Let’s say for the sake of this essay, that you’re a nurse. And one day you go to visit a friend, and while you’re there your friend asks you if you could lance a particularly hard-to-reach boil for them. Aside from the disgust factor, it seems as though this might be a touch out of line other social norms, wouldn’t you say?
Or maybe you’re an auto mechanic and instead of being allowed to watch the game while you wait for Thanksgiving dinner your Aunt Betty hints that it would be wonderful if you had the time to help her figure out where “this funny noise keeps coming from in her car when she’s driving on the highway”.
Or, let’s say you’re a CPA and you stop by your sister’s house to visit a couple days before taxes are due. You don’t know she hasn’t filed her taxes yet, but the moment you walk in the door she begins to hint that she needs help filing before it’s too late. Of course she’s desperate and a doesn’t really ask it like a favor, but more like, “How can I get more deductions so I don’t have to pay?” Because she’s not really asking if you’d be willing to help, that part is just assumed.
Most people wouldn’t dream of obligating someone to help them with something that important without a prior request or warning, right? Not to mention, how do most people feel about doing more of their job after they’ve leave work?
So, why do people feel it’s acceptable to do the same thing to your friend/family member who does tech support for a living?
This morning Donald Trump tweeted his disappointment about the transition between President Obama and himself. It was the (as usual) knee-jerk reaction from a comment made by President Obama that he felt he would have won a third term against Donald Trump if he’d been allowed to run again.
As is becoming painfully obvious, Donald Trump is unable to bear even the smallest slight against his reputation, and since the President had the audacity to make this comment on the record, there is little or no chance that Trump will be able to forget this disparaging remark anytime soon. Of course, Trump has proven that he won’t let something like this slide, but he has also proven that he sees these kinds of comments as an opportunity to advance his own agenda.
It’s almost as if Trump has begun laying the groundwork for how the transition of power was eventually botched to make him look bad, or to undermine his ability to govern. But why?
If you look back at the election he did the same thing regarding the validity of the election system, casting doubt in an obvious attempt to explain what looked like a pending loss. His numbers were in the toilet and he needed to begin the misinformation campaign to explain a loss were it to occur.
Now, as Trump prepares to head to the White House his favorability numbers are among the lowest of any President-elect in a long time, 43% at last glance (compare that to Obama’s 68% when he was entering office in 2009). Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s favorability ratings on the way out the door are hovering around 54%, a full 11% higher than the Mr. Trump (Note that at this point George W. Bush’s numbers were at an all-time low of 22%). In other words, Trump is already running at a deficit in public opinion, and that has to be someone’s fault!
Traditionally Presidents have gone out of their way to maintain a peaceful transition of power, no matter who their replacement or predecessor. They also have refrained from badmouthing their predecessor, since it’s understood that with the office comes many inherited difficulties, sometimes going back generations. It’s a job with a lot of power, a very wide scope, and a ton of problems. So what happens when a man who cannot accept fault in any way, and who consistently makes sure that to pass the buck rather accepting the responsibility for it, inherits all of those responsibilities and problems?
I guess that remains to be seen, but I’d like to make a few predictions.
First, I would guess this is likely the end to peaceful transitions of power in The White House. Partially because he has already made his first shot across the bow of Obama’s departing ship, and partly because if we get a chance to replace him in future election, I cannot see him ever going quietly.
Next, it is now possible that Donald Trump could very well be the last President we ever have. That may sound hyperbolic, but I mean it. He could be the last President of the United States for any number of reasons. He may find the need to manipulate the system so that all free elections are indefinitely suspended in some way, allowing him to remain in power for as long as he can or to pass it along to his progeny. Or he could simply get us all killed in a nuclear conflict because he does not know how to back down or deescalate anything, obliterating the United States as we know it and its political framework. Or he may simply get to preside over the next American Civil War, during which he would likely invoke untold amounts of wartime protections for his beloved executive power.
The point is that I simply don’t see a scenario where Donald Trump will allow any further free and fair election to dethrone him. Once he is in power he is going to do whatever he can to retain it. There is little doubt that the American landscape has forever changed already. How much, remains to be seen.
I see that it’s been about 2 weeks since my last post, that’s probably a record. And while some of that gap can be explained by holiday commitments, it’s also because I’ve been frozen in place watching the president-elect ramp up. It’s similar to watching a train derailment in slow motion… with bad hair.
I admire people who are able to separate each catastrophe as they occur, and write on that topic without overlapping with so many others. I can’t start talking about a new arms race without commenting on the filling of so many cabinet positions with people who are on record as wanting to dismantle the very department they are now slated to lead. There’s no way to take your eye off the ball for a second and not get it in the face these days.
For anyone who isn’t old enough to remember the constant state fear and distrust between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it’s difficult to describe what the landscape was like, and how it is now quickly reemerging into existence, like Lord Voldermordt being reborn from a lone cauldron in a remote cemetery.
For over a year we’ve been watching Trump tweet out insinuations and thoughts that have sent the media (and consequently half of the country) into a tailspin over and over, only to have his cleanup crew try to explain what he really meant in order to calm everyone down again.
As president-elect, he is doing it again, only now his words carry the weight of policy. Like a petulant man-child, he can’t seem to not react, and there seems to be little if no forethought to the repercussions. It does not matter how intelligent someone is if that are a slave to their emotions. There is so much nuance in world diplomacy and nuclear policy that no one person can respond as quickly as he does without considering every reaction to their words. And based on the explanation rate from his minions, Trump is no exception.
There can be nothing less presidential than the willingness to endanger millions of innocent lives because you feel the childish need to posture at every provocation and opinion.
The old saying goes, “what goes up, must come down”, and America’s position as a global power is no exception. It is inevitable that the developing regions of the world will continue to become more and more relevant, while those that have led the world will find themselves in growing company, whether they like it or not.
The need to be perceived as the most successful, the most powerful, the most virile man ever to own a penis, is at the base of Trump’s nature. His need for recognition and accolades is legendary. But likewise it is bottomless and insatiable. That kind of need for fulfillment comes from a deep place in the individual, but is probably linked to more war and bloodshed than any other driving factor in human history.
The idea that a 140 character instant communication could start another nuclear arms race is something people are trying to impress upon the president elect. Unfortunately, he has one foot in a reality where he must show his virility at all cost, and a fantasy where everyone overreacts to his words and “need to lighten up”. And unfortunately, reality is in the perception of the observer, and those who are watching must err on the side of caution. And so, self-preservation is the watchword.
The biggest oversight Trump has made is assuming that all of this may only become another arms race. To hope that all sides will see this posturing as a reason to build their own arsenals up enough to once again ensure a worldwide nuclear stalemate is a hope drawn from the shelves of the dusty past, just as the slogan “make America great again” is nothing more than fruitless nostalgia for a bygone era.
To examine Donald Trump’s public statements is to reveal a man whose ideas on foreign policy are steeped in the teachings of the Sylvester Stallone and Steven Seagal movies of the 1980’s. But ignoring the fact that increased production of these weapons only makes more of them available for non-state actors bent on global destruction in exchange for their own eternal reward is ignorant to the point of delusional. Those are not on the preferred list of characteristics to a world leader, but they are similar to traits shared by dictators throughout the ages.
And so I’ll sit back and watch, and as the inspiration comes to me, I will comment as best as I can, for as long as I can, until they finally succeed in stopping me. At which point it’s your turn.
Let’s put aside everything that has happened politically in the last two years, okay? In fact, let’s go way back to 1980’s for a few minutes. There’s a new type of TV station called MTV where Flock of Seagulls is part of the new wave, (special emphasis on the word “new”); the latest high tech wrist watch is made by Casio; Ronald Reagan is in the White House; and the Russians are an existential threat to the United States.
Now, imagine it’s the 1984 election and Ronald Reagan lost to Mondale. A month before he takes office there is talk within intelligence circles, and not just among tin foil hat wearers, that the Soviets influenced the election to oust Reagan. And Walter Mondale’s public response is “Nah! I don’t believe it! These are the same people who couldn’t get back out hostages in Iran!”
Would Republican’s go along with that? Would they be okay with just glossing over the loss of The Reagan White House because a foreign government might have, just possibly, influenced the outcome of one of our elections?! Would they be comfortable when Mondale says there’s no evidence so what’s the point?! Or would they probably want an independent committee to take a really close look at everything?
Why is it that the same people whose blood pressure boils when someone doesn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, willing to just brush off any suggestions that Russia has fucked with our election in any capacity at all?!
No matter what the reason, how can anybody be okay with the President-Elect just discounting our intelligence agencies? Is it because he is afraid of the outcome? I mean, that would explain things. On the other hand, if Trump is right and it’s baseless, wouldn’t he want to make sure everyone knows he was right?!
Something doesn’t smell right… This looks like a job for moose and squirrel!
GET ‘EM WOLVERINES!!!
(tumbling along in Ginsberg’s wake, may he absolve me)
I saw the best friendships of my generation destroyed by politics,
raving partisan lunatic, filling the stark white streets with an anger they refused to see,
hicks and hipsters burning crosses and effigies to kick the political machines to one side,
rejuvenating poverty middle-class tattered to a blank-eyed smoking crater of cities contemplating sanctuary,
the minds of men interpret Jesus and Muhammad to illuminate their ideas and fears,
PC culture pauses on universities to keep the cold-stares fixed on the least civil of wars,
the expulsion of the crazy became the target of the right, they fight to relive the heyday of the white and obscene,
where they once cowered in plain sight lining their pockets with the scare of terror that funded their rape,
from Laredo to Los Angeles the 99 occupied their news in a nightmare of colored faces labelled with drugs that had been planted decades earlier,
as the storm cloud ceases motion and bids foreboding to the socialist Dem making more sense than cents,
filling the cemeteries with fentanyl no longer requiring the heroine dame to punch a clock,
alcohol’s predictive ways fell short of the final solution as they sought to seek the back doors,
the most private of prisons are lined with cake and cash heeding nobody’s needs and suck at the proletariat’s tax,
as Big Orange gets a sexy leg-up from Russia over Chinas migraine and Mexican walls,
thin lines of bleak light leak through false news to the social network happenings tweet tweet twist,
dancing on a pin and seeking sex wags the dog and cups his balls,
the implosion of decency fell from the tightrope held fast by the Gipper polished by the Peach puppet-master,
on and on I’ll Howl as Ginsberg did with no reparations coming, lost in the spokes of a tire spinning out of orbit,
forever feigning is the innocent and the ugly, forever tainted gold by the polished Tangerine, dream member dream, accountable to none
Okay, I know I’ve made a lot of silly jabs at Donald Trump, but one thing I have been, and will continue to be serious about, is the alarming stance he has on our First Amendment rights.
For generations, politicians have dangled the Second Amendment in front of us while on their stump, knowing full well how passionate Americans can be about their ability to protect themselves. But the First Amendment rarely gets trotted out because, as civil rights go, it’s widely accepted. So much so that most people take it for granted.
From the beginning of his campaign Trump has been cultivating a distrust for the media among his supporters. At first he did so under the guise that he was exposing only the dishonest media. As the campaign went on he began to corral the reporters into roped off areas like sideshow freaks, singling them out to his supporters so they could be collectively booed and harassed for informing the American public. The media, he repeatedly stated, were the real enemy.
Amazingly, the media responded by giving him unlimited coverage for his campaign events! Rather than treating him like a presidential candidate, they saw him as a reality TV star. Their Pavlovian response was to give us More! More! More! Every insensitive comment, all of the vitriol, anything that wasn’t scripted and canned, was broadcast far and wide. All Trump! All the time! Quite simply, the media got played.
And now here we are… Donald Trump is preparing to become the 45th President of the United States. Much to everyone’s chagrin, he is still not acting in a traditional manner. For example, instead of organizing his first press conference Mr. Trump recently invited top media executives, reporters, and news anchors to an off the record meeting. Yes, off the record!
Think about this for a minute…
What could he possibly say two weeks after the election that needs to be kept off the record? He had only been the President-Elect for less than a month! What needed to be kept from his adoring public?!
Well, it turns out that the whole point of this meeting was so he could bawl them out for reporting unflattering things about him. That, and threatening to cut off their access to his White House if they don’t start being more fair and balanced (“fair and balanced” is now an interchangeable term for “unwavering support despite all evidence to the contrary”). In other words, his whole purpose was to say “there’s a new sheriff in town” and everyone should be prepared to play by his rules… or else.
Let’s stop for a minute and look at this – Donald Trump stood there, day after day during the campaign and openly said that Hillary Clinton was planning on abolishing the Second Amendment. There was no evidence or record of any such statement from her, but he said it anyway. All the while he was doing so he was also openly proclaiming his disdain for the media, for free speech, for the religions he did not approve of, for general dissent or protest, for unflattering commentary, or even for the rights of the press to report what they saw as relevant, even if Donald Trump didn’t like it.
Now I suppose his biggest supporters love this because they see it as him telling it like it is. But anyone who doesn’t see the huge ramifications of this act likely has never stopped to really examine where our freedom comes from. So let’s put aside our love for guns, guns, and more guns, and take a minute to look at the Amendment that our country saw fit to put before our right to bear arms.
The freedoms afforded to the press to distribute information and news, the ability of the public to voice their opinions of the government openly, the capability to peaceably assemble and protest our public servants, or even the citizen’s right to rectify the perceived wrongs they may have with Washington, these are our base rights. Are they more important than the right to bear arms, though?
Simply put, the First Amendment to the Constitution is the canary in the coal mine. Without the free flow of news and information we would not know if Obama was actually coming for our guns, or if those Facebook memes that said so were sent around by the gun lobby to boost sales among a gullible populace.
Without the free flow of news and information, we wouldn’t know that people had been murdered in Mississippi for trying to help minorities register to vote.
Without the free flow of news and information, we wouldn’t know that our President had once been so paranoid that he authorized his minions to break into the DNC offices at the Watergate Hotel, resulting in his resignation because a newspaper was able to report on it.
Without the free flow of news and information, we wouldn’t know that the government had a clandestine operation for gathering data off of the phones of its citizens.
And of course, without the free flow of news and information, we wouldn’t have been played by FBI Director James Comey, who made a non-specific announcement as payback to the Clinton machine for years of political wangling, which helped to elevate a true demagogue as President of the United States.
Without the free flow of news and information, we wouldn’t know when, or if, we needed to defend ourselves, or from whom.
One thing is for certain, if we hope to keep our freedoms under His Majesty, The Baby, then we will need to exercise our First Amendment rights openly and often, and with as many people as possible. Because if there is one thing we can learn from Mahatma Gandhi, it is that if enough of us are standing up they can’t arrest and stop all of us. If we overwhelm their ability to control and quash our dissent then we may continue to have a system of government that is by the people and for the people. If we do not, then we will continue our descent toward a two-classed society, that of the a few ‘haves’ and then a whole bunch of ‘have-nots’.
Quite simply, Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is completely at odds with everything he has said and done.
Constantly lobbying to end any criticism or satire about him is a direct attack on our First Amendment rights. Damaging the Constitution is not great at all.
Inviting a foreign power to engage in espionage just to help him get elected is anything but great.
Not setting up a blind trust, or divesting himself from his companies when he has business interests in over dozens of countries, virtually guarantees that he stands to financially benefit from even the smallest acts (such as staying in his Pennsylvania Ave hotel) into a violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution. Not even a little great.
I could go on for pages, but you get the gist. This man sold 49% of voters a large bottle of artificially sweetened snake oil. If we don’t stand up and speak loudly, clearly, and forcefully, we will most certainly lose more then our credibility with the world.
Trump “praised” Philippine president Duterte’s drug crackdown policy.
If you don’t know what Duterte’s policy is, here was his campaign promise: “When I become president, I’ll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them,” Duterte vowed during his campaign in March. “The funeral parlors will be packed.”
Nearly 5,000 people have died due to this policy, and Trump praised it.