Living Large In Carson City: The Bread And Circus Show Comes To Washington Edition

Image result for image of ford and kavanaugh

Image: The Morning Call

Yesterday was one of those days that will remain in our memories forever. Where were you when Nixon resigned? Where were you when the first man walked on the moon? Where were you when you heard that John Kennedy was dead? In the future we will add, where were you when the Senate Judiciary Committee chose to ignore a sexually assaulted woman in favor of her alleged assailant. A man who is a part of the “good ole’ boy” network that grooms the elite of Washington society for positions like the one Brett Kavanaugh is hoping to fill on the Supreme Court. It was that kind of day.

I confess to watching the entire circus from gavel to gavel. The first part, Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, was a study in integrity and an important civics lesson. Integrity in that she had a narrative to tell, and she told it with humility and emotion, but not in a way that elicited undue sympathy (although I can’t believe anyone could watch her speaking without feeling sympathy). A study in civics because she knew what had been done to her and chose to tell the story, not for personal gain, but simply because it was the right thing to do. A sexual predator was on the shortlist for a seat on the Supreme Court, and she felt it was her civic duty to speak out, although reluctantly, to ensure that the Senate Judiciary Committee and the president had all the information pertinent to choosing a qualified subject.

Later in the day, things came apart when Kavanaugh took his seat at the witness table. His anger and incredulity of being put through such a rancorous and contentious grilling was evident in his 40-minute long opening remarks. Alternately, while bellowing out his objections to crying then back to bellowing then starting all over again, several points became very clear.

First, his belief in his accomplishments was huge. Granted, he has had a charmed life up until now attending a private high school, admission to Yale and then acceptance into Yale Law School, all of which he proudly chronicled over and over again. From there his grooming cycle took him to Ken Starr’s investigation of the Clintons, legal counsel in Bush’s White House then a federal circuit judgeship. And naturally, in his eyes, the Supreme Court was supposed to be his next stop. It’s the way the grooming process works.

His disdain for the process that would subject an anointed one such as himself to public scrutiny was palpable. When questioned, he fairly mocked the Democratic senators by throwing their questions back at them. This tactic didn’t work all that well on Senator Whitehouse (D-RI), and especially not on Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who Kavanaugh had to apologize to after making insensitive remarks about her drinking habits. As the daughter of a recovering alcoholic, Kavanaugh’s flippant hectoring of Klobuchar came off as brutish and bullying, which it was.

In the end, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) brought the session to a halt when he asked Kavanaugh to turn around and ask White House Counsel, Don McGahn, seated behind Kavanaugh, if he would ask the president to reopen the FBI file on Kavanaugh so the allegations brought against him by Blasey Ford could be investigated. Kavanaugh refused to commit to making the request.

The rest of the day was a mishmash of crazy on an epic scale. Having asked for an outside counsel to grill Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, the senators abandoned that tactic to ask their own questions after Durbin put the nominee on the ropes. The questioning devolved almost immediately to a partisan, unhinged tirade by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to a weird come to Jesus moment instigated by John Kennedy (R-LA) that looked like a cross between The Waltons and the horror movie Halloween with Kennedy starring in the role of Michael Meyers. 

The one truth that came from these exchanges is that, truly, the Senate Judiciary Committee has become a partisan political body beholding to the White House and Donald Trump over the objections of the 10 politically neutered Democrats who sit on their hands and dream of better days. Kavanaugh in his opening remarks and subsequent testimony emerged as a hardcore ideologue who, in his mind, has paid his dues and deserves the right to sit on the highest court in the land for the rest of his life. The fact that he would steer the court hard to the right and rule through his ideological mindset was evident in his words and the support he expected from the Republicans who sit on the committee. The problem for Kavanaugh was that he thought the fix was in. It wasn’t. Not yet.

Last night the Republicans decided to push forward and vote on the Kavanaugh nomination Friday, which they did on a party line vote a few hours ago. The one outlier was Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Flake has been on the fence concerning the Kavanaugh nomination but agreed to vote to pass Kavanaugh on to a vote on the Senate floor if the committee agreed to postpone the final vote for one week so the FBI can look into the allegations against Kavanaugh by Blasey Ford. An hour ago, the Republican led committee agreed to the one week hiatus for the final vote.

So, what does this mean for Kavanaugh? On one hand, the investigation could exonerate him. While the FBI is one of the premiere law enforcement agencies in the world, the attack Blasey Ford claims took place occurred 30 plus years ago. It might be difficult to nail down any definitive conclusion on Kavanaugh’s guilt or innocence. Conversely, considering the secretive manner in which this nomination has been conducted, Kavanaugh might find himself in deep trouble if the FBI gets lucky and taps into a group of his old friends who are willing to talk about those days openly. If they find a collaborating witness who was at the party that night or if Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high school friend, talks candidly (he has already agreed to being questioned by the FBI) Kavanaugh may find himself in even more trouble.

Best case scenario, the FBI gets lucky and backs Blasey Ford’s accusations. Or Kavanaugh gets off the hook. It isn’t beyond reason to think that Americans may wake up next week and find that Kavanaguh has withdrawn his name for consideration. Why would he do this? If he knows that his past will come to light, he can gracefully back out citing the pressure on his wife and family and claim it just isn’t worth it. Or he may play it out and see what happens. Regardless, with what America knows now about Brett Kavanaugh, he has proven himself to be a respected jurist, but also a secretive, dissembler of the truth who should not be seated on the highest court in the land. Let the FBI find what they will.

Living Large In Carson City: The Best Government Money Can Buy . . . Or Not Edition


The United States Senate has always been considered the prestigious body of the United States Congress. Serving seven year terms, only one-third of Senators are up for reelection in given voting cycle. The Founding Fathers wanted to to give Senators a bit of stability that didn’t change as often as other members of Congress. Member of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms making their tenure in office a little less certain from election to election. Consequently, the Senate is seen as more of a cornerstone of the government, unlike the House members who face an uncertain fate every two years at the ballot box. In the House’s favor, however, it’s members can be seen as having a more direct relationship with voters since they seek their vote more frequently to remain in office. While Senators enjoy a bit of elitism , House members, by necessity, are scrappers who potentially have to take on new rivals three times as often.  For a couple of centuries, this formula has worked fairly well. Not so today.

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process to the Supreme Court demonstrates just how partisan the body has become and how dysfunctional  it is on every level. While Democrats have their share of blame, the Republican Senators in charge of the Judiciary Committee have proven their lack of integrity is equaled only by their ideological propensity to do everything they can to change the makeup of the court to serve the will of their base. Granted, the Democrats would do the same if given the opportunity, but Americans can only hope they would do it with less of a Machiavellian approach than the rapacious Republican majority.

The situation with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford since her story came out last week has devolved from one of a witness caught by her own sense of right and wrong and the Republican hate machine that is willing to destroy her completely. It is shameful to see respected members of the Senate acting like third grade bullies stomping their feet like children who haven’t gotten their way. Chairman Chuck Grassley is a man on a mission who is willing to overlook any transgression Kavanaugh may have committed in regard to Ford’s allegations. It’s shameful. It’s not right, but so goes the political minefield that is the American political scene today.

This past weekend another woman stepped forward with an even more egregious story (although Ford’s history is no less so) of the alleged antics of the embattled Kavanaugh.  Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of his, recounted an incident at a drunken fraternity party where she alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his penis in her face which she inadvertently touched without her consent. You can’t make this shit up.

She, like Ford, has memory issues that are the basis of the Republicans’ attacks on the two women. They are quick to point out that their are no corroborating witnesses and the amount of time that has passed will make it difficult to prove one way or the other that the alleged offenses took place. This on a day when Bill Cosby goes before a judge to face possibly 30 years behind bars for sexual indiscretions he committed decades in the past. The Republican’s support of Kavanaugh is gut wrenching to watch and harder still to justify, regardless of the fact that their whole approach is politically motivated and ideologically driven. If he is innocent, the FBI would substantiate his claims with a thorough investigation. Yet, the Republicans are dead set against any new information that may come to light.

Now, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniel’s attorney, claims he there is a third woman who has credible information that will implicate both Kavanaugh and his longtime friend, Mark Judge, in taking part in “train” raping drunken women.

Avenatti later tweeted that he had been in contact with Mike Davis, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chief counsel for nominations. In an email, Avenatti told Davis that his team was aware of “significant evidence” that Brett Kavanaugh, his former classmate Mark Judge and others targeted women with alcohol and drugs at parties in the 1980s in order to allow “a train” of men to take advantage of them sexually.

One has to ask how many allegations have to surface before a. the Republicans decide enough is enough and unhook their anchor line to the hapless Kavanaugh or b. Kavanaugh throws up his hands and says he is out of the running. Something tells me that the Republicans either cannot or will not cash in their investment in Kavanaugh. This is partly due to unmitigated gall over having a sure thing blow up in their faces and partly due to the optics of the situation as seen by their base if they cut bait and run. It is hard not to feel a little delighted by their predicament.

Surrounding all of this is the unsenatorial manner in which all facets of the debacle are playing out. Many of the Senators simply do not care about the allegations and claim they will vote for Kavanaugh regardless of the evidence that may come to light. Mitch McConnell is the man who controls more of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing than anyone else in America. He stated,

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed that lawmakers will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the “near future,” during a speech on the Senate floor in which he strongly criticized Democrats for what he continually called a “smear campaign” against the judge.

“The Democrats have already made up their minds and chosen their tactics,” McConnell said. “Delay. Obstruct. Resist.”

The Kentucky lawmaker added: “This shameful smear campaign has hit a new low… Senate Democrats are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life.” Fox News

Besides the hypocrisy that surrounds McConnell on a daily basis, he seems to forget his orchestrating the hold up of Garland Merrick confirmation to the Supreme Court for over a year at the end of the Obama’s second term. If anyone is responsible for the “Delay. Obstruct. Resist” mindset of the Democrats, it is his unprofessional attitude about how the balance of power should or could be maintained if the Republicans were less ideologically driven and more . . . well Senatorial.

Ultimately, Trump’s shadow falls over the confirmation hearings like a diseased blanket meant to pass on small pox to the American voter. He was uncharacteristically quite through the weekend, striking a moderate tone of “let’s wait and see”. Monday, the gloves came off,

President Donald Trump on Wednesday cast doubt on the allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and said that the judge “has been treated very, very tough.”

“I can only say this, he is such an outstanding man, very hard for me to imagine that anything happened,” Trump said.  CNBC

What happens this Thursday when Ford and Kavanaugh have their chance to air their accusations and defenses is anyone’s guess. Kavanaugh and his wife appeared on Fox News Monday where he had his talking points down. He reiterated two things: he wanted fairness and a chance to be heard and tell his side of the story. Here is a breakdown of the interview dissecting his performance CNN.

The question is will Kavanaugh conduct himself in the Judiciary Committee like he has all through the confirmation process which comes down to avoiding answering the hard questions on grounds that they are speculative or claiming judicial ignorance. He has claimed he never had sex until much later after high school, and that he was basically a model student who should be praised rather than being held responsible for his past indiscretions. Abused or abuser? The truth is out there.

Living Large In Carson City: Choosing The Lesser Of Two Evils, Is Still Choosing Evil (Jerry Garcia) Edition


The one thing that truly puzzles me about Donald Trump, and there is a lot to be puzzled by, is why do religious people have such a love affair with this jerk who is obviously amoral and one of the most ungodly people to ever walk the face of the earth. I am a recovering Southern Baptist, and I can tell you from my upbringing Trump is definitely not a saint. The pious among us in my youth would have called this guy out long ago assigning him to a brief footnote in history. Not so today’s religious leaders. Here is how Trump measures up to the Christian gold standard of how one should live their lives, the 10 Commandments:

The 10 Commandments

  • I am the Lord thy God! Thou shalt have no other Gods but me!

Hmm . . . let’s see. Trump’s god is money, power, and himself.      Busted

  • Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain!

Personally, I can’t verify this myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  Toss up

  • Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy!

If God calls 18 holes of golf  holy, Trump’s good.                                 Busted

  • Thou shalt honor father and mother!

Again, I can’t say for sure.                                                                        Toss up

  • Thou shalt not kill!

We just don’t know.                                                                                    Toss up

  • Thou shalt not commit adultery!

Ha! This one is a no brainer.                                                                    Busted

  • Thou shalt not steal!

Ask people who have done work for Trump through the years.      Busted

  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor!

On Hillary alone, Trump would burn in hell for all time.                   Busted

  • Do not let thyself lust after thy neighbor’s wife!

Let’s turn to that muse of the porn world, Stormy D.                            Busted

  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his farm, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his!

Trump’s Weird Love Affair with Eminent Domain                                 Busted

Seven out of 10 sums up my consternation. Even with giving religious people the benefit of the doubt, it still doesn’t square the fact that Trump is a sinner of monumental proportions. I mean bigly. Still, the question has to be asked, “Why does Donald Trump get a Get Out of Hell Free card” when the rest of us would be crispy critters from the get go? I can think of several reason; none of them good for America or encouraging that things will get better.

First of all, America knows that the religious right is at the core of support for Trump. Their worldview includes ending Roe vs Wade, removing the walls between church and state, supporting Israel, and protecting the president from moral outrage that should have long ago ended Trump’s presidency. All the big names in religion are represented  Graham, Falwell, Jeffress, Bachman, Reed, Perkins, and that old wackadoodle, Pat Robertson. They along with a multitude of lesser names and congregations across America (mostly white frightened Christians) are reveling in the fact they think they have one of their own in the president’s chair. Sure, they may have to hold their collective noses to assuage their consciousnesses, but hey, they believe God put Trump in office for a purpose. Who are they to judge?

Of course, power is by far the most important perk to many of the leading religious groups today. The separation of church and state as delineated in the First Amendment has always been a burr under these people’s hides. Trump saw the opportunity to play these rubes to the hilt. One of his most controversial acts was, not just placate the religious, but to enhance their access.

Trump expanded the role faith-based agencies play in the federal government in several important ways. First, his executive order creates a new office within the White House to oversee this religious expansion. That office will be staffed by an adviser to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, a new position. The adviser will be “supported by experts and various community and faith leaders from outside of the Federal Government,” according to the White House.

The initiative also directs all executive departments and agencies that do not currently have a faith-based office to designate a liaison from that agency to the White House. Rewire

In the personality politics of today, access defines power. It should be noted that there are evangelicals and then there the crazy evangelicals. What is upsetting is Trump doesn’t seem to have a filter on which is which. Take Kenneth Copeland, one of the scariest men in the universe. He is one of the prosperity evangelicals who believes he can milk Christianity (read his parishioners) for all they are worth. For instance, Copeland is adept at getting his congregations to buy him airplanes. He had this to say about the new world of Trump and religion,

Copeland said that if God puts something on his heart that needs to be delivered to the president, he’ll now have a direct line to deliver that message.

“I have no doubt,” he said, “if something were to really strike my heart, if God really showed me something that I felt like and that the Lord would say, ‘You deliver this,’ I have no doubt that I could deliver it, and that was not true in presidents past even though we had influence in some areas in some ways.” Faith

Copeland is also a proponent of a National Sunday Law. Honestly, I never heard of such a thing. Well, Texas did have Blue Laws that restricted selling of certain items on Sunday, and supposedly, the Sunday Law is an extension of the old Blue Laws making it a law that Sunday is a day of rest and worship. Legislating this idea into a federal law is scary on so many levels. At this point people either believe a Sunday Law is coming soon, or that it is simply a conspiracy theory that is only a wet dream of evangelicals in their chest of wants and needs. But there is this.

Access and power are all well and good, but do they answer the question of why evangelicals are so willing to support Trump even in light of his notoriously reprobate behavior? This is where Israel comes into the equation. Christianity’s last ditch stand against the Satan and the wickedness of man comes down to Judgement Day. This is when Jesus is supposed to return the earth and smite all non-believers. Where will this confrontation occur? Israel, of course, the Holy Land. This fact makes it incumbent on believers to protect Israel’s “homeland” at all costs. After all, Judgement Day marks the day that all Christians will be taken up to heaven where they will live happily ever after.

Trump is no fool when he sees a mark ready for fleecing. Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a poorly disguised sop meant to give the rogue state of Israel more credibility and American evangelicals the belief that they wield power to instruct the government in matters of policy.  Israel will never be anything but a terrorist state until they give back the land they illegally occupied after the 1967 war per international law, and consequently, evangelicals are complicit in the ongoing apartheid military action that Israel is visiting upon the hapless Palestinians.

So, the upshot is that evangelicals have made a deal with the devil and are stuck with the consequences and loss of any moral objectivity they once had if they ever had any at all. Think about it. They openly choose to support a known philanderer, a pussy grabber, a stupendous liar, cheat, and a morally bankrupt narcissist to secure a few repressive laws and policies that will be wiped away once the Democrats take control of the White House. Yet, the cost of laying down their vaunted Christian ideals seems to be a bothersome as a sore thumb or a paper cut. However, as the old saying goes, “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” They should be careful what they ask for.

Living Large In Carson City: Stupid Is as Stupid Does Edition


The one lesson the Trump administration has taught America is don’t get too comfortable with the status quo. To Donald Trump, it means nothing. Whether it was the size of his popular vote win to the crowd numbers at his swearing in to just about everything that has transpired over the last year and a half, Trump’s version of the event is going to be diametrically opposed to the reality of the situation. Honestly, it’s exhausting.

This week ushered in a respite of sorts, albeit, a devastating one. Hurricane Florence began her journey to the America’s eastern shore a little over a week ago and has been steadily plodding her way across the Atlantic for the inevitable land fall last Friday. Coverage and preparation for the disaster in making has been round the clock and seems to be more than adequate so far. Florence is expected to hang out on the central Eastern seaboard well into next week with flooding of low lying areas of particular concern.

I know this is going to sound callous, but it is refreshing in a morbid way not to have to listen to the criminal antics of Giuliani, Cohen, Manafort, Don, Jr., and the whole cast of unseemly characters that Trump has anointed with his on special brand of brotherhood. Yet, Trump insanely got into a pissing war with the media over the number of deaths that resulted from last year’s Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico. Here was one of his opening salvos,

Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm. In fact, the President has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, saying earlier this week that it was “an incredible, unsung success.” CNN

Later, he came up with this statement without providing documentation or facts beyond those he pulled from his “superior intellect”,

Donald J. Trump


3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…

His rationale centered mainly around blaming the Democrats for trying to make him look as bad as possible. Trump is, as we all know, a “blamer” and uses blame as his go to default defense when challenged on just about any issue. Giving him the benefit of the doubt is never a good course of action, especially not in this case.

The death toll study was commissioned by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, a member of Puerto Rico’s “New Progressive Party.” It was conducted by the nonpartisan George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
There has been no evidence to indicate that partisan politics has played a role in the calculation of the death tally, and George Washington University released a statement Thursday that said it stands by its work. CNN

What baffles me is how can he look directly into a camera and state lies as if he believes them with every ounce of his being? He does it time and time again without the least bit of embarrassment or fear that he will be found out. Then a couple of weeks ago, I ran across an old installment of The David Pakman Show where Pakman interviewed David Dunning formerly of Cornell University’s Institute of Social Sciences. He along with his fellow social psychologist, Justin Kruger, developed the Dunning-Kruger Effect back in the late 1990s, and all things Trump became clearer.

In an article for Forbes Magazine titled The Dunning-Kruger Effect Shows Why Some People Think They’re Great Even When Their Work Is Terrible, Mark Murphy goes into detail of what the Effect is in real life, and for me, explains Trump’s less than strict adherence to the truth. Murphy wrote,

If you’ve ever dealt with someone whose performance stinks, and they’re not only clueless that their performance stinks but they’re confident that their performance is good, you likely saw the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action.

Coined in 1999 by then-Cornell psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the eponymous Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias whereby people who are incompetent at something are unable to recognize their own incompetence. And not only do they fail to recognize their incompetence, they’re also likely to feel confident that they actually are competent. Forbes

Sound familiar? It’s actually much worse than what Murphy describes above. He continued,

The irony of the Dunning-Kruger Effect is that, Professor Dunning notes, “the knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task—and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at that task.”


To be fair, everyone at some time in their life is subject to the Dunning-Kruger Effect. It links to how I understand ignorance and stupidity. Not knowing how something works or not understanding the bigger picture of how things interact in the real world, we operate on the information we have on hand. Often this incomplete knowledge comes from our parents or people we trust or want to emulate. While they may be dealing with a bigger set of parameters, in our ignorance, we use the knowledge we have available.

For most of us, as we age and gain more information, we alter our beliefs and ultimately our actions to expand our knowledge base, so our lives and understanding transform as we grow intellectually and emotionally. This is why I think that in ignorance there is power. Power to change. Power to expand into a greater world of understanding. Stupidity is never making the leap from our incomplete knowledge base and remaining mired in that less than perfect understanding of the world and calling it good.

Factor in Trump’s narcissistic personality, and you have the perfect storm of a person caught between reality and their own fictional world that supports their every claim, regardless of the veracity of their beliefs. When a narcissistic person is challenged on an obvious untruth or misconception, regardless of the facts, they lie or invent a bogey man to blame for the discrepancy.

For Trump, this isn’t even a choice but a knee jerk reaction to being questioned about his internal story line. Part pride, part self-delusion, Trump’s lies are the act of a pathetic, small-minded person who is so caught up in his fantasy of himself and his self worth that, in his mind, he is the sole arbitrator of truth, regardless of the facts. It’s the rest of us that have to deal with the reality of those fantasies.





Living Large In Carson City: The Clown Car And Chaos: What Could Go Wrong? Edition


The Second Coming

William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, 
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Is it me or does it seem as if Americans are holding their collective breaths waiting for the next shoe to fall.  In that sense Yeats’ poem is all too prophetic. The center is not holding. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity” could easily describe what is going on in America in general and Washington specifically. When the head of state wallows in his own lies, belittles the masses, and shadows of anarchy and conspiracy seem as believable as the truth which lies bloodied and dead in the trenches of the halls of Congress. What are we to do?

I’ve written about how the number of negative events surrounding the Trump charade with the endless scandals, controversies, and embarrassing gaffes, missteps, and effronteries is enough to make Americans throw up their hands and run screaming into the night. Yet, they just keep on coming. Wikipedia has a list of  controversies that is surprising in their number and frightening in just how much has gone awry during the last 598 days and counting.

This week is shaping up to be more of the same as the hunt for anonymous continues in the White House with Trump calling on the Justice Department to investigate the opinion piece writer and the release of Bob Woodward’s book, Fear, due out today. It is almost impossible to believe one man can fuck up so badly day in/ day out. The situation is so bizarre that it begs the question: To what end? What shoe will be the one that drops, crushing our democracy and sends us into the realm of a glorified Banana Republic?

As bizarre as all of this seems, I think there may actually be a method to this madness. Think about it. Our congress is run by a host of partisan hacks as the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing last week so aptly demonstrated. In his column for the Washington Post this morning, titled The Kavanaugh Hustle, E. J. Dionne, Jr. discusses just how shady the whole confirmation proceeding have been up to now. Summing up how damaging a Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment would be, Dionne wrote,

Kavanaugh will push the court much further right. Everything we know about him points to a man who is fierce and unapologetic in his partisanship and relentless in advancing his ideology. His confirmation will be the equivalent of handing the court over to the Heritage Foundation and the legal staff of Koch Industries. (my emphasis) WAPO

Senate Judiciary Chair, Chuck Grassley’s (R-I), actions have been undemocratic, underhanded, snide and caustic in his treating of Democrats as they’ve tried to gain transparency by the release of thousands of Kavanaugh’s documents. Documents that would give Americans a better understanding of just how ideological and far right he has been in the past. Democrats are outraged both of their marginalization by the Republicans and the futility they feel in light of how important the appointment of a Supreme Court justice is in the scheme of things. This is especially true in light of the Republicans stonewalling of Merrick Garland in the last year of Obama’s administration.

The Kavanaugh debacle aside last week’s revelation of a mole (or moles) inside the White House as revealed in an anonymous opinion piece published by the New York Times and the impending release of Woodward’s book paints a none too rosy view of just how unstable the Trump administration and the man are on a daily basis. The uproar that ensued resulted in a number of Trump officials publicly denying they were the author of the New Times opinion piece or that they had revealed anything untoward about the Orange One to Woodward.

The upshot of all that has happened over Trump’s tenure is a slowly evolving climate of chaos like America has never seen before. Think about how everything Trump touches either blows up in his face or is so disruptive that the nation has been put into a tailspin that goes on for days and days. Just when one scandal runs its course, another lies waiting in the wings. Think back to the G 7 meeting, the Helsinki summit, caging immigrant children, the Puerto Rico debacle, the renegotiating of NAFTA, and on and on. If someone plotted to throw the nation in chaos, Trump seems to have the blueprint tucked away in his breast pocket.

To what end? While driving nominally sane people bonkers, Trump is busy attending campaign rallies across the nation.  In an article posted on September 7 in the Washington Post, Philip Bump outlined Trump’s whirlwind campaigning schedule over the past two years. He wrote,

Trump has held two dozen campaign-style rallies as president in 16 states, all but two of which voted for him in 2016. Over the past month, he’s held three such rallies; extend that window back to the beginning of August and the number climbs to five. WaPo

I was a little put off when Hillary Clinton called Trump’s hardcore base a basket of deplorables, but now, I’m not so sure. The optics of these rallies is breathtaking in the amount of vitriol that pores, not just out of Trump’s mouth, but  from the mouths of his supporters. The visuals of the people standing or sitting behind him on stage is an image of raw adoration for their “guy” and unbridled hatred for anyone he attacks in his speech. After the anonymous article and part of Woodward’s book leaked out, Trump took an even bolder stance.

In Montana last week, Trump actually embraced the idea of impeachment, but not for the reasons you might think. CNN detailed it this way,

(CNN) Suddenly it’s Republicans talking about impeachment.

They’re using the threat of impeachment to get out the vote and almost daring Democrats: Go ahead, impeach this guy.
Both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought it up in recent days.
“I don’t even bring it up,” said Trump at a rally in Montana, as he launched into a riff on the subject. “Because I view it as something that, you know, they like to use the impeach word. Impeach Trump. Maxine Waters, ‘We will impeach him.’ But he didn’t do anything wrong. ‘It doesn’t matter, we will impeach him. We will impeach.’ But I say, how do you impeach somebody that’s doing a great job that hasn’t done anything wrong?”

Many of Trump’s more candid and caustic supporters vow a civil war of sorts if the Democrats do take back the House and have the guts to begin impeachment proceedings, or God forbid, actually impeach him. The idea of Americans defying the Constitution and the will of the majority should scare the bejesus out of anyone with a scintilla intelligence. Chaos would ensue.

Which brings me to a hypothetical question. How would such a situation be handled? One scenario is for Trump to declare martial law in the name of keeping the peace and protecting the government and the nation. Chaos, after all, would be a logical reason for him to seize the ultimate power position to make America great again. I am no conspiracy theorist and believe that America is better than this scenario. Still, when the last shoe drops and the center doesn’t hold , bet your last dollar, Trump has something planned. Count on it.













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































he actually is from his past decisions.





Living Large In Carson City: The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is . . . Everything Edition


Some weeks are just too bizarre to contemplate as a sane and rational human being. It’s takes a dose of crazy just to get out of bed in the morning; sometimes several doses. Often, I feel like the image above when I sit down to have a cup of coffee and peruse the news some time around 5 a.m. Due to the differences in time zones, Trump has been up and tweeting for a couple of hours. When the man sleeps will always be a mystery to me. Couple the Orange One with the antics of his minions, and my day is off in a swirl of mind numbing, head-twisting revelations that never cease to be revealed as the day rolls on.

Trump is obviously losing it. His paranoid tweeting has become too painful to follow. It’s hard to believe the office of the presidency will be tainted for generations to come by this narcissistic, little cretin. Granted, people like me look for fault in Trump, simply because it’s so clear that the Republican Party has swallowed his bullshit hook-line and sinker without even the most trivial dissent about his actions or the dangerous ideas he is instilling into his shrinking base.

Last week, Trump threw a dinner party for his evangelical supporters for no other reason but to garner praise and gin up fear and loathing  in the group. Roughly, half of the speech was typical Trump bravado. Taking his gazillionth victory lap for doing the impossible, winning the presidency, his lame citations of his incredible victories sounded hollow during the campaign. They seem doubly so now.

Once he grew tired of patting himself on the back, he launched into the real message he wanted to send to those assembled in the State Dining Room including a long list of evangelical luminaries including the who’s who of just about every right wing religious group in the United States. Trump had them eating out of his tiny hands. Still, for the denser attendees, he spelled out the message he really came to give.

“This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much,” Trump told the assemblage of pastors and other Christian leaders gathered in the State Dining Room, according to a recording from people in the room. CNN

Despite the comical understatement that the November election will be a referendum on him, the rest of the paragraph is a chilling reminder that Trump is willing to use fear and anger to accomplish his main goal . . . to stay in power no matter what. Additionally, how a democratically held election can be a referendum on free speech and First Amendment rights is a bit of a stretch. A democratically held election is the epitome of both free speech and the First Amendment. He continued:

“It’s not a question of like or dislike, it’s a question that they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa — these are violent people,” Trump said, describing what would happen should his voters fail to cast ballots. “You have tremendous power. You were saying, in this room, you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.” CNN

Creating a bogey man in these people’s mind is to create hatred and fear of people who are fellow citizens. “. . . they will overturn everything we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence.” Note the repeated word violence that he uses. Either his audience is made up of very slow learners, or more likely, Trump has decided rhetoric like violence will gin up renewed commitment to fight the devil worshiping Democrats, a supposed threat that would end the God fearing members of these people’s congregations.

Equally egregious was Trump’s support of Ron De Santis’ run for Florida governor. After Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, won the Democratic primary, De Santis wasted little time in going to the lowest proverbial denominator, a racist attack.

“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” he said. “That is not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.” NYT

The next day De Samtis resigned from a Facebook page, the Tea Party, where he was 1 of 52 administrators. The site is dedicated to conspiracy theories, alt-right rants, racists posts and an obsessive penchant for focusing on Michelle and Barack Obama. Trust me, it isn’t pretty. De Santis’ camp issued a statement saying De Santis didn’t know of the objectionable content, which is pretty lame considering his position as administrator with the website and the prolific attacks on people of color.

The fact that De Santis is still in the running is a cause for concern. Before this clown car left the garage, any candidate caught making racists remarks would be out on their ear in a heartbeat. The hidden factor that allows De Santis to dodge the silver bullet is, of course, Donald Trump and his backing. De Santis has his head so far up Trump’s butt he even made this campaign commercial that is guaranteed to give anyone left of Atilla the Hun the heebie jeebies.

It still amazes me how quickly Trump and his ilk shifted the playing field to make racism, bigotry, alt-right thinking, and anti-democratic ideas great again. With people like Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and gofers like De Santis giving the president allegiance what else can America expect.

Several studies have found that an astonishing number of Americans, young and old, have little or know knowledge of current events. And it is getting worse. If they listen to Fox News, the little they do know is so slanted that it has created an entire army of misinformed, disgruntled citizens who fear everything from Clinton taking over the government to a black wave creeping towards them that imperils their safe little corner of the world. Trump is only a symptom of a much larger problem . . . the American people’s slouching toward irrelevance.