Friday, May 29, 2020

This American Carnage

Do you hear or see anyone asking the right questions?

Why is this happening? That's what Chris Hayes on MSNBC tries to ask each week. That's what you see Don Lemon trying to figure out each time he comes on television. I see a number of people trying to figure this out and my hat is off to them.

This American carnage. What is it, who caused it, what unleashed it?

Well, the white supremacy and the violence was always there. It was there a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago. What is happening right now is that the forces that may have kept it under wraps are no longer trying to compel people to do the decent thing. In the 1950s, in the 1930s, and certainly in the aftermath of the First World War, no one really tried to keep the violence in check. You had whole communities obliterated, burned to the ground, an entire generation would see unchecked violence in their communities. Then, they would get to see it happen to their children and their grand children.

They were only just now reversing decades of economic decline in Washington D.C., especially in the areas where there were riots after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. They were really trying to turn things around in the neighborhoods of South Minneapolis that were devastated by the routing of I-35 through traditionally African-American neighborhoods, and parts of town ruined by the explosion of crack cocaine in the 1980s and 1990s.

The carnage was unleashed by you and me. It was unleashed by a failure to remember that we need to be neighbors with one another. We can not and should not tolerate race baiting and jackassery. We fell asleep at the switch and Trump figured out how to make hay out of negligence and ignorance. He didn't create any of this. He just learned how to grab the ropes and pull them a certain way, giving us division and hatred like we haven't seen in a while.

Those of us who moved out of the big cities and found pleasant suburbs more to our liking left people to the ruin and loss they see on television right now. We abandoned the big cities and now they are going to burn, man. When the shit shows up on your leafy cul-de-sac, then you'll know what's really happening.

I've seen this with Baltimore and Freddy Gray. How we ended up here is no mystery. We never learn, we never invest, we never reverse the course. We just watch the shit go down and pretend that voting and showing up doesn't change a thing.

Yeah, it did this time. You see what's happening, you see over a hundred thousand Americans are dead because of indifference and poor leadership and you know what carnage looks like. You see the brutality but refuse to acknowledge that you won't go into the bad part of town because "those people" deserve to be policed like this. You see what's happening.

It's carnage. It's a direct action, a call to arms, an opportunity to agitate and express the will of the people. And when someone runs by with a bottle of booze, that old feeling kicks in, that old sense that someone's got it coming.

We all have it coming.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A Failure to Lead

Here's the Vice President of the United States of America, out and about during a global pandemic, ordering food in a restaurant that is half-assing its way into oblivion.

Not only is this irresponsible and reckless and a demonstration of Pence's incompetence, it's also ridiculous to the nth degree. There are almost 100,000 dead Americans who would love to be eating out today, but because of Pence and his boss, they'll never get that chance. There are countless Americans who are wearing masks and staying home and doing the right thing. Pence has set such a poor example for them that you can't help but wonder how much more crazy people will get when they go out into public places and run into any kind of pushback for failing to wear a mask.

It's nonsensical to expect any of them to "get it." They won't perform the mental gymnastics necessary to understand the need to sacrifice something personal for the common good. They won't arrive at a common sense moment, ever. You don't wear the mask for yourself. You wear it to minimize the possibility of infecting someone else. That's because the experts have told us that this is one way to return to social interaction with some degree of safety.

Fuck it, they say. No egghead is going to tell me what to do! And then they drown in their own liquified, blood-soaked lungs. Down comes the curtain! No learning necessary. On to the next human tragedy.

The default setting for those who take their cue from Pence is, "I will do whatever I want and fuck you if you die because I'm not giving up my freedom."

Pence is a lickspittle and a toady, and that will never change.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Trump is Destroying Our Customs and Traditions

No one really pretended that George W. Bush "liked" the Clintons. The scene shown above is from the summer of 2004, and the supposed niceties of this event were probably strained. We know that Bush hated to be managed in these types of events. The impeachment of President Clinton was probably fresh in everyone's minds, and neither man was a big fan of Al Gore.

Trump will provide numerous exceptions going forward. He is actively trashing the spirit and the letter of the office that he holds. I sometimes wonder how badly he and his "family" will leave the facility when they are hurled out of office. Will they smash things and leave shit stains on the carpets and soil whatever they cannot steal?

And I can say that because all of the norms, all of the customs, and every single tradition are just things that can be destroyed to further his ego:
It's been a White House tradition for decades: A first-term president hosts a ceremony in the East Room for the unveiling of the official portrait of his immediate predecessor that will hang in the halls of the White House for posterity.
Republican presidents have done it for Democratic presidents, and vice versa — even when one of them ascended to the White House by defeating or sharply criticizing the other.

"We may have our differences politically," President Barack Obama said when he hosted former President George W. Bush for his portrait unveiling in 2012, "but the presidency transcends those differences."
Yet this modern ritual won't be taking place between Obama and President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. And if Trump wins a second term in November, it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed among every U.S. president from George Washington to Bush.
Trump is unconcerned about shunning yet another presidential custom, and he has attacked Obama to an extent no other president has done to a predecessor. Most recently he's made unfounded accusations that Obama committed an unspecified crime.
Obama, for his part, has no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage so long as Trump is in office, the people familiar with the matter said.
How would you like to be the White House employee who has to tally up the damages when the Trumps are flushed out of the place? How would you like to go around after his vicious, howling people are finally removed? I fully expect half of them to show up the next day thinking that the Biden people will want to tap into their expertise and seek out their advice. How many armed men will it take to extricate these goons? You gotta break some eggs if you want to have a Fiasco Presidency like Trump's.

Anyway, ceremonies and portrait unveilings are supposed to relieve us of our concerns and show us examples of how normal things should be. It should reassure the American people to see these figures pretending to smile and get along even if there are underlying hatreds and grudges. It really was extraordinary to see things go from the Elder Bush to Clinton and then to George W. Bush, all in the span of an eight year presidency that was marked by witch hunts that flew in the face of the reality of the peace and prosperity that Clinton delivered. Were it not for the debacle of the second Bush presidency, we might have been comforted by that example.

Instead, we get to wonder what Trump's demise will look like. Hey, they might even cover it in the papers.

Monday, May 18, 2020

When a Morbidly Obese President Takes Unapproved Drugs

I could watch this again and again all damned day long.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described President Donald Trump as “morbidly obese” during an interview Monday night with Anderson Cooper on CNN. Asked by the anchor for her reaction to the news that the president is apparently taking the unproven anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against COVID-19 against the recommendations of the FDA, Pelosi said, “I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say. So I think it’s not a good idea.”
The funny thing is, we're now going to be treated to a litany of comments from Trump and his surrogates that will try to deflect attention and change the subject and keep people from paying attention to the fact that someone in the White House has a massive pant load of dough that he's been walking around with since day one.

When you can stand next to John Daly and look like the lazy out of shape one, there's a problem.

The real scandal here is that the medical personnel who are supposed to treat the president are, essentially, paid liars who cannot be trusted and have no credibility. We've been subjected to several years of outright lies and obfuscations that cannot be allowed to stand.

I mean, this is ludicrous and isn't worth the paper that it's printed on:

We need someone, when Trump is finally hurled out of office, to take a look at his medical records and own up to the fact that the office that treats POTUS should be independent and above reproach. It should be made up of a rotating team of doctors from the military whose first oath is to the country and not someone's vanity. And when the president is on medication, we need to know what it is and why. It's a national security issue, through and through.

Anyway, what a stupid time to be alive. Get ready for weeks and weeks of White House comments along the lines of "look how fat Joe Biden got in 2007" and "Biden is the real tubby tubby in the race" because there's no way this will fail to provoke a tremendous amount of rage.

And let's dispel the notion that you can't fat shame Trump. There's no way to shame him, period. He doesn't register that human emotion. Republicans tell us that he's the manliest goddamned man on the planet, and I just can't process that, given what we've seen with our own eyes.

In other words, fuck this fat boy. Nancy SMASH! wins again.