WTF IS GOING ON? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’m so confused. I used to think I had some handle on what was going on in the news. Pretty much all bad, all crazy, all the time. But I had definite opinions on how I thought things would play out.

No more. I’m clueless now. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I was sure that no matter what Trump did or what Mueller found, the Republicans in control of Congress would not do anything to censure, let alone impeach him. I thought we would have to wait for Democrats to regain control of both houses in Congress before impeachment could even be considered. And even then, I didn’t believe that there would be enough votes in the Senate to actually convict Trump and remove him from office. So any impeachment by the House would end up being a toothless gesture.

At that point, my brain would freeze over. I had no idea what would happen next in my own scenario.

Now I’m less certain about this whole theory. I’m really not sure what will happen in the future or even later today. So much happens so quickly these days. Often out of the blue, or so it seems. Trump makes spontaneous, off the cuff policy announcements that no one in his own White House knows about or is prepared for. He often backtracks the next day. Or not! Headline news stories blare out constantly with revelations from various investigations, law suits and ethics probes involving the president and his merry band of unethical misfits.

I worry that Trump will bomb a random country and start another pointless war. I live in fear that Trump will fire Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, which would have the same effect. One minute I’m sure he’ll do it and throw the country into a major constitutional crisis with no satisfactory resolution in Republican controlled Washington. The next minute I’m sure he won’t risk the major political explosion he would trigger if he interfered with the Mueller investigation.

This perpetual uncertainty makes me very uncomfortable. I pride myself on staying informed enough to understand what’s going on in the news at any given time. I’m shaky on Mid Eastern and Far Eastern policy and economics. But I usually have a handle on domestic news and policies. I have to narrow my focus since I don’t want to spend even more time than I already do consuming news every day. I’m a slow reader so I can only cover so much territory.

Things are happening so quickly and so randomly that I can’t keep up any more. Even though I do try.

I have to admit that sometimes all the national drama can be exciting and energizing. But the crazy and the unpredictable are going into warp drive. Trump seems to be devolving and dragging us all under with him. It’s getting less and less exciting and more and more scary and insane.

I wish I could turn away from this slow motion train wreck, but I can’t. So I’ll keep reading and watching MSNBC and hope that my sanity survives longer than Trump’s does.

REVENGE OF THE SANE – BY TOM CURLEY

I’m writing this to try to find an answer to the mess we are in today. The fact is,  Russian bots, trolls and right-wing “twitter twits” are waging a giant war on the truth and sanity.

It’s Obama’s fault!

I’ve had many people ask me, “Why can’t we put out phony Facebook ads? Why can’t we send out fake tweets?” And it’s a good question. The answer is, of course, we can. But the real question is what kind of fake tweets or fake Facebook ads do we create?

It’s hard for most of us because we’re, well, sane. And we have this quaint notion that facts are facts and lying is bad. Most of our parents told us this when we were growing up.

Even so, I don’t think this is a bad idea. So, again, the question is, what kind of fake news do we make up? When I don’t have the answer to a question I like to ask “What would Captain Kirk do?”

But in this case, I got nothing. But then I realized I was looking to the wrong person. The real question is “What would Mr. Spock do?”

You see, in Star Trek all problems were fixed in four basic ways. If there was a disease, Dr. McCoy found a cure for it.

If a computer needed to be shut down, Spock would either pull the plug or get it to do something that would drive it crazy, like computing the value of PI. If the warp core was about to explode, Scotty would fix it. Even though he would complain that he needed more time and he needed more power.

For all other problems, Kirk would either kiss it

or punch it in the face.

I don’t think anybody wants to kiss Trump, even though I know a whole lot of folks would love to punch him in the face.

BAM! POW! ZAP!

But here, I realized we need the Spock approach. We need to craft a story that will create a self-destructing Trump feedback loop.

We have to come up with a story that Fox News, the Russian Trolls and all the other right-wing nut-balls will grab onto and re-post like crazy.

And I think I have it.

“A recent bombshell report has come to light revealing a secretly recorded conversation between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. In it, Obama reveals that he now totally agrees with everything that President Trump has done in the last year. He is reported to have said quote “I hate to admit it, but I was wrong. If I could do it all over again, I’d do everything that Trump did in 2017. Exactly the way he did it. Everything he did was genius. And very stable.” Hillary is reported to have replied “Yeah, I agree, and he’s like a really smart person too.”

Damn, he was right.
And very stable.

Now here’s what will happen. Fox News and all the other trolls will jump on this like a cat in a catnip factory. Sean Hannity will literally have an orgasm on live TV.

Eeeuuuu!

It will be everywhere. They were right! Trump is vindicated!!

But, how will SCROTUS react? Will he be pleased? Will he be happy? Hell no. His whole presidency, his whole mission in life has been about destroying Obama. It’s been about destroying everything he did. If Obama liked it, he hates it. If Obama did it, he undoes it. So how does he react? Just like this.

TRUMP: Obama would do everything I did.

TRUMP: But everything Obama did is wrong.

TRUMP: I must undo everything Obama does.

TRUMP: I must undo everything I’ve done. Everything I’ve done is wrong.

TRUMP: But everything I do is right.

TRUMP: But if Obama likes it, it must be wrong.

TRUMP: But that can’t be. Everything I do is great. Everything I do is the greatest.

TRUMP: But everything I’ve done must be wrong. But … I can’t be wrong.

This is about the time steam comes out of his ears and the dull light in his eyes blink out and he falls off his gold toilet in a catatonic state.

Does not compute!

So, there it is. Let’s get started. Post this on Facebook! Tweet it! Re-tweet!

As Spock would say. It’s highly illogical, but it could work.

I wasn’t sure about the title of this one. It could also be THE SANE STRIKE BACK, or A NEW HOPE FOR SANITY. All of them fit.

The truth is, in an insane world, the sane have to get a little crazy.

DIDN’T WE ALREADY KNOW THIS? –  BY TOM CURLEY

Well, the new year is less than a week old and it seems like 2018 is turning into 2017 on steroids. There’s so much going on this week it seemed to be a “target rich” environment for a blog. The “You can’t make this shit up” and “If you wrote this, nobody would believe it” clichés got together and gave birth to a book called  “Fire And Fury” by a reporter named Michael Wolff. 

It’s an inside look at this train wreck called “a Presidency.” It confirms what has been common knowledge for a while already. SCROTUS is nuts. Senile, and dumb as a brick, too.  And much, much more.  The book is riveting. I downloaded the audio book. Ellin and I sat at the kitchen table and listened for over 3 hours before we realized two things.

One: This is totally engrossing. We can’t stop listening.
Two: Damn, my butt is sore. Don’t sit at a kitchen table for more than three hours.

The thread of the book is how unbelievable this administration is and how unbelievably incompetent this administration is. 

But I think the lead — which has been buried — is how this guy was able to write this book. I’m not making this up. How did he do it? He spent the last year hanging out in the White House. In the West Wing.  He talked to everybody, including the President.

He could go in anytime he wanted. They all talked to him. They all knew he was writing a book!

How did he pull this off?

He met with Trump and asked if he could be a “fly on the wall” and document his administration. Trump said “Sure, why not?” Now he denies it but somehow, he got access to the White House, even though nobody is sure who actually allowed it.

The utter chaos that the book describes is how he got in.

Just sitting here, watching all this shit happen.

So, think of it. A reporter is going to the White House for a year, wandering around and everybody tells him everything. And nobody notices he’s —

  1. A REPORTER!
  2. HE’S THERE!

And they all seemed to be completely  stunned and surprise that this guy

WROTE A BOOK!!!

The other thing about this book is that all the bombshells in the book are not bombshells. It’s all common knowledge. Hell, I’ve written a blog about most of them.

The book points out that they never expected to win. The book equates the campaign to the Mel Brooks movie “The Producers.

I wrote CAN MEL BROOKS SUE REALITY FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT? The President is stupid.

I wrote STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES. The White House staff treats SCROTUS like a child.

I wrote WE NEED A FIRST MOM.  They have to come up with ways to stop him from doing stupid stuff, or worse.

I wrote M.A.D. MADMEN AND THE FIVE MINUTE RULE.  The president is nuts.

I wrote NORMAL, NORMALIZING AND NORMALIZING NUTS. The president is getting nuttier.

I wrote NUTS, NUTJOBS AND NUTTERBUTTER. I could go on, but I’m getting tired of the cutting and pasting. And of course Marilyn, Ellin, and Garry have written even more on all of this. Basically, all the stuff we’ve known and been watching unravel during the last year is now in a book because a guy got to sit on a sofa in the West Wing for about a year — and just watched it all happen.

You just can’t make this shit up.  We all know one thing: It’s going to get even weirder.

THE UNPRECEDENTED USE OF THE WORD UNPRECEDENTED IS TRULY UNPRECEDENTED – BY TOM CURLEY

Ever notice how sometimes you begin to notice something you never really noticed before? Whatever it was, it was there all the time, from the beginning. You just never noticed it.

Damn. He’s right there!

For example: you buy a new car, say … a Prius. You never paid any attention to them before. But now you have one. Suddenly, you notice there are hundreds of them everywhere. Every time you are on the road you see dozens of Priuses. Where the hell did they all come from? Why are zillions of people suddenly going out and buying a Prius?

The answer is of course, they were there all along. There is a reason this happens. There’s a part of your brain called the Reticular Formation. It does a lot of things. But the most interesting one is that it acts as a filter for useless stuff.

You take in everything around you with your eyes, ears, nose, and so on, but most of it is not worth your paying attention to it. So your brain blocks it out. It also filters out stuff that happens again and again. This is why people in the city can sleep with all the traffic noise. After a while, your brain ignores it. But, when something breaks through that guard post, you see or hear it all the time.

Which brings me to the word unprecedented.

Since this whole Trump Train Wreck started, the use of “unprecedented” has become, well, unprecedented. I hear it dozens of times every day. Almost always on the news or late-night talk shows, but also from friends. I use it myself all the time.

But think about the meaning of word. It means something that has never happened before, yet every day, we use the word. Because everyday, something which  has never happened before, happens. Every single day!

The world is a few billion years old. Lots of shit has happened. I mean really, a lot of shit. You’d think pretty much everything that could happen, has happened. Before Cheesy McCheese Head came down the ‘golden escalator of doom,’ we used to say things like:


“Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

“History might not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme a lot.”

“Don’t run with scissors!”


But today all you hear is “UNPRECEDENTED.” Sometimes you hear synonyms of the word, like bizarre, uncommon, unheard-of, aberrant, or abnormal. But mostly, it’s just “unprecedented”.

My question is “how does he do it?” How can every day bring a new insanity nobody imagined could — or would — ever happen? How is he creating so much … unprecedentedness?

Is that a word? If not, I’m claiming it. My trademark word. Back off Colbert!

I think the answer has to do with a thing called “social norms.” These are rules we live by. We didn’t learn them. We accept them and take them for granted. There are things you can or can’t do. More specifically, things that you shouldn’t, wouldn’t, or simply DON’T do. There aren’t any laws saying you can’t do that thing, but you know — everybody knows — you are not supposed to do it.

There’s no law saying you can’t deliberately let out a big fart in a crowded elevator, but the vast majority of humans realize it’s not a good idea. So, they don’t do it.

There’s no law against running with scissors, but we know we shouldn’t do it. (Seriously, don’t do that. You could put an eye out.)

A subset of social norms would be political norms. There are things you are supposed to do. Kiss babies, wear an American Flag lapel pin, release your tax returns. Stuff like that. Of course, there were other things politicians know they were not supposed to do. If they did, their careers were over. It used to be things like saying fuck in public, or making fun of a handicapped person.

Or molesting children.

Do any of these things and they’d be gone. There aren’t any laws saying you can or can’t do this stuff. Wait a minute –let me change that. There absolutely are laws against molesting children. But what with reality shifting so often, who knows for sure?

You simply knew to do or not do those things. It was part of being human, part of society. It went with stuff like the peaceful transition of power every four years, having only one President at a time, and having a President putting all his money in a blind trust while in office.

Those kinds of things.

But our current SCROTUS believes if it ain’t illegal, fuck it. He’ll do it. Political norms mean nothing to this asshole. No ethics, no compassion, no “for the good of the country.”


Release my tax returns? Fuck you.

You can’t hire your kids? Watch me.

Conflicts of interest? Kiss my ass.


Think about it. Nobody, including most constitutional scholars, had ever heard of, or really paid any attention to the emoluments clause which is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.


“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.


Notice that this is part of the beginning (Article I) of the Constitution. It clearly says a President can’t accept any kind of gift or bribe. And until now, no President since Washington would have dreamed of doing such a stupid thing!



CONSTITUTION: You can’t take a bribe or any kind of gift.

TRUMP: Oh yeah? Hold my beer.


We have a person occupying the White House, who — last week — admitted in a Tweet that he obstructed justice. His lawyer’s response? Trump can’t break the law. He is the law. Above the law. Meanwhile, until — yesterday? the day before? — I’m pretty sure being a pedophile was worse than being a liberal Democrat. Guess what? Not anymore!

So basically, he has ruined social norms. He’s destroyed political norms. He’s broken all the rules and he’s getting away with it. So, from now on, we’re going to have to make everything a law. Everything. You farted in a crowded elevator? You have the right to remain silent (and deadly).

So, thanks SCROTUS. You ruined it for everybody! This is why we can’t have nice things!

Now that you’ve read this, the number of times you notice the word unprecedented will be, well, unprecedented.

PATINA – IT’S ONLY GOLD IN SUNLIGHT


PATINA – a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period.


This covers a lot of territory. Most of it human. It’s why in the sun, they might appear like gold, but catch them sitting in the shade, and they look like what they really  are: SHIT.

Note to all of my favorite Aussie followers: Rupert Murdoch is alive. I do not know if he is well, but he is 86 and hanging in there. If you think Fox News is one of the worst things to happen to news in centuries, thank Rupert. Australia, please take him home.

The worst news of all — for me personally? He shares my birthday. I’m shaken and shamed, and my only good news is that so did Douglas Adams. Does one make up for the other?

NUTS, NUT-JOBS, AND NUTTER BUTTER – BY TOM CURLEY

Back in August I posted a blog called Normal, Normalizing And Normalizing Nuts. It was about how we all have to start recognizing that our “Nut-Ball In Chief” is well, nuts.

I pointed out that it was really important the press and the media focus on this fact like a laser beam. Every story about our NBIC (I’m too lazy to keep typing Nut-Ball In Chief), or coverage of his latest NBIC Tweet should always go back to the same topic. “THIS GUY IS MENTALLY ILL!!”

I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it. When Grandpa’s mind starts to slip and he  shows signs of dementia, we take away his car keys. We hire nurses to come into his home to help him. Or we put him in a nursing home. But what is the one thing we don’t do? WE DON’T PUT GRANDPA IN THE OVAL OFFICE!!!

On the plus side, the media has been doing this more and more. There is a large group of psychiatrists and psychologist called “Duty To Warn” that are writing letters and screaming at the top of their lungs. THIS GUY IS BAT-SHIT CRAZY! They just use more medically correct language.

But I didn’t start this particular post to talk about our NBIC. I want to talk about a larger group of nut-jobs. Specifically, the nut-jobs who voted for this nut-job. Trump supporters.

Let me be even more specific. Trump supporters who still support this NBIC. I understand that on election day lots of former Obama supporters voted for him and lots of other people who felt he might “shake things up” voted for him. As far as the latter group goes, I would say an earthquake also shakes things up. That doesn’t mean I want to be around when one happens.

I get it. You had your reasons. That was then. This is now.

We know how crazy this guy is. We know how incompetent this guy is. We know how clueless this guy is. We know this guy is “A fucking moron.”  And still, 28 to 33 percent of Americans still support this train wreck??

The media has been doing something since this guy got elected which drives me crazy. No matter what he does, no matter how stupid it is, no matter how mind-boggling and horrific it is, the media always tags the story with this. “But his base still supports him.”

To this I say “SO WHAT!!!”  Because those assholes still support this jerk, everything he does is OK? Well, they say Republicans won’t do anything because they are “afraid of his base.” They are afraid of being “primaried“ by a more right-wing Republican.

Really? Has anybody noticed that most of the Republicans in office are folks who “primaried” a more moderate Republican. Most are Tea Party whack jobs. They’re all white supremacists. They defend NAZIs! Who the hell is out there who is more right-wing than the crazy bastards who are currently there???

The only thing we can do is to vote them out next year.

The other thing that drives me nuts are the constant stories about “How do we reach the Trump voter? What will it take to turn them against Trump?


I have the answer.


NOTHING. These whack jobs are lost. They believe every stupid conspiracy theory put out by the alt-right. They will never wake up. Even after they don’t get new jobs. Even after their taxes go up when rich billionaires’ taxes go down. Even when they get poorer and poorer. Even when they lose their health care.

They are lost. Forget them. Ignore them.

Try to remember this very, very important fact. THEY ARE A MINORITY!! Our NBIC lost the popular vote by more than three million votes. Almost three-quarters of the population of the U.S. DON’T LIKE THIS IDIOT. Focus on the other half of the country, the folks who didn’t vote at all. At least there’ s hope for them.

As for “the base?” You are never going to change their minds.

What a lovely couple

Or this guy.

Or this one.

Trying to reason with a current Trump supporter is like trying to teach a pig to fly. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

PS:  What does any of this have to do with Nutter Butter? Actually, nothing. I just like to write alliterative titles in threes. And I like Nutter Butter.

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP. GULP

Finally.

Indictments are coming down. Not, in my opinion, nearly enough of them. The whole heap of deplorables should be heading for jail by now. Garry and I were watching the news the other night — for the first time in months, watching more than the headlines. And smiling. Not yet rolling on the floor and laughing. But smiling.

Because we’ve been in the audience, in our seats. Waiting for almost a year for the beginning of this much publicized performance. Finally, the curtain is rising. Mind you, they have just set the stage. The main characters aren’t on the set, but I bet they’ve got their scripts ready and they’re memorizing their lines. Finding their marks. It’s going to be a hell of a show.


Spicer came, Spicer went. Bye bye Spicer.
Mike Flynn went. See ya’ around.
Then, Scaramucci or whatever his name was, came and went so fast, I didn’t get a chance to remember him as a face.
And of course, Steve Bannon left . Back to Breitbart. Ah the joys of being a public executioner. 
🎵 🎵 🎵 🎵
He never will be missed — NO! He never will be missed.

In case you’ve forgotten what this whole mess is about, it’s about Russia. Though I think maybe it has expanded and it’s about more stuff than it used to be. Because they’re talking about mobsters — international ones. Mobsters? Sure, why not? We’ve already got the whole damned Russian government, so why not international gun runners, drug lords and who knows what else? Whoopee, what a show!

Starting with the Russians, there’s this guy. His name of Sergey Kislyak. He is either Russia’s biggest spymaster, or possibly, merely a horrible guy. One way or the other, he’s not on our team and certainly isn’t anyone who should have been meeting with the president’s guys before the election. That was a probably a bad sign for the upcoming election, like maybe it was not entirely on track.

trump_nixon-800x430

So when this whole mess began, we wanted to know about Russians. How much the Russians knew and how they knew it. How much involvement did the Republican party have in whatever the Russians knew and was there official, legal collusion on the part of the president and/or his cohorts? Incidentally, to what degree was this election stolen by the Russians and how much did the massive assistance from Facebook and Twitter — who apparently thought money from Russia was more important than whether or not the U.S. could have a legal election — bothers me more than the original Russian connection. Because those greedy assholes knew what was happening and could have put a quick end to it. And didn’t. Getting richer was more important than anything.

For starters, Mueller nabbed Manafort and his patsy, Gates. Oh, and there is also Papadopoulos.

Who?

Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos

He’s the kid who has been wearing a wire and ratting out the Republican Party. How much ratting he did we do not yet know because — rumors by Fox News to the contrary notwithstanding — this is the beginning. As a lot of other people have mentioned, if Trump was pissed off about everything before, he’s batshit wacko now.

Nixon was elected by a wave of Americans who didn’t like negative talk about Vietnam. He got in kind of like Scrotus. With a plurality in Congress and all that. But he had this thing hanging over him. Those little nothing burglaries at Watergate kept aggravating everyone. And Nixon wasn’t half as disgusting as Scrotus, but in his time, he was bad enough. (These days, Nixon looks damned good. That is ironic.)

If you don’t know the story, I’m not going to repeat the whole Watergate saga now. Look it up. There are movies, books, blogs … and people my age will happily sit you down and tell you the story. It isn’t the same as we are seeing now, but as they say, it rhymes (more or less) with our Watergate past. Especially now, with indictments coming down.

For the moment, the future is looking brighter. Hopeful. I know there’s a long way to go. I know it isn’t going to happen in a hurry … but I believe it might really happen. Patience, patience.


Drip. Drip. Drip.

One down, another to go. Two down, one on the way. Three down. Four down. Five down.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

We were watching NBC News and someone said if the GOP does not deal with “the Russian issue,” it will take down this presidency. No one will get the opportunity to do anything — which would be fine with me. Because it turns out that anything the Trump administration wants to do is bad for everyone who isn’t Trump.


Nixon hated the press, but at least he didn’t go out of his way to make all of them hate him at the same time.


I remember the breaking of Richard Nixon;s presidency. The story was on ongoing event. It was in the papers, on TV. It was what everyone talked about. ALL the time. I bought a tiny radio and I listened to the hearings in the Senate, even while I  worked. Not just me, either. We all were listening. When I got home from work, the TV went on and I watched. I came back from work and planted myself in front of the television.

The story kept going.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Sergey Kislyak and Jeff Sessions - Photo: CNN
Sergey Kislyak and Jeff Sessions – Photo: CNN

Then, suddenly, Nixon found himself surrounded with nowhere to turn. He resigned. He wasn’t half as bad as Trump. He was merely drunk, depressed, and hated everyone — especially the press.

Nixon taunted the press– an incredibly stupid thing to do. Trump has done much worse Although the American press doesn’t have quite as much power as it did in the 1970s, it is still the press, Frankly, we citizens are due reparations for how wretchedly they covered the last election. They did a terrible job. They owe us. Give it your best, guys and gals. This time, you need to do it right.

The thing is, snooping is not only what the press does. Where there’s a story, they will find it. The press corps lives for exactly this kind of thing. It’s the blood of life to any reporter who can get his or her teeth into it. Mueller doesn’t look likely to give up. Neither will our press people.

Drip. Drip. Drip