Even identical twins are not precisely identical. There’s always some small difference. Every snowflake is unique. Each part of history is slightly different from any other.
But if things aren’t identical, they can be remarkably similar. “Rhyming” as Samuel Clemens artfully phrased it.
Our world today rhymes well with the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Every single day that passes make this more obvious. The U.S. is not 1930s Germany, yet we resemble it sufficiently to make some of us — me for example — very worried.
Many people describe the German government at the time as weak — or mostly too weak to fight back. There was a time — quite a long time — when they could have fought back. When Hitler could have been forced down and out, but it didn’t happen.
Will we do a better job? Are we trying? What more can we do?
My friend, Martha Kennedy pointed out to me that Trump is not a Republican.
Trump is a fascist.
It caught me off-guard for a second. My breath went in and stopped there … and then I knew she was right. He isn’t a Republican. He isn’t even an American. There isn’t a patriotic, nation-loving bone in his bloated body. He is a greedy, bigoted, narcissist who cares about no one but himself. He is loyal to nothing.
In my heart, I would like to see him in handcuffs off to a long-term in Federal prison, but I would settle for him and all those wretched people he has sucked into our government removed and banned from government. If you can ban Pete Rose from baseball, how much more so should we be banning that thing from any kind of government — or even the possibility of getting any sort of government assistance for any project. Ever.
But don’t worry. I’m sure someone will hire him to do play by-play on a TV news show somewhere. Let’s take a wild guess here. You think possibly Fox?
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.
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.
I keep reading about how Trump is going to be impeached. Meanwhile, I keep thinking two presidents were impeached: Andrew Johnson and William J. Clinton. Neither was removed from office. It was more like a bad mark on their permanent record than getting expelled. They were harder on Harry Potter than either impeached President.
This doesn’t mean I had or have anything against Bill Clinton (I liked him a lot) except the whole thing about men and their zippers and how come they can’t just keep them zipped — at least until they get out of office. Would it really kill them to not screw someone inappropriate for a few years? Men can be such pigs. But I digress.
I do not think Trump will be impeached. “Why not?” you ask.
Because the Senate doesn’t want to. Even if Democrats utterly wipe the floor with Republicans in 2018 by winning EVERY available seat in the Senate, it does not mean the Senate will impeach Trump. And if they did, why does everyone assume that impeachment would unseat Trump? It hasn’t unseated the two presidents who were impeached. The only thing that can unseat a president are “high crimes and misdemeanors” for which there exists no clear, current definition.
Moreover, a GOP-dominated — or even a Senate with a substantial percentage of them — does not have to act on impeachment. Regardless of the outcome of any investigation, now or in the future, there is no mandate to do anything about it. And yet, despite the ineffectiveness of previous impeachment procedures, everyone is convinced that this time, it will be different.
Why? What would make this time different than before? What new law is on the books? What new interpretation of “crimes the president can commit” exists?
I’m as unhappy as anyone about the state of the nation, but I’m a pragmatist. The harder I look at it, the more I’m convinced this is another not-happening event. Senators aren’t going to take him down. For way too many of them, it would be the same as taking themselves down.
If we are all very lucky, Mueller’s investigations will take down many of his Trump’s cronies. Which maybe will improve the situation a little bit. But eliminating Trump? You think so? If you think so, I’d like to hear why you think so. Based on what? Because I want to believe. I really do.
In the end, I believe that ending this disaster will rest with us. Voters. In 2018 and 2020. If we cannot stand together and sweep the bastards out of office, life in these United States is going to get increasingly ugly and frightening.
Talk to me. Tell me I’m wrong. Convince me I’m crazy or I just don’t understand the situation.
Dubious is an adjective — as in hesitating or doubting — not to be relied upon. It also means suspect as in “extremely dubious assumptions.” Add it that suspicious, untrustworthy, unreliable, questionable and just for kicks, morally suspect.
That would pretty much sum up our government these days. I’ve been assured by others that their government is no less dubious or morally suspect than ours, but I defy any government to be more hugely, gigantically, and outrageously dubious that the current American version. Australia may have lost more than half its governing body because (it turns out) they weren’t actually Australians — and Canada may have significant doubts about what Trudeau is really doing “up there,” but for pure blowhard untrustworthiness and morally suspicious behavior, it would be hard to top The Big Donald.
He sort of has it all wrapped up. When he talks, it’s not merely double-talk. It’s also blatheringly meaningless random words strung together without a subject, object, verb … or an end. Not not to mention illiterate, but I think I can safely say that our president is the most illiterate guy to ever hold high office, at least in the past two or three centuries. He is also suspicious, suspect, untrustworthy, unreliable, questionable and I think we’ve passed “morally suspect” and moved on to degenerate.
Anyone want to argue the point?
So while the rest of the you may indeed be in trouble, I defy any country anywhere to be in worse trouble than we are. Your governments may be crap, but ours is crappier.
Just saying. Among the dubious, we are the most absolutely potentially terrifyingly dubious of all. Yay America!