Oct 11, 2017

October 8, 2017: Autumn, Once Again




Autumn, Once Again

It’s been two cold winters
And hot long summers
Since we celebrated
The arrival of spring

The trees now turn
the cold wind falls
setting leaves, a-chatter
a ritual rattle

I’ve made it
once again
But it’s never
quite the same

Momma don’t go
Daddy come home.

---
To Kate Camfield.  December 11, 1959-October 8, 2015.
And my step-father Vernon Lyles, whom today we laid to rest. 
And, lastly, to John Lennon for the coda

Sep 8, 2017

September 7, 2017: Time nor Place, Sowing Confusion, No Idea


 “Politics is a performing art involving timing and context.”
                        ----from “The Quotations of Chairman Joe”

It is the reason that Reagan was so successful.  It is the reason that he was called the ‘Teflon’ president.  Reagan understood that politics is a performance art and, like any artist, understood that timing and context are everything.  Not so the dolt now occupying his seat. 

Nowhere is this more dangerously on display than in the ongoing disputes involving North Korea.  At a time when Disgustus, full of bombast and sounding like some iron age god, warns of ‘fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen”, threatens a deeply insecure, indeed paranoid regime.  At a time when he openly declares that the “time for talking is at and end”; at a time when he threatens any country currently doing business with the regime with retaliation and sanctions, we find him openly criticizing our South Korean ally accusing Seoul of “appeasing” the adversary and threatening to end the current trade agreement with South Korea. 

These are seriously mixed messages sowing confusion among our friends while outraging the rest of the world community. 

Clearly something must be done with our trade agreements.  Since ratifying five years ago the current accord with South Korea, an agreement that was supposed to lower if not eliminate altogether our trade deficit with the country, the trade imbalance has doubled.  This is not the outcome intended and it has strained relations between the United States and its ally.  Addressing this issue is important for it has cost, by some estimates, 90,000 jobs in the United States and added to our standing as the world’s largest debtor nation.  But this, given the severity of the crisis over nuclear and missile testing by the North, is not the time.  Nor, perhaps, is South Korea the place for our trade imbalance is much more serious if one looks to either Japan, China, or the European Union. 

But Disgustus, perhaps seeking the ultimate diversion from his Russian troubles, has done his utmost to inflame the situation, now saying that we will not trade with any country doing business with North Korea.  Since this involves not only China but also India, Russia, Japan and a host of other nations it is clearly an empty threat; for such action would quickly bring not only the United States but the entire world financial structure to the ground.  While these actions might finally fulfill the masturbatory fantasies of one Steve Bannon they would do nothing to either address our economic woes nor keep the peace. 

In recent weeks, especially in the disgusting months of July and August we have witnessed and increasingly unhinged chief executive as he delivered a campaign speech to a Boy Scout Jamboree, and act for which the Boy Scouts was moved to apologize; we have seen him address a graduation of Coast Guard cadets using the occasion to whine about how he is treated in the press; we have seen him stand before a gathering of law enforcement officers and condemn
ObamaCare and call for the reinstatement of police brutality; we have seen him take the care and time to head off to Missouri to campaign against a Democratic senator while a region and a city drown; we have seen him speak to the nation and draw a false equivalency between the voices of hate and domestic terror and the forces that gather to protest them.  We have seen him, as ever the ingrate he is, call the White House, the very symbol of the American Republic, “a dump”. 

Clearly, this man knows not who he now is or the place that he now defiles.  Disgustus has no idea of time and place; no idea of what is appropriate and what is not; no idea of what is decent and honorable and what is corrupt and disgusting. The emperor does not wear well the emperor’s raiment. 

Evidence is gathering that the country is having its fill.  MSNBC recently aired video of a focus group gathered in Pittsburg a city that had voted for Clinton.  Gathered in the cross section of ten voters were four that had voted for tRUMP, none of whom support him now.  One lady said that “of course I knew he was crazy, but I expected that he would at least be professional, he’s not presidential, he’s not even professional”.   Another said that he had hoped he would be a great executive, delegating to competent executives and running the government like the businessman they all thought he was.  Clearly, he had bought the illusion presented on the ‘reality’ television show “The Apprentice”.  With tRUMP, illusion—fa├žade—is everything.  Then there was the man who said he voted for tRUMP but regretted it telling the interviewer that he wished Disgustus was on the other side because of the damage being done by this man to the causes he holds so dear.  They are not alone.  Disgustus has lost, in the last month alone, 9% of the white male voters without a college education and fully 56% say that he is “pulling the country apart”.  He is also tearing apart our alliances and the fragile, if enduring, peace that they have produced.

Donald J. tRUMP has no idea.  He has no idea of time and place.  He has no idea of where he is nor what he is doing.  He is the ultimate vandal realizing the wet dream of the “Generation of Swine” to bring the whole house down about our feet. 


Impeach and Imprison. 

September 6, 2017: Ignorant and Enraged, Hateful and Cruel, Demeaning Office and Country.


They put their trust in us.  They were persuaded by the previous administration to come out of the shadows.  They wanted to do what is right.  They registered with the government.  They subjected themselves to a rigorous vetting process, demonstrating responsibility, that they had a job or were in the process of educating themselves so to do.  They proved that they had no criminal records, that they have otherwise violated no law.  They are the 800,000 or more so-called “Dreamers”, young adults brought here as children illegally by their parents.  They arrived here at an average six years of age and this is the only country they have known. 

With a straight face and a stroke of the pen, Caesar Disgustus has put their future in jeopardy, threatening to tear apart families affecting millions of Latinos. 

He couldn’t help himself.  It was an Obama administration initiative and all things Obama are like a red flag before an ignorant and enraged bull.  He also couldn’t stop from characterizing these young people as he has previously characterized persons with Latin heritage.  Contending, with a straight face, that many of “them” are thugs and gang members and then adding, as a lingering afterthought, that “some of them are good people”, Disgustus returned to his campaign platform punishing those least deserving and most vulnerable as he wages his struggle to Make America White Again.  Mischaracterizing libeling and scapegoating a people is, and was, a disgraceful exhibition, demeaning the office he holds and the country he represents. 

Many pleaded with the ignorant twit to stay his hand.  Rescumlican senators Lindsay Graham, Susan Collins, and John McCain, among many others begged him not to take this action.  House Speaker Ryan likewise made the plea.  No matter.  These people are the ‘establishment’, an evil force representing the ‘deep state’ that Bannon and his ilk fear and loathe.  Word coming that tRUMP still talks with Bannon, and that his chief of staff cannot step in to prevent it, is revealing; for the paranoia that inhabits the soul of this administration runs deep, producing a dynamic in which any appeal by anyone of substance is bound to produce the opposite action in this White House.  Such is the dysfunction of this government. 

It was a hateful and cruel action taken against those who have trusted us and have tried so hard to make amends and to integrate themselves into our society.

It is well to observe that nowhere in this campaign to right the ‘wrong’ are the employers of these undocumented workers called to account.  No one on the ‘right’ side, if not the ‘white’ side of this issue is going to jail nor suffered to pay any penalty for their actions.  Instead they will be allowed to pocket their ill-gotten gains through the exploitation of these laborers forced into the shadows—reputations and fortunes intact.  In the fantasyland of Disgustus, the capitalist can do no harm. 


Impeach and Imprison. 

September 5, 2017: Simple Dulsatory Polemic, Elevation of Scum, Stirring the Shit


“This White House can be depended upon only to stir the shit, no matter how much it stinks”.
                        From “The Quotations of Chairman Joe”


Keith Olbermann, in a recent pronouncement in a podcast for “Gentleman’s Quarterly” that he calls “The Resistance”, described Donald J. tRUMP as “Scum”.  Indeed, he is.

The elevation of scum to the highest corridors of power, indeed, into the very inner sanctuary of the oval office, did not happen overnight.  We did not happen upon these crossroads by accident. 

It is now a decade since I first began writing, albeit furtively and sporadically (for life makes many demands upon the leisure time of the working man), these columns.  I began this journal with the opening headline, a parody of Earnest Hemingway, entitled “The Scum Also Rises”.   Indeed, unfortunately, it does.

So, began my chronicle of the decline and fall of the American Empire. I have attempted in recent columns to demonstrate that the mendacity that is the conservative movement has, after more than half a century, metastasized into a full-blown and virulent cancer now taking the form of our very own Caesar Disgustus.

Disgustus is beyond being a mere national embarrassment; he is beyond being a mere national humiliation. He is, a national shame, a national disgrace. 

As pointed out by Olbermann and many, many, others, the month of August reached a new low in this administration’s determined effort to plumb the depths of political depravity.  August, a month given to vacationing in which Congress out of session and the country otherwise distracted, is normally a slow news month.  The networks find themselves giving increasing air time to ‘fluff’ news stories about vacation spots and celebrities.  The most serious stories tend to revolve around the hurricane season and the weather.  Not this year.

To prevent the administration from moving the Keebler Elf –one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions—from the Justice Department to Homeland Security and appointing a new Attorney General, the Senate, in a rare exercise of wisdom, remained technically in session.  But no matter, for this White House can be depended upon to stir the shit, no matter how much it stinks. 

As so, we find Disgustus coming to the aid and comfort of Neo-Nazis, crypto-fascists and White Nationalists contending with a straight face that there were ‘good people in that crowd’ at Charlottesville, Virginia, a mob chanting “the Jews will not replace us” and the Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil”.  We found him pardoning Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Phoenix who in his own words ran concentration camps holding illegal immigrants in which abuse, shame and torture were routine.  Found guilty of violating two court orders to cease and desist, Disgustus, during national emergency, was nevertheless found taking time to the real agenda at hand, which is to placate and appease his knuckle-dragging bigoted political base of support by granting a full and complete pardon.  Here Disgustus demonstrated not only his support of fascist police-state tactics, his not-so-latent bigotry, but his complete contempt for the rule of law. 

But, alas, our Disgustus is easily distracted. As hurricane Harvey did its worst along the Gulf Coast, Disgustus was attending to more urgent matters.   Dumping in some places over 50 inches of rain, producing in the process the greatest rainfall ever recorded on the North American continent and putting the country’s fourth largest city (Houston) under water, Disgustus would nevertheless be found tweeting about a newly released book by the now former sheriff of Milwaukee Wisconsin (another troglodyte), and heading to the great state of Missouri to tout the real agenda of this administration—you guessed it—tax cuts for the already rich, openly campaigning against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in the process. When Disgustus could finally find within himself the call to action he could not find within himself the need to meet a single flood victim nor stand beneath a single rain shower.  Instead he was found boasting of the federal government’s response, praising the states’ Rescumlican governor, expressing awe about the strength of the storm but finding no words of comfort and solace for those where were battered by it. 

This man is so myopic, so self-absorbed, so emotionally crippled, so ego-centric and self-serving that he cannot find within himself the words or compassion that this country identifies as the mark of a true president.  Donald J. tRUMP is worthless in a national emergency. 

And now we have hurricane Irma, a category 5 monster bearing down on the leeward Islands and heading for Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and then, perhaps the Southeast United States.  As the country braces for another hit, Clarabelle the Clown trains his seltzer bottle upon the so-called “Dreamers”, young adults brought here illegally by their parents; here by no fault of their own, brought here at an average age of six years of age and now living and trying to function in the only country they’ve ever known. 

Disgustus says he wants a solution to the immigration problem and about that he is quite right.  This issue has been on the back burner for far too long and gridlock has prevented action for nearly two decades.  But instead of moving to deport the parents who brought them he, like the playground coward that his is, moves against the children.  Instead of working toward comprehensive reform that will not tear apart families and spread fear and hardship upon the second largest ethnic group in the country, Disgustus, like a true coward, wages war on the youngest and most vulnerable among them.  

There is a pattern here:  defense of bigots and white nationalists, pardoning a bigoted sheriff in the middle of a hurricane, pimping for another bigoted sheriff’s book while the storm rages, working to end the Obama-era “DACA” program and threatening to deport over 800,000 duly vetted and registered undocumented young people—many currently serving in our military—speaking before a gathering of police officers and giving them permission to return to brutal tactics, empowering—through Arpiao’s Pardon, police profiling and other tactics—discriminatory practices reminiscent of Jim Crow and what emerges is a profile of the most racially bigoted man to occupy the oval office since at least Woodrow Wilson. 

Donald J. tRUMP is a hateful bigot and a swine.  It is no mere coincidence that his first encounter with government—a lawsuit involving racial discrimination at Trump properties—has forever shaped the way he sees government and governance.  When he calls America “Back” to its greatness what he is calling for is a return to Jim Crow.  He has surrounded himself with people like the Mercer’s who long to see the civil rights laws repealed.  And now we find him, in the teeth of every form of hurricane, political and otherwise, holding steadfast to the mast of White Supremacy in his campaign to ‘Make America White Again”, by making America hate again. 

Impeach and Imprison.        


Aug 30, 2017

August 31, 2017: False Equivalency, Ever the Vandal, Bad Hair Day



It has been nearly three weeks now since the confrontations between white nationalists and counter protesters embroiled the administration in yet another series of controversies.  Citing violence and blaming ‘all sides’ Disgustus, in his immediate reaction to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, moved to quickly assert a false equivalency. An old fascist trick, Disgustus even referred to a newly-minted and wholly mythical “Alt-Left”.  There is no “Alternative Left”, there are only the sane and the insane; solid, honest and well-meaning citizens and the stark-raving mad.

Nevertheless, this mantra was quickly taken up by Faux News, citing violence by the likes of “Black Lives Matter” and other such groups, the evidence for which is nonexistent.  On Tuesday of the following week, tRUMP reversed himself, calling out the white nationalists and their ilk and condemning them, but within 48 hours he was once again defending his original statements, a posture he took with him to campaign-style appearances in Phoenix late last week.  Make no mistake about it.  Disgustus, ever the vandal, in deliberately and consciously moving to legitimize the worst elements of American Society.  As the political process, first legitimized Barry Goldwater, then Richard Nixon and his ‘Southern Strategy’, and now Donald tRUMP, so Disgustus is, by way of recognition, using his office to legitimize the white nationalists and crypto-fascists. 

“There were some good people, very good people, in that crowd”, said Disgustus to reporters at Trump Tower in New York as General Kelly, his Chief of Staff, stared gloomily down at his shoestrings.  The press conference was touted as a roll-out of an administration initiative to push an infrastructure and, therefore, a jobs bill.  Instead Disgustus, never missing an opportunity to stomp all over his message, led the discussion down the long and twisted road of racism and his tortured defense thereof.  One reporter quipped that “there are no good Nazis”, a point wholly lost upon the ever ignorant Disgustus who, reportedly, sleeps beside his copy of Mein Kompf whenever possible.  Let us finally face it:  Disgustus is a fascist.  Not, perhaps, a Hitler, but assuredly a Mussolini.  El Duce on a bad hair day. 

Impeach and Imprison.

 

August 30, 2017: Tragedy that is tRUMP, Nose of the Camel, Newly Minted Legitimacy



“The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path”

                         ----Pink Floyd “Brain Damage”

The tragedy that is Donald tRUMP is that not only has he has squandered his presidency, but that he has legitimized the worst elements of American Society.  In this he is not solely responsible, for he had a lot of help.

William F. Buckley Jr. once remarked that the difference between conservative and liberal is that the conservative has more kooks on his side.  So, it seems.  Buckley, to his credit labored with Eisenhower to marginalize at least some of the most egregious craziness rampant in the movement by banishing the likes of the John Birch Society from the Republican Party councils.  Not so anymore.  A decade or so ago, the Birchers were welcomed back into the fold, invited to the annual C-Pac conclave, a veritable cesspool of excrement, also featuring the likes of Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter.  The nose of the camel, as is said in the Middle East, was back under the tent and the Rescumlicans welcomed it in.  And so, began the movement toward a form of ‘populism’, a political term that Huey Long would not embrace because of its historically racist implications. 

The tragedy that is Donald J. tRUMP is that first through his nomination for, and then elevation to, the presidency the Rescumlican Party and then the country at large has legitimized what he represents.  His elevation, in turn, of Steve Bannon and his ilk have, in turn, not only legitimized ‘stale-fart’ News but all that it represents.  Bannon can now, after a short stint in the West Wing, take his White House credentials with him as he parlays his newly minted legitimacy into an ever-greater political voice.    Bannon now, in his words, has his hands back on his weapons, only now his missiles are armed with ever greater warheads.  Disgustus and his Rescumlican enablers are responsible. 

mpeach and Imprison.

 

August 29, 2017: Beware of Darkness, Faux Populism, Herding the Swine



“Watch out now
Take care, beware
Of greedy leaders
They take you where
You should not go”

                            ----George Harrison “Beware of Darkness”

Last week’s departure of Steve Bannon from the White House was celebrated on nearly all sides as a move toward sanity.  The adults have finally triumphed, it is earnestly held, and now the Rescumlicans can move on to the real business at hand, which is always cutting the tax rates imposed upon their benefactors and paymasters.

Bannon had always been a cruel joke, a national embarrassment.  The darling of the Mercers, Bannon had commandeered tRUMP’s presidential campaign as it reeled from the emerging duel embarrassments of Paul Manafort and the ‘pussy-grabbing’ tapes, lending it enough of a ‘populist’ narrative to secure narrow victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania thereby winning the Electoral College and, with it, the presidency.  But it was always a ‘faux’ populism, emerging as it did from the darling of a hedge-fund manager and the political party of Wall Street financiers.  For no matter, what was being said about the return of good paying jobs and infrastructure investments, the real agenda of the Rescumlican Party, since its inception, has always been about comforting the comfortable. Lincoln and Stanton were, after all, renowned railroad and corporate attorneys. 

No sooner had Bannon been banished than Disgustus could be found once again on the anti-social media ‘twitting’ away his presidency by calling out the Rescumlicans in congress for failure to repeal ObamaCare; once again on the campaign trail this time in Arizona calling out and criticizing its two Rescumlican senators; and on the phone with several Rescumlican senators demeaning them for not adequately defending him and protecting him from the ongoing Russian investigations.  In sum, it is difficult to tell, as of this writing, that Bannon is gone.

I suspect he isn’t.  For Bannon is a bit of a queer bird: a conservative at war with the conservative movement.  Bannon is said to represent the ‘base’ of the movement as it has morphed from a loose coalition of religious evangelicals and Wall Street financiers to now include a strong contingent of White Nationalists, crypto-fascists and Neo-Nazi’s marching under the guise of a ‘populist’ banner.  These people have little in common with main-line religious fundamentalists and loathe Wall Street and international financiers-- with the single possible exception of another queer duck: Robert Mercer.

It appears to this observer that Bannon, like nearly all of tRUMP’s appointees, was ill-suited for his appointed tasks—and no more obviously than his short stint on the National Security Council, an act almost on par with Caligula’s appointment of a horse to the Roman Senate.  Bannon’s role in life is as provocateur, not administrator.  But Disgustus, never able to tell the difference, judged him the man of the hour. 

Now Bannon returns to “Stale-Fart” News to once again lay hold of his weapons and the West Wing breathed a sigh of relief.  It was a short-lived respite.  For while General Kelly is said to have gained control of the paperwork, we find Disgustus openly waging Steve Bannon’s war upon the Rescumlican establishment. 

Bannon immediately announced that the tRUMP presidency, from the point of view of achieving any of the agenda that his ‘movement’ represents is over.  He has returned to his role as rabble-rouser, provocateur, and cattle-prod hoping to herd the swine toward some white nationalist restoration.  Disgustus, however, now finds himself face-to-face with his real mistress: greed.  Having assembled a cabinet based entirely upon greed and the service thereof, and having swallowed whole Paul Ryan’s philosophy of greed, Disgustus is now the puppet of the very forces that he so recently vanquished:  greedy leaders, about to take us where we should not go.

Impeach and Imprison.