Living Large In Carson City: The Truth Is What I Say It Is Edition.


Was it last week when Rudy Giuliani  in one of his blabbering, vomit- inducing public statements in support of Trump said, “Truth isn’t the truth”? The sheer enormity of that statement speaks volumes about where America is today and the crisis we face as Americans when it comes to the veracity of  Trump and his merry band of trolls who believe everything he says. I know Giuliani later walked back his statement in an attempt to clarify what he meant to say was more of a he said/she said scenario where truth is relative to the eye of the beholder. This might have been credible if the culture of lies that Trump has promulgated wasn’t all encompassing to the point where nothing is clear that makes the American public believe anything these people say has anything to do with actual truth.

Actually, that isn’t completely true. Up until a couple of months ago, I had no idea the depth of denial and self-delusion the Trumpers have fallen into. Certainly, they were predisposed to embrace someone like Trump. Someone that assuaged their fear of the rising dark masses in the country who threaten to upend the social fabric of the United States where they, the white, older and sometimes racists Trump fans, would be placed behind brown or black people as the new minority. Granted, normal people who embrace the concept of inclusion will find this hard to believe that beyond legitimate hate groups like the alt-right types and your garden variety of racists, haters, and white privileged morons that most Americans embrace the concept of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as everyone’s right.

Think again. Certainly, all of us know the odd nut job who spouts conspiracy theories, uses derogatory language about non-whites or others who are simply different from them as a matter of everyday conversation. Maybe it is because I was raised in the South or my naivety, but I was more than willing to write those people off as disgruntled and possibly a little “off” if you get my drift. I wrote about this topic recently, but since then, I have been enlightened through my perusal of hard- core conservative websites that, no, the problem is not confined to the odd wack job who comes into my life through family ties or normal social interaction.

Somehow, back in the early summer, I wound up on a conservative website’s email blast. The site, American Update, is no different than any other conservative rumor mill, except that these people are not unguided jerks, but hardcore, dedicated conservatives who will scare the bejesus out of rational thinking people. Actually, the content of their articles are fairly predictable. Right is right and left is bad, bad, bad. Trump is God’s salvation to a white nation that has turned away from the true path, and he will somehow save the nation from eternal damnation by their less than enlightened God.

One caveat: If you happen to find yourself on one of these sites or join a mailing list, they actually breed like fleas. With a week of finding myself on American Update mailing list, several other sites linked to my email address as well. My two favorites of the new editions is the Unfiltered Patriot and the Total Conservative. I say “favorite” on in the sense they are the ones I’ve paid the most attention to lately. The Unfiltered Patriot is an especially rowdy group because it seems in this milieu veterans are especially active and caustic in their comments.

And the comments are really where the real action takes place, not necessarily in the content of the articles that spurs the inevitable debates on the issues. Generally, all of the sites have their go to topics that come up in some form every issue. Hillary should be arrested. Comey should be arrested. Mueller is a spawn of the demon seed. Obama is the worst president to ever hold the office. He’s a Muslim, socialist, soft on crime, and is plotting to take over the world. And so it goes.

The one thing that stands out is the hypocrisy of the posters when a hapless liberal  jumps in and joins the conversation. Many posts begin with rhetorical questions like “Why are liberals always so negative and offensive”, regardless of how logical and reserved they may be (granted some aren’t). The conservatives then begin a tirade that will inevitably devolve into name calling or calling into question the liberal’s morality, ethics, sanity . . . all of which are laced with derogatory comments often vulgar and certainly offensive.

One particular article recently that I was involved in was about Tiger Woods answering the question about how did it feel for Tiger to play golf with Trump. Tiger was non-committal about his feelings politically but said Trump was the president, which to him meant he needed to respect the office, not necessarily the man. Predictably, the comments went off in a different direction. I answered one woman’s comment that Trump was making America great again, a typical go to stance on all of the comment pages. I wrote,

News flash, America is and has always been great. We don’t need Agent Orange to make it great again. The only thing that as made America a shameful memory of what it was before Trump took office is his basket of deplorables who rather sell the country down the drain to hold on to their special white privilege status which they see slowly slipping away into a more diverse and stronger America.

This prompted one gentleman to attack Obama saying he was a Muslim, a whining apologist for his many transgressions, a blamer, a kowtowing radical to terrorist like Iran, critical of American police forces, allusions to the old standby favorite the Fast and Furious debacle, and someone who “wipes” his feet on the Constitution. Trump, of course,  was spending most of his time cleaning up the mess Obama left him. Ending with, of course, Trump is making America great again. Irony seems to be a concept conservatives don’t really understand. The America Obama left Trump to deal with was far better than say the America Bush left Obama when he departed Washington.

So, truth isn’t truth is not so outlandish of a comment after all. The conservatives I read and comment on are average people who obviously care about this country and where it is headed. The only problem is they are also racists, bigots and prone to believe conspiracy theories that most normal people can see through with little or no effort. It’s easy to make fun of them; however, I think progressives who sell these people short are making a serious mistake. Sure, they may be full of shit, but they are if nothing else, dedicated to their beliefs no matter how off the wall or dangerous. These are people who have no compunction about saying they hope a sniper shows up at the next rally and takes care of business. They are dangerous in their ignorance and penchant for violence, even if only in their minds.




Living Large In Carson City: On Soul, Rancid Tweets, Irony And “My Wonderful Son, Donald” Edition.

“Has there ever been anything as simultaneously dangerous and yet pathetic as the Trump-led Republican Party?”  from the Daily Kos’ Swamps and perjury traps and Trumps, oh my! by Ian Reifowitz

Reifowitz states the obvious, but as so many things these days in the world that Trump made, this past week represents a watershed of problematic claims that will surely follow the Trump White House for weeks to come. Honestly, however, to be fair, I thought the “pussy grabber” tape, or when he said, “I Could Stand In the Middle Of Fifth Avenue And Shoot Somebody And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters”, would be enough to sink the Trump Titanic, but no; his base ate it up.

The base is one of the main problems that plagues America today, and they are getting weirder.  News of the QAnon conspiracy captivated Americans last week once some of his supporters started showing up at his rallies sporting signs and casual wear (think a Sharpie and a t shirt) attributing them to an  online mystery man/woman who supposedly works undercover in the Trump White House. Q posts enigmatic messages the base interprets pretty much any way they damn well please. The whole phenomenon is a batshit crazy, patchwork quilt of innuendos, lies and half truths. Is it any wonder Trumpites fell so hard for this one? To me, it appears that the base is becoming just as disenchanted with the Orange One as the rest of us. By grabbing at straws represented by an invisible savior, they indicate that all is not well in the House of Trump. Far from it.

Then there were the tweets. For all of is claims like “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!”, Trump’s statements belie his grip on reality. One of his more controversial missives came last week when he posted:


Much was made of this tweet by the media and pundits. Some called it the smoking gun of tweets. Others simply fixated on the “wonderful son, Donald” statement which begs the question is Trump finally comprehending his actions and those close to him might be illegal and that there will be hell to pay? His halfhearted explanation, “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics” simply does not wash. Reifowitz explains the import of this issue by quoting Vice-President Al Gore in his article,

In 2000, Al Gore’s campaign was sent George W. Bush’s debate prep materials—stolen materials. Gore didn’t seek them out, and he didn’t take a meeting or send his top guys to a meeting in order to receive it. What did he do? I’ll let Al tell you: “We immediately turned it over to the FBI.” And no, he doesn’t deserve special credit for following the law: that’s what anyone seeking the highest office in our democracy must do. It is, however, the opposite of what the corrupt Donalds did. Kos

When teaching irony in college English classes, we deal with three types of irony. Verbal irony is your garden variety of irony where words mean  or appear to say something different than what they say on paper. Situational irony is the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. Finally, Dramatic Irony rears its ugly head when the audience is more aware of what is happening than a character or characters do. Othello is a great example of this. Played like a fiddle by Iago, Othello is wooed into destruction by the lies and hatred of his one-time foot soldier and comrade. He never sees the end coming until it is too late.

Trump’s tweet has them all. What is really interesting as pointed out by several authorities and legal minds, Trump’s tweet accomplishes nothing but muddy the waters and further implicate Trump, not as colluding, but rather, involved in a full-blown conspiracy that taints everyone involved with a veneer of dirt by plotting with a foreign enemy to subjugate American democracy.

His final line, “I did not know about it!”, would be laughable if it was not so pathetic. The entire tweet is an attempt to contort the facts to fit a narrative that is part schlock, part deception and part fairy tale. These are the ravings of a man on the brink of losing everything he worked for no matter how nefarious and over the top his goals might have been.

Never has there been a president that has been more obtuse and corrupt as the man who now occupies the White House. His lies are not even that interesting or effective anymore. Fake News has become little more than whatever comes out of Trump’s mouth at any given moment during any given day. He is unable to discern between truth and madness. This is why he and his ineffective advocate, Rudy Guiliani, are so afraid of allowing Trump to sit down and talk candidly with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Mueller’s bullshit barometer would take Trump down in an afternoon of open questioning. This truth is shared by just about everyone in any position of power within the administration.

Whether or not anything comes of Trump’s revealing tweet is still up for grabs. Already he has ginned up the obfuscation engine that blows smoke across the nation. Possibly, that won’t be such a bad ending to this episode. The damage, however, has been done. Trump is grasping at straws and is getting sloppy as the content of this messages show. The pressure is mounting and the end seems near, or at least, nearer than it was last week.

Living Large In Carson City: Does My Tin Foil Hat Make Me Look Stupid Edition


“There’s a big overlap between conspiracy theorists, racists, gun nuts, doomsday preppers, fans of the rapture and poor white Republicans. They all have one thing in common: They feel like the oppressed underdogs.”
― Oliver Markus Malloy

The one truism that has come out of the Trump era is don’t be fooled into believing the last outlandish thing that you heard yesterday won’t be topped by what is coming today. This morning the surprise du jour is QAnon. What is QAnon you ask? Well, it is one hell of a conspiracy theory that is so off the wall and chaotic I’m not sure that most of the Trumpites who follow it understand or know what it is.

This article posted on The Intersect does a passable job of exploring the roots of the movement but can’t really do justice to the harebrained, idiocy that these people are willing to subject themselves to in the quest for their anti-American actions and beliefs. The article notes that the roots of QAnon began on a Reddit website and quickly morphed over into the anonymous and public posting boards. If you aren’t familiar with 4 and 8Chan, it means you are a relatively sane person who does’t need to vent your wildest fears and tall tales into the public arena. It’s not the Dark Web, but certainly on the outskirts of Dark Web town.

Briefly, the movement started due to two incidents that caught the attention of, and I hate to say it, the basket of deplorables Clinton so famously referred to during one of the debates. And, of course, the Orange One and one of his cryptic pronouncements,

Whether he knows it or not, Trump birthed the QAnon conspiracy theory with a single sentence, uttered to reporters while he posed with senior military leaders for a photo op in October last year.

“You guys know what this represents?” Trump said, gesturing to the uniforms. “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.The Intersect

Whatever the hell that means is up for interpretation for normally intelligent people, but for the deplorables, it set in motion a movement that oddly enough gives hope to the QAnon crowd that there is something beneath all of the brouhaha and bluster that is seen so often in Trump’s day to day ramblings and at his ongoing campaign meetings that he wallows in nearly every week. This is where tin foil hats are a beneficial interpreting device that is nearly de rigueur to even vaguely understand the motivation of the QAnon devotees.

However, like all good conspiracy theories, there has to be a bit of the cryptic and a “hidden meaning” that only the faithful can discern making it an us against them situation. The quote from Trump stated “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm” was made in front if a room full of military types decked out in their best uniforms. This lead
QAnon believers that something big was afoot like a war, invasion of another country or some similar apocalyptic event. Of course, nothing happened, but that didn’t stop the tin foil hat people from reading something cryptic into the message.

When QAnon morphed over to 4chan and 8cham, a mysterious character calling him/her self Q periodically began posting enigmatic messages. Q explained he was a high ranking intelligence official buried deep in the Trump administration. Willing to believe anything, no matter how outlandish, QAnonites began interpreting the posts in light of the bizarre actions of the president. No one knows his/her identity nor the agency he/she works in. However, this hasn’t stopped his/her followers from seeing in his messages guidance for the faithful to resist and support every move Trump makes not matter how wacky.

For instance, the one I find most bonkers goes something like this. Trump faked collusion so Robert Mueller would be appointed by the Attorney General. However, this is where it gets weird. Mueller is supposedly secretly using his Special Prosecutor position not to look into collusion or obstruction by Trump and his minions, but rather, his aim is to covertly pursue dirt on Hillary Clinton and her campaign committee of everything from collusion to child trafficking. You can’t make this up.

Another odd belief that comes out of the QAnon movement is an obsession with pedophilia.  Before QAnon crawled out from under the rock where it resides, Pizzagate came onto the national stage. Remember the hacked John Podesta emails? At issue was a popular pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong, and the owner’s relationship to the Democratic Party.  The loony brigade went wild with speculation, but in the end, the real issue boiled down to this:

Users of the website 4Chan began speculating about the links between Comet Ping Pong and the Democratic Party, according to the BBC, with one particularly vile connection burbling to the surface: the pizzeria is the headquarters of a child trafficking ring led by Clinton and Podesta.

The heady realization that Clinton might be vulnerable led one conspiracy theorist, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, to wander into the restaurant armed with a AR 15, a Colt revolver, a shotgun and a large folding knife. After shooting up the 120 seat restaurant’s walls and ceiling (no one was injured), 45 minute later after the police surrounded the business, Madison strolled out of the restaurant where he was quickly subdued by police. In a statement after his arrest, he said he had decided to “self-investigate” the rumor of Clinton being involved with a child trafficking ring supposedly housed in the Comet Ping Pong. Not surprising, the popular pizza restaurant is both child friendly and offers ping pong tables and other rooms for craft work. How anyone would come to the conclusion it housed a child trafficking ring is anyone’s guess?

The thing about conspiracy theorists is, normally, they are harmless and deserve little more than scorn and derision and are good for a laugh before going on to other more substantial topics. Normally being the watch word here. At a Trump rally earlier this week, America got a good look at who and what QAnon supporters are capable of when they congregate at the throne that Trump built. The incident came when Jim Acosta of CNN news was shouted down by an unruly horde of Qers. Watching the video reminds me of Charlottesville, VA last year when white supremacists clashed with marchers trying to stop the hatred and bigotry. One woman lost her life as one of the white supremacists plowed his car into a group of protesters.

The pictures from Charlottesville often show young men and women sporting Nazi symbols and chanting derogatory slogans that are meant to be offensive and over the top. They often seemed possessed with hatred and vile rhetoric that is an alarming sight in today’s fragile democracy. The crowd at Trump’s rally differ only in that many of the Qers are old enough to be the mothers, dads, or grandparents of the white supremacists in attendance at the Virginia march.

And that is where it all becomes really scary.