I’m no economist. But economics seems to be one of those fields that you can be trained in for years and years and still not know what the fuck is going on. Not even a savvy investment giant like Warren Buffett can tell which way the wind is blowing all the time. Economics is a guessing game, judging by the amount of divergent opinions one can help themselves to in the news on a daily basis.
So the field is open for a layperson like myself to learn the fundamentals. But even the “laws” of supply and demand elude people interested in the subject. Some people think that is the end of the discussion, that all economic activity comes down to that raw tension between those two concepts. Their relationship is definitely very much a thing and weighs hard on all economic discussions, but it is not the end of them. What I have learned so far is that there are several forms of market warp that transcends the simplicity of laissez- faire notions of how money moves.
Peoples’ memories and attention spans being shit as they are, they often don’t remember events that changed the face of history. Just for an easy example, Trumpers like to point out the price of gas when he was president as compared to what it was this summer while Biden presided. Now of course this is dumb on its face because of the easily understood fact that the president does not really control gas prices. There are things that can be done, like releasing oil from our strategic reserve, employing gas tax holidays, and diplomacy with oil-producing nations. But most of that will not bring significant results that people are clamoring for. Stupid people think that presidents are like CEOs, where everything that goes wrong on their shift is attributable to them. But there’s this little thing called current events, and a president would have to have a crystal ball to head them off. History has to run through the course of a presidency, and to truly understand the efficacy or failure of a presidency we must know what happened during it, looking at phenomena that haven’t got a thing to do with who sits in the Oval Office.
So anyway, why was gas so cheap during Trump? Well, let me get right to it. It’s the prime mover of every calamity we have had and are continuing to have.
If you don’t understand what the epidemic did to the economy, you have shit for brains and should shut up on the subject of economics for the last three years or so.
We literally didn’t leave the house for a year and a half. Businesses were destroyed. Supply chains mangled. Workers laid off. Oil actually traded in the negative, which technically meant we were running out of places to put the oil that no one needed and were on the verge of giving it away. We were worried about how we were going to wipe our ass. It took Trump begging the Saudis to shut their taps off to keep American producers afloat.
An event like this only comes perhaps once a century. It changes everything, and sometimes it just doesn’t matter who is the unfortunate chump in office is when they do occur. Mind you, Trump’s response to COVID was as bad a response as could be imagined, first denying the danger for months and then hawking quack treatments for people who were encouraged to have vaccine hysteria.
By the time Biden entered office, America was back at play, footloose and fancy free. Mask restrictions were done away with, vaccine proof was no longer needed to do certain things and we were off to the races. Demand skyrocketed.
But supply did not. A good chunk of manufacturing is coming from China, who has a zero COVID policy and if they catch a whiff of a breakout they literally go on lockdown. This would and still is causing a crimp in our supply capabilities. Oil company investors, who had their profits pared down seriously by COVID, went on a wild greed spree this summer, refusing to up production to meet the demand, citing a labor shortage, drill parts shortage and the events in Russia and Ukraine. Some of that may have been true-but much of the rise in price in oil was partly attributable to stock buybacks and and insistence on not growing to maximize the barrel price.
So what happens when too much money is chasing too few goods because supply cannot meet demand?
Inflation. It’s as natural as a newborn. Now during COVID under Trump, we printed seven trillion dollars to keep the economy alive. Another two trillion was printed in the first months of the Biden administration. Now those seven trillion under Trump had no effect on inflation. The Fed kept rates at near zero, allowing cheap money to flow wherever it needed to. Once again, it is stupid people who don’t understand that debt is not tied to inflation in a sophisticated economy like ours. Had this been true, we’d be like Argentina since we’re already 23 trillion in the hole and debt to GDP is almost 100%. We absolutely had to borrow that money to just keep basic services going. Some of it went to bad places but on the whole it was necessary debt, which some nitwits cannot tell from bad debt. But anyway, America is taking risks and are back in society, buying what they want. But they’ve noticed big time that what they want is going up in price quite a bit.
What’s the real problem? Did we overdo quantitative easing? Or is this inflation just a function of low supply and high demand? Or do we have yet more greed coming from monopolistic elements within the economy? Either way, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell thinks he has the answer. He’s gearing up for several aggressive interest rate hikes to combat inflation. People I have been reading say he’s going to crash the economy if he keeps it up, and that may be his plan-which sounds insane for a society that just got let loose into the marketplace to buy, buy and buy. Yes, some tightening is probably necessary. Some. But not recession-causing tightening. Apparently Powell doesn’t think the market has the know how to heal itself, and is going to instead contract us into a manageable size, where wages are lower as well as prices. This is madness. COVID-19 warp has shit to do with monetary policy. Those trillions were on the books and they could have stayed there a bit more while we got on with business. Once again, incremental adjustments to the interest rates make sense, but not these ham fisted moves Powell is making. He’s not going to squeeze inflation out of the economy if he is not taking into account what is causing it.
It’s not the balance sheet, folks. It’s the bug. And if Jerome Powell thinks he’s doing us a favor by making the cost of of money expensive and halt this economy’s gains, he doesn’t understand the American consumer nor the pandemic. Give America a minute to actually be a free market. Or to be free, period.
Sometimes I feel pretty fucking clever when I’ve sussed out that America is about to enter into its second dalliance with fascism and its characteristics. It will be Christian, white, and male-centric. Like Jello Biafra said once, it’s bedtime for democracy and there is no telling when it will wake up.
Now it’s awfully hard to believe that Steve Bannon, who looks like some weird mixture of Baron Harkonnen from Lynch’s Dune and a wino, is of any particular threat to American democracy. It’s almost hilarious that he has Mike Lindell on his “War Room” on the regular. He’s probably facing jail time soon, depending on how much he pisses a judge off by turning his contempt trial into a media circus.
However, as far as the right wing goes, he’s the daddy-o of American neo-fascism, or populism, or nationalism, whatever you want to call it. And when he fell out with Trump, he moved on to bigger and better things. After the White House, he went abroad to spread the populist word, powwowing with right wing parties, dictators and autocrats around the globe. He’s a Putinist, and I guess now is a great time to introduce a notorious living Russian fascist, often referred to as “Putin’s Brain”, Aleksandr Dugin. (More on the Dugin-Putin relationship here). The guy appears to be completely insane, a mad monk advocating for a Russian empire that stretches all the way to Ireland. I am sure that Putin, while a little touched in the head himself, listens to Alex’s counsel, smiles in his mind, takes the good parts and leaves out the absurd. He did come up with the idea of annexing Crimea, and thinks Russia should treat Ukraine as theirs, which they have done de facto by invading and robbing Ukraine of its ability to trade freely. I’m not going to get into an argument with any of you chuckleheads out there who seem to have no clue about military tactics and realpolitik, the end game of this invasion is that Russia gets good cream and lots of political leverage over the rest of the world from Ukraine’s food and energy markets. And there isn’t shit the West can or will do about it. (UPDATE 4/2: Zelenskyy isn’t giving up territory for peace, and NATO is now sending deadlier assets. He’s either going down with the ship, or this is going to be Afghanistan II: The Return Of The Bear Trap.)
Anyway, back to this character Dugin for a minute. He is quoted as saying, “We, conservatives, want a strong, solid State, want order and healthy family, positive values, the reinforcing of the importance of religion and the Church in society”. Sound familiar? That’s word for word what the Republican Party in America has come to stand for. Coming from the mouth of a Russian fascist. A “traditionalist”. Democracy, liberalism, and individualism are all anathema to his thinking, a refutation of the principles of America’s revolutionary ideas. He said of Putin as early as 2007: “There are no more opponents of Putin’s course and, if there are, they are mentally ill and need to be sent off for clinical examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, and Putin is indispensable.” It’s not dissimilar to the cult of personality that surrounds Trump, or any other “strongman” who can control people. The main difference between Putin and Dugin, is that one is pragmatic and one is a romantic. He wanted Putin to take Georgia as well as Ukraine. Putin took the chunks he could hold, probably knowing from Hitler at Stalingrad that when you spread yourself too thin, you will get your ass kicked. He believes that COVID is a “kind of divine reprimand, a divine decree against humanity.” and “It is a kind of punishment for globalization.” Dugin attacks the arts and the schools for their decadent thoughts (again, sound familiar?), even finding physics and chemistry to be “demonic”. The man is a mystic, looking for signs of the apocalypse.
So let’s circle back to Bannon: what’s the connection between him and Dugin? Well, they met once, in 2018, in Rome. While they agreed philosophically, the meeting did not go well, as Dugin was focused on the United States as the great evil, and Bannon felt it was China. I guess we should be glad they did not agree or join forces, but the idea that America is engorged with “evil” is becoming chapter and verse for more and more Republicans, no doubt to Putin and Dugin’s glee. We will be rid of Steve Bannon soon enough. But if we continue to share a traditionalist fascist destiny with Russia, then I am afraid the world over will become a dark place to practice freedom.
It may be time to take a fresh perspective on why Russia has recklessly invaded its neighbor Ukraine. In our hearts, we see what the war has wrought and we know it is wrong. Because war disgusts all good people. What gives Vladimir Putin the right to continually attack his neighbors without consequence? Why doesn’t somebody do something to contain them?
In his mind, history accords him that right. But I don’t think Putin is operating from a pre-WW2 mindset, as he is often accused of doing. I don’t even think he’s operating in a 2014 mindset either, Because he’s been taking little chunks from other countries for years before the Ukranian revolution. Where is Putin coming up with the justification for annexation and invasion?
In today’s carefully managed defense of territorial integrity, annexation by force is a highly unpopular move. In modernity, anyone who tries to pull it is severely disciplined by the world community. Saddam Hussein learned that when he tried to begin his ideas of a Greater Arabia by annexing Kuwait; he ended his quest dangling from a hangman’s noose. Slobodan Milosevic also had dreams of a Greater Serbia and committed genocide to achieve it; he too was executed for his crimes. The only country in the world who has not been punished for annexation per se is Israel. That’s a complicated one because the Palestinians never declared statehood, so the view seems to be that they are taking no sovereign territory. However, their occupation of the Golan Heights is definitely straining the definition of occupation and pushes closer to annexation as they continue to hold it, year after year. (UPDATE 4/6: Papa Chomsky reminded me that Trump allowed the official annexation of the Golan Heights. Oops!)
However, in the case of Putin, it’s very hard to discipline him. A bombing campaign will not stop a Russian advance, nor will a counter-invasion of Ukraine. Russia, you see, has nuclear weapons. A lot of them. And they have made it clear that any move that threatens the existence of the state will be met with annihilation. So we have to be very careful how to play this one. And the world has been. We have been pouring every low intensity asset available we can into Ukraine to make this invasion super painful for the #2 military in the world. There’s two ways this invasion can go: one is to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan II for them. This, like Afghanistan, could take years and kill millions. The other is for Ukraine to cede control of hostile areas around Ukraine that are Russian-friendly and end this terrible siege.
The second option disgusts many. Who would countenance the loss of territory like that? Would the United States cede states, as some are fond of saying?
In our case, the answer was no. But we paid a dear price to preserve our Union in the years of 1861-1865. People are still arguing about why it happened. To my mind, it was about consolidating and retaining power. Since 1776, America worked and warred its ass off to become and remain The United States. And I figure Lincoln wasn’t going to let a perfectly good union go to waste after cultivating it for almost a hundred years.
In contrast, how long has Ukraine been Ukraine? How far do you want to go back? Empires wax and wane, so let’s just start with modern Ukraine. They had a revolution in 2014 which would eventually skew Ukraine’s ties closer to Europe. As you might imagine, Russia didn’t like that at all, for reasons I’ll try to address later. They saw the revolution as a good a time as any to return Crimea to Russian control. No blood was shed, and the Ukrainians relented and allowed Crimea to become autonomous, protected and run by Russia-friendly leaders. But peace was not established yet. War broke out in the Donbas region, and two pro-Russian separatist states declared their independence from Ukraine. This time Ukraine was going to fight for its territory and subdue the rebels. And up until February 2022, they were still at war. But as we all know, Ukraine had bigger problems than Donbas. Russia began to surround Ukraine with its military, and here we are today, wondering whether World War 3 is going to start.
Ukraine had only been Ukraine for eight years, if we take the various separatist movements into account. It was a country in revolutionary flux, and Putin picked a good time to weaken it and make it something unpalatable and indefensible to Europe.
Or so he thought. We may not want to start a nuclear war, but most of the world, respectful of territorial sovereignty, has made sure that Russia will be punished by playing an old conventional game of violent imperialism. And we’re doing it without directly causing a single casualty at our hands.
There’s a lingering question though: what does Russia really want from Ukraine? You can find it in today’s papers. It is, as it has always been, “the special operation”, which Russia has invented some bullshit reasons for. Now it may look like Russia wants to eat Ukraine whole and return it to old Russia, but as you can see, they’re not getting very far if that is the plan. It’s purely a strategic move; to connect Crimea to the Donbas breakaways via land. Contiguity is what Putin wants, plus he wrests access to the Sea of Azov from Ukraine. I believe any military action not in Donbas is to distract and disperse the Ukrainian military so that it can no longer defend its eastern flank. What is the crown jewel in the special operation? Where does the connective tissue between these little secessionist republics begin?
Mariupol. As I write this, Russians have kidnapped tens of thousands of its civilians and is demanding that the city surrender. What Volodomyr Zelenskyy decides to do next will probably determine just how long Ukraine remains under siege. This is a flashpoint. Let’s say Russia wants to make a deal-ending the invasion for the surrender of Mariupol. Can they be trusted? To me, the answer is yes. They can see damn well that this war is not going to plan and they are probably eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy and deal with all of the economic, political and military fallout from the incursion. Putin will have paid heavily for his land bridge if this is the direction Ukraine wants to go. No one is going to “win” the battle for Mariupol. But as of now, Zelenskyy is holding firm, refusing to give up the city. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but it will not be pretty. And if anyone really thinks the West is going to do anything about it, they’re kidding themselves. Because the reality is, Ukraine was like a DMZ to the EU and NATO. This war is still on “cold” setting, and will likely stay that way so long as Russia blunders around in the DMZ. That is a tragedy for Ukraine, and I hate it. They’ve been caught between two power blocs and a newly adventurous Russia.
So, let’s circle back to the question of just where Putin’s head is at and what year he thinks it is. To do that, we must look at the recent history of the EU and NATO, and ask ourselves if we too have been “annexing” countries by pledging to defend them. Are we playing the imperial game as well? Did World War 3 start without a shot several decades ago? In Putin’s mind, this is undeniable. For the EU and NATO, their goal is simply to defend democracy. It’s probably a bit more complicated than that. It seems obvious that the goal is to hem Russia in, ending its influence upon the states that surround it. We did that during a time when Russia was at its weakest. Just like we finally came together to bring Germany to heel, ensuring it would never be a threat to Europe again. Nothing remains of its Nazi past for continental domination. This is what we wanted from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. To ensure it would be crippled so it could not threaten the world with its weapons of mass destruction.
But Germany had to be utterly destroyed for us to stop the Nazis; it was not the way we defeated the Soviets. The USSR fell to internal pressures; we just sat back and watched it happen. A deal was made between Russia and NATO in 1991 to dissolve the Warsaw Pact, and in return we would not accept former pact members into NATO. But that’s exactly what we did. The US and the Eurozone, to Putin, were “annexing” its old stomping grounds.
1991 is where Putin’s head is at. That was the year he quit the KGB and began running for office. Like it or not, he turned the country around in a lot of ways. I imagine he had grand plans to “Make Russia Great Again” and that’s what he thinks he’s doing right now. His own personal Monroe Doctrine. He’s been fucking with its neighbors ever since, trying to amass more territory and more power where he can. Whenever he sees chaos, he exploits the conflict. He saw the conflict in Ukraine. Trying to pull Ukraine into Europe’s orbit was a last straw, and he’s going to make the fledgling government pay for its eagerness to do so with land loss. And it’s doing it through old conventional imperial techniques like force. Whether he pulls off this special operation is unknown. Ukrainians have shown themselves to be tough as nails, but now we have to worry about hostages.
In no way am I excusing Putin’s actions any more than I am blaming NATO for its actions. But it’s important to dispassionately look at the possible “why?” for the invasion of Ukraine and armed with that knowledge, figure out how the hell to make it stop without blowing the world to kingdom come.
Nothing is stupider or more pathetic than white males bitching about unfairness in America. We’ve been giving ourselves special treatment since we hit that rock.
But thanks to America’s steady decline as a place of limitless opportunity, there’s a whole lot of us incensed that minorities and women are helped by programs that promote parity with the people who have traditionally enjoyed the rewards of this soon to be not-so-fecund land now that there’s increasingly less to go around.
Some of the more troglodytic among our kind called it “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism” whenever a traditionally oppressed minority was given “special” privileges, like being given a protected spot at a prestigious college or enjoying first serve on a government contract as a minority owned business.
Worry no more, my white male compadres.
Always implicit in the “take our country back” rhetoric was that we were clawing it from the uppity females and minorities who had taken our places in line as the real backbone of this country. Those are our shitty jobs with vanishing pensions, damn it. Those are our graduate degrees that aren’t good for much any more.
If PoliticusUSA’s angle on Donald Trump’s signing statement astride the stopgap budget is correct, the special treatment gravy train is over.
I know what you’re thinking. Donald Trump cannot spell the word “tap” on his phone, much less craft a response full of legalese to a budget that he neither read nor had a hand in writing. I’m as incredulous as you are. In toto, if you read the whole nauseating thing, it is the equivalent of I’m The President And nyah nyah nyah. Its thrust is nothing new; it’s just another hopscotch square towards the unitary executive gaining primacy over anything or anyone that seeks to limit its power. Elbridge Gerry called it: we are becoming a monarchy, with a corrupt aristocrat wearing the funny hat, or in Donald Trump’s case, the scotch-taped power tie.
But anyway, included is a sop to bitchy, insecure, aggrieved white males who don’t want to share their station with anyone. In it, somehow, the intent of the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendment has been turned against itself. For example, used to be a time when the Fourteenth tried to help the enslaved and marginalized become equal. Now we all know that the promise of the Fourteenth took almost a century to realize itself in jurisprudence with Brown. And even that was like a trip to the dentist for regional white men. But anyway, it had legal dynamite in it whose explosion is still being heard today, and thankfully so 99.9999% of the time. It ended with the clause “equal protection of the laws” and no one was to be denied.
But now white men are apparently on unequal footing with groups like women, blacks, and Indians:
“My Administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender (e.g., Division B, under the heading “Minority Business Development”; Division C, sections 8016, 8021, 8038, and 8042; Division H, under the headings “Departmental Management Salaries and Expenses,” “School Improvement Programs,” and “Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program Account”; Division K, under the heading “Native American Housing Block Grants”; and Division K, section 213) in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.”
Taken at face value, in Trump’s America the long march to a balance of opportunity has become lopsided again, and this time around white males are the ones that need protection from the oppressive minorities.
Further through the looking glass we go.
Over, under, sideways down.
When will it end?
When will it end?
There is such a thing.
In the age of Trump, sometimes it feels like everything is hopelessly fucked and there is no way to change it. Right-wing radicals are trying to lay waste to everything good.
But we’re also dropping a lot of albatrosses lately.
Bill O’ Reilly finally got too expensive for Fox. Alex Jones’ lawyer outed him as an actor. Jason Chaffetz couldn’t stand the heat in the kitchen. Those are big right-wing fish that just got netted; a propagandist, a conspiracy theorist, and a gatekeeper.
After months of smoke, we’ve found the traces of a conflagration. It’s only a matter of time before Trump and his minions get caught with empty cans of gasoline and matches.
But I bring good news from my neighbor in the Deep South.
Historically, Alabama has been a terrible place. It’s nicknamed the “Heart Of Dixie”, which translated from the Southern tongue means “Home To A Lot Of Racists”. I have been to Alabama once. It is as hot as the planet Mercury in the summertime, and I would rather be dropped there than visit Alabama again because Mercury doesn’t have mosquitoes.
George Corley Wallace Jr. was the face of Alabama and segregation in the sixties. Morris Jackson “Mo” Brooks Jr. is a representative from Alabama. Mo’s worried that there’s a war on white people. Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III also hails from there. Jeff is our attorney general, and is currently not sure that Hawaii is a state.
But I have good news. Another big fish from Alabammy has been speared.
We got Judge Roy Moore. After a long suspension, he’s been kicked off the fucking bench for good. Happy day!
For those of you who don’t follow these things like I do because you enjoy your sanity, Roy is best known for being an insufferable Christian bigot who could not get the concept of separation of church and state through his thick skull, nor could he comprehend the hierarchical structure of the United States court system as laid down by the Constitution.
Good news is often hard to find here at the seminary, because we are in a world of shit where the president seeks the counsel of Kid Rock. But if Alabama can work up the will to rid itself of unethical fleabag judges, there’s hope for all fifty.
Far be it from me to delve into the technicalities of a particular piece of jurisprudence.
But as a lay person, I feel I can demur against the judicial reasoning that one part of the first amendment runs roughshod over another.
Antonin Scalia Neil Gorsuch seems to believe that the free exercise clause is of far more import than the establishment clause.
It should be common knowledge by now that the impetus behind the establishment clause was that the State stayed out of the religion business, favoring and endorsing none. Fifteen years after the constitution was authored, President Thomas Jefferson made it clear to the Danbury Baptists that while he respected religious liberty, no special consideration was to be granted to a particular faith as far as the United States government was concerned. That brief 1802 missive heralded the idea of church and state separation. And for the most part, the secularization of our government has prevailed, notwithstanding things like the changes to the pledge of allegiance, annoying non-inclusive invocations before legislative sessions and the god bullshit on our money because of our allergies to any form of economic distribution besides capitalism.
Well, the SCOTUS is about to make a turn for the worse, with Neil Gorsuch leading the way. A case is currently being debated that could expand the definition of “religious liberty” in the law’s eyes . It may now mean that government funding for religious institutions is acceptable because the first amendment guarantees free exercise of religion. Therefore, the withholding of government funds (tax revenue that the church does not contribute to, mind you) because of adherence to the concept of refusal to establish amounts to discrimination against them. The plaintiffs further cite the fourteenth amendment, which as you all know mandates equal treatment under the law. If a public school wants to improve one of their playgrounds with government grant money, they reason, then it’s only fair that a religious institution should be able to have access to those funds as well.
This is very tricky legal jiu-jitsu, blowing off the establishment clause entirely to accommodate believers. It pits the constitution against itself. If this decision slides rightward, you’re going to start paying for improvements to churches.
It starts with something innocuous like surfacing playgrounds. God only knows how far this can go, because the ineluctable tendency in Christian circles is to push, push and push the envelope.
Regular lurkers here know that I came out against calling things “fake news”.
But he and others have used a bit of rhetorical jiu-jitsu and now “fake news” is news you don’t want to hear or simply do not believe- even if it is true. It’s become one of Twitler’s favorite smears against news organizations who are up his ass. So I’ve decided I’m not going to play this game of what’s “fake” and what’s not and just discontinue use of the phrase anymore.
Now, I also said I wasn’t going to take a swing at a specific left-leaning news site because I am ideologically aligned with them, but I’m about to renege on that. I said that because I think some of the emerging farm team writers generate good content. The best political bloggers of the golden age of the ‘sphere got paying gigs long ago, leaving the medium dormant. Only pikers like me use personal desktop publishing to talk politics anymore. In its place today, we are seeing this second generation of political journalism that is being made possible by social media. These new farm team sites can pop up and piggyback upon each other and proliferate news and opinion on Facebook, where there are opportunities to grab the grail of websites-the click. Money and notoriety can follow.
This has caused, to put it lightly, problems.
When a click is all you are looking for, it’s very tempting to sensationalize your headline in order to get the most eyeballs. People are hungry for breaking news and exclusivity, and if there isn’t any of that around, some sites will simply create it. This is not “fake news” per se. It is merely misleading flotsam. And I think it’s just as pernicious as making things up out of whole cloth.
You’re blacking the eye of left-wing journalism, nay, journalism in general when you write a screaming headline that has the slimmest tangential relationship to the article you are writing.
I had to unfollow, unlike and de-link one of these sites today. Here’s the tease that caught my eye, from yesterday:
All 8 Supreme Court Justices Come Out Against Trump’s SCOTUS Pick
Oboy, the Court is appalled by the machinations of Mitch McConnell to get Neil Gorsuch on the bench at any cost and they are speaking out! Yay!
What’s this? The fucking source material is THREE WEEKS OLD! It’s nothing but a retelling of the fucking story of the Court unanimously overruling an opinion written by Gorsuch. I fucking know about that! Fuck! Fuck this fucking site!
Can you relate?
You’re lying if you say you can’t. We have all been taken in by a site that preys on our emotions, imaginations and desires to desperately see something be true. The only truth is they got your click- and these manipulative motherscratchers didn’t worry about how they did it.
So, I have a job to do today. I’ve got to have a reckoning here and on Facebook and separate out the hyped-up chaff that is doing no one any good. As I said, there are some that do decent second tier work, but some are profiting off credulity in an irresponsible, unethical manner. We are living in an age when the outrageous is a possibility, and it’s getting harder to tell truth and nonsense apart because they look the same. So check and re-check before you give these fly-by-night operations more ad revenue.
I worry that the left (which I am a card-carrying member of) is overplaying its hand with respect to Donald Trump.
That is not me saying get off Donald Trump’s case. On the contrary-there’s an excellent chance that this past election was mangled and stolen by a shady cabal of GOP/Trump operatives in consort with Russia. I want to get to the bottom of it because it is unacceptable to mess with the integrity of our elections. If Donald Trump cheated, it needs to be known. If he is an illegitimate president, he needs to be shuffled out. Let the investigations go on and on until we get some answers.
I am not distracted one bit by what to me was Trump’s first real decision as the president. I’m talking about the hit on Syrian war assets.
But it sure seems like everyone else can’t stop talking about it. Those who claim that this is a distraction are very distracted by said distraction.
Everyone in my tribe is elbows and assholes working to scoff, minimize and rationalize the raid. Nobody seems to have the same angle-there’s no consensus as to what Trump accomplished and what he did not. Which means that we are guessing at best and making stuff up at worst. For example, liberals are making common cause with morons like Rand Paul, who said the attack was unconstitutional. Sigh. It wasn’t. Please refer to the War Powers Act and the AUMF.
Our response to the Syria attack is shattered like a pane of glass hit with a hammer. People I really respect are doing weird contortions to explain away what Trump did.
Sure, it does not compute that a potential Russian lapdog like Trump would go and piss in their cornflakes by attacking one of their allies. But to me, it’s a very Trumpian decision. He doesn’t understand politics. He doesn’t do details. And he’s not afraid to bite the hands that feed him. Consequences are damned. It’s the kind of shit that his voters got off on.
Donald “No Puppet Here” Trump very much wants you to know that no one is the boss of him. He’s still much like a child in that respect. I mean, fuck, he’s turned on Bannon, Tillerson and Priebus in the last week alone. But I will take what I can get from Twitler. If indeed he made Assad and the Russians angry, good. They’re never going to be our fucking friends, as I said in my last post. That’s not the world we live in. There are two shadows across the globe and ever it shall be because the alternative is oblivion. We are locked into this destiny and are doomed to fight by proxy. I know I sound like Max Boot but this is realpolitik we’re in, not hands across the globe.
It should go without saying that I still think Trump was/is the worst choice possible to do this job. He’s far too mercurial and belligerent and sniffs his own farts way too much. His amygdala seems to be overriding his cerebral cortex. But it’s very likely and probable that his decision on Syria was probably the same one that my preferred choice, Hillary Clinton, would have made. Actually, her response probably would have been even more trenchant. I watched those two debate three times and I know who has the bigger ballsack.
Alright. Having said all that, let’s please stop the “Wag The Dog” bullshit line of thinking, my liberal friends. Bill Clinton did not bomb Sudan to distract from the Lewinsky scandal. It was a sincere effort to destroy Al-Qaeda/Bin Laden assets. But the CIA, ever the colossal fuckups, gave Clinton bad intelligence. The Al-Shifa attack did not deter the impeachment at all, and neither should the Al-Shayrat bombing slow the pace of the Russia/Trump putsch inquiry. Once again, I repeat myself-things are a lot simpler than they seem. What you see is what you get from Trump-he’s a simpleton, not an evil genius.
Be done with this. Everything is not fucking sleight of hand and rope-a-dope, especially not with this group of screwups. The confusion we are experiencing is due to the fact that Donald Trump is a poor leader, and we’re trying to make sense out of what he does as if he were a smart person. Again, I repeat, that is giving the Near-President way too much credit.
“Wag The Dog” is a movie, developed from a book. I am not saying that a piece of art can have prophetic qualities, and we are indeed in an age where the absurd is possible. But we seem to be getting carried away by the emotions that Donald Trump stirs in us. He’s offensive in almost every way you can think of. I’m as nauseated as you are. I feel you and I understand you. But I must stick with my assertion that Duh Fuhrer is not much good at conniving. A cheap liar, maybe. No doubt about that. But he’s so fucking obvious to me.
There’s every chance I am dead wrong about #45. I could be naive as fuck about this guy. I’m reminded of that old saying that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist.
I have way more respect for the devil than I do this two-bit grifter, though. And I’m an atheist.
So when last we talked, I was relaying to you how gobsmacked I was and continue to be that we have elected ( I know we really didn’t, relax) the most terminally vain uncurious mercurial impish hyperprivileged puckerfaced whitebread tiny dicked fascistic jingo know nothing illiterate conspiracy loving con artist fraud huckster crybaby prick pervert whackadoodle media slut bunco dealer we could find.
Somebody clearly did not place limits on their child. Frederick Christ, I’m looking at you in hell, sir.
Everyone except Donald Trump seems to know that the wheels are coming off his bus. That’s not necessarily true, I guess, seeing as how the percentage of the popular vote Donald got roughly equals the percentage of approval he enjoys, or does not enjoy since he thinks that all numbers pertaining to him are fake, unless of course we’re talking about numbers that he pretends are his even though he’d been in office for a week when the tabulations were made. But I hear he is on a constant diet of Fox News, who is happy to massage Trump’s ego by showing tight camera shots of massive”pro-Trump” events while suggesting that protests against Trump are by violent anarchists and professional agitators paid to attend.
I have seen the comparisons of Trump to Hitler. And I guess I understand that. I’m reading “It Can’t Happen Here” at bedtime and Donald Trump is Buzz Windrip without the folksy charm, starring Steve Bannon as Lee Sarason and Mike Flynn as Dewey Haik-and the Republicans are more properly named as the “Corpos”. It’s troublesome that comparisons to these real and fictional fascists are to people whose rise to infamy presage horrible wars. Trump can start a shooting war whenever he chooses as long as he lets Congress know why he’s doing it in 48 hours. He’s used belligerent language toward China and Iran, most notably, and his favored dog whisperer thinks that a Sino-US war is inevitable.
I still think Donald Trump is more like Howard Hughes than Adolf Hitler. Guy’s fucking crazy, putting up gilded fucking drapes in the Oval Office and will probably screw himself out of this job by pissing off everybody in government, even his own Congress who can’t wait to get hold of his signature so they can destroy said government like they always say they will.
But I really can’t wait until Trump’s dealings with the Russians are exposed. I think that’s the most interesting thing that we need to see. Donald Trump has lied about his relationship with Putin, even going so far to pretend that he had never met the guy before the election amidst charges that the Russian government was responsible for the DNC hacks. He’s on record for complimenting the autocratic thug repeatedly.
If there’s one thing we know Donald Trump likes, it’s money. And I believe that Vladimir Putin, fellow oligarch, is making plans with him to divvy up the globe to enrich each other. During the Obama administration, we had lots of trouble with an adventurous Putin in Ukraine and Syria. He was an adversary, trying to break free from the cage NATO put around him. The Cold War never ended, really-Russia imploded in the 1990s and reemerged as an aggressive world power to be reckoned with under Putin. Like most “communist” nations, they reshaped themselves as capitalist dictatorships, using the State to enrich business interests and their whores in the government.
If that sounds familiar, it should, and it should bother you. But we can discuss that at length some other time. Maybe after I feel like digging up more examples showing what an asshole Tucker Carlson is. Don’t hold your breath, I am easily distracted.
Anyway, to make a long story short, Trump did an interview in his safe space with Bill O’Reilly. And if you think Don The Con has been um…unstable up to here, you missed this:
“President Donald Trump appeared to equate US actions with the authoritarian regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview released Saturday, saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
Trump made the remark during an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, saying he respected his Russian counterpart.
“But he’s a killer,” O’Reilly said to Trump.
“There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” Trump replied.”
Now I’m not sure if Donald Trump knew what he was saying-he may have just sputtered that in a hasty defense because he got pushed in a corner. It caused a lot of people-like old military hand Barry McCaffrey-to perk up and lose their cool:
JACKSON: MSNBC military analyst and retired four-star general Barry Mccaffrey, who is joining us here. General Mccaffrey, thank you for being here. President Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is really backing the headlines in a big
way. You heard what he said about Putin and Bill O’Reilly’s comments that Putin is a killer. How concerned are you about not just what the president is saying but the relationship that the U.S. Is going to have with Russia, where that’s going to go from here?
MCCAFFREY: Hallie, I’m actually incredulous that the president would make a statement like that. One could argue that’s the most anti-american statement ever made by the president of the United States, to confuse American values with Putin, who is running a criminal oligarchy, who kills people abroad and at home, who imprisons journalists and takes away business property, who shares it with his former K.G.B. Agents, who invades and seizes crimea in eastern Ukraine, this is an astonishing state of affairs. It’s hard to know what to think about it.
It’s halfway to crazy to be dismissive of the danger Vladimir Putin represents, and shrug about how his regime takes care of its dissidents. Trump says…so what? We are killers too.
I expect this kind of thing to come out of Ajamu Baraka’s mouth. I don’t expect it from a Republican. Was it candor? I didn’t really think that Donald Trump was capable of critical thought. Maybe he did read the briefings, and his loose lips opened under fire.
Whatever the case may be, Trump dropped a truth bomb.
We are not innocent-not even our best and brightest are beyond reproach. We have laid waste all across the globe as a nation since our inception and we have not let up since. In my war of conquest (and don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t one), it is estimated that we killed almost 200,000 civilians and incinerated entire towns that were unfortunate enough to harbor our enemies. God only knows how many we maimed. You can feel free to hit the history books anytime you like and string together our atrocities, or let someone like Noam Chomsky contextualize and enumerate them. Hell, read Howard Zinn to find out how we spread destruction and death and penury and torture in our own country.
I’m sorry to say-perhaps not sorry, perhaps a bit relieved in a way, that Trump got something objectively correct. But it won’t change my general opinion that he is still an insane clown. It won’t wake anyone up that needs waking. It won’t make me take to the streets and break some car windows of my own. I’m a coward (so far) when it comes to certain forms of direct action. The worst thing that will happen is that people get inured to the idea that we can tolerate and horse trade with someone who acts like Vladimir Putin does when it comes to attaining his objectives. Then again, we don’t pay much mind to the criminal regimes around the world that we support already because it’s in our “strategic interests”(read: whatever perpetuates our super-hegemony). There are already people on the right wing who think that cracking skulls and maybe even some killing right here in America are spiffy ways to manage dissent. So we would do well to be extra wary of Donald Trump and the people he runs with. He may know just enough to be dangerous, as they say. The seeds of tyranny, well sown in our history, are beginning to germinate, and the world could be in grave danger with the two most powerful oligarchs in the world getting ready to carve it up for themselves and their business associates if we let them.
Alright, you guys.
It is time to stop assuming that the Trump administration is acting surreptitiously. It is also time to stop saying that proclamation X is just a diversion from action Y.
They’re not that clever, folks.
Day after day, hour after hour I read articles saying that that they’ve got Trump sussed; that he is a master at distraction and we should stop watching what he says and instead watch what he does, or some variation of this.
As if we cannot do both. As if both are mutually exclusive.
Donald Trump’s presidency is a national embarrassment and an outrage against good governance. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stay on his ass as concerned citizens by pointing at his speech and his gestures.
Mostly, his speech tells us he is an illiterate and a pretender to power.
His actions say that he is in thrall to opinion polls of his presumed electorate.
He is the pathetic narcissist that everyone thinks he is.
Oh, sure, it’s fair to say that Donald is probably not acting alone. Like Karl Rove before him, it is very likely that Steve Bannon is animating policy. Both men get what they need from each other-Bannon gets to shape the right wing in his image by destroying it, and Donald Trump gets someone who might actually know how to pull the levers of power that his tiny fingers and mind cannot grasp.
We are seeing the unitary executive theory on steroids in the age of Trump. It has been a long time coming. This presidency is going to test the limits of what is and what is not executive prerogative, and those limits will be set by the courts. This is troubling because Trump has a SCOTUS appointment in his pocket, so injunctions against his orders may not survive appeal. Then again, the conservative wing of the court may be as hostile to Trump doctrine as the vanguards of the Republican establishment are.
It all sounds quite daunting. It is, in actuality. But my point is the Trump administration isn’t fooling anybody. There’s no legerdemain happening here. What you see is what there is.
I have seen too many amateur sleuths trying and failing to ferret out the true aims of this administration. To me, it seems rather obvious. We have a full-retard for a President and he’s willing to sell us out to stroke his own ego, and by extension make himself a few shillings in the process. Enough thinkpieces, enough accusing Trump of pointing furiously at a unicorn. We are perfectly capable of understanding and combating Twitler, and by my lights, we’re going to the mat with him without pause.
UPDATE: Five Thirty Eight comes to my emotional rescue and reminds us that what Trump is doing is totally above board.