupt nation, regardless of perception. I’ve seen corruption. We’re amateurs.

I wonder if Americans would really like living in one of those top-rated countries, like say Finland. Where 90% of your salary goes to taxes. You get great services and a safety net. You won’t wind up living in a crate and you’ll never die because you can’t afford surgery or medication. But there’s payback.

Socialism isn’t a terrible way to live, not even close to the nightmare portrayed by the GOP. It’s not heaven, either.

US_Income_Distribution_2009Mostly, it means working harder or better doesn’t get you a promotion, more money or even recognition. You are whatever your G rating is and move up  by seniority. It’s secure, but sort of dull.

Mind you, plenty of people can’t imagine living any other way. Lots of others would rather be here and would happily take their chances on capitalism. They think we complain too much. They have a point.

A friend of mine lived in Belgium for 15 years. He described it this way: “In Europe, if they don’t say it’s allowed, you can safely assume it’s forbidden. In the U.S., if they don’t tell you it’s forbidden, you know it’s allowed.”

That’s a huge difference.

Like every country, we have strong points and problems. We’ve made some progress, but not enough. Unlike small homogeneous countries — like Finland — we’re a conglomeration of people from everywhere. We’re never going to be like those other countries. We like our freedom too much.

We are what we are. Good and bad. But I am sure we will all live happily ever after. Because what other choice is there?

THE MYTH OF CLEAN GOVERNMENT

“If only we could get a clean candidate, we could have a government without corruption.”

Please, show me an example of an un-corrupt government. Anywhere, anytime in the history of the world. From the first known government (Egypt? China?) to today. Any form of government, even a town council. Because as far as I know, there is no such thing.

75-SignOfTheTimesNK-1

I finished re-reading “Imperium,” a fictionalized biography of Cicero. It whacked me with a reality check on government corruption and I realized (again) that Americans don’t “get” real corruption.

In Rome, those guys understood corruption. They were serious about their corruption. We are just dilettantes compared to them! More on this later.

72-Statehouse-Beacon-Hill_126

Never in this world, has there ever been a government free of corruption. It is the nature of government to be subject to … uh … um … what shall I call it? Oh, okay. Got it.

Pressure.

What do you mean by that?

Well, let’s see. Money. That’s a classic. Locally, we favor nepotism, a type of corruption whose popularity never wanes. Otherwise known as doing favors. Hey, they just need jobs, you know? It’s not a big deal, is it?

72-Cannon-Vertical-Uxbridge-0807_076

Find me a small town where the government isn’t composed of entrenched old families, their friends, friends of family, cousins of the friends of the families, their brothers and sisters in-and-out-of-laws.

What about constituents? You know, when we tell our pols what we want them to do or else we’ll throw them out. The stuff you and I want and demand, the stuff we think our government owes us because we are the people who elected them.

“What?” you say? “Isn’t that what government is all about?”

Right you are! A little question for you.

Does the fact that we want it mean it is moral? Just? Righteous? Legal? Fair? If you believe that, I have a bridge you can buy cheap.

72-Main-St-Uxbridge-GA_047

We want what we want. We don’t really care if it is for “the greater good.” We want what we want. We want it now. We deserve it. We voted for you and you are supposed to make it happen.

Pols who deliver the goods get re-elected. That’s the way it works. That’s the way it has always worked and always will. If you don’t think the electoral process itself is a form of corruption, you are missing the point.

It doesn’t matter who is applying the pressure — or why. The process of gaining and retaining power guarantees corruption.

72-Beacon-Hill_013

Personally, I would like my officials to do something good while they hold office. Preferably without getting caught, killed, impeached, indicted, imprisoned or exposed. Cynical? Moi?

I propose a movement for better corruption to require corrupt politicians to use their power — however ill-gained — to pass laws that make the world better. In my opinion. Because my opinion is the only opinion which counts.