Trump Dump — Weekly Weird News

June 28th, 2020

It’s getting so surreal these days. I feel like the only way to make sense out of what is going on is to drop large doses of LSD and then hit myself repeatedly in the head with a baseball bat until I can look at a picture of Trump and not end up vomiting on my cat.

I’m about to write about stuff in the headlines today that even two weeks ago in these maddest of times would have provoked disbelieving laughter and derision from any sane person reading this.

Are you ready? We’re about to go on a magical mystery tour of the sort that you get when you mix bath salts with Drano.

First, let’s talk about Afghanistan. The Russians, from personal experience, know the place is a dusty, flea-bitten vortex that historically has ground many mighty empires into dust. They’re watching America make the same mistake that they, England (twice, because England is kinda stupid), Rome and,well, pretty much everyone did, and Putin can’t resist stirring that particular shit pot a bit. So Russia has been offering bounties on US soldiers to the very people America has frantically been trying to make peace with in order to extricate themselves.

You could even argue that Russia had a certain amount of justification, since a few decades back, when they were still the Soviets, they got ambered in the cold dust of that snake-tongue land, and the US gleefully hired Osama bin Laden and his followers to kill Soviet troops and provided the insurgents with weapons and training. They were quite good at it, even blowing up a tunnel and killing 2,000 Soviet soldiers. It may have been the main single thing that caused the USSR to collapse a couple of years later. The good news is it got the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The bad news is we armed and financed al Qaida, an extremist outfit that hated America even more than they hated the Russians. The rest, as they say, is history, and America wound up as the latest idiot conquerer of Afghanistan.

So if you want to tell me that Putin is a vicious shit for putting bounties on US troops, I’ll blandly agree with you but refuse to assume any position of moral superiority. It’s like picking a side to root for in a cage match between Charlie Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Now, Gorbachev knew about the US hiring al Qaida to kill Soviet troops just as Trump almost certainly knew of Russia hiring Taliban to potshot Americans. But Gorby was dealing from a position of weakness; he knew his country was on the verge of collapse, and was working frantically to secure mercy from the Americans. (He didn’t get it: America sent in the capitalists to create an Ayn Rand nightmare that killed tens of millions of Soviet citizens). Trump, despite his efforts to divide and weaken the US, isn’t in that position. The country is still strong, but he is weak; he needs to impress the one man in the world who is a bigger thief and swindler than he is. Trump isn’t negotiating from a position of national weakness; he’s negotiating from personal greed and a willingness to sell out his country for profit.

When the NY Times broke this story Friday night last, there was twenty-four hours of painful silence from the White House. That was damning enough, but when the denial came, it was ludicrous on the face of it. Trump didn’t know because nobody in his administration briefed him on it. Well, that makes sense: the Commander in Chief is worried about his putter and doesn’t have time to protect American troops. Besides, aren’t they supposed to die for Trump?

Note to US troops in Afghanistan: Trump and Putin are playing their own games. Stay out of the tunnels, guys.

Trump did finally respond in his own way, seeking to divert attention by retweeting an utterly insane confrontation between two groups of white elderly dirtbags in Florida, A bunch of Trumpkins rounded up golf carts and had a pro-Trump parade. They shouted “White Power!” and waved various flags, and counter demonstrators from the same gated community showed up to shout “White Trash!” back at them and call them names. Even by Florida standards, it was pretty disgraceful.

Trump, showing more and more signs of mental collapse, shared this with the world, tweeting, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!”

If he was trying to show he was better than the abject coward who lets an inferior force put bounties on American scalps, I doubt it will work. Even in Cult45 there may be a growing suspicion that maybe he should be supporting troops rather than hanging them on a plywood panel like balloons at a carny show.

With 40 million out of work, 125,000 dead, and over two and a half million infected, Trump and his Cult45 morons completely squandered the belated and semi-effective efforts at containing the spread, with the result that coronavirus is wildfiring throughout much of rural America and the deep south. Trump is still busily pretending there isn’t a problem and people don’t need to wear masks or take any other measures to avoid contagion, because that might hurt the market and his chances for reelection, not necessarily in that order. Sadly, tens of millions of American fools have followed his lead. We’ll see the numbers of new cases a day break 50,000 this coming week. A quarter million people may be dead in America by September 1st.

Finally, the Fed quietly revoked the Volcker rule on Thursday, allowing banks to make the same mistakes that lead to the 2008 crash. The idea was to keep the markets artificially propped up, creating the illusion that the economy isn’t in shambles. It is, and this just guarantees the looming crash and Great Depression will be even worse. But what the hell? It helps Donald’s reelection chances, assuming there’s enough voters alive and able to vote in November for it to matter.

Anyway, next week Trump will be out on the White House lawn, setting fire to live puppies, and his followers will swoon in joy and point out that yes, he does enjoy a warm relationship with dogs, and anyone who doesn’t agree probably hates animals.

See you next week if we’re still here.

 

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Oklahoma Crude — Repulsa in Tulsa a Fiasco

sadclownTrump

Oklahoma Crude

Repulsa in Tulsa a Fiasco

June 21st 2020

South of the equator, yesterday was the day of the Winter Solstice. So cheer up, fellas! You’re over the hump. Don’t lose hope. (Note to self: don’t mention that for the rest of us in the northern hemisphere, it’s all downhill from here.)

I was keeping a wary eye on the news yesterday, since the Trump campaign kick-off rally took place in Tulsa, OK. There was a confluence of so many factors that I was concerned that it could prove a flash point leading to a very large social explosion.

It may well have been on the minds of all those gathered: the Trump supporters, the protesters and counter protesters, and the police. Aside from a few minor incidents, the event concluded peacefully, which was a credit to all sides. Even the ones who might have been looking for trouble seemed to have second thoughts.

Trump was determined to stir the shit, and brought his full arsenal of race-baiting, xenophobia, and defamation of any who oppose him to the show. But he gazed around the half-empty stadium, doubtlessly thinking of his campaign’s boasts that a million people had expressed an interest in attending (only 6,275 did, according to the stadium gatekeepers), and gave his two-hour speech in a listless monotone, and just fifteen minutes in, his enthusiastic audience of true believers were beginning to look openly bored. Outside, the stage for the planned-for overflow rally was being dismantled (the campaign seriously expected between 100 and 300 thousand people to flood into Tulsa for this event) and millions of viewers were gifted with the eerie sight of a twenty-four foot screen in the parking lot showing Trump addressing the audience inside, with an audience of exactly nobody. You would think that there might be some old guy, taking his dog out for an evening stroll, who stopped to see what the asshole was saying while his dog relieved itself, but no. Just one lonely, bored tech whose job it was to make sure nobody stole the screen or the equipment running it. And he wasn’t even watching it.

Trump, apparently determined to keep the public attention focused on his mental and physical health, ranted for 15 minutes about the news noting his difficulties maneuvering down the ramp at the West Point ceremony (It didn’t help that someone found an old video of Obama ascending the same ramp with the carefree grace of a teenager). Trump then essayed to show his audience that yes, he could indeed drink a glass of water using one hand. The audience cheered—one of the few things they really had to cheer about on this sad night—but everyone watching on television could see it was a tiny 6 ounce glass, half-full, and even then his movements were slow and considered. If it was a sobriety test, he would have failed. He went on to rant about poor old lazy and demented Joe, apparently unaware that the Biden campaign had just put out an ad showing Biden jogging, where he pauses to tell the camera, “I would like to see Trump do this.”

Trump also made the extraordinarily stupid boast that he asked for testing for the coronavirus to be slowed down, leaving people to wonder if he really thought less tests meant less cases. That’s a bit like eating 4,000 calories a day, convinced that so long as you don’t step on the scales, you aren’t putting on weight. It’s magical thinking, and about the lowest and most self-destructive form of magical thinking there is. This should be in every Democratic ad between now and November, if they have any sense at all.

Speaking of which, one online correspondent told me that the sparse turnout may have saved thousands of lives. Given the exponential nature of contagion, I’ve little doubt that he’s right. Horowitz, of course, had the mot juste: “Coronavirus disappointed by small turnout.” Trump’s campaign slogan ought to be “Donald: Because he’s killed a lot less people than he might have.”

Finally, there were the images of the Donald alighting from the Marine helicopter on the grounds of the White House in the predawn hours. Exhausted, haggard, obviously depressed, he had his tie undone and hanging from around his neck like a suicidal rattlesnake, and his pose could only be described as ‘abject.’

Fingerpointing for this undeniable fiasco began at once. Brad Parscale, man most likely to be unemployed by Monday night, opined that the campaign based its inflated projections of attendance on thousands of K-Pop fans on TikTok who reserved most of the tickets and flooded the “interested in attending” page. Someone finally noticed the hideous optics of a professional campaign getting scammed like that by a bunch of teenagers in Korea (you don’t put a $25 deposit on reserving a ticket, for crissakes?) and decided that some 300,000 committed Republicans were going to show, but were scared off by AntiFa(scists) and BLM protesters. There were about 300 anti-Trump protesters there, consisting of the usual suspects—school teachers, college students, and (shiver violently as I say the words) people who hate fascists. If they really scared off 300,000 Republicans, then they made the Battle of Thermopylae look weak by comparison. The Trump campaign just blamed the poor attendance on widespread cowardice within the party. That should play well with his supporters.

Trump looked like a cornered rat, and you know what they say about cornered rats. He, and his party and followers, are going to be more dangerous and extreme going forward, now unable to entertain the belief they are an unstoppable popular front.

One indication of this came in the form of an unbelievable full page ad in the Nashville Tennessean. In fairness, the paper did immediately repudiate and pull the ad once the blow-back began, saying, “The ad is horrific and is utterly indefensible in all circumstances. It is wrong, period, and should have never been published. It has hurt members of our community and our own employees and that saddens me beyond belief. It is inconsistent with everything The Tennessean as an institution stands and has stood for and with the journalism we have produced.”

Fair enough. But the ad was beyond belief, written by some end-times crackpot who claimed that “Islam” was going to explode a nuclear weapon in Nashville sometime during the month of July. Quite aside from the hateful nature of the speech, there’s the fact that not everyone in Nashville is that tightly wound, and an ad like that could cause a panic.

There’s never a shortage of end-times crackpots around. I know several personally. Generally, they’re harmless. But some have both money and malice. And it’s not unusual for papers to have various nuts show up, money in hand, demanding that the local paper vouchsafe whatever demented and paranoid fantasies they have to the populace. Generally, papers have enough sense to tell them to bugger off.

Someone in a position of responsibility at the Tennessean thought publishing this was a good idea. Maybe it would get a few Moslems lynched. Maybe it would help Trump. Someone thought something this extreme and foolish would help the cause.

The right is crowded with people like that, and they are starting to panic.

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Transitioning — The World is Changing—Fast

June 14th 2020

In front of Parliament in London, they encased the statue of Winston Churchill in plywood and put barricades around it to protect it from defacement and possible destruction at the hands of demonstrators. Just a few weeks ago, such a situation would have been unthinkable, let alone that it could have arisen from the murder of a black man by police in Minneapolis, four thousand miles away and three weeks before.

But in a social convulsion analogous to the Arab Spring, the mass demonstrations sparked by the murder of George Floyd have spread beyond America and throughout the west.

The Churchill statue is under threat much the same way the Confederate statues are under threat in America. There are quite a few distinctions that can be made, of course: Churchill didn’t fight for the enemy, and the statue wasn’t put up to try to keep alive a racist legacy. Now, if a statue of Klaus Barbie

had been erected in Coventry as a not-too-subtle reminder to the Jewish population to know their places, then it might make a lot more sense that people might want to pull it down.

Churchill had a lot of baggage, to be sure. He was a bigot, contemptuous of the peoples the English subjugated, and had a track record of enormous incompetence. But he was also one of the main reasons the United Kingdom still exists today. When England needed a heroic leader, he rose to the occasion. So unlike the Confederate statues that dot the US, there are actually legitimate reasons to honor Churchill with such.

Unfortunately, movements like this tend to overreach, and hopefully common sense will prevail in London. Teach Churchill’s flaws, but honor the man for his greatness.

In the United States, the groundswell of discontent is still taking shape. A lot of what we’re seeing is hopeful. African-Americans deserve far better treatment than they’ve been getting, and have a right to walk the streets and drive their cars without fear, just like the rest of us. The role of police in society needs to be rethought from the ground up. In the 60s and 70s, when society was obsessed with crime and social unrest, the concept arose of cowboy cops who didn’t play by the rules and didn’t mind breaking a lot of eggs to make an omelet. It became fashionable to have out-of-control cops protected by a ‘thin blue line’ mentality that took care of their own, no matter how corrupt and self-defeating it might be. Few noticed or cared that there were no omelets, just plenty of broken eggs, and the police were seen, more and more, as vicious bullies and swaggering cowards. Community relations, in far too many places, was seen as being for weenies.

Additionally there was the racial component. Cops in far too many places were there to uphold white privilege. And subjugate black people. Police batons were called ‘night-sticks’ even though they were most often used in broad daylight, and had worse names. The war on drugs, itself a tactic of racial oppression, made things even worse. So did increasingly draconian laws, such as ‘three-strikes’ which overwhelmingly targeted African-American populations.

It wasn’t enough to attack minorities, though; police were useful for attacking other vulnerable parts of the population, those seen as unprofitable by capitalist leaders. So more and more, police were sent to deal with homelessness, mental illness, poverty, and any other social problem that presented itself. They weren’t just the bully boys of capitalism; they became its janitors, as well.

Black Lives Matter and the rest of the movement hope to address that, and that can only be an improvement.

But there are two other elements of American society that also scream for reform, and without them, the chances of success are much slimmer.

First, there is the problem of capitalist domination of society. No fascist society is free, and a fascist society is one in which the people serve the economy, rather than the other way around. Capitalism requires a large pool of economic outcasts in order to threaten the workers and consumers. Its morality is not the morality of human beings, and bullying and subjugation are essential to maintaining control. Putting jails and the justice system on a “make it pay” basis ensured a vicious abattoir of oppression and viciousness in lieu of justice.

The GOP, now a Nazi Cult, insists that Americans must be prepared to die in the hundreds of thousands in order to protect billionaires from becoming millionaires, as witness Trump’s determination to pretend the coronavirus has gone, and America can resume business as normal. His Nuremberg rally, the Repulsa in Tulsa, planned now for the day after Juneteenth, will require that attendees not wear masks or practice safe distancing, but also sign a waiver relieving the Trump campaign of liability if they become sick from this plague that [cough] doesn’t exist.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but America must reduce the role of the upholstered parasites who use racism and unfairness as means of control.

The other major item is guns. That the President is a cowardly racist who thinks it’s fine for disgusting white neo-Nazis to carry weapons of war, but hides in a bunker behind 12 foot high fences at the thought of black people chanting, clearly demonstrates the racist and vicious nature of “gun rights.” Far too many of the wrong people have weapons meant to terrify and harass the rest of society—including cops. Cops are constantly being afraid because so many howling nuts have so many weapons, and that in turn makes them more trigger happy. I’m not saying that to excuse the behavior of pigs who think that killing blacks as a warning to the rest is legitimate police work—this is a problem in addition to that, one that affects good cops as well as bad. We saw the white trash Nazi movement in action in Michigan; America needs to rethink a philosophy that allows such cretins to have .50 cal machine guns.

It’s scary, and nobody knows where it’s going to go, but one thing is certain: America needs this social tsunami. It wasn’t survivable in its present form.

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Can America Defeat Trump? — We’re at war. Pick a side.

Can America Defeat Trump?

We’re at war. Pick a side.

June 4th 2020

A lot of us have been saying for some time that when it comes to Trump, it’s going to boil down to either Trump prevailing or America. Trump does clumsy, weird huggings of the flag, and occasionally waves a bible around (in his latest photo-op stunt where he gassed peaceful protesters, he was holding it upside down and backwards) and that’s enough to convince the utter fucking morons that he’s a patriot and devout, but he has never shown any interest in the Constitution, the rights of the People, and openly expresses hatred for various target groups. As he accumulates power, that collection of groups will grow to include not only the ones his bigoted supporters already hate, but pretty much anyone who doesn’t support him.

He’s already had a falling out with Faux News for the crime of failing to jump to their collective feet and shout “Jawohl!” at all of his pronouncements. Now he’s getting harsh criticism for his recent actions from the military, former members of his cabinet, members of the GOP, and even the servile and amoral leaders of the evangelical right. Even some elements of the neo-Nazi right are getting restive; I saw an amazing political cartoon the other day in which Trump had a knee on the neck of Lady Liberty while a black-clad figure labeled “AntiFa” held her legs. I’ve always joked that when members of the far right started blaming the left for Trump, that would mean he’s finished. Well, here we are.

His actions over the past fortnight have been nothing short of grotesque. The PR stunt at St. John’s Episcopal (yes, backwards and upside down) may become a defining Moment of his political career, much the way holding up a toddler to protect himself from bullets became the Moment of Greg Stillson’s political career in Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone.”

Not that there weren’t others. The empty threats that he bleated from the bunker under the White House where he cravenly crouched; turning off the White House lights (last done in 1940), building the eight foot fence around the White House (a joke making the rounds is that Mexico might just be willing to pay for THIS wall), and the comparison of Trump crouching afraid, underground and in the dark, to Winston Churchill. (Churchill famously would go out during Blitz attacks so that he might personally observe the atrocities committed against England by Hitler). His craven posturing even invited negative comparisons to Richard Nixon, who, some 50 years earlier, was also in a White House surrounded by protests. Nixon went out late in the evening to talk to some random protesters face-to-face to try and get a dialogue of some sort going.

The stunt of putting anonymous clowns in full soldier kit—dozens of them—in response to minor vandalism perpetrated the night before at the Lincoln Memorial was both ludicrous and sinister. Who were those clowns? Were they soldiers? Cops? Secret Service? Blackwater? Were they even American? Fortunately for all, they were content to just stand there and look stupid, since the protesters weren’t targeting the memorial and the spray paint was probably just done by one asshole looking to stir the pot.

The stunt of flying a helicopter between buildings to use the backwash from the blades to disperse the crowd was dangerous beyond belief. Any helicopter pilot pulling such a stunt other than under direct orders from the President would have had his license to fly permanently revoked. I’m guessing we’ll never learn the name of the war criminal who flew that chopper at the behest of Trump.

Oh, did I say war criminal? Yes. The chopper was marked with the red cross, making that a violation of the Geneva convention. Medical insignia means “non-combatant” both for their protection, and when a cowardly little Nazi sits in the White House, for the protection of unarmed American civilians.

The act of gassing a group of peaceful demonstrators in order to stage a painfully awkward PR stunt meant to drum up support from the religious right was also a war crime.

Tom Cotton, a sitting Senator from Arkansas, wrote an editorial for the New York Times, one which the Times utterly disgraced itself by running, in which he called for siccing the airborne infantry on the protesters. Yet another war crime, and Cotton should be expelled from the Senate and tried for advocating mass slaughter of Americans. As for the Times, just remember that in critical moments, this is a paper that will lie to you in service to the GOP. Now they are willing to suspend the Posse Comitatus Act, Habeas Corpus, and presumably the first, third and fourth amendments just because Cotton wanted the world to know that there might be people opposed to fascism in the crowd.

Some of Trump’s desperation and panic is warranted. Not only have his actions caused schisms in his previously unshakable base, but the Pentagon has made it as clear as the law allows that it is not prepared to fire on unarmed American civilians.

Keith Ellison, the District Attorney for the state of Minnesota where the Floyd murder took place, announced charges against the four police involved in Floyd’s death; Murder-2 against Chauvin, and accomplices and accessories to murder against the other three.

I thought that might defuse the situation a fair bit. Ellison is well-trusted, and this provided a serious promise of the justice the protesters wanted.

But the protests are no longer against the Floyd murder, or the police murders of hundreds of others of African Americans in recent years. Now the crowd has realized that their true enemy, black or white, Christian or non, Democrat or non, is the treasonous wannabee dictator in the White House.

Last night police arrested over 10,000 people nationwide. Since masks and social distancing aren’t available in jail, it’s safe to assume that as many as a thousand of those people may become sick, and three hundred or so may die. All for protesting oppression and treason by the government against the people.

I’m guessing the protests won’t die down, only now, it isn’t just injustice: it’s Americans fighting for their country against an opportunistic and amoral traitor in the White House.

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