Living Large In Carson City:

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” 
― Aldous Huxley

Greetings from the West, Carson City and beyond. Last week was a whirlwind of air flight, subway mayhem, hordes of people, and the screaming yodel of cop cars, the beep, beep, beep of construction equipment backing up, and the general low hubbub of the City That Never Sleeps. Yes, New York, or more specifically the neighborhood of Bushwich in central Brooklyn. I would never call going to NYC a vacation. No, more like an invasion both on the city and on one’s person. Let’s just say, it’s so good to be back home in the Sierras away from miles and miles of Brownstones that block out any hope of seeing the horizon much less the grandeur of Mother Nature. 

Of course, Bob Mueller’s report came out while I was gone, and Bob Barr’s hopelessly ineffectual spin on its contents left much to be desired. Last Thursday, Congress got its chance to see the “redacted” version that sanitized the worse parts of the report but still left Mueller’s intent fairly clear. The mother-fucker, disdainfully called our president, is a low- down shady character who is unfit to serve the nation or the people who live here. We all knew this on some level, but to see Mueller list 10 times when Trump tried to obstruct justice was sobering as it was audacious. 

Over the past two weeks Trump and his minions have engaged in the age old Washington Two Step in an attempt to spin the report in the administration’s favor. Trump has alternately praised the report as an exoneration and proof of no collusion or obstruction when the report first came out then flip-flopping to denial and abusive language over the report when Congress finally got the chance to read and react to the parts that were left basically intact. This morning Trump’s approval rating dropped six points to 37 %. As we have seen time and again, the Republican spin machine, the White House, and his loyal staff are working overtime to put a bit of lipstick on the pig to make things seem rosier than they actually are today. Yet one has to wonder, What next? Tom Toles the insightful Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post editorial cartoonist wrote an opinion piece for the paper and put it this way,

Who knows where we go after the Trump era ends? Maybe the damage will be fixable, and maybe it won’t. What we need to know now is that the Trump era is still waxing, and we are letting it happen. We are dancing the Trump Two-step with him. Do we enjoy his arms encircling us? His moist little hands sliding about our waist? His warm breath and nuzzle on our neck? The lacerations on our forehead from the leading edge of his hair-sprayed chisel wedge of golden hair filaments? Apparently we do. Tom Toles

“Apparently we do . . . ” The old adage “You can’t shit a bullshitter” seems oddly appropriate here. Just when you think Trump is on the ropes, he comes back with a barrage of nonsensical clap trap that twists reality and puts a spin so devastating on the issue at hand that most Americans finds themselves in journalistic punch drunk state of mind that is hard to get past. It incapacitates us for days until the next oh-my-god-did-he-just-do, say, act or assert what I think he did moment when the scenario begins again. 

Honestly, I thought I had heard every outlandish excuse for Trump’s actions from every source that he employs. Then Rudy Giuliani took to the Sunday talk shows and came up with this dunder-headed defense of the man he worships. On Jake Tappers’ State of the Union, Rudy said this,

Giuliani defended the Trump campaign accepting help from Russians by stating, “Any candidate in the whole world in America would take information,” causing Tapper to ask, “From a foreign source? From a hostile foreign source?” Giuliani shot back, “Who said it’s even illegal?”

A few moments later when pressed again by Tapper on a presidential candidate getting help from Russians in the 2016 campaign, Giuliani responded adamantly, “No, no, there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians! It depends on where it came from.” CNN

Uh, Rudy, it came from Russia. Our sworn enemy. The one that swore to bury us under Nikita Khrushchev. The nation that the United States was embroiled in a Cold War with most of my life. You know Rudy, the country where Vladimir Putin is president. The nation that meddled in our 2016 election and quite possibly helped elect your ass clown friend who is now hell bent on destroying our democracy. The gall of this little gangster is breath-taking. This from a man who was the face of Ground Zero in the days after the 911 attack. Rudy, Rudy, Rudy . . . we hardly knew you. Now, I wish we didn’t.

Inexplicably, when pressed by Tapper, Rudy revealed a bit of the twisted logic he was using to justify his statements. It all goes back to campaign contributions. From the article cited above, Rudy had this to say,

Giuliani then suggested the “dirt” the Russians offered to the Trump campaign would not be considered a “campaign contribution” as defined by federal law. In support, he argued that the Mueller report “says we can’t conclude that [it’s a contribution] because the law is pretty much against that.”

But yet again, Rudy is flying under the reality radar. The article continues

Giuliani is incredibly wrong. First, it’s election law 101 that a federal campaign cannot accept “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national.

In fact, the Mueller report explains the rationale for this law, noting that “the United States has a compelling interest in limiting the participation of foreign citizens in activities of democratic self-government, and in thereby preventing foreign influence over the U.S. political process.” CNN

This reminds me of a quote by Neil Gaiman from his book American Gods, (I paraphrase), “The morning came on like a migraine after a three day drunk”. Trump and his crew of merry sociopaths have the country by the balls and are squeezing like the little bitches they are. There really is a syndrome in this country called Trump Fatigue. How much does one have to hear, see, or experience of this administration before people begin to throw their hands up and say “Enough!” And not in a good way. When people get so disgusted they stop paying attention and resisting from the sheer overload of lies, deceit, and Tomfoolery afoot in the country, that is when America is truly fucked. Not just the garden variety of fucked, but serious democracy destroying, life-altering fuckdom of the worst kind. 

Or as Kynna Claire once said, “You can’t keep dancing with the devil and ask why you’re still in hell.”





Living Large In Carson City: Sitting Here In Limbo Like A Bird Without A Song J.Cliff Edition


Well, limbo is not a good place to be. Billy Joy

Prior to the release of Robert Mueller’s Special Prosecutor’s Report, my life felt as if I was on a roller coaster from hell. Up one staggeringly steep incline to the peak and then heart stopping plunge into the abyss. Over and over, day in, day out through the seasons and months of one controversy after another. Look back on this Axios timeline to refresh your memory of how we got to this place of nothingness in just under three years. It’s all there. Every lie, illegal activity, indictment, guilty plea, Mueller’s offers of clemency for dirt on Trump, Trump’s constant denials, and all in head-spinning detail that makes me wonder how we’ve survived this far. I admit, as a news junkie, it was often exhilarating times when it looked like Mueller was going to pull the trigger and send Trump to the Big House for the rest of his life. Yet, nothing happened.

The constant drum beat of Trump’s whiny voice proclaiming “No Collusion”, fake news, and/or “Witch Hunt!” was a bile inducing toxic mix of proportions that had to have our Fore Fathers rolling in their graves. His lies became more and more outlandish. His demeanor more bizarre. His grasp on reality slowly slipping away. His slim base of 31 or 32 percent of all American voters took on an out sized importance as their need to feed the fires of racism, xenophobia, negativism, and bigotry grew with every rally, scandal, and embarrassment at home and on the international stage – which seemed to occur almost daily. The once respected Republican Party has become a laughing stock since January 2017 as members began kowtowing to Trump in fear of his considerable influence over party funds and the primary process that he holds over their heads like the Sword of Damocles.

I am ashamed to admit that I was totally caught up in the frenzy. Not ashamed that I wanted Trump to go down – hardly, but that I lost objectivity to the point all I cared about was Mueller and his hopefully damning expose of the Trump. To a point, I tuned out most everything else. I see now I was like a trout on a fishing line being played by a skilled angler. Most of my acquaintances, and certainly, my close friends were caught in a similar conundrum that basically blinded us to everything else going on around us. We were played by the media, television ratings, and our own need to feed on every evolving crisis and the unbridled hatred of everything Trump represents contrary to the America we love. We were like NASCAR fans watching a race an pulling for our favorite driver, yet hoping in the back of our minds for a spectacular wreck full of fire and exploding cars.

Now, Mueller has issued his report. Barr has submitted his “summary”, and Trump has gone on a nationwide pep rally to proclaim his innocence and exoneration for all wrong doing. It is one of the most bitter political pills I have ever had to swallow. Granted, there will still be a great deal to learn from the Mueller report if Congress and the Democrats can get their hands on an unredacted copy, but all that seems rather hollow now that Mueller has more or less confirmed liberals’ worst fears. There is a hole in my political gut that seems to be widening, and the result is a malaise of proportions similar to what I felt when George W. Bush stole the presidency from Al Gore and Trump beat Clinton.

Of course, I only have myself to blame for being so naive and nonobjective. The media, however, has a big part to play in my condition. We’ve all laughed or made jokes about elderly white people getting all of their news from Fox News. How it warps their brains and allows them to believe things that normally sensible people would never believe.  Yet, my addiction to CNN and MSNBC has been no less harmful. We all would like to think that our view of the world is one of enlightened optimism based on facts and truth. What many of us forgot is the corporate structure of the national news which has only one real goal – money. Truth is little more than a corollary to modern thinking based on a need to know basis and facts sometimes not verifiable in the real world. When news outlets allow the prevailing zeitgeist and public emotion to direct their coverage in the pursuit of ratings and advertising dollars, situations like the Mueller report carry a heavy toll for our own understanding and objectivity.

Glenn Greenwald, one of the founding partners of The Intercept, has contended for sometime that the Mueller investigation was simply a cash cow for corporate news, and its resulting reporting was a travesty for reliable news coverage. His point is that while Americans hung on every word or rumor about the Mueller investigation far more important issues were being swept under the rug like judicial appointments, destruction of environmental regulations and on and on. Greenwald wrote, 

Just three weeks ago – three weeks ago – former CIA Director and now NBC News analyst John Brennan confidently predicted that Mueller was just weeks if not days away from arresting members “of the Trump family” on charges of conspiring with the Russians as his final act. Just watch the deceitful, propagandistic trash that MSNBC in particular fed to their viewers for two straight years, all while essentially banning any dissenters or skeptics of the narrative they peddled to the great profit of the network and its stars . . .

Earlier in the article, Greenwald lays out the devastating effect that Barr’s summary of the Mueller report had on the American psyche that hoped to see Trump found guilty,

Barr’s summary of the Mueller report: specifically his definitive finding that “the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government” and that “the report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.” Those two sentences alone permanently destroyed the prevailing Trump/Russia narratives – from blackmail fantasies to collusion tales – that consumed most of U.S. politics and media discourse for much of the last three years. Greenwald

So now, we find ourselves in political limbo. While we wait to see the full report released to Congress and the public, it’s hard not to be skeptical. Trump is acting like his usual self, a half-witted clown, crowing about his pristine image while throwing insults and catcalls at Democrats, the press, and anyone dumb enough to attack his plutocratic self. If anything, his lies have grown more grandiose as he threatens to shut down the border and wreak financial devastation on the economy. His sudden need to strike down Obama Care and replace it with a much better Republican plan, one that has not be fleshed out as of yet, seems “normal” as far as Trump can be called normal. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess. One thing for sure, Robert Mueller gave us little bang for our buck. Instead, for the time being, we wait and count the days when we can look back on this and say it was all a bad dream.