The Eyes Have It!

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Once upon a time, there was a land where people could see only out of either their left eye, or their right eye. Those who saw the land through their left eye, saw a world entirely different than those who saw through their right eye. Those who saw through their left eye saw a world where  local law enforcement expressed their unstated bias by targeting those different from themselves. Those who saw out of their right eye saw a world where those same law enforcement personnel stood as the sole barrier between anarchy and themselves.

It is ironic that the same scene can be perceived so differently depending upon which eye is used to observe. Those who watch with their right eye see the entire discussion regarding COVID as little more than a hoax, and are convinced that all actions dealing with reducing the prevalence of the virus as infringements upon their civil liberties. Those who see through their left eye are prone to view the other-sighted people as selfish and stupid for not being willing to take simple steps to reduce the impact of this disease upon society.

The preferred eye also affects intake of media. Those who see with their right eye seldom stray from Fox, unless it is to migrate to one of the video networks further to their right on the broadcast continuum, like Newsmax or OANN. Or perhaps forgoing all of the medium of television in favor of the internet sites like 4CHAN or 8CHAN. Now, for those whose left eye predominates their perception, if it is television it may be CNN or MSNBC, or even those old dinosaurs of network news still purveying their preferred flavors of distilled news. Heck, even the old form of 60 Minutes received a revival this fall when their traditional interview with the candidates got blown up by the incumbent. But those who see with their left eye, also may use their ears to listen to NPR, or seek out online sources like the MSM sources of the Washington Post or the New York Times.

Those who view things through their left eye are liable to see the working poor as victims of a system weighted against their efforts, leaving it nigh unto impossible for them to succeed in today’s world. The same group would be viewed by those who use their right eye as unworthy souls who just are not trying hard enough to succeed. Indeed, the Presidential son-in-law recently made a public statement codifying this belief when he said that his father “can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”  Failure to succeed is only brought about by a failure to want to succeed. Nothing else could possibly cause these failures, for those who see with their right eye.

I’m not certain what is causing the schism in belief in science based upon the preferred eye. It seems a real statistical anomaly when those who see primarily with their right eye, are those who often reject the teachings and lessons of science. Indeed, some of these individuals sight has been so affected, they see the earth as flat, and as having been created for human’s consumption within the past few thousand years. Those who see with their left eye are more willing to accept demonstrated statistical evidence, so much so that it was reflected in the recent election where so many of those with the left sight believed it was risky to vote in person, so they cast absentee votes. Those same votes cast legally were viewed by those with right sight as being evidence the election was stolen, since so many of the votes counted late went for the challenger rather than the incumbent.

There are few remedies for trying to reconcile the sights of those who see with differing eyes. Whenever those who see primarily with one eye are exposed to the opposing viewpoint, their dominant eye reconfigures the images to conform with their preconceptions. Given the prevalence of ideological segregation in media selections, and in social media interactions, it is doubtful that anyone can force the other side to accept the correctness of another perspective. Even a global pandemic with its display of omnipotence against ideology cannot cause the two views to reconcile.

Given the intractable nature of the vision ailment running rampant across this nation, it seems hopeless to proclaim that there are seeds of reason seeming to sprout. The problem is, the tree of reason is a slow-growing species, and it can take generations before it has spread its branches over those who refuse to see other perspectives. We’d be better served if we depended upon the inexorable wave of demographics to cause those who see only with their right eye to become a smaller and smaller influence upon the rest of society. But somehow, even with the changes that will come about, there must be a way for those who see with their left eye, to recognize the bits of vision from the right-seers that are valid and worthwhile, and incorporate them into the vision of those who see mainly with their left eye. Otherwise, we are rejecting nearly half of the vision of humanity, and that cannot be correct.

Demographic Waves Crashing

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Over the decades, demographic waves crash upon our shore during our elections. The last four US Presidential elections offers the best evidence of the ebb and flow of these cross currents. The demographic changes showing up in the increased population of non-white residents enabled the election of the first non-white President. It cannot be overstated how much this stirred up the undercurrents of racism that were always present in this country. It was expressed overtly through pronouncements like that of Senate Leader McConnell, whose sole ambition was to make President Obama a one-term President. It was expressed covertly, through the growing popularity of racist forums on the internet, where the theory of birtherism was bandied about broadly. It finally resulted in the popularization of its most ardent proponent, and thus Trumpism was born.

The Newtonian response (to every action is an equal reaction) to the emergence of the demographic alliance expressed in Obama’s election, came in the form of the Trump campaign of 2016. In that election, the wave that emerged gathered up the scum from the bottom of the ocean of the population, and the filth that washed up upon the shore stayed in service to the new President. It represented the last, great gasp of the portion of the demographic pie that refuses to accept changes to the nation they apparently believe they, and they alone, own. The trends in the economy that preceded Trump continued during his term, and he was more than happy to accept responsibility for good things. His re-election looked secure, despite the damage he was inflicting to the nation and its reputation.

Then came that once per century occurrence, a pandemic. Much has been written about how this nation squandered the only potential advantage we had – time to respond before we were overwhelmed. The growth of the epidemic became obvious during the months of February and early March. This was truly an exponential growth rate, and strong action was needed to nip this early in the growth phase of the pandemic.

Here is where Trump’s famous gut instinct failed him. He believed that the emotional response of the population to a pandemic would cause the electorate to reject him this fall. Thus he insisted upon proclamations of strong action, and magical disappearances of this contagious virus, and even nonsensical solutions of internal irradiation and chemical cleansing, while simultaneously disavowing any responsibility for the response. The time that could have been used to produce and procure protective equipment fled, and thus we were treated to pictures of nurses wearing garbage bags in a futile effort to keep the virus at bay. As time went on, it was obvious that this President had no answer to an enemy that did not respond to bullying, to name-calling, to blame-transference. As the second peak wave receded this summer, a false sense of security boosted his ratings. But then the third peak began its inexorable rise, and once more the electorate could see that this emperor had no clothes. We will see where this third (hopefully last) wave goes since we have months to go before any effective action can be taken by the new administration.

The reactive wave to Trumpism was already in motion. The coalition of population segments necessary to defeat this President at the polls swung into action. Yet the power of the personality cult of Donald Trump held out strongly. It was only in the last few returns from urban centers in Georgia and Pennsylvania when it became obvious that Biden had an unbeatable lead. Still, those who have clung to Trump for access to power are crying that this election was stolen, and legal action can reverse this trend.

It should be obvious that since 2000, the Electoral College and the popular vote are no longer in synch. This was very nearly the third election out of six this century where the winner of the popular vote did not win the election. That is evidence of the change in the demographics we are witnessing. Though Biden won more counties than Hillary Clinton won, the vast majority of counties, even in states where Biden won, were colored red on the electoral maps of the television networks. We are seeing a schism between Norman Rockwell America, and the new America of the urban centers. The Republicans have held onto power through their machinations with redrawing of legislative and congressional districts. Some of those districts will be redrawn after the current census, but many will still favor the Republicans inside of states.  But by getting rid of the parasite-in-chief, there is an opportunity to revise government policies to be more responsive to the needs of the governed, rather than the needs of the 0.01% of the population at the top of the income and wealth statistics.

The coalition that defeated Trumpism will prove to be ephemeral, and short-lived. Any alliance that contains both Angela Davis and Bill Kristol is bound to come apart once the existential threat that bound them together, is returned into the wild. But the problems we face are truly immense, and the economic damage wrought by the pandemic will take many years to overcome. First, though, deal with the pandemic, since economic healing cannot occur until the physical healing from the covid virus happens.

It Is Finally Time

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I began this blog in early 2017. Thus the entire period that I’ve placed my words out into the ether have come during the Presidency of Donald Trump. I’ve used what wit I possess to attempt to persuade others of the utter vapidity and unsuitability of that man to hold the office of President of the United States. I’ve been accused of TDS, and of not accepting the results of the last election, and I can deal with that. I’ve also had the opportunity to share bits of life from West Virginia, and certain thoughts I’ve had on the sciences, sports, and reminiscences. But over everything hung the pall of Donald Trump.

Now we are within a day of the election where I hope there is a wholesale denunciation of the character and actions of this charlatan con-man. But even if the polls are to be believed, we still  live in a country where over 40% of the inhabitants who bother to vote, still want a continuation of the abysmal results of the last four years. That alone bothers me. It concerns me that so many Americans know so little about their past that they think only the present matters. It concerns me that so many Americans are willing to throw away hard-earned bricks of freedom in exchange for the pabulum of reality television. I am concerned that we will not find it possible to re-emerge after the election with a national sense of purpose and identity, because the 40+% who favor Trump do not share any of the vision I have about this nation’s purpose and identity.

Assuming Biden wins, some of the actions of the last four years can be reversed almost immediately. The horrendous decision to pull out of the WHO will never take place, since it wouldn’t have taken place until next July, and the Biden administration will be certain that it never happens. Some will take time. If the Republican attorney generals who brought the misbegotten suit against the ACA have their way, the Supreme Court will eviscerate that legislative act. Hopefully they will provide an interim period before the act is inactivated. The new administration will need to use that time to come up with a new legislative solution, perhaps one that incorporates many of the proposals made during the campaign.

But what will remain is the imprint of the Trump administration on the judiciary. The Faustian bargain that Republicans made with Donald Trump was to have the Federalist Society provide the acceptable list of judicial candidates, and then the Republicans would overlook all of Trump’s failings in exchange for this wholesale remaking of the judiciary. I’m old enough to remember when the radical fringe of Republicans were clamoring for the impeachment of Earl Warren, since they viewed him as the avatar of all evil in the US. Imagine declaring that schools needed to be integrated! Imagine that someone believes the Constitution requires eliminating state sponsored prayer in school!  Imagine that someone believes a person accused of a crime had a set of rights that had to be enunciated when they were arrested, and if those rights were not shared, the person could be released even if they were guilty of a crime! It was for these and other similar errors of judgment that the John Birch Society wing of the Republicans demanded the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren. That smoldering fire finally re-ignited into a blaze during this current administration. The effect on the judiciary and the Supreme Court will be felt for decades to come, ensuring that the court falls further and further out of synch with the direction of the nation.

It will be interesting to see what realignment and renunciation of the previous administration occurs within the halls of Congress if Trump is defeated. Will it be possible for those Republicans who had surgically attached themselves to the generous hips of Donald Trump, to extract themselves from their current folly? Or will we see the splintering of the party into two factions: one, a populist wing based upon Trumpian concepts; and two, a wing of pragmatists who believe in conservative principles. Similarly, if the Democrats assume control of all three elective branches of the Federal government, will they be able to hold together the two factions in their party. The wing that believes, like the Trumpian wing, that the entire structure of government needs to be demolished and replaced with an idealistic new structure. Or, the wing that believes in incremental changes to the current structure, ensuring that change is more gradual.

I would not be surprised to see an eventual realignment into a three party system. One would be based upon the Trump position of isolation and America First, one would be the Democratic Socialists, and one would be the centrists who wish to tinker with the current structure. How those structural changes could be brought about remains to be seen. We’ve lived with the current two parties for over 150 years. Yet the events of the past four years has shown that it may not be possible to reconcile the disparate belief systems back into the previously defined containers.

First things first, though. If Trumpism is not repudiated on November 3, then the existential threat that is Donald Trump will have enough time to dismantle the structures and mores of our government so that we may not survive as a nation to have another election.

Even if Trump is defeated, I still worry about the damage he can do during the remaining time he has left in office. For those who are fans of Lord of the Rings, think Saruman and his deliberate attempt to spread evil in the Shire after he was thrown down. Doing destruction merely because it formed his only form of revenge. That is what I can foresee if Biden wins on November 3.

A Morning In The Life

Poor Donald. Poor, poor Donald. He’s pouting so hard you could put a service for eight on his lower lip. Imagine being confronted by REAL QUESTIONS? When deprived of his echo chamber in which he’s spent so much of his time during his presidency, he insists he has been treated worse by the press since any president since Abraham Lincoln. It isn’t easy, bearing the weight of having to battle all of the naysayers who seem to come out in droves whenever he places his head into the public sphere.

“It’s so bad out there in the world. People don’t show proper appreciation for what I’ve done for them. They blame me for this mess from China. Well, I know that if we hadn’t done things, more than 2 million would have died. And people are upset because of 200,000 dying?”  He fiddles with his remote control, forcing himself to see TV other than from his own safe zone. “There is that bitch Mika. What’s she saying? That I’m to blame for causing those spic families to be separated? Don’t they know I saved the country from their invasion? Those kids, they are so, so  much better off here where we take care of them. They probably never even saw running water in the shithole they used to live in.”

He pressed on the remote, forcing it back to his own safe zone, where Fox and Friends sat inviting him in. “No, not today. I’ve got too much to do today.” So the country was spared from a 40 minute stream-of-consciousness rant that would be dissected across the media world for the next day.

He called for his hairdresser and make-up artist. Few knew the intricate details involved with layering the remaining tendrils of hair up and over the immense bald spot atop his head. Daily it reminded Donald that he does not reign supreme over all of nature. “Just like that damn China virus. I can’t seem to make it behave either.”  He patiently sat for forty-five minutes while his hair weave was completed, and just the right shade of orange was slathered over his face, leaving his visage immaculate in its iridescence and ready for yet another day of facing his enemies. It is strange how so many of his supporters have become his bitter enemies, but then, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Only Donald knows. He knows better than all of them how they will all turn on him, even those like Barr who has pulled off so many masterful escapes. But now Barr cannot even deliver on indictments of those who wronged him. “We’ll wait till after the election, after I win, then out he goes too.”

“They’ve been trying for a coup for the past four years. Well, now they want to keep bringing up this COVID crap. I’ll bet anything that those bastards will stop mentioning COVID right after the election. But now I have a secret weapon. My army will never accept a result that gets turned against me after the true election day. Back when America was great, we always knew the results the same night as the election was held. And none of this namby-pamby stuff about voting by mail. These wusses that don’t want to go down and vote on election day – they are not true Americans. Only my supporters will follow my commands and vote. Who cares if they get sick afterwards? They will have done their duty to me.”  The first can of Diet Coke was drained, and he rang for another.

When his footman appeared with another can, already opened, Donald eyed the man with suspicion. “Why do you have a mask on?” he queried.

“I’m so sorry, sir. I’ll do better from now on.” The embarrassed footman tore off his mask as he backed swiftly out of the room and away from Donald’s presence.

Donald turned his attention back to the television. “I’d better respond to this idiot who keeps saying that the virus is spreading. It’s not. I keep telling them that at my rallies but they keep lying about my efforts. Imagine, saying that I’m not doing my job right. Why, no one has ever worked harder at this job than I have. Not a minute goes by that I’m not hard at work telling my people about how good a job I’ve done for them.”

He takes a swallow of Diet Coke, feeling the aspartame burn, then forces himself to stand up and amble towards the bathroom. The familiar heft of his phone in one hand, he squats down on his own personal throne, and prepares to share his wisdom with his followers.

“Your favorite President wants you to no that we will never acept an election where the result is not released on Election Day!!!! Anything else will just be inviting the Fake News to play with the results…..”

“….. and the Dumbocrats who run the cities will keep on counting votes until they win.  We can’t allow that!!!!  I need all of you to stand by for next week!!!!”

“Where are the indictments? The Biden Crime Family is GUILTY!!!! Let’s see some action out of Justice.”

“The Noble prize was RIGGED!!!!  We keep bringing peace to the mid-east. Meanwhile they award the prize to some part of the totally corrupt UN.”

Finally the remnants of the hamburger from two nights ago were deposited in the throne receptacle. Donald pressed the button, feeling the warm stream of water cleanse his lower regions. So much better to have that. It was really getting difficult to reach down there and clean it himself, and he hated to have to call for help.

He pulled on his suit jacket, and strode towards the elevator, ready to take on his busy, busy day. It was only 11:15. If those people just knew how hard he worked for them.

Tick-Tock

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The tick withdraws his mouth from the host, where he has been siphoning life blood. As his head disengages, dollars drip from his extended drill bit serving as a mouth. The tick moves on, slowly waddling down a slightly sloped ramp, until he comes to his next victim. There he engages with that next victim, another seeker of favors, and snuggles down to begin the extraction process.

The victims keep coming, willingly, as long as the favors they can procure keep coming as well. It is worth a bit of their lifeblood to enable them to carve out larger cavities in the body of the US government as their favors are translated into new contracts or new rulings in their interest. Sometimes the result of the parasitic infection is a purulent discharge coming from the body of the government, as the host rejects the outlandish demands of its parasitic free rider. But often, the burrowing of the new parasite is hidden, out of sight from those who try to decipher the acts of the government we all pay for. All of us, that is, except for the tick in chief, who pays nothing for his benefits, yet keeps feasting upon those who would request just one favor, just one contract, or just one tweet.

The tick in chief leads his progeny in learning just how to drill into a willing victim. By siphoning off a portion of the victim’s life blood, the family of the tick in chief can keep its engorged status intact. The rest of the world looks on in horror as the images of the tick in chief permeate the airwaves. No more can they revere the country the tick has invaded. Instead, they ridicule it, though the tick in chief keeps insisting that they are laughing with him, not laughing at him.

The tick in chief believes that only through displays of brute force can the rest of the population be brought into submission. Amazingly, there are many who believe that having a parasite at the top of government is just fine, they’d all like to be there sucking the lifeblood if they were ever given a chance, and the more that the parasite can do to weaken its host, the better off they will be.

The tweezers of government have proven to be ineffective at removing the tick from its host body. Though quite credible allegations were provided on multiple occasions, the tick in chief got the report on the allegations quashed by those whom the tick had appointed. And of course, his enablers glommed onto the statements about the allegations being quashed, and they never examined the findings of fact in the original reports. Thus the enablers feel gleeful as they announce complete vindication. In fact, the tick in chief truly believes he has done a good job for his host.

Unfortunately for the tick in chief, a new validation is coming soon. The host has a chance to throw off the parasite that has dominated it for nearly four years. It remains to be seen whether the tick and its many other enabled parasites have infected the host body with an illness that survives beyond the lifespan of the tick in chief. A nation infected with spotted fever or lyme disease would be preferable to one that is infected with the ongoing illness of lack of trust and belief in illogical and silly conspiracy theories. But first, we have to throw off the shackles of the tick in chief. Sometime in early November, we will see if the head of the tick in chief has been extricated from the body of the government. May it be so.

Yesterday

In the past week, events ran at such a pace that a poor blogger was not able to keep up. I initially wrote this piece a week ago, after the “debate”, and the story about taxes from the NYT, when I believed that just maybe, a sense of reflection would have come across this President. Then came the news of the positive result for COVID, and the subsequent hospitalization. While tempting, I will not resort to cheap expressions that I feel karma has overtaken events. Still, it may be that the President has actually had the chance for reflection over the past few days, so my offering here is provided with that in mind.

My apologies to the Beatles.

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why they had to blow,

My cover, they wouldn’t say

I did all things wrong

Now I long for yesterday

Yesterday fraud was such an easy game to play

Now I need a place to hide away

Oh I believe in Putin’s sway

Why I thought they’d know?

I’m the best, we’d be ok.

I did all things wrong

Now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday, all my dreams were part of daily play

Now I’ll need a brand new place to stay

No more TV from Fox today

Mm mm mm, mm mmm mmm mm.

Slimey to the Qth Power

I sat down on the ledge near the metro station just a couple of blocks away from Ben’s Chili Bowl. I was deep into the pleasure of a spicy half-smoke when I noticed someone (or something) plopping down beside me. Once more, my old friend Slimey appeared out of nowhere. For a 7′ tall reptile, he was able to move unbelievably silently and without drawing the attention you normally would expect from someone of his size.

“Greetings, friend” he hissed through his snout.

“Slimey, it has been far too long. What have you been doing with yourself?”  The last time I had seen Slimey, he had taken a position with a lobbying firm where he was trying to promote a fully-automated abattoir, aimed at eliminating the human interaction with the meat supply. I marveled to myself at how prescient that proposal was in light of the coronavirus outbreaks at meat packing facilities.  I asked Slimey, “Are you still with your lobbying firm?”

Slimey slowly shook his ponderous head. “No, I was unable to sell the idea about an automated slaughterhouse to the agencies. Imagine. The deep state actually thought humans were needed.”  He closed his eyes for a moment. “But in my new position, this idea has become really valuable”.

I took a bite of my half-smoke, then asked.  “What is your new position?”

Slimey’s face assumed an air of supreme satisfaction. “I’m working for Q now. I’m in charge of their next big assault into the public sphere.”

I shuddered. Q-Anon had grown in popularity by leaps and bounds, especially during the pandemic when so many folks had far too much time and far too good access to the internet where they could descend into innumerable rabbit holes. Finally, I could avoid the question no further and I asked, “What is the new Q theory?”

Slimey smacked his mouth a couple of times, then began. “There’s a new thing that Q will be reporting on. That thing with abducting the children and the elite distilling their blood to come up with their youth elixir? It just wasn’t revolting enough to draw in enough people. But this one, this one is a doozy.”  Slimey settled back onto the ledge, one enormous paw holding up his prodigious girth.

As often happened in my encounters with Slimey, I became aware of how vulnerable I was to a sudden swipe of his razor-sharp claws. Still, I summoned the courage to not be a species-intolerant person and continued the conversation. “What could you imagine that is worse than child abduction and harvesting?”

Slimey chuckled for a good half-minute before replying. Finally, he said “Imagine this. Instead of children being abducted, it is those who are wearing MAGA hats that are swept off of the streets. Once they disappeared, they are transported to one of my automated slaughterhouses, where they are stripped down to the bone. The meat? It goes to make certain sausage products.” He nodded towards the remains of my own half-smoke.  “I’m not gonna say one way or another, but you may be surprised by where we will claim this meat is going.”

I took one more look at my half-smoke, shuddered a bit, then laid it down on the ledge between us. I had to satisfy my curiosity, though. “Why do this? Why go onto such ridiculous extremes in order to keep the Q thing going?”

Slimey was glad to fill me in. “Of course, it’s the money. Do you know how much we are raking in with the social media posts? And then there’s the merchandise. Those Q posters and foam Q’s are just money plants, plants we keep on harvesting. None of this has to be true, it just has to be plausible enough to keep the clicks coming.”

For the first time in my encounters with Slimey, I found my anger and revulsion rising. “Do you mean to tell me that this entire Q thing is nothing more than an effort to make those at the top rich?”

“Why certainly. What else would it be? You don’t think any of us believe any of this crap, do you?” Slimey looked offended, tensed his limbs, and once again I took stock of the vulnerability of my position.

“I had hoped that was the case. I can’t believe that anyone with a lick of rationality would believe any of the stuff being posted in Q’s name, but after the events of the last few years, I have come to doubt my own sense of right and wrong.” 

Slimey looked satisfied with my answer. He seemed to relax back into leaning against the concrete ledge. He said, “It’s only been a few years since I moved out of the swamp, but it is amazing how much of a swamp I still find around me.

All I could do was nod in agreement.

He looked over at the remains of my half-smoke. “Are you going to eat that?” he asked.

“No. It’s yours if you want it.”

The remains of the half smoke were inhaled in that enormous snout with the reptilian teeth, paper wrapper and all.

The last episode with Slimey may be found here: evenabrokenclock.blog/2019/04/08/if-you-cant-beat-the-swamp-join-the-swamp/

You’ve Been Had (Part 3)

Treason drips off of the twitter fangs that inject his venom into the body politic of the nation. Hoax is bandied about as an explanation for anything unpleasant but true. The hypocrisy is blatantly displayed as word is disclosed about his real thoughts for those who serve and sacrifice for our country. Still, all of this matters not a whit to those who have drunk deeply of the Trump cult Kool-Ade.  They will still hold fast to their selection of someone who has shown himself to be totally incompetent at his job, as well as being so lazy he doesn’t even feign an effort at doing said job. All the while, his own words extol his own praise and discredits any attempt at criticism.

For nearly four years, we have been held hostage by the vagaries of this hulking wanna-be alpha male. All he’s learned over the years is how to bully others. That he has been successful at passing that off as leadership is beyond comprehension. Still, this year showed the logical conclusion of the folly this nation undertook when we elected a totally unqualified candidate whose sole skill was self-promotion. That self-promotion led many to believe the man was a master businessman. But, as has been said, anyone who can go bankrupt running a casino is not a paragon of business excellence. Over the decades, the failures of the Trump business plans have been strewn across the landscape.

Trump steaks, launched in 2007, discontinued in 2007. Product sold for all of 2 months.

Trump shuttle. Purchased from Eastern Airlines in 1989 for $365 million. Sold in 1991 to USAirways for about $100-110 million of Trump indebtedness.

Trump Taj Mahal – built in 1990 for $1.2 billion. Parent company Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy 4 times, in 1991, 2004, 2009, and 2014. All investment in this fiasco was lost.

Trump-branded buildings – due to the toxic nature of the Trump name, the affiliation with Trump has been removed from multiple buildings across the globe during the past few years. Examples include properties in Panama City, New York, and Toronto.

Trump vs. NFL – leading the New Jersey Generals, a team in the USFL, he convinced his fellow owners to go from a spring schedule, into a head-to-head battle with the NFL on a fall schedule. At the same time, the USFL engaged in an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL, which the USFL won. Damages awarded? $1, although that was tripled under anti-trust law. The USFL folded shortly afterwards.  Now Donald did receive something of value out of this. Herschel Walker, the football star of the New Jersey Generals, spoke favorably of Donald at the 2020 Republican convention as one of his token Blacks.

Trump University – this bastardized version of a real estate / wealth management seminar provider began operations in 2005. It closed down in 2011, and subsequently was required to refund millions of dollars to its defrauded “students” who went through the seminars but obtained no useful information or skills.

The fantasy that Donald Trump spun was that of a maverick businessman who would bring fiscal discipline and a business sense to the nation’s government. Well, he was very prophetic about that – he has brought just as much business success to the nation’s balance sheet as he has brought to the properties and enterprises he owned and operated over the years. But then came the TV show, and he found the vehicle to reinvent himself. If you present yourself as a wealthy decisive businessman who could use his Midas touch to enrich anyone he came into contact with, then you could brush aside the reality of past failures. And as this nation became more and more disconnected from reality by insisting upon binging on reality TV, enough people believed to form the core of his followers.

It is not enough to decry the utter failure of this administration in dealing with its multiple crises. It instead is time to take stock of the totality of this charlatan’s work history, and pronounce the verdict on this nation upon selecting and being subjected to the governance of this gamma male.

You’ve Been Had.

This is unfortunately the third in a series of posts about Donald Trump’s administration I’ve written during his term in office. To see the other posts, see https://evenabrokenclock.blog/2017/11/20/youve-been-had/ and    https://evenabrokenclock.blog/2018/11/16/weve-been-had/.

The End Of The World, As We Know It

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To many, these times we live in are reminiscent of Götterdämmerung, the twilight of the Gods. Certainly that is the image presented at the abomination called the Republican National Convention. They see the changes our society has undergone as being so threatening to their way of life that they cling to a would-be autocrat who has leveraged their fear into a term as President. He now himself clings desperately to the power he has enjoyed, and is pushing all of the levers of that power in order to gum up the normal electoral process. To the group that believes their way of life and unchallenged superiority is indeed challenged, all tactics seem fair to ensure their continued grasp on power.

The 2016 election proved this. While the Democratic candidate won by 2% of the popular vote, due to the small state bias built into the electoral college, the Republicans won the office. They proceeded to rule based as if they had received a massive vote in favor of their policies, though vote really did go against them. Therefore, they knew it was imperative to provide the tools to ensure the changing demographics of this nation did not prevent their takeover of all of the reins of power. In a way, we were fortunate. This President was so ignorant of how government worked, that his first year’s efforts at neutering government were mainly failures. Think of how many different iterations of the Muslim ban came down the pike, only to be swatted away by the judicial branch. But unfortunately, those within the government were able to learn how the levers of power worked. And by the third year, they were capable of implementing the family separation policy. Oh, they didn’t have a way of reuniting families, but who cared?

In a way, it is remarkable that this nation has succeeded in using a single set of founding documents to navigate through the ensuing 2+ centuries. The Constitution has stretched enough to deal with the intervening crises that swirled through this country. But the events of this year have shown that continuing to rely solely upon the document that preceded the technological age, does not always work in the current era of globalized material and people flow, and instantaneous flow of both real and misinformation. When so many people simply refuse to accept what appears to be unambiguous scientific facts, it becomes impossible to conduct a purposeful discussion. This shows itself in so many folks refusing to believe that we are in a pandemic, denying that the outbreak of disease is anything more significant that a variant of the normal flu virus.

Though the current administration insists that the country of origin for the virus was fundamentally negligent in allowing the genii to escape, what happened early this year was what epidemiologists have known and feared would happen in a world interconnected by human and material flow. Before this year, very few people in the US could have identified Wuhan on the map, and even fewer knew that the city and its environs had 11 million residents. But the outbreak of a virus that exhibits high infectivity showed that it could not be contained within a single country. Soon outposts of the virus were set up in Italy, and thence migrated into the US. But of all of the nations hit by the first wave of the virus, it has only been the US that has not brought infections down below a simmering boil. The virus has shown that it is still present, and shows up in all locations where the guard is let down even for a moment.

But in the US, a confluence of events and trends have prevented us from ever bringing the virus under control. The US has never viewed it as necessary to have the Federal government serve as a backstop to private enterprise. So when it was necessary to shut down commercial life in order to reduce the spread of the virus, the mechanisms to provide financial support were creaky at best, balky and unworkable at worst. And now, those mechanisms have been exhausted, and this nation still is operating under the assumption that it is a moral failing that so many people cannot find work, rather than accepting that we are in a fundamentally different era. Then the strain of individual liberty fanatics insisted that any mandated protective acts were an infringement on constitutional rights. Even the simple, though uncomfortable practice, of wearing a face mask has become weaponized, and blood has been spilled in defense of the right to infect others.

Those who were convinced that the blood of Jesus would protect them against any infection were also convinced that the government was infringing against their first amendment rights by preventing them from worshiping in person. You can see time after time where ministers were insistent on holding services in person, even though those services spread disease and death. Indeed, the American desire for a divine miracle to protect the faithful is fully in evidence as a response to this pandemic. The viral particle doesn’t recognize religious denomination, or even if someone is or is not a religious adherent. It recognizes only the opportunity to colonize a new host and spread itself. It is a mindless automaton with only the genetic information inside of it to allow it to propagate.

If there is to be divine intervention, it is because the knowledge of humanity has allowed it to understand the genetic code of the enemy, and to effectively devise biological weaponry to defeat it. That can be manifested through effective treatments for the symptoms of the virus, but all hope is on one or more of the vaccines in clinical trial will be found to be:  1) Effective at preventing infection through activation of the immune system, and 2) Able to provide this immunity without adverse side effects. Indeed, the rapidity at which vaccines have been shepherded into phase 3 trials has been amazing. But due to the same tendency within this nation to reject science and any uncomfortable challenges to beliefs, even when a vaccine is released to the population, a sizable fraction will refuse to take it. Whether it is due to fears unleashed by the anti-vaxxers, or whether it is the belief that the entire virus episode has been a New World Order conspiracy, there will be enough who refuse to take the vaccine that it will still circulate within the population, causing infection, and illness, and preventable death.

The upcoming election does offer the opportunity to return to a semblance of normality. Whether enough of the electorate will recognize that the Federal response to this virus represents a natural outgrowth of the belief system of this administration remains to be seen. The ignorance of the American public can never be overestimated. Let us hope that incompetence can be seen for what it is – a natural consequence of selecting a con man four long years ago.

Mad As Hades

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  The words of Paddy Chayefsky in the movie Network resonate through the decades since that movie was released in 1976. The words ring true today. The tag line fueled my imagination as I realized a few of the things I’m as mad as hell about in this day.

I’m as mad as hell about the total incompetence of our Federal government in addressing the viral pandemic racing across the country virtually unchecked. Failures happened in destroying the infrastructure set in place by his predecessor to detect and respond to this future event. Failures happened in pretending that the virus would disappear of its own accord, and besides, it was hitting Democratic states harder than Republican states, so why bother creating a national strategy. Failures in taking responsibility for any of these failures.

I’m mad as hell about the total incompetence of the administration in realizing that the world is truly interconnected, and we as a nation cannot take our ball and go home and expect that the rest of the world will be there for us if and when we need them. About the destruction of relationships with other nations and with international organizations.

I’m mad as hell about the willful ignorance and subsequent stupidity exhibited by this administration when it comes to anything requiring applying a scientific perspective. It was bad enough when it involved ignoring any inconvenient truths about global warming. It was bad enough when it involved assigning unqualified personnel to leadership positions in Federal departments where knowledge of science was required. But with the response to the pandemic, we have really seen how the disdain that this administration holds for science has and will cost hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

I’m mad as hell about the petty grifting and blatant hypocrisy demonstrated by this administration, beginning with the example from the top. From the very start of this administration where the Trump hotel became the necessary venue for all who wished to make a visible display of financial support, to the recent revelation that the ambassador to Great Britain tried to strong arm the British to awarding a British Open to a Trump property, it has been apparent that everything is good that plows money back into the Trump business empire. And then the hypocrisy involved in declaring that it was so much worse in the previous administration. All of this manifests itself in a cabinet embroiled in personal petty privilege, whether through chartering private planes on the public’s dime, or driving around in a limousine in search of just that special lotion while department employees were paid as drivers

I’m mad as hell about the belief that this President had that it would only be a minor matter to staff and handle the transition between administrations. The belief that you don’t need to fill all of the available positions in the government. The belief that you could put your incompetent son-in-law in charge of intractable problems that had evaded solutions for decades and expect success due to force of personality alone. About the belief that he and Chris Cristie could go out after the night of the election and take care of the transition by themselves.

I’m mad as hell about the narcissism and thin-skinned nature of this President. About how his vindictiveness extends beyond the grave, so that he continues to denigrate the memory of those who stood up to him who have since died. About how he could not stand to see any accomplishment of his immediate predecessor left standing, so he has gone out of his way to destroy any trace of the previous administration. About how he has to be right, and can never ever admit making a mistake, since admitting a mistake shows your weakness.

I’m mad as hell about the racism unleashed by this President. About how the example he has set has freed a nasty strain within America to feel enabled and entitled to declare their hatred for anything other than lily-white ‘Muricans. About how when presented with support from a misogynistic racist like David Duke, he will feign ignorance of him and welcome the support. About how he has learned to stoke the fear and hatred that had lain dormant under the surface by trumping up the risk from asylum seekers.

I’m mad as hell that even after seeing the complete and utter disaster of this administration for nearly four years, there are still 40% of the voting public who think he’s doing a remarkable job for them, and they will go to their coronavirus graves still supporting this incredibly poor excuse for a human, much less the leader of the free world. Hell, had he his choice, he’d lead the nation of sub-human slaves as they marched in goosestep unison past his Presidential mansion. After all, he’s done such a wonderful job we just have to keep him in office.

Excuse me while I retch into the porcelain altar.