Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Modest Proposal: Pay Trump To Go Away

Why don’t we just pay Donald Trump and his minions to go away and let the adults take control? We all know that Trump and his family are only in the President business to line their own pockets, so I think Obama should make an offer: Donald, here is umpteen billion dollars. All you have to do is walk away from Washington and take your pack of racist Christian radicals with you. Deal?

It’s not like America can’t afford it. In 2015, the Department of Defense budget was nearly $600 billion. I’m sure we could find some billions somewhere for the immediate defense of this country from a President Trump. If we can pay $600 for a toilet seat or $900 for a hammer, there has to be some wiggle room for a substantial bribe.

Yes, it would be our tax money, but god knows it couldn’t go to a better cause. I don’t know how many of you remember this, but on September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference and announced that the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 trillion. $2.3 trillion! That’s taxpayer money, too. However, the Pentagon didn’t have to hold a bake sale to make up for the discrepancy and the entire military/industrial complex kept humming right along.

My point is, the U.S. government could pony up a ridiculous amount of cashola to get rid of Trump without causing institutions to crumble or Americans to go hungry. And I really don’t think the majority of citizens who voted for Clinton would mind.

Please President Obama. Get out your checkbook and save America.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Voter Regret Among Trump Supporters Is Wishful Thinking

Articles are popping up here and there about Trump supporters who now regret their vote. I’m skeptical that this is really a “thing” and believe that there’s more wishful thinking here than anything else. The majority of Trump voters are not introspective and, like Trump himself, view self doubt or second guessing as a sign of weakness.

No one who voted for Trump could seriously argue he or she was fooled by the man. The narcissism, bullying, lying and racism were all on full display during the campaign and were actually considered attributes by his loyal fans. The one thing you can say about Donald is that he didn’t try and “pretty up” his image as a presidential candidate. You got what you voted for.

The only group that might have any legitimate claim to feeling bamboozled are those people who voted for Trump as a joke, thinking he was playing a candidate (like comedian Pat Paulson in the 1970s) and that he had no chance to actually win. Their stupidity, however, should outweigh any sympathy.

This isn’t to say there won’t be regrets in the future. When Redneck Randall loses his healthcare or his food stamps or his job, it might finally occur to him that he pulled the wrong lever back in November. Yet the majority of The Donald’s supporters will find someone or something else to blame for their predicament, like immigrants or the Chinese, depending on who Trump is attacking on Twitter that particular day.

As I’ve said in numerous posts, Trump voters live in an alt-reality where facts are made up and the truth is what Trump says it is. They don’t have the intellectual capacity or critical thinking skills needed to comprehend their mistake.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Donald Trump: Insane or Possessed?

A madman will soon be sitting in the Oval Office, a man who I am seriously beginning to think could be actively trying to destroy America. There are only two very unpleasant realities: One, Donald Trump is perhaps the most ignorant, clueless, self-absorbed individual to ever inhale oxygen, or two, he is evil and is intentionally dragging America to the bathtub to drown it.

Yesterday Trump announced his choice of former neurosurgeon Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As Robert Reich points out in a post today, Ben Carson:

- Has no experience in government whatsoever;
- Has no experience outside of government with housing or urban development;
- Does not believe in Fair Housing Laws;
- Disagrees with the Supreme Court decision banning housing discrimination;
- Was called a child molester with a pathological temperament by Donald Trump.

The choice of Carson for this position is clear evidence that Trump is suffering from either the onset of dementia or demonic possession. I mean, I could throw a water balloon into a crowd at a Nickelback concert and hit someone who would be a better candidate for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development than Ben Carson.

Why does a man who lived the American Dream want to destroy the very country that helped make him and his father filthy rich? Does that make sense to you? How can anyone in America who is super wealthy criticize the very system that made them successful?

Every pick Donald makes for his administration is another nail in the coffin of democracy. Whether he is merely stupid or under the thumb of Satan may not even matter if the results are the same and we all go down in flames.

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Modern Conservative Movement’s Battle With Reality

The following quote is from one of Trump’s minions on an NPR show a few days ago. It is, of course, a classic example of alt-reality, the belief that reality is actually in the eye of the beholder.

“One thing that’s been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts. They’re not really facts,” Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes said on “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR. “It’s kind of like looking at ratings or looking at a glass half-full of water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth or not true. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.”

The other guests on the NPR show were understandably shocked by the assertion that facts don’t exist anymore, but it is coming from the Trump camp after all. When I first read it I thought something about the quote was familiar. Then I remembered what Karl Rove said shortly after George Bush stole the White House in 2001.

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The modern conservative movement does not accept the concept of a shared reality. For people like Rove and Trump, and religious zealots and fascists around the globe, reality is what you say it is. The only facts that count are those that support your views. Hitler created his own reality and convinced a whole lot of people to join him. It only ended after horrific worldwide destruction and bloodshed.

Trump’s alt-reality and that of his supporters will end as well, the only question is how big a price will we all have to pay?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Dangerous Consequences of Designer News

For all of the amazing, wonderful things the Internet brings us and allows us to accomplish, the election of Donald Trump lays bare a darker side of the digital world. I’m not talking about the Deep Web (although that is pretty dark), but the proliferation of what I call “designer news” outlets and the influential role they play in today’s political arena.

In the wake of Trump’s election victory, you can find numerous interviews with his supporters on Facebook and other sources. To no one’s surprise, they are cringe worthy revelations of just how poorly informed Trump voters are, but further, how lost they are in a parallel universe of false facts. How did they get so bamboozled and befuddled? Designer news.

As the Internet has grown, so has the number of so-called news outlets. You would think that having more news sources would be a good thing, but that really isn’t the case because I’m not talking about “objective” news programs, but designer news tailored to a viewers preconceived ideas of reality. To be fair, the “news” on the Internet runs the ideological gamut from socialism to fascism and every “ism” in between. However, one group has had a particularly powerful influence on the political landscape in American — the far right.

Trump’s surprise triumph in November brought to light just how pernicious and persuasive the conservative megaphone has become over the years. From Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” to Breitbart to the Drudge Report to FOX News, conservative voters have myriad sources for their daily news intake beyond the corporate media, and myriad opportunities to have their bigotry normalized and their worst fears justified.

Fake news is a hot topic right now, but for millions of Internet news consumers, there is no agreement on what is fake and what is actual news. Again, watch interviews with Trump supporters and you’ll discover that real news for them is whatever they read on a conservative site. Hillary Clinton is a cold-blooded murderer. Millions of illegal immigrants voted in the last election. Obama is a secret Muslim. This is the kind of “news” conservative sites offer, and loyal viewers accept as true, and that helped convince angry hordes of white voters to believe Donald Trump was their savior.

There is no easy answer to this problem. The Internet should remain a free and open source of opinions of all kinds, and I’m certainly not in favor of censorship, but when you have a sizable population under the thrall of liars and misinformers, the problem needs to be addressed. Yet it all comes back to one’s perception of reality. What will it take to change a person’s concept of reality when objective facts aren’t enough?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Destroying Democracy From The Inside Out

We do live in historically relevant times. You and I are unfortunate enough to have front row seats to the dismantling of the American experiment from the inside out. Angry, brainwashed, short-sighted white American voters managed to do what no military power could accomplish, and write the last chapter to the story of a country founded on democratic ideals that were eventually subverted by greed, racism and hubris. Everything the founding fathers had hoped for, everything countless Americans died for during the Civil War, everything civil rights protestors marched for, every great social advancement Americans ever struggled for, will be under attack over the next four years by Donald Trump. And with a Republican Congress, there is little hope of stemming the fascist onslaught.

Every new day brings the announcement of another unholy appointment by Trump. His administration will be a who’s who of democracy’s enemies, a cadre of conservative ideologues who live in a reality of their own making ripe with Aryan fantasies, internment camps and public executions. Trump and his cohorts are convinced they can do the impossible and turn back the clock of human progress to an imagined pre-Civil War era of bucolic mansions and happy slaves.

Trump is the great white hope. His life of privilege and excess mean nothing to his followers because it’s his mission that counts, making America white again. In the process that is now underway, we clearly see his list of priorities for America: Destroy public education, eliminate environmental protections, give Wall Street the keys to the White House, revive the drug war, stack the Supreme Court with conservatives, crush dissent, undo the welfare safety net, privatize Social Security and Medicare, substitute news with propaganda and, perhaps of utmost importance, fill his personal coffers to overflowing.

There were a few people who saw this coming, but their message reached a small minority of citizens who bother to look beyond the corporate media for information. The prophets were never taken seriously and had now power. No one in Trump’s America wants to hear from any smarty pants know-it-all.

We are stepping into a new world thanks to our president-elect, where the messiness of democracy will simply be dismissed in favor of one man’s blind faith in his own decision-making capabilities. Who needs a constitution when you have Donald Trump?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Forget Alt-Right, it’s Alt-Reality We Need To Worry About

There’s a lot of discussion on various political sites about the term “alt-right.” Many see it as a clever euphemism for “white nationalists,” and as an attempt to obscure the odious nature of those who claim the title. I would agree with that on the surface, but the fact is there is a much larger “alt” universe at work within the conservative world movement, and is it has been there since the very beginning. I call it “alt-reality.”

At its very core, conservatism (nationalism, fascism) is built on alt-reality, a myth, or many myths, that run counter to the historical, scientific and moral progress most of us understand to be true. The alt-reality of fascism is the myth of Aryan superiority among races, that the white race is God’s chosen people and all others must kneel in obedience and servitude. The white nationalists who now populate the Trump administration hold very similar views, but do a better job of hiding their true beliefs behind euphemisms, code words and the complacent media.

The alt-reality of today’s far-right conservatives is an ideological construct, an imagined world that never actually existed in the past and has crashed and burned in failure during every historical incarnation. Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is a perfect example of using an Orwellian phrase to construct a history that never existed. What is the definition of “great?” Was it the 1950s when the tax rate on America’s wealthiest individuals was near 90 percent, and millions of African Americans lived under Jim Crow laws completely at odds with the American Constitution? Was it the 1940s when, at the same time the U.S. military was fighting the Nazi war machine, American industrialists were doing business with Hitler? Or the 1930s when a cabal of multi-millionaires (including George W. Bush’s grandfather) was plotting the overthrow of the American government to install a fascist regime?

“Make America Great Again” is nothing more than a product slogan designed to inspire blind nationalism and knee-jerk hostility toward all of the imaginary enemies who have conspired to bring this country down. Trump is the product that has been sold to white Americans who have been convinced they are victims of immigrants, African Americans, liberals and the elites who look down on them. The fact that Trump is a card-carrying member of this list doesn’t seem to register. Alt-reality lives outside the boundaries of what the rest of us consider known facts and rational thought and because of this, there can be no constructive debate, let alone agreement, on the issues.

Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and many others were, like Trump, initially successful in selling the nationalist fairy tale to a desperate, vulnerable populace who were more than receptive to the idea that they were the master race destined to regain their lost power and prestige. The problem is like every fairy tale, there has to be an ending, Alt-reality cannot sustain itself indefinitely against real human progress. At every point in history, our forward momentum has been attacked, challenged and ridiculed, and every time it ultimately triumphs, although the price paid is often high.

History assures us that the reality of human progress will ultimately prevail over Trump and his minions, but we will have to endure some very difficult times ahead thanks to those who succumbed to the allure of a distorted, perverted fairy tale. There will be a price to pay, and unfortunately, all of us, regardless of what you believe, will end up paying it.