Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Democrats Are Coming To The Rescue

Fear not, brothers and sisters, for in these dark days of Trumpism, of unrestrained corporate power, of environmental ruin and possible nuclear war, there is a ray of hope. The Democratic party, led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, is riding to the rescue:
Democrats are beginning to craft an economic message for 2018 that goes beyond the tempting, single-minded strategy of demonizing Donald Trump.

Licking their wounds after an embarrassing showing in November, Democrats vowed to charge into next year’s midterms with a proactive sales pitch to voters. While many, including party leaders, have fallen right back into the same anti-Trump pattern they say cost them 2016 in the first place, top Democrats now say they’re working on “a strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it Tuesday.
I don’t know about you, but when Chuck Schumer promises a “strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” I get a tingle up my leg. It’s almost as inspiring as Nancy Pelosi saying, “We’re all capitalists.”

But let’s be fair: After leading us to a string of humiliating defeats since 2010, culminating in the slaughter of 2016 and the victory of Donald Trump, the Democratic party is acting decisively to craft a broad economic agenda that will “unite both caucuses” of the Party. It’s “expected to emerge by early summer.”

“We’re spending a lot of time on this,” says Chuck Schumer.

Just when you need the cavalry the most: six months after the battle has been lost.

At issue is a deep philosophical divide: One branch of the Democratic party wants to do more of the same plus family leave, while the other branch wants to do absolutely nothing at all. One branch wants to throw some populist window dressing around, kinda, sorta, by the dark of the moon; the other wants to sit on their thumbs and wait for Trump to fail, because that strategy worked so well in 2016.

“We have no message right now,” says one House Democrat, “and we don’t need one.”

The trouble is, the Democrats don’t know how to pack “more of the same plus family leave” and “do absolutely nothing” into inspiring, easily digestible soundbites.  But don’t worry, they will. Chuck Schumer promises that they’re going to “hammer” this agenda leading up to the midterms. I hope they’ve hired John Podesta, Robby Mook and Bob Shrum to help them iron out the details.

Meanwhile, Republican congressmen are being assailed at town hall meetings all over the country by progressives with a very simple message: Single payer now.

How’s that for an easily digestible soundbite that conveys the Democratic way of thinking? Chuck, Nancy, are you listening?

Bernie Sanders is polling as the most popular politician in America, the leader of a populist upsurge that nearly toppled Hillary Clinton in the primaries. What does that tell you? Chuck, Nancy, are you listening?

Many Trump  supporters are souring on his recent conversion to neo-conservatism and war. The little people, even some of Trump’s deplorables, don’t want any more fucking war. Are you listening Chuck, Nancy? Hello?

 This suggests a very simple set of soundbites that the Democrats could use, as they say, going forward: Single payer, raise the minimum wage, end the wars.

Single payer, raise the minimum wage, end the wars. Give the people healthcare, a little more money, and save them from dying in a nuclear war.

I came up with that in two minutes, without the benefit of a consulting firm, a Gallup poll, a Rolodex full of Beltway insiders, or lunch with Robby Mook, Bob Shrum and John Podesta. I didn’t need to phone up Frank Luntz in his cave to come up with a few Orwellian jargon words to makes these ideas palatable to the masses. People need health insurance, they need more money, and nobody, but nobody outside of neocon circles, wants a nuclear war. We want to be healthy, we want to have enough money to pay the bills, and we don’t want to be incinerated. Wow. How revolutionary.

Are these doable? No, not right away, but they are a practical set of aims, easily communicated in a soundbite media culture, that a party can build on. Or substitute the minimum wage for something else. Student loan forgiveness? We bail out banks, why not students? Pick one, Democrats, and mean it. Then hammer the message over and over an over again.

Oh, sayeth the wise Democratic centrists, those positions ignore the hard political realities. Well, at one time, cutting Social Security went against the hard political realities. It was the “third rail” of politics. Now, after decades of Republican hammering, it’s right there on the chopping block, a hard new political reality that ice cream cone Democrats, in their weak-kneed zeal for divine bipartisanship, offer up in their ‘grand bargains’ with Republican butchers.

Hard political realities can, and must, be changed. The American Revolution went against the hard political realities of the day. So did abolishing slavery, the forty-hour work week, the New Deal, civil rights. They all went against the hard political realities and, wait for it, changed them.

Now it’s the Republican party who changes the hard political realities, and then imposes them on us with blood and iron. Meanwhile, the Democrats cluck around the barnyard like gutless chickens, praying the ax will slip out of Trump’s hand before he cuts their necks.

There is a ready-made populist constituency just waiting to be led. They are thirsting for leadership, for someone to articulate these basic positions. But the Democrats, in their centrist wisdom, have decided to wait and see.

They will consult their donors and all the Important People in order to manufacture some bland, safe, poll-tested, focus-grouped agenda. It ill be carefully designed to appeal to the fiscally conservative yet socially liberal attitudes of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. They will offer it up like it’s the most super fantastic thing since the New Deal even though everyone will know it’s a sham, and it’s most progressive aspects will be immediately jettisoned at the first sign of opposition. Then they’ll be trampled to death in another Republican rout, which they’ll blame on Russia, a third party candidate, or some other external factor. That way they never have to trouble their beautiful little minds with such hard things as reflection, self-criticism or change.

There is a luscious women waiting with her legs spread, beckoning, and Chuck Schumer is standing there with his pants around his ankles, his spectacles perched on the end of his nose, calling over his shoulder to Nancy Pelosi about what to do with the cocoa butter.

“Hey Nancy, what are you suppoesed to do with this stuff? ”

“Hold on, Chuck, my pearls are slipping.”

Nancy Pelosi recently said to a gathering that single payer was a really swell idea. The right idea, the popular one, and everyone supported it. If we were starting from scratch, she said, a “tabula rasa,” we would put it in place immediately, but it’s just too late: We already have a system in place and we have to work within it.

That sums up the Democratic approach perfectly. Politics consists of extracting piecemeal reforms within the established order, as defined by corporate, banking and military interests (and enforced by Republican bullying). You can’t implement any policy, no matter how popular, if the donor class doesn’t want it. They set the agenda and you must be happy for any crumbs they choose to give you. You must not fight. You must not shout. Shut up and be happy at the back of the bus. We’ll let you know when we decide to do something for you. It’s timid and conformist. It’s passive and obedient, and it always leads to defeat, as the recent history of the Democratic party amply demonstrates.

Martin Luther King they ain’t.

The piece concludes:
The task ahead for Democrats, then, may be to bait Trump into swinging and missing on bread-and-butter economic issues just as he did on health care, while simultaneously plugging their own plan.

“On every issue the president talked about — on the wall, on tearing up the Iran deal, on immediate health care repeal — [Republicans] are coming face-to-face with reality in a very painful way,” Himes said. “And we don’t want to slow down that learning process.”
In other words, let the Republicans set the agenda. Do nothing. Hope Trump “swings and misses,” and occasionally, you know, mention some possible alternatives.

Why not? It’s worked wonders since 2010.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Trouble In Trump Land?

No sooner than I blog about Trump’s die-hard supporters never leaving him than they … up and leave him! Way to go, me!

It turns out Trump’s latest reality TV show missile strike on Syria has deeply alienated his Cro-Magnon base. I thought these people — or am I being too generous? — would drag their ass through broken glass and hot coals for him. It turns out not so much. Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and various other bacilli have sharply criticized it. They’re stamping their little feetsies and threatening to take their marbles home. It’s beautiful. What happened to my president, they’re saying, which is exactly what naive Obama voters (like me) said for eight years.

Meanwhile, establishment media hacks like Fareed Zakaria and Brian Williams are falling all over themselves praising Trump’s leadership. It’s truly nauseating. ’Trump became president today,’ gushes Fareed Zakaria, who should seriously consider buying a good pair of knee pads. One recalls the Emperor Tiberius’ acid disdain for the the weak and cowardly Roman Senate: “How eager they are to be slaves,” he reportedly always said.

Last week Trump was an incompetent boob and a Russian stooge; he launches a few missiles at Syria and suddenly he’s Winston Churchill. Glenn Greenwald has the whole pathetic story. The same insidious group think that go us into Iraq is in full swing, and the ludicrous, over-the-top praise will go to Trump’s head, guaranteeing that he’ll launch more strikes. Look at me, daddy, I’m a war president, and the Kewl Kids like me now. Oh boy oh boy! This feckless idiot child is going to get us into a war with Russia.

One marvels at the sheer reckless arrogance of our political class. They are so removed from reality that they represent a threat to humanity. For weeks they’ve been rabidly demonizing Putin and Russia, now we’re bombing one of their allies and pointlessly, needlessly, stupidly provoking them. Do these people not think at all? This is exactly how nations blunder into catastrophe.

I’m sick and tired of these mineral water drinking, Caesar salad eating, cholesterol watching yuppy pansy war lovers, these pudgy-souled text messengers and gym-goers who bray like donkeys for war and missile strikes because they have no skin in they game. After all, missiles never hit Georgetown or Manhattan. They’re all in for ‘humanitarian’ war as long as other humans are doing the fighting.

And while I’m at it, would people please stop deferring to John McCain as if he’s some kind of foreign policy whiz? His first, middle and last idea on foreign policy is war and bombing. This is not smart. This is not sophisticated. It is the dense and unimaginative thinking of a bully and a clod. At this stage in history, with a string of military failures to our credit, it is inexcusable. Somebody get that crusty old dick blowhard a cup of warm milk and put him to bed. Oh yeah, never forget that he’ responsible for inflicting Sarah Palin on us.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Inside The Trump White House

Trump is in the Oval Office talking to Bill O’Reilly on speakerphone. Ivanka is seated in front of his desk, totally engrossed in texting and not paying a bit of attention to their conversation. Bill is facing multiple sexual harassment suits and advertisers are leaving his show in droves. He sounds tipsy. Trump has just ordered airstrikes on Syria, but Bill’s problems are more interesting. 

Trump: I gotta be honest with you, Bill. I would have moved in on her like a bitch too. I gotta be honest. We’re grown men here, amirite? You didn’t do anything wrong, Bill. It’s political correctness. It’s nothing but political correctness run amok. It’s fake news.

O’Reilly: It’s like I always say, Donny, if you don’t like where you work, get another job. It ain’t rocket surgery. Go to human resources. Go to a different department. Get another job.

Trump: It’s outrageous, Bill, it really is.

O’Reilly: I got no problem with women in the work place. I’m an equal rights kinda guy. It’s just that this affirmative action has them all believing they’re entitled to any job they want, even if they can’t hack it.

Trump: I agree with you a hundred percent, Bill, a hundred percent. It’s political correctness run amok. It’s ruining our country, it really is. I mean that, Bill, I really do. It’s absolutely ruining our country.

O’Reilly is starting to slur his words. As his drunkenness increases, he affects an exaggerated working-class New York accent, as he often does when browbeating elitist liberals on his show. You’d almost think he was a longshoreman from Brooklyn and not what he actually is, a guy from a comfortable, lily-white suburb on Long Island who attended private school.

O’Reilly: All guys, awwwl guys get a little ribbing in their rookie year, am I right, Donny? That’s all it was. Just a little harmless ribbing. What’s a little slap and tickle among friends? It’s no different than guys snappin’ towels at each other in the locker room. It’s like a, uh, whaddya call it … a rite of passage. If women can’t handle that, maybe they don’t belong in the work place.

Trump: I know exactly what you’re saying, Bill, why do you think I keep Melania in New York?

O’Reilly, now thoroughly inebriated: And now you got the politically correct crowd scaring my advertisers away, effecting my ability to make a living. You don’t mess with a man’s livelihood. It ain’t right! [Yells] It ain’t right!

Trump: I gotta say it again, Bill, I agree a hundred percent. This is amazing, because I normally don’t agree a hundred percent with people because I think it’s good to disagree. I mean, you gotta disagree sometime because nobody’s right one hundred percent of the time, not even me. Well, almost me, but not always, but I gotta be honest, I agree with you a hundred percent.

O’Reilly [sobbing]: I never should have left Inside Edition. Not even Access Hollywood will return my calls now. Where’s my …  falafel thing. I need my … loofah thing…

Trump: Bill, I gotta run. I got this general on the line. You wouldn’t believe all the generals who call me these days, and not just any generals, not just average generals but the big guys, the biggest guys, best in the profession, tons of medals all over. Did you all know all those colored things they wear on their chest stand for different stuff they’ve done? And here I thought they just bought them all in big pieces and just slapped ‘em on their uniforms, you know, to look good. It’s unbelievable what you learn on this job.

O’Reilly: This used to be a man’s world, Donny.

Trump: Why don’t you come down to Mar-a-Lago next week? Roger Stone can ship us up some virgins from the Dominican Republican. You’re gonna love these girls, Bill, believe me, they’ll do anything, anything. And since you’re a celebrity you can get away with it. Believe me, you’ll be like the biggest things since they discovered bananas down there, Bill.

Ivanka, jumping up excitedly, holding up here iPhone: Look, Daddy, there’s a liposuction clinic in China named after me! And Chinese girls are getting plastic surgery to look just like me!

Trump: Of course they are, sweetheart, you’re beautiful. If you weren’t my daughter I’d have moved in on you by the time you were thirteen.

Ivanka: That’s so sweet, Daddy.

Trump, back on the phone: Yeah, general, talk to me. How big? I told you I wanted big explosions, really big, bigger than any Obama ever made. The biggest explosions ever. Keep doin’ it and get back to me.

Suddenly, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon come barging into the Oval Office, jabbing their fingers and screaming at each other.

Kushner: Big Daddy, he called me a cuck!

Bannon: Did not. I called you a globalist.

Kushner: Joe Scarborough said cuck. I should know, We text each other every day.

Ivanka: What’s a “cuck”?

Kushner: I don’t know, but it’s something bad. I think they called my other daddy that when he was in jail.

Trump: Steve, can you step away from the TV? It’s gonna be on in a minute. I ordered the military to bomb whatchamacallit.

Bannon: Iran?

Trump: Nah, nah, other one. [Snaps his fingers] Other one, other one, bad people, really bad people, killing babies. Awful.  .

Bannon: Yemen? Somalia?

Trump: No, no, the other place. The place where Jesus wrote the Bible. Sand. Lotsa sand there. Anyway, we’re sending big beautiful missiles there. It’s gonna be tremendous. You’ve never seen explosions like this before, believe me. They were using weapons with poison in them, did you know that? What do you call those again?

Kushner: Chemical weapons.

Trump: Yeah, chemical weapons. Awful stuff. Where did these things come from? I never heard of them before. It’s amazing what you learn on this job.

Ivanka: I think the Germans invented them in, like, World War II or something.

Bannon: That’s a lie!

Ivanka: Jared, honey, you look pale.

Kushner: I’m sorry, Luv Muffin. It’s all this fighting. It makes me all nervous and fatiguey. I prefer to screw people over in the dark behind their back and not, like, argue to their face and stuff.

Ivanka: Why don’t you evict some of your poor tenants in Manhattan? That always cheers you up.  

Bannon: Mr. President, you can’t be serious. Bombing Syria will jeopardize relations with Russia. It will weaken Assad. It will strengthen ISIS. Sir, this will ruin our whole agenda.

Trump: There’s a new agenda now, Steve. Saturday Night Live kept calling me your puppet, I can’t have that. It made me look weak. Jared’s in charge now. Did you see that? That explosion wasn’t big enough. Those are pussy explosions!

A secret service agent enters the Oval Office carrying a box. Trump is delighted.

Trump: Lookit lookit! [He pulls out a little picture in a frame] It’s me with Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson at a fund raiser back in the eighties. Isn’t that nice? They even signed it. Well, it’s six thirty. Time for Tweeting and bed. Jared, call the Pentagon and tell them bigger explosions. Goodnight.

Ivanka and Kushner: Goodnight, Big Daddy!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Just Don’t Throw Mud on His Ray-Bans

Donald Trump has a brilliant plan to defeat ISIS: Put Jared Kushner in charge and they will all die from laughing:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

They’ll Never Quit Him

All of the inside baseball, D.C. Beltway pundit types are once again proclaiming the end of Trump, just as they’ve been doing since August, 2015. I hope they’re right, even though the prospect of President Pence is almost as horrifying as Trump himself: It all boils down to which era you prefer to live in, the Gilded Age plus nukes (Trump) or the twelfth century plus credit default swaps (Pence). But I don’t think they’re right, and here’s why:
The day after the flaming out of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative, his supporters across America were lashing out - at conservatives, at Democrats, at leaders of his Republican Party in Congress.

Only Trump himself was spared their wrath.

Many voters who elected him appeared largely willing to give him a pass on the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, stressing his short time in office.
Inside the Beltway, Trump’s defeat signals the end of his agenda. Outside the Beltway, Trump’s lumpenproles shout: “I blame the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress! They are a bunch of bastards. I’m just fed up.” Some, demonstrating a patient wisdom they mysteriously lacked in the Obama years, tell us Trump “can’t just wave a magic wand.” Others are just fine with the outcome because they like Obamacare and Trump’s racism both. Where is it written that you can’t get government healthcare and hate wetbacks?

Either way, it’s somebody else’s fault: Ryan, the Democrats, the RINOS, the media, whatever.

These are the diehards. These are the bitter-enders who will be down in the bunker with Bannon and The Donald, cursing the libtards and fake news while Jared and Ivanka pass out the cyanide. They will always blame others and make excuses for their fuhrer. Always.

The big brains of the Beltway, using the most sophisticated polling techniques and marshaling all the hottest gossip from the Hill have been predicting Trump’s demise for a year and a half, and they’ve been wrong every time. They simply don’t appreciate the depth of his appeal or the depth of the Trumpite’s loathing towards all things establishment, including the Washington press corps.

I’m just as giddy with schadenfruede as every other civilized human being at King Deal Maker’s delicious face plant, but I won’t believe he’s toast until he’s toast.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Democrats Will Not Save Us

Trump is awful and so is the whole Republican party. But guess what? They’re still more popular than the Democrats!
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Republicans now control the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the overwhelming majority of state legislatures and governorships. This new poll from Suffolk University illustrates just how that’s possible. Here are the base results of the poll with favorable/unfavorable ratings.
Pence: 47%/35%

Trump: 45%/47%

GOP: 37%/48%

Media: 37%/50%

Dem Party: 36%/52%

Hillary: 35%/55%

Congress: 26%/52%
Shaun King puts the numbers in perspective:
In other words, the Democratic Party has a favorability rating 11 points lower than Pence, nine points lower than Trump, and even one point lower than the GOP.

Their unfavorable rating is 17 points worse than Pence, five points worse than Trump, and four points worse than the GOP.

This is a disaster. At a time when Donald Trump is the least liked President ever measured at this point in his first term, the Democratic Party has found a way to be even less liked than him. This is how Donald Trump wins a second term. This is how congressional Republicans win the next midterm elections. This is how conservatives not only maintain their current power from coast to coast, but also expand it.
In this context, the Democrats give us Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. They give us Dianne Feinstein. Now puff pieces about Chelsea Clinton are appearing on the horizon, like so many plumes of methane gas rising from the donor fed bowels of the DNC, and it also looks like they’ll try to foist Corey Booker on us at some point. Hey, a young black guy worked once, right? Let’s see if we can rekindle some of the old magic. You can just hear the corporate friendly, New Democrat types gushing about Obama 2.0 now. Call up Bob Shrum, John Podesta and Robbie Mook and let’s get this party started!

Has there ever been a political party this deaf, dumb and blind? Or is it that they just don’t care? Do you suppose the Democrat are perfectly happy to be a permanent minority as long as the party chieftains can keep their power within the organization? After all, no matter what the Republicans do, they’ll be okay. Recessions don’t effect their neighborhoods. Drones don’t strike Washington D.C., Manhattan, Marin County, or any of the other manicured zoos the rich call home. No, they’ll be just fine, thank you, and when they tire of public service, a six figure sinecure will be waiting for them in some corporation or lobbying firm.

Sooner or later these corrupt dullards will be swept aside by young new blood, but by that point we might be so deeply embedded in Trump’s trashy reich it will be too late.

Young Americans Behaving Badly, Again

Yet another example of young Americans doing us all proud, by way of No More Mr. Nice Blog:  
What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13.
During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial “Build That Wall” chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers.
This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country, which is (or should be) totally unacceptable.

Swedish kids don’t act that way, neither do Japanese kids, or Germans, Danes, Indians,  Canadians, Poles or Ecuadoreans.

Americans do.

I wonder if they know the Wall Street type who thought it would be cute to get drunk and dry hump a statue of a little girl? You know, this guy:

To hell with it. Slap these punks in the army and send them to Syria. If not, they’re gonna wind up running Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. They’re gonna be your next representative, Supreme Court justice, billionaire CEO, attorney or an advertising executive. They’re going to preside over Fourth of July parades, ribbon cutting ceremonies and shareholder’s meetings at which they breathlessly announce the next wave of layoffs and sleazy stock buy-back schemes. They’re going to be in the Kiwanis Club and coach your kid’s soccer team. In short, they’re going to evolve into good solid bourgeois  Americans who will dutifully keep our best traditions alive, including xenophobia and racism.

After they’ve matured a bit, they’ll learn to keep it discreetly in the closet (as some of them have no doubt already learned to do with their more unseemly sexual urges). They’ll go to their graves insisting they aren’t racist, but every time a foreign brown person says “boo!” they’ll be leading the charge for sanctions, drone strikes and boots on the ground. These brave, potbellied burgomasters will man up and tell us war is hell as they urge roundups and mass deportations. And not only will they not suffer from it, it will make their careers.   

Sunday, March 19, 2017

We Are All Trump

Trump is not an anomaly. He is not an aberration. He is not an unfortunate stumbling block on our road to perfect democracy.

Trump IS our destiny. He is the pitch perfect embodiment of the contemporary American soul. He is the zeitgeist. He is us. He is the ugly id brain of the ugly American, come to claim his birthright.

There is not one flaw in Donald Trump that doesn't apply to American culture generally.

Trump is a narcissist? So are we.

Trump is a bully? So are we.

Trump is an ignoramus who thinks the findings of science are a hoax?  Welcome to America.

Trump is a crass con man who would walk over your mother's corpse to make a buck? So would the rest of us.

I've expected the coming of Donald Trump for years.  I knew that a right wing despot was in our future since Reagan told us ketchup was a vegetable and Margaret Thatcher, echoing Ayn Rand, told us there was no such thing as society, only individuals. A right wing plutocracy was baked in the cake at that point. I always thought he would be a Bible thumper, but he was a reality TV star instead. How did I miss THAT? It's so obvious now.

Donald Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single vote. That's the truest thing he ever said. If you want to know what this country is about, stop reading EJ Dionne and Paul Krugman.  Watch FOX News and listen to Limbaugh instead. That is who this country is, and Trump is their boy. They will love him forever. They will drag their asses over hot coals for him.

And when he fails to deliver those 30 dollar an hour manufacturing jobs, he will start bombing Muslims, and his adoring fans will love him for it.

Fox America will hoist the flag and start calling out traitors. It's going to happen. Wait for it.

A third of this country loves him, and they are stupid and mean. They never doubt the wisdom of their prejudices and they will beat you up.

This is what fascism looks like.

And the country will go along with it.

The country will go along with it because we have no alternative.

I dunno, we just couldn't think of one. We fancy ourselves as swell folks, but, you know, all we could muster is Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. It was the best we could do. We just can't imagine anything more. Maybe Chelsea Clinton and Corey Booker will come along and make America safe for free trade again?

Christ, it's enough to make you long for Warren Harding.

All that is necessary for fascism to triumph is an inept liberal class.

Anyway, I refuse to spend too much time on Trump. He is a vampire and I won't waste another minute of my one and only life thinking about him. He is sickening and evil. He's not worth the paper I wipe my ass on.

And we can't beat him.

He has the full throated support of of one of our major political parties. Forget about the day-to-day gossip about Bannon hating Ryan, and Ryan hating Trump, and Trump hating Ryan. And forget about the fact that Mitch McConnell has a visage so loathsome it cracks mirrors and causes spontaneous abortions in cows. When push comes to shove, they band together, and they always will. They are the party of money, and you are poor. They will win, you will lose.

How is it that America, circa 2017, can do no better than these slimy reptiles? We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Don't like Trump? Look in the mirror.

Don't like Ryan? Look in the mirror. He always wins, doesn't he?

Don't like McConnell? Look in the mirror.

Why do these slimy reptiles keep making economic and education policy for us? Why?

Because we keep voting them into power.

They have constituencies. Their constituency is called America.

It's time to wake up and realize that this is a dumb, vicious country.

We elect dumb and vicious people because we are dumb and vicious. It really is that simple.

If we’re such great people, why do we have such shitty leaders?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Little Balls

I don’t feel like writing about Trump. At some point I’ll rant about him with acid fury and gusto, like everyone else with a forebrain and a decent respect for the opinions of mankind must do (good people must speak up and bear witness against this embarrassing monstrosity, this ludicrous avatar of the Emperor Commodus with a Twitter account), but for now let others record the crimes and follies of his misrule. Today, I’m just going to be lazy and recycle a post from April 2011, in which I take aim at two things I love to scorn and revile: Wall Street bankers and golf. It’s an imaginary conversation between Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his counterpart at JP Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon while they’re out on the links. If you’ve already read it, relive the magic. If you haven’t, enjoy it for the first time. Here it is:

Last night, I dreamed I was Lloyd Blankfein’s caddy. He was playing golf with Jamie Dimon, and the two were discussing how difficult it was to be rich bankers in a hostile and uncomprehending world:

“You know, Jamie, after a hard day of doing God’s work, I need to come out and put a little ball into a little hole.”

“Me too!” Jamie exclaimed. “Especially nowadays, when the whole world hates us no matter how much good we do. It’s so frustrating.”

“Sometimes putting a little ball into a little hole is the only thing that takes the hurt away.”

“I know, right?”

“Say, do you wanna keep on hitting little balls together, Jamie?”


“People think that just because we’re rich we’ve got it made. That’s why they hate us. They think that once you become a billionaire all the problems in your life just melt away. It isn’t so. Money doesn’t solve everything. Don’t people understand that? Don’t the poor know there’s more to life than money?”

“Apparently not. They lack higher understanding. For example, I went on CNBC once and tried to explain that when banks foreclosed on their homes it was actually good for them because it’s such an excellent form of debt relief. For some people, it’s almost a hundred percent debt reduction.

“God’s work, actually.” Lloyd interjected.

“Exactly. But did anyone get it? No. The people are so obsessed with their little homes and their little savings that they lose sight of the big picture. They can’t see what’s in their own best interest.”

“Or appreciate the finer things in life, like putting little balls into little holes.”

“Precisely. It’s like they have some some kind of neurosis.”

“A clinical illness. It almost makes you feel sorry for them.”

“I wouldn’t go that far, Lloyd.”

“Oh, silly me. Sometimes when I’m putting little balls into little holes I get all giddy and lose my head.”

“No worries. It happens to the best of us.”

“Hey, Jamie, wanna have a little fun? Let’s call the president and tell him that if the US doesn’t bomb Nova Scotia the markets will get spooked and collapse. I’ll bet you a hundred thousand dollars he does it.”

“Where’s the challenge in that bet? Of course he would. They always do what we say. Sigh. If only all of my employees were as obedient as presidents.”

“If only. But you’re right. It’s just that ever since I became a master of the universe things have gotten so, well, boring. I mean, after you’ve crashed the world economy and utterly destroyed hundreds of millions of lives, what’s left to accomplish? Where are all the thrills? For the life of me, I can only imagine one: putting little balls into little holes.”

“Me too! It shows how highly evolved we are, Lloyd.”

“I’m so glad someone understands.”

Games played with the ball, and others of that nature … stamp no character on the mind. — Thomas Jefferson.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Why Are Warren Buffet And Bill Gates Hopeful About America?

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are optimistic about the future. They spoke at Columbia University on Friday and gave hope to the fearful and the Trump-wary.
“I am confident that America will move ahead," Buffett said.
Gates, meanwhile, said the desire for innovation and support for research are “strong” and “largely bipartisan,” despite differences on how to accomplish and fund both.

“This administration is new enough; we don’t know how its budget priorities are going to come out,” but there is much intensity to ensure that the executive branch and Congress encourage “amazing things,” Gates said.
They also cautioned people against short-term thinking and told the kids to focus on doing good works. Got that? Keep it in mind.

And there you have it. Thus sprake two of the most revered oracles of our, uhm, less than exalted culture. One, sounding like he suffers from echolalia from hearing too much Trumpspeak, assures us we’re going to like, totally do amazing things! The other regurgitates a limp cliche about America moving forward that sounds like something lifted from one of Barack Obama’s weekly radio addresses. All is well. Americas is moving onward and upwarded, just like Thomas Friedman always says, and all that divides us is a dispute about strategy and funding. See you at the next Rotary Club meeting!

(I’m sorry, but Bill Gates’ pollyannish “technology will save us from everything” attitude is annoying beyond words; I really just wish that he and Mark Zuckerberg would buy a secluded island and go hide there forever and ever, and take Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria with them!)

In a totally unrelated bit of news, Forbes Magazine informs us that the ten richest Americans made six billion dollars in the first week of Trump’s presidency. Bill Gates might be unclear about the budgeting priorities of the Trump Administration, but the criminals on Wall Street aren&rsq;t. They’re positively bullish and the stock market has hit record highs. Unlike the rest of us, they are experiencing certainty. Isn’t that nice? Do you think Warren Buffet’s optimism might have something to do with the fact that he made 2.4 billion last week? (Strange prick Larry Ellison, on the other hand, had to settle for a measly $928 million, loser!)

Don’t worry about walls, Muslim bans, pipelines, runaway climate change, purges at the EPA, or Trump’s genuinely clinical narcissism. Things will be just dandy. Amazing things will continue to happen at Microsoft (ha ha ha ha) and Warren Buffet will still make billions (and still be regarded by the people he screws as a kindly old grandpa). Just keep your chin up, do good works, and by all means, avoid short-term thinking!