It was definitely one of SNL’s better productions and Alec Baldwin IS the prez. I think after all these years, he has found his metier. The problem is that it is hard to be funnier than the real Trump. If our national life weren’t on the line, I’d laugh so much harder!
Just when I thought there was nothing new to shake my head at regarding our unstable president, along came last week’s Saturday Night Live on NBC-TV.
Any comic material about Donald Trump seems to write itself, but the show delivered a brilliant parody of Trump declaring a state of emergency for a wall on the Mexican border. The genius of it was that it was so close to the president’s real actions and reactions at last week’s news conference.
From Trump’s childish tantrums against the media, to his pathetic request for a Nobel Peace Prize (Obama got one. Why not me?), Alec Baldwin’s impersonation was spot on. That includes Trump’s habit of rambling, exaggerating, and concocting numbers that he pulls out of the air.
He claimed to be 6’7″ tall and 185 pounds of “shredded” fat. Next, he said he looked forward to meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, a “very…
I figured it out! The solution to reality! This reality! This reality TV reality!
The problem is not so much that we are living in a reality TV reality. The problem is that we’re living in a REALLY BADreality TV reality. Face it, it’s not working. Each time something happens that we might think is positive, the next day — or the next hour — we discover we were deluded.
Do you know what does work?
Think about it. There was a show called “Designated Survivor.” In it, the whole U.S. government was blown up during a State of the Union Address. The Executive Branch, Congress, Supreme Court? Wiped off the earth.
The only cabinet member that had to stay home becomes the President. He has to rebuild the government from the ground up. While he’s doing that, there’s a mysterious cabal in which the ones responsible for blowing everybody up are also trying to take over the country.
In spite of that, their government and President are doing a lot better job than ours! They are noticeably more sane and coherent and sometimes, they make intelligent decisions. Imagine that!
So here’s what we do. We switch realities!
It’s a win-win for everybody. How? It’s simple — at least in theory.
The current administration leaves the government and instead, goes on real TV, 24/7. Every day. You like watching the news? You’ll never miss another show!
On Fox News. They all go to work on sets that look just like Washington, D.C. They do the exact same things they do now. It will be just like on “Big Brother”. Only bigger.
And on Fox News.
They can pass laws, write executive orders, cancel health insurance for the whole nation, eliminate “Meals On Wheels” or just kick puppies. Whatever they want! Trump supporters won’t be upset because they only watch Fox News.
As far as they’ll be concerned, everything is normal.
It just isn’t real.
“And it’s only on Fox.”
OK, great you say. But what about real reality? Who’s going to be the real President? The real cabinet?
Here’s who. Honest to God fictionalones.
The cool part is, we have a lot of options. We have lots of choices for President. And if we dig into the DNC pool, we’ve got dozens more. Hell, every billionaire is ready to declare!
We could have Jeb Bartlett. He was a great President. Don’t believe me? Watch “The West Wing.” Again. As a matter of fact, just keep watching it over and over until you feel better. It’s like a political tranquilizer.
We’ve got Dennis Haysbert. I’m pretty sure he was President twice.
We’ve got Morgan Freeman. Not only was the President, but he was (is currently, I believe) also God!
The list goes on. Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Jack Nicholson, Peter Sellers … (Oh, for God’s sake, Google the rest.) You get my point.
Now, appointing a cabinet becomes fun!
Secretary of State? How about Tia Leoni? She’s already a Secretary of State and seems to be doing a pretty decent job of it every Sunday. Let’s give her the job for the rest of the week.
Attorney General? Julianna Margulies. She’s a lawyer, ran for State’s Attorney and by almost all accounts, is a good wife.
Secretary of Defense? I admit, at first, I was leaning toward Schwarzenegger or Stallone. Then it hit me.
CHUCK NORRIS! Think about it. We could cut the military budget down to nothing. Nobody’s going to go to war with us. Nobody fucks with Chuck Norris!
ISIS COMMANDER: We will destroy America!
ISIS GUY WATCHING THE NEWS: Sir, America just made Chuck Norris Secretary of Defense.
ISIS COMMANDER: Shit.
(Insert favorite Chuck Norris joke here. My favorite? Chuck Norris once counted to infinity. Twice.)
Department of Education? The cast of Sesame Street.
Depart of Health and Human Services? Pick any of the stern but kindly Chiefs of Staff from any medical show you’ve enjoyed over the years. Any of them will do fine. (Except for Dr. Zorba. I’m pretty sure he’s dead.) (Extra points if you get that reference.)
Department of Housing? Chris Rock. OK, he really doesn’t have any more qualifications for the job than Ben Carson does. But I just like the guy. He’s funny.
(If you get that reference, you get double extra points.) I could go on, but you get the point.
Five: The Election
How do we do this?
We have an election. Not the usual kind. What with voter suppression, low turnouts, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and just candidates that don’t have the right scriptwriters, our elections are not working out well. That’s how we got into this mess, to begin with.
We have the election the same way reality TV shows do it. Everybody gets to vote from their smartphone, their computer, their tablet, or Android device. You can email or text your vote. You are only allowed to vote up to 20 times on any given device. You can vote up until 10 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Granted, this will fire up the Millennials and confuse the hell out of old folks. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s still better than the Electoral College.
We can set up March Madness-style brackets and have an election every week for maybe a month until we get a winner. Imagine how many office pools there will be. You might even win!
And we, the people, elect everybody. The President doesn’t get to appoint his cabinet. We do.
This is absolute Democracy at work!
It could work!
As a cheese-faced person who somehow actually became President of the United States said to a bunch of totally incredulous Black people:
A self-imposed exile from the machinations of Donald Trump is a good thing. It is like spraying Febreze Clean Linen scent inside your skull until the rotten stench is completely covered. Two weeks wasn’t long enough to fully enjoy it, but it is a start.
A real exile from Trump means no cable news, newspapers, Facebook memes and rants, not answering taunts and jibes and no light-hearted political discussion with the neighbors.
Netflix is a good hiding place. A more extreme alternative is Devotional Hour with Sister Marie, the wizened old nun who provides solace on a local Catholic television show. Five minutes cured everything. Even with great alternatives available, actually weaning oneself off the Trumpian titty is like quitting smoking without a nicotine patch. His nefarious influence is everywhere.
Perhaps the most revealing thing about such an experience is discovering that people who must work every day to care for their kids, dogs, and homes don’t often give a tinker’s damn about politics. It takes a particularly powerful whiff of Trumplandian swamp gas for them to even notice all is still not well in Washington, D.C. They apparently leave all the angst for old retired people who won’t suffer too long no matter what happens.
Several other discoveries jumped out immediately. The Trumpian Wall saga has run its course across the emotional nerves of my neighbors. So have mass shootings, the endless litany of #MeToo sexual peccadilloes and reports about election campaigns so far in the future they are irrelevant. The baffling Mueller probe is seen in the same light as all the other probes getting shoved in people’s keisters in the name of New Age correctness.
My hardworking neighbors know that a Saudi journalist named Khashoggi was chopped into mincemeat by lackeys of some medieval Arab prince who won’t be touched; that war in Syria and Afghanistan may be over but don’t count on it; and that some big, bald-headed guy on TV when they arrived home Friday was in a pointless pissing match with the Democrats. None of it touched their lives.
What really pisses off Mr. and Mrs. Working America is finding out that they aren’t going to get the income tax refund they used to use to buy a little fun, the really unimaginative halftime show at the cliché’-rich Super Bowl and that the constantly rising price of food and gas never gets factored into those glowing reports about how rich America is.
Just ask a working mom who looks forward to taking the kids for a week at the beach that won’t happen this year because she didn’t get a useful tax refund. Ask the tradesman who tolerated his union dues going to Democrats, thinking their expanded presence in the House would improve his life. Instead, they are using his money to buy a bully pulpit to promote themselves without accomplishing much else.
Perhaps the most illuminating people to talk to are the mid-level government employees where I live that are wracked with doubt because they spent all their savings just to survive Trump’s 35-day government shutdown. They are imminently aware that another shutdown is still in the cards. They are equally certain that at some point a shutdown will wreck the economy the same way it already has wrecked their households.
The so-called Trumpian base, the badly informed working class folks who turn to anyone who offers them red meat, are confused and angered as well. They thought their lot would have improved by now, said one of my forsaken buddies while buying donuts. We’ve been punching holes in targets together for 30 years and he still can’t bring himself to say he might have been wrong about Trump.
My old buddy lives in a trailer court down the road. He lives there because he can’t afford a house. He can’t afford a house because he earns a $1,000 or more a week during the working season and still can’t save enough for the 20-percent down payment. Despite all the news stories about how the country has run out of skilled and unskilled labor, he doesn’t have a job.
His mobile home costs $780 a month plus utilities. His wife doesn’t work because they can’t afford daycare for his three kids. Being a union laborer doesn’t provide much work in the dead of winter, he said. Unemployed union laborers go on the extra board and draw $280 a week unemployment that they hope will last until the spring thaw. The only thing being a cherished veteran got him is a VA house loan and lip service. Meanwhile, Republicans who supported Trump in Missouri are again trying to introduce “right-to-work” laws because they think laborers like my friend are paid too much.
I learned a lesson from this experience. To move forward, the country must clear its head, put its feet back on the ground and wean itself off the milk of Trumpian discourse. Hate holds only bankrupt answers. Trump’s forte is lies. It is time for Democrats to go around him, under him, over him or through him, the way illegal aliens would get past his useless border wall.
The presumption that time heals all wounds is misplaced. Time only heals wounds that don’t turn gangrenous.
Democratic leaders need to spend less time blaming Trump’s egregious behavior for the country’s wounds and begin binding them instead.
Let’s get right to the point, something political speeches usually do not do. The pronouncements made by the occupant of the White House fall into basically two categories: Lies, and True, but misleading. It is not unusual for political leaders to take a tidbit of truth and spin it into something it is not. They like to take any positive news and make the most of it. It is another thing, however, to just lie to the American people and expect to get away with it.
Certainly, 45 and his minions must have known that the fact checkers would be scrutinizing everything he said, especially given his history of daily lies. That did not seem to stop him from telling some whoppers designed to fire up his fan base. Followers do not care how much he lies, much to the amazement of many Americans and people around the world.
A vast array of news outlets and independent agencies found a long list of falsehoods and misleading statements by the orange one. Almost all posted a list of lies except one, the state-friendly FOX News. They thought the others were just “nitpicking” in their comments on Trump’s supposed “facts.”
While I was reluctant to call the following statements “lies,” rather than “false,” “misstatement,” “error,” or “miscalculation,” I decided that “lie” will work just fine. After all, the SOTU is an address that is planned well in advance. The WH has an army of staffers.
Certainly, many of them are checking the facts and cautioning 45 not to say anything too inflammatory or incorrect. That did not stop him. Maybe it is just more of his “willful ignorance,” but whatever it is, he certainly knows better, or should have.
“The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world.”
The economy slowed in the fourth quarter last year and is expected to show that it slowed even more in January. Further, a list of countries has shown greater improvement of economies: Poland, China, India, Latvia. Even Greece, struggling economically for many years, showed greater growth.
“We recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars.”
This is not a good thing as 45 seems to imply. The US importer pays these extra duties and tariffs. Usually they are passed along, so in reality, it is the American consumer who is being punished by tariffs. Even more than this, previously profitable companies are hurting due to extra costs. GM and Ford both claim to lose about a billion dollars each to tariffs.
“My administration has cut more regulations in a short period of time than any other administration during its entire tenure.”
Both the Carter and Reagan administrations cut regulations at a faster pace in a number of industries.
“We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs — something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.”
Certainly, the White House has better access to the Bureau of Labor Statistics than we do. His numbers are inflated and the pace of job growth is on par with a two-year period of the Obama administration. Don’t tell him that, he will go crazy (crazier?).
“More people are working now than at any time in our history.”
The reason is by sheer numbers. There are more people living here “now than at any time in our history.”
“The border city of El Paso, Tex., used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.”
El Paso did not have a high crime rate. Prior to the 2008 border barrier, they were second lowest among cities of similar size. It is about the same today.
“As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States.”
Many plan to stay in Mexico due to new policies there regarding visas. Some said they will try to enter the US. They did not say they would try “illegally.”
“Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.”
“Cheered with delight?” Cruel to even suggest this happened. NY state passed a state law to protect the right to choose in case the Supreme Court, now with two Trump extreme right wingers on board, should strike down Roe v. Wade. Abortion after 24 weeks would remain very restricted.
“We had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.”
Worse than the lie above.
This is just a handful of the false or misleading statements handed out by 45 in the 82-minute marathon. There are plenty of sources for checking the facts if you think there is any point to it. If you are to the left of the aisle, you probably figure most of the SOTU was not true. If you are a supporter of 45, you likely ate up every word of it. It makes you wish the president would go back to the practice of submitting the address in writing.
Garry suggested it’s because we’ve become almost accustomed to their winning — or nearly winning — and thus we’ve become “ho-hum” about it. I don’t think so. I’m pleased the Patriots won. I’m glad they are champions again and I feel sorry for the little ones who have grown up with the Pats and the Sox winning more often than not and discovering that we aren’t going to win all the time forever.
But I could get excited. It was a nice thing for New England. I was pleased to be on the winning side — just not jumping up and down with enthusiasm.
Neither of us was and we both noticed our lack of energy. It was a bit odd. I also know parade day (tomorrow) will be good weather, but nothing really rang that “thrilling” bell.
Like other people, I’m a bit disappointed that our messy politics has gotten mixed with sports, but team owners (all teams, all sports) have held views which are different from my own. Politics has a way of seeping into everything, including sports and art.
At the risk of giving a civics lesson, this IS a pluralistic country. We are not a melting pot where we require everyone to dissolve and become the same as everyone else.
Like it or not, someone we otherwise respect is likely to favor the other side. Do we lock them out because they are not us? Is that where we are going?
Our differences are currently extreme, but I believe they won’t stay that way forever. Our current state of ill-grace doesn’t mean all other humans are unworthy and we should never listen to them. That’s a bad way to run a country and a terrible way to run America.
Robert Kraft is a decent guy. I’ve met him. Garry got to know him pretty well when he was working. That’s the thing about Garry: he had to work with both parties over the years. He liked some better than others, but his job wasn’t to pick and choose the ones he approved of and only work for them. He loathes Donald Trump and his sycophants, but he doesn’t necessarily hate all Republicans because they are on the red team.
Kraft is a Republican. This used to be normal. It was not a reason to hate someone. Robert Kraft raised personal objections to Trump’s attitudes towards sports and other actions of the president — and note that the Patriots did NOT go to the White House. Actually, none of the teams except the one that got mountains of el cheapo hamburgers went. They are probably still suffering from massive acid reflux. Yuck.
Did the prez not think they could afford their own hamburgers? Or did he fail to understand there exist other, better restaurants that could have delivered a nice dinner for the team? And even though MacDonald’s burgers are his favorite food, they might not be everyone else’s favorites?
The point is, we have a pluralistic nation which I fondly hope is going to remain so.
If we lock every door to anyone who disagrees with us politically, we will never find a way to be one nation. I’m no fancier of the GOP, but I understand pluralism is the nature of this land. If we lose that, we have lost ourselves.
So I’m trying with all my might to keep the windows and doors open. If a fresh idea blows in the wind, I might want to waft with it. I hope my brain is able to accept the possibility that something I haven’t yet thought of might turn out to be a good idea.
Let’s not hate so much that we forget other people also think and sometimes, they think a good thought. It’s the only hope we’ve got as a country. It’s the only hope the world has to not become a preview of the next world war.
Talk about things that have gone missing from the American — and for that matter, international — scene.
Compromise. The ability for both sides to give a little and get a little until finally, they reach a satisfactory mid-point and everyone is happy with the result. Or, at least, comfortable with the result. Or — sufficiently comfortable to not feel an overwhelming need to ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of people to make a political point.
The parallels of what’s going on in the world today, with America functioning as “the leader of the pack,” with what was happening during the 1930s which led to the bloodbath of World War 2 are absolutely terrifying. Do we not remember how it went last time?
Are we so ignorant of even the most recent history to not recognize we are making the same mistakes — again. This time, though, instead of fighting the good fight, America is leading the bad fight. We are not the good guys this time around. Not even close.
I was sure we’d have come to our collective senses by now, but far from it. Because since our “leader” is such vicious, nationalist, self-centered, racist that he has given permission to the rest of the world to be the assholes they really want to be.
Strip away the manners and the traditions of hospitality and simple good manners? Underneath there is a vicious mean-spirited jerk waiting to come out and destroy his world.
What’s the answer? Is there an answer?
I have no idea. I don’t think another world war is going to improve life, but that sure looks like where we are heading. That or a massive international depression that will take years from which to recover.
You can take your pick of the option you personally favor, but for myself, I favor photographing the birds at play and at the feeder.
I took a lot of pictures yesterday, so I’ve got a few more to show you today. This is just as well because I feel totally non-creative at the moment. Part of it is simply that I don’t feel well.
The clunk I took on the head a couple of days ago didn’t help a lot either, but to be fair, I was pretty brain-dead before that too.
A couple of things are wearing me down. Politics is clearly one. Like a lot of liberals — and other fair-minded people — the ugliness of our political situation is dispiriting and depressing. Whatever humor I felt about it at the beginning has long disappeared. Now it’s just grim and hateful. It has made a lot of people a lot grumpier than they were.
It’s like living under a black cloud that just follows you around and keeps raining. Which either means we are rain gods or we are drawn by a famous (and I should add, dead) illustrator.
So, back to the birds. They are bright, non-political, and all they want is some seed.
I can do that.
Yesterday, the Patriots won a hotly contested game against the chiefs. It was one of the games where even those of us who aren’t super football fans can only say “wow.”
All the other news is so demoralizing and sad, it’s hard to stay excited. Especially since with so many TSA agents calling in sick because the government doesn’t think they should pay them for their work, you have to wonder how people are going to get to the game.
The bitterly frigid weather hasn’t helped either.
From here to Atlanta is more than 1000 miles. Driving, that’s about 86 gallons of gasoline and at least two, maybe three days at the wheel.
By train, that’s 24 hours.
Although there remain some flights available, the prices are ridiculous. Lucky we weren’t planning to go anyway, isn’t it?
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