LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN

This blog isn’t about The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s about how to solve the problem of how the Cheeto Benito can be removed from office.

The solution involves warped time.

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There has been endless discussion since Nov 8th 2016 of how Scrotus gets removed. Does he get impeached? Can we invoke the 25th amendment? Will he just say, “Oh fuck it, I quit.”? Will aliens land on the White House lawn, lift him out of the Oval Office on a tractor beam, load him into the ship, say to the world “You’re Welcome. You owe us one.” And then leave?

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The thing is that we don’t need any of those scenarios, although you have to admit that last one would be way cool.

The solution, is time. Specifically, warped time. That and the fact that we have term limits. A president can only serve two terms of four years each. That adds up to eight years. At least that’s what my calculator says.

Time being relative, we all accept the same common time frame. A second is a second long because the Bureau of Weights and Standards says so. It could have been a little longer. It could have been a little shorter. But that’s the length they decided. I am sure it was for very sound scientific reasons relating to the length of our day and other astrological stuff. I’m frankly too lazy to Google it.

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So, we all agree that a second is a second and none of us are traveling the speed of light, so we don’t have to worry about  Einsteiny  relativistic kinds of things.

The other thing we all agree on — literally most of the planet — is that the First 100 Days of this administration feels like 10 YEARS. You hear it everywhere. From all over. We share this same warped time perception, which makes it real.

That means he’s been in office for 10 years! He is TWO YEARS PAST HIS TERM LIMIT!

He needs to vacate the premises immediately! Somebody has to get in there and take over! And whoever does it, is owed two years back pay.

SOPHISTICATED SKEWERING

One of my pieces was posted on a highly political board elsewhere. You can look it up at INTELLIGENCE FOR THE UNINTELLIGENT – AND BANNON.

I gave permission and up it went. Before its time in the sun was complete, it had gotten dozens of responses. Being me, I tried to keep up with all the comments, but by the third day it was obvious the commenters had abandoned me and were arguing with each other. I drifted home to Serendipity.

Exhausting! While overall it was a better experience than (for example) Facebook, with fewer people ranting mindlessly, there were still more than a few of them. As an American, I’m proud to say the craziness was reasonably well-distributed between left and right-wing crazies, although in my opinion, right-wingers spew more bad language than left-wingers. This may be due to a weakness in their vocabulary. I encourage them to work on their language skills so when they spew hate, they can do it with more class and fewer references to fecal matter.

What it did remind me of, in full measure, was how hard it is to have a conversation about anything that matters. It isn’t just politics. It’s everything. The entire population of these fifty United States has hit some kind of edge. We’re all ready to pop. Whether it’s the slow driver blocking the left lane, someone stealing a parking space, or putting down too many items in the “quick” lane at the supermarket, we’re ready to blow up. That is unhealthy and sometimes, dangerous.

Personally, I need to take a breath, step back, and rethink how I deal with this.

I’m terribly unhappy with the political situation at home and almost equally upset at the way the rest of the world is drifting. We seem to be collectively heading for another world war, whether we do it nuclear or just kill each other in more traditional ways. Given what’s on the table here and abroad, it will get worse. Can I live in a state of fraught, hysterical insanity long-term? I don’t think I can. I know I don’t want to.

I’ve disliked a fair number of presidents and other heads of state in multiple countries. Locally, from Nixon, and Reagan (who I mostly missed by being overseas), and then through three terms of two Bushes, that’s a fair number of American presidents I would have happily lived without. Trump is the last and hopefully, the worst. He has raised our national temperature to such a point we are going to need a collective ice bath to just calm the fuck down.

There are people with whom I will never have a civil conversation. The things they say are so far removed from anything in which I believe, there’s no way to have a conversation. People who won’t believe in facts, science, or history, or even English spoken as a language, are not people with whom I’m going to chat pleasantly. Men who think they know what women should do with their bodies? Never going to be a pal of mine. The remainder of people who hold to something resembling rationality, with them, perhaps I can talk. If they don’t directly insult me, maybe I can avoid ranting at them.

Then, there’s the more cultured approach, which I strongly favor. Before we blow up, rage, rant, and foam at the mouth, think about British comedy. That’s where everyone skewers and guts one another without murmuring a single foul word. If they can do it, surely we can too. It’s time we upped the ante on insults. Time to get out of the gutter and move into the parlor. More wit, less raving.

There are so many delicious, witty, and sometimes charming ways to insult each other. Let’s see if we can find some.

You think?

YEARNING FOR CAMELOT – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I love Justin Trudeau. I wish he was my President. I’m envious of Canadians because he is theirs. Why can’t we have an intelligent, reasonable, knowledgeable, worldly, likeable, competent person as our President again too? I liked being proud of our President, as I was for the eight years before Trump was elected.

I was eleven years old when John F. Kennedy was elected President and I was fourteen years old when he was killed. I vividly remember those idyllic years. It was then that I formed my idea of what a president is supposed to be. I remember most of the country being proud of our President.

He helped cement our position as leader of the free world. He gave inspiring speeches and I remember trusting him and believing what he said. He motivated us and made us feel that culturally and morally, as well as politically and economically, we were the envy of the rest of the world.

I’m not making a judgment about Kennedy’s policies or legislative accomplishments during his short-term in office. I’m just talking about how America saw itself and how the rest of the world saw us. I’m talking about how one young girl felt about her country and her President. The Kennedy family as a whole projected the image of wealth and prominence, political activism, philanthropy, and patronage of the arts. Something else we could collectively be proud of.

The Kennedy Clan

JFK epitomized the belief that America was morally righteous, strong and determined and that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to. Even going to the moon. He made us want to be the best we could be. We had ideals and by God we could live up to them all! I thought that that was what Presidents were supposed to do. Jackie added to the mystique. She was beautiful, fashionable, polished, and refined. She promoted the arts inside and outside of the White House.

Americans were proud of their the Kennedys were cultured and educated. We all embraced the ‘elitism’ of the gifted, the knowledgeable and the accomplished. As a country, we celebrated all forms of artistic expression.

I don’t know much about Justin Trudeau. I do know he is caring, articulate, shares my ‘liberal’ values, handles himself well in social and political situations and speaks clearly and truthfully. He supports programs that will improve the lives of his people, not just the wealthy, the corporations or one of his country’s political parties.

Canadians love their President. They are so lucky! In less than 100 days, I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to admire or even trust the person in the White House. In less than 100 days I’ve forgotten what it feels like not to be terrified or embarrassed by everything our President says or does. I don’t think I can survive another 100 days in this admiration  and trust vacuum!

Maybe I should start reading everything I can about Justin Trudeau. That way I can sustain the belief that good and smart leaders can happen to good people. Maybe if I spend the rest of Trump’s term immersed in Canadian politics, I’ll keep my sanity and emerge in time for the next election, refreshed and invigorated. Convinced that people like Justin Trudeau might even get elected President again here. Someday.

JOYFULLY ADDICTED

Times being as crazy as they are, we have needed to find escape. When I was younger, this would have been books and more books. Then, more books on top of that.

My eyes are not happy reading text these days. Maybe its the millions of hours I spent reading throughout my life. Maybe it’s too many hours in front of computer monitors. Or maybe I’m just moving along with the years. I continue to read, mostly via audiobooks. I still read text when I can’t get an audio version of a book, or it’s short enough to not bring on eye strain. And there are books that don’t do well as audio, especially when you need reference materials, maps, and other support documents.

While I’m immersed in audiobooks, Garry puts on headphones and enjoys all the television shows he likes, but I don’t. We get to be together, yet separate. It might not work for everyone, but it works well for us.

When I’m done with my book of the day, we move into whatever current shows we’re watching. Not very many of them. We tried to count them the other day and discovered it might add up to a dozen, including shows that are not currently on the air, but will be in whatever their next season is.

A few months ago, I signed up for Acorn TV. They were just starting out and were doing a ton of advertising. We had gotten pretty far along watching “MidSomer Murders” on Netflix. When I saw that Acorn had several more years of the show available — and they had Poirot and Marple and “Murdoch Mysteries” and a lot more of them than any of the other channels, I bought a full year for $50. Now, I wish I’d bought two years.

We watched the entire series of “MidSomer Murders,” and then got one more year with another still to come. We watched all of Poirot and Marple, moved through “Murdoch.” We followed with “Foyle’s War,” which was brilliant, possibly one of the best shows we’ve ever watched. “George Gently” was next and that was great. After that we wandered a bit, finally landing in Australia.

“Crownies” and “Janet King” which were different stages of the same story and many of the same actors. Both were really good, but as do all things, we ran out of shows. Especially because we find it difficult to stop watching after we start. Still, we could stop watching … until we stumbled into “A Place to Call Home.”

I was reluctant to suggest it because Garry has a deep and abiding passion for murder mysteries. If there isn’t at least one or two corpses per show, he usually feels cheated. The star of this show — Marta Dusseldorp — was also the star in “Crownies” and “Janet King,” so I thought he might like it despite an absence of murders and crime-solving.

Within one show, we were hooked. The only reason we stop watching is because it is so late, we have to go to bed. How in the world did we get utterly addicted to an Australian melodrama?

It turns out that addiction to “A Place to Call Home” (known locally as APTCH), is a well-known phenomenon in Australia. People can barely hold themselves together until the next show comes out. We have been lucky enough to be able to fully binge on a thoroughly bingeable show. For the entire time we are watching, we forget completely about politics. We aren’t worrying about the state of the nation or what trauma our government has in store for us. We get to live in the moment, even if it’s just until we run out of shows.

There will be more shows. I’m sure of it. We have the whole British Empire of television to watch.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Since November 8, I’ve been fantasizing about the ways in which Trump could be removed from office. Resignation, Impeachment. 25th Amendment. Russian collusion. Emoluments Clause. Money laundering. Treason. Let me count the ways!

I really want Trump brought down in a humiliating ball of Karmic fire! But that’s as far as my fantasy goes.

I haven’t thought through what that would actually mean for America. So, let’s assume for the moment, Pence does not go down with Trump. We’re left with President Pence, for two or three years. How does that scenario look? Is it better or worse than the same time period under Trump? I believe Pence might be smarter and more effective pushing through his appalling far right agenda. He could do more actual legislative damage — domestically at least. That’s the negative. Remember — much of this damage is getting done, however inefficiently, under Trump too, so that would not be much of a change.

On the upside, Pence is sane. He has some fundamental understanding of government functioning, particularly foreign policy.

As a sane person, he would not be as volatile, erratic, vengeful, mindbogglingly ignorant or pathologically self-absorbed. There would be some level of competence and stability in government. That by itself would be a good thing. It might bring back some normalcy to our foreign relationships. It could help us regain our lost stature in the world. We would not be as feared — or mocked — as we are now, which would be a big plus. We might also shore up our bonds with allies and be better able to combat common enemies. We might at least have a better chance of stopping the nuclear arms production going on in dangerous parts of the world. I would sleep better at night not having to worry about setting off World War III.

Another good thing about Pence as President, is unlikely to be elected in 2020. I can’t imagine he would generate the kind of adulation Trump did. And he would get little support outside the Republican Party. Which is huge! If we can end this nightmare in four years, we can spend the next four undoing the damage done to our country. Then, move on.

I might miss the excitement of reading about some new tweet, gaffe, or scandal each day in the news, but in the end, I think our country and the world would be better off with less craziness at the top. Predictability is healthier for everyone when it comes to national and international relations.

So I can continue to dream about Trump and his cronies disappearing into the giant sinkhole they have created. I wouldn’t be happy with Pence in the White House, but I think the entire world would heave a giant, collective sigh of relief.

WE NEED A FIRST MOM – BY TOM CURLEY

Ellin wrote a post a while back called Arrogance and Ignorance. A Bad Combination. It got a lot of comments. One of the comments stuck with me.  “SW08” said we need a housewife and mother to run things. As I read it, I realized  that’s exactly what we need in the White House. We need a First Mom!

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She has all the skills needed to run a government. She balances budgets, makes sure everybody gets fed and she takes care of everybody when they are sick.  And she can handle children. Her duties would not just be confined to handling the Toddler-In-Chief. She’d be responsible for the all the “Little Rascals” in the West Wing.

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FIRST MOM: Donnie! Time to get up!

“Here we go.” flickr

FIRST TODDLER: I don’t wanna! I’m tired! I was up till 5AM sending out mean tweets about North Korea!

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FIRST MOM: That’s not my problem. You are the President and you have to get up.

FIRST TODDLER: I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!

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FIRST MOM: Hate me all you want.  I don’t care.  Now get up. Your breakfast is ready.

FIRST TODDLER: I want a breakfast Taco Bowl!

FIRST MOM: I don’t care what you want. You are getting last night’s vegetables.

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FIRST TODDLER: I hate vegetables! I wanna Taco Bowl!

FIRST MOM: I told you last night that if you didn’t finish your vegetables you’d be getting them for breakfast the next morning. Now get up and get dressed. You have a CIA briefing in an hour

FIRST TODDLER: The CIA sucks. They think I colluded with the Russians!

FIRST MOM: Everybody thinks that dear. OK, I’ll make a deal. If you eat your vegetables, you can bomb Syria.

FIRST TODDLER: Yea!! BOOM!

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Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon run into the room.

JARED KUSHNER: MOM! Steve Bannon is saying mean things about me!

STEVE BANNON: HE STARTED IT!!

FIRST MOM: (Sighing) It’s gonna be a long day.

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It’s an impossible job, but somebody has to do it.
Help us First Mom. You’re our only hope!

ASK YOURSELF: WILL DONALD TRUMP EVER BECOME PRESIDENT? @alternet — BILL MOYERS

Ask Yourself: Will Donald Trump EVER Become President?


As our institutions bend and buckle and approach the breaking point, the president bombs Syria and is hailed by an obeisant media.

As our institutions bend and buckle and approach the breaking point, the president bombs Syria and is hailed by an obeisant media. It’s been a week now since Donald Trump once again became our president.Here’s how it happened.After he unleashed missiles on a Syrian airfield, members of Washington’s national security establishment and élite pundits swooned. Top Democrats and Republicans led the way. Good soldiers all in the military-industrial-political complex, they stood smartly at attention and saluted the commander-in-chief for sending a message to the world, although exactly what the message meant remains far from clear.

Photo Credit: Peter K. Levy/Flickr

The headline above Glenn Greenwald’s story at The Intercept summed up the response: “The Spoils of War — Trump Lavished with Media and Bipartisan Praise for Bombing Syria.” The hawkish Hillary Clinton, who long had been critical of Barack Obama for not bringing Bashar Assad to heel, “appeared at an event” — and this was before the bombing even happened! — “and offered her categorical support for what Trump was planning.”

Up in the choir loft, the media and pundits sang as one from the official hymnal, praising Trump’s “presidential moment” and transforming him from a pathetic dunderhead suffering from narcissistic personality disorder into the Lord of Hosts. It was CNN’s Fareed Zakaria who pronounced the decision to fire away as the “big moment” when “Donald Trump became president of the United States.”

The theatrics were perfect. The Pentagon shopped to the media a video of the missiles as they were lofted up and away. MSNBC’s Brian Williams was among those moved by the aesthetics of violence: “We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two Navy vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean. I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”

When I heard those words, I thought back to that night in 2003 when another president lit up the skies over Baghdad with the “shock and awe” of his air attack on Iraq. Suddenly the press was talking about George W. Bush as if he were George Washington, George Marshall and George Patton rolled into one. A touch of George III came later, as our newly refurbished president donned a flight suit and strutted aboard the aircraft carrier with the banner behind him that read: “Mission Accomplished.” Not quite.

Then a more recent scene and another miraculous moment came to mind, from six weeks ago — Feb. 28, to be exact. Donald Trump spoke to a joint session of Congress. He paused, pointed to the balcony and recognized the widow of the Navy SEAL who was killed during a raid on an alleged terrorist compound in Yemen, the very first military mission dispatched into harm’s way by the brand-new commander-in-chief himself.

That mission went badly, so much so that at least two dozen local civilians, including women and children, were killed. Trump did not mention them. He focused on honoring the grieving widow in the balcony who was trying, unsuccessfully, to hold back her tears as wave after wave of applause rolled across the House chamber and ricocheted from wall to wall.

There’s much more to read at: Ask Yourself: Will Donald Trump EVER Become President? @alternet