All That and Indicted, Too?

If we ignore him, really and truly carry on as if he doesn’t exist, maybe he will just… disappear. No more press coverage, no more references and acknowledgments, no more mention of his name in any conversations. Shh…!

That’s hilarious. He’s our very own indomitable loudmouth authoritarian who wants to be President again, who still does a masterful impression of someone who can’t speak well, who still has his screeds, aka speeches, written by Stephen Miller or someone with an equally dark and twisted mind. When you witness a Trump speech, please keep in mind that it’s not him you’re hearing. He’s just reading copy, and sometimes not very well. He doesn’t know what he believes, other than he’s always misunderstood and always the victim.

He wants to avoid prosecution and be in power and have people worship him. He wants to eat his cake. He’s not a leader, he doesn’t love America, he doesn’t care about anyone, yet he still has a sizeable, loyal following who’s willing to do his dirty work (does he?). He’s a child, a criminal scumbag, a vindictive vessel of hate, in everyone’s face, acting and speaking with impunity, as if he can’t be touched or scratched or dented.

I’m not sure we can talk about pride going before a fall with Trump. It’s not so much pride as it is a debilitating fear of losing. For the good of the country, he needs to go away. But he won’t. There’s no chance of that happening. Have we ever seen a candidate for high office who’s so needy, so hateful and selfish and unqualified?

A truly pathetic human who wouldn’t survive outside the limelight. Attention is his oxygen.

Patience, Peace, and Controlled Breathing

This country is a mess most days. And that’s not just my half-baked, glass-half-empty take on things.

You can always find the good news stories—they’re a dime a dozen. But the big stuff doesn’t go away. It looms, clouds the picture, maybe has us wishing and hoping it’s all still fixable, somehow. Societal decline, huge gaps in income and opportunity, climate damage, two camps dug in, people still sore over the Civil War, frustration and hopelessness and guns and anger everywhere, the latest megalomaniac perpetrating evil on a sovereign nation, maybe trying to start something bigger and wider. Assumptions and accusations flying, a former President who will soon be indicted and has—again!—incited his lemming disciples to cause trouble in his name. There’s imbalance and going without, giant rifts and seeming unquenchable anger.

At least the reservoirs in California are filling up. That’s something positive, and kind of amazing, though not surprising, given the number of atmospheric rivers that have been flowing across the state.

It’s a heavy load for all of us. It feels like a total assault on everyone. People will look out for their own and will abandon any thought of a team effort, of showing patience and strength, asking questions and seeking solutions. We’ll look to someone else for those, always someone else, because we’ll be too busy stockpiling cans of tuna and cases of water and finding a place in the hills on some high ground where we can weather the coming tribulation and defend ourselves with the assault rifles and ammunition we’ve been stockpiling. Holy shit.

What if we didn’t panic? What if we didn’t pay such heed to the paranoid survivalists and doomsayers and their damned self-sufficiency? Is this our only recourse—the “every person for themselves” default?

What if we took a breath and a closer look?

Life Support, or Pacing Itself?

All many of us have, myself included, are opinions. Largely unresearched, unproven, straight-up personal opinions, perhaps based on what we hear on our news channels of choice, or from an angry, disenchanted uncle. What’s also in the mix, since Trump and probably before, is a more emotional gut reaction, perhaps rising from the way we were brought up, the kind of people we hoped would be elected to office, and the ensuing disconnect between expectations, assumptions, and reality.

Over the years and during mostly Presidential election cycles, various candidates either appealed or didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t think much of Al Gore, for some reason, though I came to see W. like many others did— riding coattails and assuming responsibilities that had “way over his head” written all over them. The Republican candidates from then on started taking on the look and sound of anachronisms, mostly white men and an occasional woman with sticks up their asses and ideas that sounded recycled and uninformed and paranoid and cold and old.

I was one of many who cried a bit– tears of joy– when Barack Obama won in 2008, and was relieved and elated that he won again in 2012, in no small part because of that stunning “promise” from Mitch McConnell about making sure Obama would be a one-term president. Fuck you, Mitch.

What happened in 2016 was in part the result of a motivated and scared-shitless white base who wanted to make sure another black man wasn’t elected on their watch. With the additional help from a foreign power and the less-than-satisfying Electoral College, along with a certain Clinton fatigue, we ended up with Trump. And the rest has been one long gut punch, history of a decidedly sordid variety that has alot of us wondering who and what America is.

And maybe how much longer it has.

Harder Than It Looked

It might be over for us, officially, maybe, but apparently things look much different from the perspective of Iraqi citizens who are left to deal with the U.S. withdrawal and its aftermath. The new dawn of democracy touted by W. didn’t materialize, which shouldn’t come as any surprise. How could he even utter such a thing? Instead there is instability and confusion and, one might think, an identity crisis. A leadership crisis.

Who is Iraq now? Who were they under Hussein? Nation building would seem to be an ill-advised responsibility for anyone to take on. Who did we think we were? Who do we think we are? What makes leaders think that foreign countries with very different histories and religions and customs would suddenly see the light and bend toward democracy in the first place? Is this what happened in Japan after WWII, and what was the plan there?

We invaded Iraq and were fed a line that might have made it seem like it was going to be… easy? Shock and awe and all that, brought into our homes, broadcast live for all to see– the amazing, overwhelming military might. It was almost easy to think that this was going to be another Desert Storm. A little strategery and things would settle down by Tuesday.

The only exit strategy and long-range plan was a short-range plan to obliterate and overwhelm and avenge our grief and anger over 9/11. We reacted, lashed out, with little thought given to the long term.

Corrupted

Watched the first episode of the new season of Ted Lasso last night, and this morning I see in the headlines a story about a rich Chinese tycoon who was arrested in a billion-dollar fraud scheme.

I know the slimy owner of the West Ham United soccer team is only a TV character, but his attitude and demeanor are probably not far removed from this guy, who I assume has gotten used to behaving with impunity and operating in the rarified air of assumed privilege. For him, nothing is out of reach and he can do whatever he wants because there’s nothing money can’t buy, or influence, or enhance or prevent or keep quiet.

May the accusations stick.

Tinkering With Armageddon

So is this the precipitating incident? Something silly, almost? A desperate, dumb maneuver that raises hackles and tempers, and offers up a convenient excuse to take hostilities to another level?

A Russian pilot in a Su-27 allegedly strikes a U.S drone over the Black Sea, bringing it down, and immediately there is talk of escalation. Of course there is, because people react and need to speculate and, who knows, may even want things to move from cold to hot.

This can’t be the thing. Not exactly a Pearl Harbor. Maybe that’s coming.

Idiots and warmongers on both sides, still up to old tricks. Let them fight their own damn war.

Big and Squeaky Wheels

The proposed national security budget from the POTUS, just by itself, is more than a trillion dollars. Is it really his budget, though? How much does he really have to do with it, or is it his because he’s the one who happens to be in office? Does he join the discussion, sit at the table and crunch the numbers? How qualified is he to be figuring out this stuff, really?

And more significantly, is it not tragic that military and related spending is over a trillion dollars? What are we getting ready for? Does money grow on trees? What other programs will go unfunded or suffer from underfunding because the military always seems to need priority?

It’s a sad state of affairs, but a commentary on where we’re at as a human race– apparently incapable of trusting, alway wary, always looking for the next big deterrent, having no issues with depleting precious resources in the name of self-defense.

Making life better for people? Not so much.That’s for wusses and pie-in-the-sky dreamers. The MIC still rules. Ike was a prophet.

How About Foolproof?

Why is it that panic is never far away when it comes to banking and bank failures? Is it always a systemic issue with wide-ranging effects? Why can’t these latest banking debacles in California, and New York, be isolated examples of mismanagement, instead of a catalyst for the predictable gloom and doom reaction in the media?

Funny thing about money—whenever it is involved, people get quite passionate about making more of it. It’s an unhealthy risk/reward mindset when you’re playing with other peoples’ cash.

It seems untenable to have such seeming fragility built into a system that should be much more robust, and even, as Elizabeth Warren puts it, boring. Boring is good in banking.

Vicarious Living

The past two years, I’ve waited until Monday to offer uninformed commentary on the Oscars. This year I’ll offer my shots from the hip on Sunday, the night of the gathering, having zero intention of watching even a minute of it.

It’s very difficult for me to identify with the hoopla, the unabashed self-congratulation, and the attention paid these largely egomaniacal, needy people who carry on as if what they do is indispensable to the world. I’m tired of the cliché catch phrases and the red carpet which is apparently not red this year. Such scandal!

I know it’s as American as apple pie, but I guess I’ve had my fill. It all means very little, in the bigger picture.