Thursday, April 20, 2017

Angry Town Hall Attendees Need To Look In The Mirror

Across red state America from Idaho to Florida, congressional Republicans are returning to their hometowns to face angry voters. Those conservative reps brave enough to attend Town Hall meetings are being met with large hostile crowds who are demanding answers about their support for Trump and his toxic agenda.

And I don’t get it.

The majority of the people attending these Town Hall meetings are Republicans. They likely voted for the representative they are now booing and probably voted for Trump. Yet here they are criticizing the person who they knew was a conservative, who they knew would support the Republican presidential candidate, and who they knew would follow Donald Trump’s lead. They’re mad at their representative, when they should be mad at themselves for their ill informed, self-defeating choices.

There’s a ton of analysis out there about why people continue to vote against their own best interests, but what does it take to get them to stop? Do they really believe a Democrat would do a worse job then their current congressperson, who they now revile? Red state Americans willingly voted for a president who was an avowed racist (a point in his favor, I guess), a misogynist, a serial liar and a corrupt businessman basically because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton or another Democrat. And then they are disappointed with the results. 

How bad will things have to get before Republican voters realize the leaders of their party have no interest in helping them or making their lives better? And how long will it take for Democrats to wake up and realize that neo-liberal, corporate-sponsored candidates like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry won’t win the hearts and minds of Middle Americans?

I know it can be hard to admit your own mistakes, but when your very survival and the survival of your children is at stake — and with Trump at the helm this isn’t hyperbole  — isn’t it time to reconsider where your loyalty lies?

Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Nightmare Realized: Trump Is Taking Us To War

We stand on the brink of a major conflict with Russia. How did we get to this perilous point? What happened to America? Here’s a brief overview of the past year to help understand how things went so horribly wrong.

May 2016 – Ted Cruz and John Kasich, the last Republican candidates for president standing, ended their campaigns, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee to the shock of almost everyone.

July 2016 – Despite numerous polls showing Bernie Sanders had the best chance of beating Trump in the general election, and with the overt help of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton received Sanders’ endorsement and became the Democratic nominee for president.

November 16, 2016 – Despite endorsements by every major newspaper in the country, despite being declared the winner of the presidential debates, despite numerous revelations exposing her opponent’s racist and misogynistic background, despite her opponent’s refusal to release his tax returns, despite reports of Russian influence within the Trump campaign, despite spending almost twice as much money during her campaign as Trump, despite the polls and despite winning the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, Hillary Clinton loses the election by 77 Electoral College votes to wealthy TV personality Donald Trump. White Americans in the Mountain, Midwest and Southern states expressed their anger at “the establishment” by voting in a true outsider.

January 20, 2017 – Donald Trump is inaugurated 45th President of the United States.  Trump spends his first few days in office arguing that his inauguration crowd was larger than Obama’s (it wasn’t) and that he would have won the popular vote if it wasn’t for millions of illegal voters (no evidence has been found to support this claim). Using his Twitter account, Trump establishes a pattern of outrageous, insulting and often fabricated comments to communicate his views and reach his constituents.

January 2017 to May 2017 –

Trump nominates scores of uniquely unqualified alt-right ideologues and family members to cabinet posts and positions as advisors. With the help of Mitch McConnell and a lapdog congress, nominations are rammed through the approval process with virtually no vetting. This pattern continued to include the April appointment of rabidly right-wing judge Neil Gorsuch to a seat on the Supreme Court.

Accusations of Russian involvement in the recent U.S. election rise to the surface as it is revealed numerous Trump administration officials met with top Russian politicians and oligarchs before and after the election. Trump’s ties to Russian oligarchs going back years are exposed. Investigations are started, but Congress continues to run interference for Trump and block any serious probe into the accusations.

The Trump administration approaches government spending with a chainsaw, proposing drastic cuts in every area except military spending. Many new appointees as cabinet heads are avowed enemies of the agencies they now oversee and have no problems with slashing their own budgets or eliminating the agency altogether. Threats are made to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Environmental and safety regulations are decimated.

Trump wages war on undocumented citizens, ordering the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to arrest and deport thousands of immigrants, tearing families apart and deporting many people who have been productive, contributing Americans for decades.

Intrigue and internecine warfare escalates within the White House, as various factions fall in and out of favor with Trump. Family members are given positions of enormous influence within the administration and resentment has escalated. Once Trump’s most influential advisor, white nationalist Steve Bannon appears to be on the way out as Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner accumulates more and more power.

April 2017 – As the conflicts within Syria continued to simmer, reports reached the west that chemical weapons were used on citizens of a Syrian village and that men, women and children died horrible deaths as a result. The attack was blamed on Syrian President Assad. Despite the fact that Donald Trump had criticized President Obama for similar actions in Syria on many occasions in the past, Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian airstrip on April 6. Details of the attack have since emerged, and we now know the Trump administration communicated with Russia before the attack and, coincidentally, Syrians at the airport were given a heads-up hours before the attack and were able to evacuate the facility before the bombs fell. The Russians were notified of the attack before congress.

The Syrian attack appears to have angered Russia, and some type of response is expected. Additionally, there have been no reports of whether the bombing destroyed any chemical facilities or accomplished anything substantial. There are suspicions being voiced that the attack was an attempt to divert attention away from the Russian investigations in Washington.

Today – The situation in which American finds itself is frightening. We have an unqualified, unhinged narcissistic president who may be wittingly or unwittingly instigating a war with Russia to take the heat off of his administration’s collusion with Russia to sway our presidential election. We cannot count on the other two branches of government to help us, as congress and the Supreme Court are under the influence of right-wing radicals who have no allegiance to democracy or even what most of us consider reality.

Trump is taking America down a very dark and dangerous path at a rapid pace. The question is, how will we stop him before it is too late?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Russia’s Foreign Policy Strategy Is Bigger Than Trump

As the whole “Russian connection” drama plays out in Washington, D.C., we might want to take a step back and look at the larger picture. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, Russia has adopted a new foreign policy strategy that is far less reliant on military aggression and far more about covert, subversive activities. The new tools of Russian expansionism are computer hackers, powerful, wealthy oligarchs aligned with Putin and alliances with western alt-right media outlets and politicians.

Of course, you can hardly keep track of the Trump administration players whose Russian connections have been exposed, but the Russian strategy is bearing fruit in Europe, as well. Just today, we learned that French far-right leader Marine Le Pen met with Russian diplomats in Moscow just months before the French presidential election. Russian agents and oligarchs are clearly stoking the flames of nationalism and assisting far-right politicians in their quest for power.

And Russia’s tactics aren’t always highly sophisticated. Good old fashioned blackmail still works, and there are hints and leaks that western politicians, including Donald Trump, have been caught in very compromising situations while guests of the Motherland. Little sets Putin’s government apart from an organized crime ring, as evidenced by political critics and Trump enemies experiencing tragic “accidents” before they are able to spill the beans.

Like every organized crime web, the threads all lead to money. Rachel Maddow has done an exemplary job of putting together the pieces of the Trump/Russia money connections that have stretched back years, and Moscow is today funneling money to nationalist candidates and organizations throughout Europe and the U.S. Media organizations like Breitbart and Alex Jones’ Info Wars are being investigated by the FBI for their possible relationships with Russian agents.

What is Russia’s end game in all of this? It doesn’t take a PhD in international affairs to see that helping countries elect leaders sympathetic to Putin is in the best interest of Russia. Having Western politicians in your pocket is like having money in the bank. There are, however, also great risks to this strategy. Trump is a dangerously unhinged character and a destabilizing force in America. Russia managed to get it’s man into the White House, but he is such a loose cannon that the possibility of this presidency crashing and burning have become very real, and this would not be in Putin’s best interests.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

No, Trump Did Not Inherit A Mess. We Have That To Look Forward To.

Since taking office, Trump has said on more than one occasion that he inherited a mess from President Obama. I have run across Trump supporters in comment sections repeating this absurd assertion, once again proving that Turmpland is a fact-free amusement park where you can believe any old thing you want. The earth is 6,000 year’s old? Sure. Dinosaurs and people coexisted? Okay. There’s no such thing as human-influenced climate change? You betcha. Barack Obama left Trump a country in the midst of economic ruin? Why not?

I am not a huge Obama fan, and I believe some of his decisions during his tenure were misguided and not in the best interests of America BUT, for Trump to claim Obama left him a mess simply flies in the face of reality. And let’s also try and be honest about President Obama’s tenure. During his eight years in the White House, the man was faced with a Republican congress that tried, and in many cases succeeded, in thwarting the President’s policy agenda at every turn. The fact that Obama got as much done as he did seems amazing based on his relentless opposition in congress. And the economic mess that George Bush left behind (remember 2008?) put Barack in a hole before he even started.

What Trump actually inherited is a country with an economic expansion that was the third longest on record; an economy that had been adding jobs every month for the past six years; and a federal deficit that had sharply declined from a high of 9.8 percent at the height of the last recession to 3.2 percent last year. In addition, worker wages have been climbing for the past four years and the median household income jumped 5.2 percent in 2014-2015 (the last years records are available).

This isn’t to say everything was rosy when Obama left Washington. Unemployment, income inequality and sluggish growth remained problematic, but has anyone heard from Trump solutions to these issues that don’t involve massive program cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy? No, the mess is currently underway and will only get worse over time. Trump’s plan for the economy will work just as well as Bush’s did, with huge, untenable deficits, declining jobs and wages falling further behind the rising cost of living.

The one who is going to inherit a mess is the president following Trump.

Friday, March 17, 2017

I Have Traveled Back In Time And I Have Proof

Who says time travel is impossible? I have been teleported to the early 17th century and I can prove it. Yes, the clothes and the technology around me are mysteriously similar to what I remember of the 21st century, but daily life in my settlement is clearly pre-enlightenment and therefore I can only conclude I must have been sent back in time. My proof? By Dickens, here is my proof. This country’s leaders:

Reject science.

Don’t care if the poor, the elderly and children are neglected.

Believe wealthy people are inherently superior people.

Support constant war and an obscenely bloated military.

Believe Christianity is superior to all other religions and want to create a theocracy.

Want women to remain second-class citizens and believe the government should control their bodies.

Believe in white supremacy, and want to keep minorities underclass citizens.

Want to build a wall to keep brown-skinned people out of the country.

Treat anyone who disagrees with them as the enemy.

Act as if citizens are fools by brazenly lying day after day.

Insist only positive news about their activities is factual news.

I am trying to get back to the 21st century but I can’t seem to find my time machine. Send help if you can.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Trump Is Literally Making Us Sick

During a recent clinic visit, my doctor said she was seeing a lot of people coming in suffering from depression and anxiety directly related to Trump’s election. I believe her. The fact that a racist, misogynist, fascist man won the White House is bad, but what is truly shaking people’s mental health is that we can’t seem to do anything about it. Day in and day out we are bombarded with news reports recounting Trump’s lies, incompetence, treasonous activities, financial corruption, policy blunders, callousness and total indifference to the people who elected him, and yet no justice is in sight.

Congressional Republicans have put ideology and “winning” above everything else, and will never do what is right and impeach Trump. He’s helping them destroy democracy and replace it with either a theocracy or a dictatorship, so he remains a useful idiot. Emotionally, we know that we have to continue fighting the Trump regime, keep the pressure on, but intellectually, we can clearly see that stopping Sauran…sorry, Trump, will be a titanic struggle, and might require the equivalent of throwing a magic ring into the heart of a volcano.

Many Americans feel a sense of helplessness right now. They are watching lunatics dismantle America from behind a glass wall, willing, but unable to stop the madness. I understand this, but we must continue to resist in big and small ways, from calls and emails to representatives to town hall meetings to protest marches, we need to make our voices heard. We also need to put a great amount of effort into the 2018-midterm elections. Getting Democrats elected in 2018 needs to be primary focus if we are to have any hope of stopping or slowing the Trump/GOP train wreck. These are dark times, but we can’t afford not to press forward.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

How Long Will Trump Supporters Buy Into His Lies?

There were a lot of bad reasons to vote for Donald Trump in this past election:

“I hate Hillary.”

“I hate immigrants”

“I hate minorities.”

“Trump is a successful businessman.”

“Trump understands me.”

“Trump tells it like it is.”

“Trump is a leader.”

As dizzyingly divorced from reality as these beliefs are, you can look at Trump, listen to Trump, and understand how these noxious notions were reinforced. But what about the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again?” That isn’t on the list. Ah, but it is, if you know how to interpret it.

Trump’s campaign slogan has a very different meaning to Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters. If you were a fan of The Donald, you understood the real message behind “Make America Great Again”: Get rid of immigrants, crush minorities, continue treating women as second-class citizens and trash the constitution and government red tape. That, to many voters, is how you make America great again.

It didn’t matter to Trump’s fans that he offered no concrete plans to stimulate the economy, create jobs, improve conditions in rural America, strengthen public education, make higher education more accessible…or do anything to improve the lives of the people who voted for him. Why that didn’t happen shows just how emotionally bound certain segments of the population are to the idea that they are victims of some grand liberal conspiracy. And Trump, the (supposed) billionaire, managed to exploit Ma and Pa Red State’s feelings of victimization and convince them he was going to put them back at the top of the ladder again.

It’s impossible to know how many Trump supporters have come to their senses since the election, but the number will undoubtedly grow as their healthcare options dwindle, the unemployment rate increases, water and air pollution worsen, and the trajectory of economic health in Midwestern and southern states continues to plummet. Obama can’t be the scapegoat forever. 

The one question is, how long can Trump and company sustain the lie that he’s working to better the lives of the people that voted for him? How long will they swallow it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Future of the Republican Party is Dependent on One Thing: Money

Here is the bottom, bottom line on what’s happening in Washington D.C. right now. Set Trump aside for the moment. In many ways, Trump is being used by Congressional Republicans as a diversion from what is going on under the Capital Dome. The important work is being done in Congress, and that work involves helping rich Americans become richer.  Why? Ahh, here is the method to their madness.

The majority of Americans do not share the radically conservative ideology of today’s Republican party, and as time goes on, there will be fewer and fewer adherents going to the voting booths. Take the last election. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. Republicans in positions of leadership can read the writing on the wall, and they understand they have only one option if their party is to survive into the future, and that is money. In today’s Wild West political environment, if Republicans have enough money, they can counteract the will of the majority of voters and remain a viable political force in America. Money is the key.

What better way to guarantee the influx of money to Republican politicians than by helping the wealthiest Americans grow their already grotesque bank accounts? Elites tend to be conservatives because they believe the current system helped them get where they are, so why try and change it? These are Donald Trump’s pals, and like Donald, they live in a cloistered world where the price of bread or a gallon of gas is as important to them as the current temperature on Venus.

While there may be cheering and applause in the penthouses of New York city and Moscow today, the elites of the western world will soon be gaping in horror watching Trump bring the house down on himself and those who stood with him. Why? Trump is an idiot. A moron. The delusional billionaire class equate their wealth with innate superior wisdom and knowledge, which will be their ultimate downfall, because they are really well-connected thugs, con-men with pedigrees, names that get you into clubs and international deals. Despite what they tell themselves, their riches have nothing to do with their inner worth. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

I am not a psychic, but I can tell you with some certainty that, like the nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty will have a great fall. Trump’s lies will be his downfall, and all of those who celebrated him will soon be forced back into their shadowy crevices and passed over as history marches forward.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Trump Opens the Racist, Xenophobic Gates of Hell

A white Kansas man screaming, “Get out of my country,” opened fire on a trio of men at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, killing one and seriously injuring two others. The two men who were the object of the shooter’s ire were Indian engineers who worked at a technology company.

This past December in Michigan, a white U.S. military veteran shot a store clerk of Indian descent in the face because he thought the man was a terrorist and member of ISIS.

On a recent United flight out of Chicago, a white man was tossed off the plan by the crew after verbally attacking a Pakistani couple with racist remarks about bombs in their luggage.

Welcome to Trump’s America. The above incidents are only the most recent in a string of racist attacks in this country on people who “look Muslim.” Our Dear Leader has opened the gates of racist, xenophobic hell and every angry redneck, PTSD suffering veteran, mentally ill gun owner and self-described patriot feels they have the green light to save ‘Murica from the terrorists by shooting first and asking questions later. Too stupid and blinded by bigotry to be able to discern the difference between someone from the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia or Africa, who could be Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Bahai or evangelical Christians, our volunteer army of dangerous racial purists are ready to jump to any conclusion and blast away.

Folks, this is just the beginning. As long as Trump is in office, these incidents will continue and grow ever more violent. And Muslim’s, real and imagined, aren’t the only target. Racist, anti-sematic attacks are also on the rise across America, from graffiti to cemetery vandalism to physical assaults, and the only reason for this is the virulent bile that escapes from Donald Trump’s mouth.

America is in a state of rapid decay. We are walking in the footsteps of the German’s in the 1930s, unable to push back against the growing landslide of hate and thugishness rolling over everything in its path. I hope I am wrong, but I have serious doubts that we, the people, can work within the system to bring about change before our total collapse. The Republican Congress won’t impeach Trump. What is left but the power of the people? Tell me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Grandma and Grandpa, Let’s Be Honest. Republicans Don’t Care About You.

I am as happy as anyone with the turnouts at Republican Congressional Town Halls being held around the country (for those Republican reps who had the courage to hold one). Constituents are expressing their anger and frustration with conservative ideologues more interested in their billionaire donors than the people who elected them to congress. Seeing corporate lapdogs like Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley and Tom Cotton get verbally pummeled by angry Grandmas is truly heartwarming.

But, and you knew there had to be a “but,” why did so many of these same people think at one point in time that McConnell, Ernst, Grassley or Cotton were going to work for them when they never had in the past? The Republicans now in congress are the same band of money worshipping, democracy hating corporate toadies they always were, the only difference is Trump is president. Where were the cries of “Do your job” when they spent eight years obstructing Obama? Or when they wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and congressional time chasing the fictitious Benghazi boogieman?

I’m glad Americans are finally getting angry at Congressional Republicans and their destructive agenda, but they need to get a firm grasp on WHY they are angry and start rethinking their choices at the voting booth. Grandma, Republicans don’t want to help you because you have so little to offer them. They may say the love Jesus and apple pie, but they don’t love you. They do love the Koch brothers, and General Electric and off shore tax havens, but constituents? Pffft. So please, the answer is crystal clear: Stop voting for Republicans.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump Fans To The Rest Of America: SHUT UP!!!

During the presidential campaign, Trump said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." At the time, it was treated as typical Trump hyperbole, another “People love me” boast from a man who has no idea what “love” is. Today, however, this turns out to be one of the most accurate statements The Donald has made.

If you spend time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other major site that posts political articles, you will undoubtedly have run into a Trump supporter in the comments section trying to defend their president. They are usually angry, emotional and devoid of any evidence supporting their rant. One woman responded to a comment I made about Flynn resigning after his Russian fiasco by writing, “Hillary Clinton is the one who should be in jail. SHUT UP!!!”

There are two common characteristics at work here. First, at least since the start of the congressional Benghazi hearings, Hillary Clinton has become a focal point of conservative ire, a Dark Lord Sauron-like figure embodying the twin evils of liberalism and feminism. I am not a huge fan of Hillary, but the hatred directed at her by the poorly educated right is in a realm of unreality that borders on madness. Any suggestion that Trump or members of his administration should be held accountable for their actions is routinely met with some form of a “Hillary, too” remark.

The other common feature of my right-wing troll’s comment is the use of all caps, “SHUT UP.” She’s angry. They’re all angry. Even though their hero won the presidency, they will not abide any criticism of Trump or his actions, and want you to know that whatever your complaint is, you’re WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Of course, they never offer any factual rebuttal because there is none. Like Trump, they want you to cower in fear not at their knowledge, but at their righteous anger, their God-approved surety in their cause.

One possible interpretation of the anger Trump fans feel is that their faith in their leader is beginning to weaken amid the daily stories of his unhinged behavior, and as their pride and devotion continue to come under attack, they lash out instinctively like wounded animals at their enemies. The other interpretation is that they are imbeciles. Either way, I expect the anger to continue ratcheting up the longer Trump stays in office.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Falling Further and Further Down the Rabbit Hole

Is anyone else questioning reality? Is anyone else asking how things in America could spiral so totally out of control in what is historically faster than the blink of an eye? Our country slipped from the enjoyably reassuring and positive (if less successful than hoped for) Obama administration into the Mariana Trench of political dysfunction and ineptitude. After electing the first African American president, an accomplishment many of us never thought we’d see in our lifetime, we suddenly fell into a dark canyon of seething, writhing white reptiles determined to take us back to the Pleistocene age.

How surreal is it? Somehow, Donald Trump became president of the United States. Donald Trump, a man who unquestionably represents everything that is, and ever was, wrong with America. Greed, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, you name it, it’s part of Trump’s DNA. The man is a walking medical chart of every ailment from which America suffers. His repulsive behavior knows no bounds. He is tacky, unsophisticated, unworldly, lacking intellect, wit and empathy. Every public situation in which he finds himself is awkward and uncomfortable. Even his wife finds him reprehensible.

Yet here we are, struggling to cope with a situation that thriller author Tom Clancy probably tossed out as too unrealistic. Who would believe the plot? A narcissistic man/child millionaire grows tired of the entertainment biz and decides to run for President of the United States, and wins. What? Wait, what about all that “checks and balances” stuff and the beauty of the democratic process and the will of the majority, blah, blah, blah. That’s all it is. So much ink on parchment paper. We thought it meant something, but obviously we were wrong.

And the icing on our surreal Cake? The downfall of the Trump administration may come courtesy of the true dark lords, our intelligence agencies. Trump has chosen to go to war with the CIA, NSA and others in that community, and that could ultimately prove to be the biggest of his many, many mistakes as president. The Russian debacle is the one scandal that could bring Trump and his administration down, and it is clear that the intelligence community is not on Donald’s side on this one, and further revelations could actually push Republicans in Congress to act against Herr Trumpenstein. So sane America find itself in the position of cheering for the spooks, whose undemocratic and unconstitutional efforts have had us screaming “foul” in the past, to dethrone the nut job who slipped into the White House while we were looking the other way.

Hold on to your seats, because as long as Trump is president, we’re going to keep falling down that hole.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Poor Bill Moyers Thought the Mainstream Press had Grown a Backbone

The great Bill Moyers wrote an article in Salon today lamenting the fact that he had initially praised CNN for announcing it was going to ban pathological liar Kellyanne Conway from appearances on the network, but then reversed itself within a day. I feel Bill’s pain, but like the Cowardly Lion, the sycophantic mainstream press still hasn’t found the wizard to give it the courage it needs.

The American mainstream press has been a propaganda arm of the government for a very long time (recall the virtually unanimous support for the disastrous Iraq war) the problem today is that the Trump team isn't playing by the old rules, and it's disrupting a once cozy relationship. Past administrations and presidents lied all the time, but it was done with civility and decorum that was acceptable to the networks, so it was okay. With Trump and his administration, there isn't that thin veneer of reasonableness to slide lies by unquestioning interviewers. The Trump buffoons are up in your face with lie after lie after, forcing the networks out of their comfort zones. As Moyers clearly points out, CNN and the others want badly to play along, to let the game continue has it has for decades, but Trump and his minions are far too dull-witted and ideologically zombified to understand the rules of the game. The mainstream media is being forced to fight back, not because it really wants to call out the administration's lies or it has some new-found zeal for exposing the truth. Panicked, CNN almost called a time out, but then decided it wasn't ready to call off the game.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Magic Train to Trumplandia


A class of giggling, fidgeting fourth-graders stands in line waiting to board the magical train for a tour of the kingdom of Trumplandia. Soon, a blond woman bearing a striking resemblance to Kellyanne Conway, addresses the children through a megaphone.

“Hi, boys and girls. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy school day to visit Trumplandia.”

“We didn’t have a choice,” says a boy in the back.

“Thank you,” continues the tour guide. “What a good looking group you are. So the train is here and everyone can climb on board.” The woman stands next to the train conductor for the tour. “And off we go.”

The train traverses terrain representing the varied geography of the United States. As it crosses an arid Southwest desert, it slows down and comes to stop at a very high wall.

“So children,” says the guide. “Does anyone know where we are?”

“A bathroom?” asks a girl with a ponytail. “Because I have to go.”

“This is Donald Trump’s hugely magnificent border wall. Look at the size of it. Of course, this is a simulation, but someday this 1,900-mile barrier will allow you and your children to sleep safe at night knowing those “bad hombres” from the south are dying of starvation and horrible diseases in a place you’ll never have to worry your beautiful young minds about. Doesn’t that make you proud of your president?”

“My dad calls him the Liar in Chief,” says a suspiciously tanned boy in the back.

“Let’s move on, everybody. Hey, we’re headin’ north. And here we are at beautiful blue Lake Tahoe on America’s West Coast.”

“Where’s California?”

“California? Never heard of it. There’s no California in Trumplandia. So now, let’s swing up to one of President Trump’s favorite states, Montana. Oh my gosh, look. There are cowboys and skinheads and militiamen all working together to make America great again. They all carry the most important symbol of American freedom. Who knows what that is?”

“A flag?”

“No, silly. A gun. We only have the freedoms we have because of guns and how they shoot and kill bad people. No one wants bad people in America. Right?”

“Who are the bad people?” asks a frightened looking girl.

“Ah, so sweet and naïve. Honey, there are so many bad people all around us it’s hard to keep track. There are the liberals and socialists, of course, and the Muslims and union leaders and scientists and environmentalists and pollsters who lie and…oh, just too many to list. But you shouldn’t be afraid, because President Trump is keeping all of those bad people out of America with his wall and immigration ban and general antagonistic attitude. He is so very smart.”

“My dad says our goldfish is smarter than Trump.”

“Your dad might need some remedial reeducation classes. Look everyone. We’ve taken a big dip south to the Bible belt, a very, very important region of the United States. Within this great swath of the Midwest and south live the real red, white and blue Americans. Just look at all the empty storefronts, all the white families enjoying endless seasons of welfare and true blue patriots flying their confederate flags proudly in support of their fearless leader’s call to Make America Great Again. I’m all tingly.”

“I’m hungry.”

“Oh my boy, never give in to physical weakness. Be strong, like your president. I’ll bet you didn’t know that President Trump was a member of a semi-final team in the World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s true. We should all strive to be that dedicated and focused. Remember the heroic sacrifices of the survivors of the Bowling Green Massacre.”

“But—“

“Look. Look, everybody. We are heading up the Eastern Seaboard to Washington, D.C. There’s the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and the newest statue honoring one of America’s greatest living patriots, Steve Bannon.”

“What’s he doing?”

“Drinking beer in his pajamas. What an inspiration to us all. Well kids, that ends our tour of Trumplandia. President Trump was hoping to stop by and say hello to all of you, but he had some very important tweets to dictate. Being president is an awesome responsibility. Any questions?”

“Why—?”

“Oh gosh, we’ve run completely out of time. It’s been fun having you all. Don’t forget, on your way out grab your goodie bag filled with Trump property discount coupons, the latest products in Ivanka Trump’s collection and big game hunting tips from Eric and Donald Trump Junior. Bye now.”

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Beware the False Flag Event


Here’s the storyline: An immigrant enters the United States from a Muslim country.  He is able to acquire weapons, and also makes an explosive vest. He goes to an event or a Christian church. Once there, he opens fire and sets off his vest, killing and maiming dozens of innocent men, women and children. That night, Trump gives an emotional televised address to a shocked nation. In his speech, he tells the American people that this event would never have happened if his ban on Muslims entering the U.S. had been allowed to stand. His supporters are energized while detractors are left trying to counter an emotionally charged argument with dry facts and numbers.

How convenient, right? The event just happens to bolster Trump’s view that every Muslim is a potential terrorist and would like nothing more than to kill Americans. He tried to keep us safe, but was thwarted by activist judges and naïve liberals. Now some of us might say the timing of this event is too good to be true, and we might be right. It could be a false flag event.

What is a false flag event? It is an act of violence or sabotage that appears to be perpetrated by an enemy, but which was actually planned and carried out by the aggrieved party to further a desired agenda. A good example of a false flag event was Operation Northwoods. In the early 1960s, communist Cuba represented a huge thorn in the side of the United States. Agencies within our government drafted a proposal to stage hijackings and bombings of American civilian airliners in air space between the two countries in order to gain public support for an attack on Cuba. The plan was never carried out, but it is a well-documented case of how to stage a false flag event.

False flag operations have been around at least since the height of the Roman Empire, but there are many recent examples, as well. In the late 1800s, Spanish controlled Cuba was becoming too rebellious for the likes of America’s sugar, tobacco and iron industries and something needed to be done to quell the uprising. At the time, President McKinnley was not interested in a war with Spain, but on February 15, 1898 the USS Maine exploded and 266 U.S. sailors lost their lives. No one actually knows what caused the explosion, but the incident was used by the press and large corporations as a way to force McKinnley to go to war with Spain.

In1933, Hitler’s Nazi party was on the verge of gaining enough seats to install Hitler as a defacto dictator, but the outcome of the upcoming elections was not certain. A week before the elections, the Reichstag, which housed the German parliament, caught on fire and was destroyed. Hitler used the event to blame communist terrorists for the fire and was swept into power. Most historians agree that the Nazis either started the fire or encouraged a deranged man to do the deed so they could blame the communists.

There are other examples, including the bogus Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 that President Johnson used to dramatically increase America’s presence in Vietnam. Some false flag events are speculative, like Pearl Harbor and the events of 9/11, while others are well documented. The point is, false flag operations have proven to be useful tools in garnering public support for unpopular government actions.

All of that considered, would anyone put it past the morally bankrupt Trump administration to stage an event to further its dark agenda?

Friday, February 03, 2017

A Divided Country Under Incompetent Leadership

It truly baffles me that there are millions of Americans who seem to live in an alternative information universe. They voted for Trump, somehow convinced beyond all human understanding he would make a good president. If you read their comments on Facebook and other sites, they believe Obama was a horrible president who did nothing for eight years. They believe the lies of Trump’s surrogates without requiring any facts or verification.

Of course, racism, misogyny, ignorance, etc., all play a part in this, but I am still stunned that people who live in my country, live in my city and neighborhood, can be convinced that Santa and the Easter Bunny are real and the earth is only six thousand years old.

How is it that as a country, we voted for Obama twice, and then turned around and handed the presidency to an imbecile like Trump? Can a country be schizophrenic? There certainly is no national consensus on what the “common good” is or how to interpret the Constitution, so how can we possibly mover forward with any kind of national agenda? Millions of Americans can’t even agree on the most basic facts and because of that, Donald Trump sits in the White House.

A big part of the blame has to go to the growth of the conservative media over the last 35 years. FOX News, conservative radio loudmouths like Limbaugh and Imus, and online whack jobs Brietbart, Alex Jones and Matt Drudge, among many others, provide safe places for bigots and religious fanatics, confirming their worst fears and stoking their anger. And the mainstream media must also share blame for failing to challenge the status quo in its thirst for profits and audience share.

How is it possible to change minds when the two sides cannot agree on what is a fact and what isn’t? Our divisiveness is destroying this nation, just as it almost did when Abraham Lincoln was president. Unfortunately for all of us, we don’t have a Lincoln at the helm of state, but a self-centered, mentally ill man/child. The odds of unification in this day and age are not good.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The GOP’s Long Fight To Destroy Government From The Inside Is Coming To Fruition

“It must be nice to be a Republican Senator sometimes, because you get the fun of breaking shit and the joy of complaining the shit you just broke doesn’t work.”
John Stewart

So much truth here it hurts. I doubt anyone knows the specific day or meeting years ago when a Republican politician had an epiphany and addressed his fellow conservatives:

“Ladies and gentlemen, why are we Republicans? We are Republicans because we believe big government is inherently evil, yet here we are serving the very monster we want to destroy. By doing our jobs well and with honor, we enable big government to thrive, which is exactly what we don’t want. So I say to you, we must stop helping the machinery of big government run smoothly and start throwing sand in the gears. It’s really simple. Our incompetence as elected officials will be living proof that big government is by its very nature doomed to failure. All we have to do is act like incompetent boobs and our point is made for Mr. and Mrs. American public.”

For at least the last 30 years or so, Republican elected officials and appointees have worked tirelessly to prove that government is bad by pointing to the chaos that they themselves created, as John Stewart makes clear. And it works. A Republican runs for office, tells voters that government is bad, gets elected, fucks up everything, then runs for reelection on an anti-government platform (all the while enjoying the government perks of being a congressperson).

And now there is Trump. Mr. “The-government-screws-everything-up” is without question the most incompetent president of all time, yet his supporters voted for him, and still expect him, to fix things in Washington. Fix things. The man is breaking everything he touches and blaming everything and everybody else but himself, and his people can’t see the obvious. When it all comes crashing down, and it will as long as Trump is in office, it will be somebody else’s fault. Another failure of big government.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Feeling Shell-Shocked After Trump’s Week-Long Blitzkrieg Of Insanity

Trump has only been president for a week and I am already starting to lose focus amid his blitzkrieg of insane policy decisions and ludicrous lies. You tell me, what’s worse:

Close Trump advisor Steve Bannon, an avowed racist, Nazi sympathizer and anarchist, has been added to the National Security Council, while the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were essentially demoted.

Trump’s Muslim immigration ban includes seven Middle East and African countries, but does not include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Azerbaijan where, coincidentally, Trump has business interests. And in case you’ve forgotten, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has pushed the minute hand of the “Doomsday Clock” two minutes closer to midnight (11:57) and to the possibility of a civilization-ending catastrophe.

Pope Francis has condemned Trump’s immigration ban on Muslims.

The Trump administration is moving forward with building a wall across America’s southwest border even though a) Mexico will not help pay for it like Trump promised, b) experts agree that a wall is impractical and will be ineffective and c) there are major issues of property rights involved with the project.

The president and his minions continue to lie about, threaten and belittle the news media, with a recent Trump tweet accusing the New York Times and Washington Post of delivering fake news and being dishonest. Once again, no proof of these allegations has been produced.

Leaders of France, Germany, Canada, Italy, The Netherlands, Mexico, Iran, Scotland and many other counties (as well as the U.N. and the Pope) have denounced and condemned Trump’s immigration ban on Muslims.

Trump continues to insist there were 3 to 5 million illegal voters in the last election, but has yet to provide a shred of evidence to back up his claim and appears to be basing this assertion on a single tweet.

The president adamantly maintains that waterboarding, and other universally condemned forms of torture “absolutely work,” without providing any proof and despite volumes of studies that arrive at just the opposite conclusion.

On a number of occasions, Trump has stated that violent crime in America has been increasing, but statistics from the FBI show that violent crime in the U.S. is near historic lows and that citizens today are safer than at any time in the past 45 years.

And that’s just one week, folks. God help us all.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

It’s Gut-Check Time For The Mainstream Press

The dismal dawn of the Trump era begins with a mainstream media at war with itself. At the same time that some big news outlets are defiantly and publically calling out Trump’s lies, others are quietly slipping back into their more traditional roles as standard bearers for the status quo.

Like all big American businesses, the loyalties of the mainstream news media are not with the readers or even the subscribers, but with the shareholders of their parent companies. The corporate media is a profit driven enterprise, and staking out what are considered unpopular or antiestablishment positions is not a good business strategy. Trump, however, is still an enigma in the eyes of the press. Yes, he is president, but he lost the popular vote by nearly three million ballots and is intensely disliked by a lot of Americans. And he is obviously crazy.

But old habits are hard to break. The mainstream news media has been the lapdog of wealthy elites, America’s intelligence organizations and the military/industrial complex since the end of World War II, and you don’t just turn your back on your oldest supporters because there’s a lunatic in the White House.

Case in point. In a recent interview with ABC News anchor David Muir, Trump repeated a well-worn lie that two people were shot in Chicago while Obama was giving his farewell address on January 10.  The political point of Trump’s lie is to underscore the out-of-control violence in Chicago and Obama’s failure to curb crime in his own hometown.

Two reporters from the Chicago Tribune investigated Trump’s claims and surprise, found they were not true. However, ABC News edited these false claims out of the televised interview and only included them in a written transcript on the ABC News website. For reasons that can only be guessed at, ABC essentially let Donald off the hook.

This is a tipping point for the American mainstream press. Will they have the courage to continue calling out the lies of Donald Trump and his administration or will they fall back into old patterns of cowering from the truth and covering up for the rich and powerful? Only time will tell.

Friday, January 27, 2017

America’s New Path Leads Directly To Mordor


Those of us who worry about upcoming events more than we should know intellectually that our overwrought reactions to stressful situations are unnecessary, and that ninety-nine percent of the time everything works out just fine. But there is that nagging one percent…and Donald Trump.

Trump is the rare case of an experience that turns out to be worse than you could ever imagine. A nightmare come true. Every morning brings headlines of new  horrors from opening up national parks to oil drilling to “alternative facts” to a president more concerned about crowd sizes at his inauguration than governing the country. Americans are living in a worse case scenario, a dystopian reality that was once the stuff of Tom Clancy novels and George Orwell’s imagination.

We were warned many times in the past. Sinclair Lewis, Aldus Huxley, Orwell, Gore Vidal, Margaret Atwood and many others raised flags throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first century about the real possibility of a totalitarian take over in America. You won’t find it mentioned in many American history books, but this country narrowly escaped a fascist coup in the 1930s when a cabal of elites (including George Bush’s grandfather) hatched a plan to use the military to overthrow FDR and establish a government modeled on Nazi Germany.

It can happen here and now it has. Today we live in an oligarchy that could slip at any moment into a totalitarian regime. Our status as a democracy is in question around the world, and foreign leaders are clearly alarmed and anxious as they monitor the actions of an American president unhinged from reality. Everything that makes us a supposedly democratic society is under threat, from a free press to freedom of assembly to the ability to hold elected officials accountable, and is being eroded by an insecure, mentally unstable president and his enabling administration.

Donald Trump is as bad as it can get. He represents everything that is antithetical to what was once the world’s most admired democracy. If he is allowed to remain in office for the next four years, our country will end up having far more in common with Mordor than Oz.