Far, far away from anywhere one would wish to be

In eight horrendously difficult years, Barack Obama showed us how far we’ve come. How far from the dark, fearful days of a white boy who grew up in the still racist-dominated South, a boy who watched, fearing for their safety, a small group of Black children my own age as they were were ushered into an unwelcoming school in Little Rock.

Half a century later, for me, for my country, Obama was a progressive miracle, an explosion of hope in an America turned nasty by greed, intolerance, and ignorance. By 2008, the corrupting influence of unbridled Corporatism had made us a dismal shadow of our former world-leading selves. The national government was gridlocked by partisanship, as the highly organized and well-funded Conservative defenders of the “rights” of corporations and the tiny proportion of super-rich Americans who control them pushed the country into lost wars and the trillions of debt needed to finance them. Most threatening of all, the twenty year strategy of the Koch brothers and their billionaire allies was nearing its goal of controlling enough States to enable the rabid right to make changes to our Constitution.

But Obama’s accession to the Presidency in 2009 gave us much-needed proof that beneath all the rich class’s insatiable greed and self-dealing, and the religious white-is-right wing’s ignorance, our nation’s sickened soul was still breathing.

He was easily the most competent Head of State we’d seen in generations, as demonstrated by his no-nonsense, no politics handling of the Great Republican Financial Meltdown. Obama led us out of a once-in-a-century national economic disaster in spite of the Republicans in the House and Senate who opposed him every inch of the way.

Then, undaunted by the unyielding opposition, he took the burdens of the poor and weak and ill upon his shoulders. With Democrats who he’d awakened finally from years of torpor, he gave us healthcare for millions. He did what no President since Lyndon Johnson could, and showed us the path to a future where healthcare is a right for everyone, not a privilege of those who can pay for it.

He followed this with hundreds of steps in the positive direction of Progressivism, from equal pay for women to the affirmation of LGBT rights, even though every achievement was opposed by the Republican majorities in Congress. How the hatred and bitterness has flowed these past few years!

In a final drive toward a more hopeful future, Obama used the limited power at his disposal to reign in the excesses of the Energy Barons, whose burning of carbon is causing the current, life-threatening increase in global surface and oceanic temperatures. His final achievement was to bring our country into the community of nations, signing the Paris Accord on carbon emissions reduction.

With his civility, patience, learning, kindness, and calm, steady reason he showed all of us how far along the road of human decency our nation has traveled from my childhood days.

And now, here at the end of his bold, thoughtful, humane, and often courageous tenure, Barack Obama has shown us how far we have to go.

Just a few agonizing months into his successor’s Presidency, the free-market legions of greed are loosed again upon our country, while the fanatical religious forces are gloating at the prospect of overturning just about every positive evolutionary change in human, minority, voting, and women’s rights achieved since Nixon. The agents of environmental rapacity are moving at breakneck speed to pull the nation back into the era of mindless pollution. The opponents of science are ensuring a new dark age of sicker poor and older people, destitute families, and uneducated children.

Not content to punish the middle class, the poor, minorities, and women with policies spoon-fed him by the radical rightists who surround him, the President has lashed out at the very democratic structure that enabled him to become one. He’s attacking the Constitution-respecting courts, the diligent press, those who guard our national and domestic security and freedom, even the Congress itself for speaking the truth to his childish, narcissistic, bullying, belligerent brand of power.

Backward we march now, pausing only for thoughtless, arrogant, phony photo-op celebrations in the Rose Garden.

All this, these months of a paranoid President, watched with what one can only imagine is despair by the great man who showed us how far we’ve come, and in so doing, how far away is the future he helped us dream, a future this country can be proud to share with all the peoples and creatures of this tortured Earth.

100 days of zip, zero, nada

Never have so many expended so much shouting and lying to accomplish so little in one hundred days.

Unless one counts a sheaf of Executive Orders signed by the Adolescent-in-Chief, command blasts full of full of bluster and bombast that will mostly go nowhere and result in nothing.

But what about getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?

Sure, we can agree that, thanks to McConnell’s theft of Obama’s SCOTUS appointment, plus some adroit nastiness on the part of conservative activist organizations across the country, the Gorsuch appointment counts as a win. But it’s a win for the country’s ultra right wing activists, not Trumpleorangeskin. And it’s certainly not a “win” for the American people, who can now look forward to a generation or more of SCOTUS rulings that will take power away from 99% of our citizens and give it to the large corporations and the rich persons that own or control them.

Turning the Supreme Court back fifty years: great for Trump’s Twitter Report Card and the mindless egos of his chest-thumping followers, Not so good for the rest of us. Ditto with the few other “accomplishments” of the Trumpocracy so far. Reversing critical Obama environmental and energy regulations, withdrawing support for family planning, approving dangerous, unneeded pipelines, killing public information about climate change, gearing up for the Great Deportation – all undermine the common good and many re-distribute wealth upward, continuing the Great Middle Class Rape started by Reagan.

Just angry words of a old Truthteller? Hardly. Read the Trump tax “plan” – all one fact-free page of it – hundreds of billions of dollars to the very richest one-tenth of one percent. Study the Obamacare repeal and non-replacement proposal – a hundred billion more in cash for the wealthiest Americans. See the Trump concept of “Infrastructure” funding: very few jobs, new airports, or bridges, schools, or energy-saving construction, but a fat half trillion in tax credits to the huge corporations.

It’s not fake news, friends: Trump is really out to gut the poor, the working, the professional, and the small business classes of our country so he can finally be accepted as one of the stylish rich people he’s always wanted to be. It is fake accomplishments though, delivered by a fake President.

Establishment One; Trump Zero

Trump’s second major defeat

As I write, Trump seems headed for his second goose egg. The only question is which of his agenda items will fail next?

Going by the never-ending media frenzy, Defeat Number Two ought to be his latest attempt to bypass the Constitution with a slightly re-written Muslim, I mean “immigration” ban. But the court battle over the revised executive order is likely to still be unresolved well into the summer months, so the highly probable rejection of his Muslim ban will probably be Trumpfail number three, or even four.

The most satisfying next Trump clown car wreck would of course be the collapse of his much ballyhooed Wall. Satisfying, that is, for the majority of American voters, who voted against him last November. But again, time is already against the moment when we can savor his rage as his Wall disappears into the north Mexican desert sands. Congress is already playing it’s classic delaying game, wrestling how to slow if not altogether stop its wasteful, foolish construction. We all, even Trump, know that the Mexicans won’t pay for it, and we’re quickly learning that the US Congress won’t, either. Trump’s only hope to get a win on this most-repeated campaign promise is to borrow twenty-five billion dollars from his Russian gangsta buddies.

Meaning the end of April vote on funding the government, which has to happen, whether Trump is too busy playing golf at Mar-A-Lago or not, is shaping up to be his second major fail. No, it’s technically not the defeat of one of his absurd agenda items; it’s simply a requirement of the law, and every Administration has to cajole the Congressional factions to go along with raising the debt ceiling (again), or see their entire program placed at risk.

Now, I’m sure the Democrats would love to join with the so-called Freedom Caucus and help shut down this sorry excuse for a national government, but they may not be able to: At his present rate of bumbling, unforced errors, laziness, poor communications, and ill-considered policy fails, there’s a good chance that Trump and his corrupt cronies will succeed in closing the Administration doors before the Dems even get the chance to vote in late April.

Adding these three defeats to his TrumpCare fiasco, I predict a score of four for the combined “establishment” to zero for the Trump/Bannon goon squad going into the fall.

Trumpfollypaloozer votes five, six and seven

His golfing, I mean Presidential scorecard looks to get even worse, as we near the end of his first year in office.

The Budget is another example of an allegedly joint Ryan-Trump plan that is so far from being acceptable to his Party, and to almost all Americans, as to be dead in the taco bowl. If by some miracle Ryan and McConnell can get it passed and on Trump’s fake desk in Mar-A-Lago, they’ll be handing the Democrats a long list of killer issues for the 2018 races.

Tax reform is another likely loosing cause for Trump and Ryan, and another huge win for the middle and poor classes. It’s even more messy: Trump and Ryan now seem sure to lock horns over the bill, meaning it will again be easy for the factions in the Republican Party to take opposite sides over just what “reform” means, and just how much the One Percent and the One-tenth of One Percent will be allowed to steal from the federal government. Their differences on Ryan’s dream proposal have so far been papered over, with most of the details that will be in Ryan’s plan kept in the dirty darkness of the Republican caucus rooms until the last minute.

Leaving us with the ghost-like “infrastructure bill”. At this point, Trump and Ryan are so far apart on what that means, and both are so far apart from anything the Democrats and Freedom Caucus would even vote for it’s safe to say this item is never going to see the light of day this year, or maybe ever, so long as the Republicans rule the Congress.

But can a proposal that never gets a vote be fairly counted as another loss for the oaf in the White House?

Yes, because he promised it as a condition of being elected.

Yes, because the only serious hope for all those “good jobs” Trump has promised, and still promises, would come from a well-constructed national program to rebuild our creaky, crumbling country.

And yes, because Trump’s first and massive defeat counts, even though the chicken-hearted Republicans did not allow a vote to happen.

The likely score, come December?

Establishment forces seven; Trump nothing.

Taking Trump down

There is much discussion among the Democratic and Progressive political pros regarding the best strategy for blocking Trump, and making him even more unpopular. Make Trump toxic enough, the idea goes, and then maybe the Dems can retake control of the House in 2018, even while (probably) losing seats in the Senate.

IMO much of this discussion is absurdly irrelevant. I’ve said so, today, in this post to PoliticalWire.com:

The first priority for the Democrats is not to “take Trump down”. The immediate priority is to help the liberals, progressives, independents and Party democrats solidify the organic Resistance into a permanent foundational force. This cannot be a Democratic Party organization; the Party has lost all credibility with most of those it needs to regain Congressional power.

The Party needs to bring youthful energy into its leadership, and put all its resources into the hundreds of attempts to disrupt and delay a Congress whose leadership and right-wing faction is bent on the destruction of civil rights and the national re-establishment of unbridled White and Corporate Power.

As for Trump, the threat to our country is not a mad would-be King, but the Rasputin who’s whispering chaos in his ear. Sooner (I predict) rather than later Bannon and his anti-Constitutional faction will overstep the end of a bridge already too far.

When that happens, Pence will collect a majority of the Cabinet, cite the 25th Amendment, and assume the Presidency. After a lengthy fight, he will prevail, and this present awful excuse of a President will resign.

Leaving us with an awful 46th President, a religious fanatic who will help Ryan enact his entire agenda, probably before the 2018 Congressional election.

The most vexing question therefore, fellow progressives, is not when or how Trump can be toppled, but what happens when the Toppler-in-Chief takes over America’s destiny.

Trump loss number eight

Last night, the Court of Appeals delivered a stunning defeat to our would-be President. The court rejected his appeal to reinstate the ill-conceived, disastrously stupid Executive Order of a week earlier restricting immigration to the U.S. I make this the eighth major defeat of Trump since he barely won the Electoral Vote on November eighth by a few thousand votes in three swing states.

After that near-loss, he has suffered a string of major defeats leading up to the huge setback last night:

  • He lost the national popular vote to Clinton – nearly three million more citizens voted for her than him
  • He lost the opportunity to demonstrate his much-vaunted and bragged about “executive skills” by muddling through the worst-managed transition period in modern American history
  • He lost the chance to persuade us he can really be our President by not reaching out to the 75% of Americans who did not vote for him
  • He lost his credibility as a national leader by delivering the worst Inaugural Address in recent memory
  • He lost the Inaugural Weekend popularity contest, a contest important only to him and his colossally defensive, paranoid ego, lost the crowd count, in other words, first to outgoing President Obama, then to millions of, horrors, women, girls, fathers, brothers opposed to his very occupation of the Oval Office
  • He lost his battle with the press, who, finally, are calling his purposeful distortions lies
  • He lost his chance to appear “Presidential” with tweet after tweet, staged event after staged event, and the undignified presentation of his nominee for the stolen Supreme Court vacancy.

And now, this slap in his puffy, pasty face by the Court of Appeals.

Every day we awaken to Trump’s occupation of our White House will be a bad day for our country, or for some targeted minority of its residents; we need to accept this.

But every day we can inflict another loss to his easily wounded, thoughtlessly reactive, emotionally unstable persona, or to his ignorance-based, hopelessly jumbled agenda is also a good day, and not just for us — as with the rejection of his Executive Order, for the entire planet.

Until we can defeat him and his Republican toadies and co-conspirators at the polls, the ruling and the week of massive protest before it should motivate us to keep the pressure on. Yes, right should in time prevail over might. But we (and the planet) don’t have much time. Between now and November 2018, we need to collectively make sure that as bad as waking up to Trump in the White House is for us, for him it is even worse.

 

Crowd size matters…

…to a man terrified others might think his manhood is small. Such a man will praise dictators, borrowing their perceived strength and persona as a means of shoring up his self doubts. Such a man will demand impressive shows of military might to conceal his own weakness. Such a man will attack anyone who questions his “fitness” or superiority or intelligence, fearing that others might agree with them.

Such a man will demand “respect” based on his power, his threats, and the loudness of his voice. He does not respect others, so he cannot understand that respect must be earned over time, based on a leader’s deeds and empathy with his people, not his words. Trump’s challenge to earn legitimacy is much larger than your normal bully: he has told so many lies and derided so many groups and individuals that it will be a long time before he is respected as a national leader.

Yes, I know, his “legitimacy” is based on (barely) winning the vote of the Electoral College. The Constitution can make a person President under law, but it cannot make her or him a person we trust to hold the office.

Every lie, every adolescent tantrum, every attack on our free press, every whiny denial of the reality of his unpopularity henceforth will simply make it that much harder for him to be seen as worthy of the title of President.

Every threat to destroy our civil rights, every sham program of Ryan and McConnell he signs into law, every broken promise to his base supporters, every financial transaction in violation of the same Constitution that made him Commander-in-Chief will serve to remind the great majority of us how he conned his way into the White House.

The Constitution granted him the Oval Office, but only his demonstrated worthiness to occupy it will enable him to lead the country.

And to those who insist he must be allowed to govern without restraint, a reminder: the same Constitution that made him our legal President makes it possible to legally resist his government, his scams, his lies, his hatefulness, his bullying, his vindictiveness.

As so brilliantly shown by millions of women and their supporters across the nation yesterday, the place of true patriots is not marching behind this fool of a man in blind, trusting lockstep, but in helping to prevent him from destroying our country.

A Lament for Democracy — January 20, 2017

Enjoy — or not — our “Lament for Democracy”, an anthem for America. You can sing the lyrics to the tune of “God Save the Queen”, or “America”, take your pick.

1

My country has been Trumped, soon it will be a dump.

Of lies we sing.

The land we said is free, free speech for you and me,

it’s now a show on Trump TV.

Let lying ring.

2

It all seemed such a joke, the mirrors and the smoke,

no way he’d win.

But angry ignorance swamped liberal arrogance,

and stripped us of our innocence.

Truth’s out; Trump’s in.

3

We let Trump con the fools, turn millions into tools

with insults brash.

We thought they’d see the lies, see all the fake blue skies,

but to our shocked surprise,

they believed his trash.

4

Our country led the rest, our courage passed each test;

hope did not fail.

Now Congress kisses Trump’s feet,

crawling in his great retreat, as decades of progress he defeats

and as threats prevail

5

Our country once was free, a beacon of liberty,

now all undone.

The Trump has split our land, his Tweets our hatreds fan,

small fists replace once-open hands.

Freedom’s lost; Trump’s won

Copyright 2017 Truthteller.com

The Emperor has lots of clothes…

…but he shows little evidence of having a functioning intelligence.

On Friday, this country will affirm one of its great traditions, as we again show the world that, although we don’t know how to reliably select a truly qualified leader, we sure as hell know how to hand him the keys to the White House, the nuclear codes, and the power to destroy all the progress hundreds of thousands of citizens have worked so hard to achieve.

The continuing wars of words over Trump’s legitimacy, the unending spats within his Party over his agenda and priorities, the endlessly repetitive demonstrations of his utter lack of understanding of the issues and facts with which he’ll shortly be required to deal, the ceaseless stream of mindless or simply insulting tweets from his Twitter account, the almost daily revelations of financial conflicts of interest — all of this has, for most Americans, effectively blinded them to the great truths which we shall have to live with for four years. Or possibly eight years, Jefferson and Hamilton help us. Unthinkable? Think again, and this time, consider the now proven stupidity and gullibility of millions of voters.

What great truths, you ask?

Trump

  • Is the most ignorant, illiterate, illogical, unthinking President in our history, or will be if he manages to get himself sworn in on January 20th
  • Shows all the emotional stability of an under-educated twelve year old schoolyard bully — in nearly two years as a public person, he has not demonstrated any maturity, wisdom, humor, civility, or concern with the well-being of the people he presumes to lead
  • Is driven by an out-sized fear of failure, a fear so overwhelming that he spends much of his time and energy denying any reality that, in his dis-ordered view, so much as hints that he may not be as great as he pretends to be
  • Exhibits signs of an irascibility and vindictiveness that would lead knowledgeable persons to assume he suffers from a toxic mix of megalomania, narcissism, hatred and resentment of females he does not absolutely control, and, based upon his own words, penis envy
  • Almost daily reminds us and his millions of Twitter followers that he has a deeply unsettling case of severe paranoia, making him incapable of listening to criticism, considering ideas and approaches that differ from his own, or thinking before reacting stupidly to what he interprets as a slight of any type or magnitude
  • Shows in almost all his communications a complete absence of empathy for others.

Thanks to our antiquated and unjust electoral system, and our collective failure to update the obsolete Constitution that underlies it, we’ve elected a President who gives profound evidence of suffering from multiple personality disorders.

Like others who share his mind-destroying condition, his suffering is self-inflicted, as he views the world around him from the safe isolation of his golden penthouse. He sees a world full of enemies, “haters”, “lying” media and pollsters. It must be awful being Trump.

Unfortunately, his suffering is about to become ours.

Trump has been and will be manipulated by the cabal of so-called conservatives, Christian fanatics,White Nationalists, Koch Brothers minions, energy industry lobbyists, billionaires, and Tea Party politicians. Leading the charge backward will be the least qualified Cabinet ever assembled. Trump himself will be at the head of this regressive parade, so he won’t have to see the destruction behind him, as his Army of No dismantles fifty years of Progressive legislation. Forget the infamous Republican “War on Women”, dear readers; the Trump brigades are going after everybody in their zeal to advance the interests of the American Greed Machine.

This is the con artist and TV clown who will place his under-sized hand on a Bible two days from now and swear allegiance to a Constitution he almost certainly has never read.

This is the man who will, when he enters the Oval Office shortly thereafter, doubtless send for the nuclear codes so he can place that same angry small hand on them, just to see how they feel, and if that feeling is as satisfying as a warm, wet pussy.

This is the same man who will attend a few of the Inaugural Balls, smiling his forced, phony grin, but, we suspect, seething inwardly as he scans the ballrooms, seeing, he will tell himself, hundreds of “supporters” who are celebrating not his victory, but their own, as they line up to cash in on at least four years of tax breaks, tax cuts, military contracts, and fees from selling access to his administration. Or he’ll be seeing those who are attending out of the fear of not attending. Or he’ll be seeing those fanatics of the far right, who will support him only if he lets them take our country literally back again, down that cruel road of intolerance, vote-suppression, women punishment, and hopelessness, the road we naively thought we would never again travel.

This is the same man who will later retire to the President’s Bedroom. Or not — the prospect of sleeping in the bed defiled (in his tormented brain) most nights for eight years by the African-American President, the man whom Trump insisted all those years was simply the African President, might be simply too much for the spoiled, spiteful, angry old rich landlord to stomach. His germaphobe mind will wonder what he might catch should he risk laying with the still-fresh memory of its recent occupants. You know, maybe a dangerous disease like courage, or vision, or thoughtfulness, or guilt, or, shudders, simple humanity. Jesus! What if he should happen to bump into the ghost of Lincoln, or find his own dark, fearful spirit colliding in the night with the sunlit, shining one of Jack Kennedy? OMG! What if Trump disturbs the shade of FDR when he sits on the Presidential toilet at three AM to compose a few vicious Tweets?

This Truthteller, the real one, wonders if Trump will take one long look at that frightening bed and decide to fly back that very Inaugural Night to his own gilded cage in Trump Tower. There, he need not fear reality. He need not care about us. He need not wonder what old videos the Russians are watching and laughing at as they drink themselves into a Vodka stupor. He need not worry what challenging questions the awful press people will hound him with on the morrow, since by the time he wakens, Kelleyanne Con and Steve Bannon and Reince and Pence will already have the answers. He need not think about anything more challenging and real than Wrestlemania. He can lay in his own untainted silk sheets and sleep in peace after his long day of triumph over truth, while we tremble in our beds at the prospect of the days to come.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Spoiler Alert: Visit TT Friday, January 20th, to read the lyrics of our new “Anthem for America”, a song you can sing to the tune of “God Save the Queen”, or “America”, take your pick.

Tweet surrender

Government by headline. That’s what we get with Trump. It’s another innovative way to avoid the real work of communicating policies and positions on issues. And damned convenient if one is an intellectually-challenged ignoramus who actually has very little to say that the citizenry might find instructive or informative.

Twitter was made for people of limited wit to make comments of limited depth to people with limited understanding of their world. If Oscar Wilde were alive then such a “platform” might have limited utility, since he, at least, understood how to spend very few words to express thoughts and opinions of very great value.

But Wilde is dead. Most public discourse is dead, too, if measured by the number of thoughtful readers and participants. What are called “social media” are actually anti-social media. The internet, which those of us nerds who worked for decades to enable now must condemn, has become a communications vehicle for misinformation instead of the global educational and research platform we dreamed of. Instead of being a shared tool for learning and community intellectual growth, the web is now primarily a weapon of mass defamation, and for the waylaying of constructive dialog. The instantaneous channels of web communication have become an end run around social intelligence and responsibility.

And most online users love it. They love the name-calling, the celebrity humiliation, the visual excitement, the sexual titillation, the shopping, the hate-fests, the surfing, the porn.

If you build it, they will succumb.

A great wave of ignorance is what social media and the fake reality websites has become, the perfect communications channel for Trump and his endless stream of mindless tweets, which stick to any issue or enemy like spewed bird shit.

A perfect vehicle for the television news media as well, who can now replace journalism with six minute long twitter-based “debates” by angry birds and other feather-weight commentators. A perfect platform, too, for the reactionary conservative movements around the world, whose radically regressive agendas benefit not from meaningful, critical, rational public discussion, but a shouted riot of short, take it or leave it statements.

What we have demanded we have been given: the greatest liar in political history riding madly on the greatest anti-truth spreading machine ever, and backed up by a Republican Party built upon lying, anti-scientific ignorance, religious intolerance, racial bigotry, misogyny, and guns. And greed, yes. A perfect storm of undemocracy, presided over by the richest of the One Percenters, and the world-dominating corporations they control.

Your Truthteller is concerned with understanding and explaining reality, so does not tweet, nor “follow” anyone who does. But if I were going to tweet as we approach January 20th, it would say this:

Welcome to 2017, America, and the last American Presidency. Or will it be the first four years of the Trump dictatorship? Take your pick.

One hundred thirty-seven characters, including correct unTwittery punctuation, but not counting the tears between the words.