Living Large In Carson City: Putting Lipstick On A Pig: Volume XXX Edition

He (she) could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time.

Hunter S. Thompson

The first day of the impeachment trial began, and I had been putting off sitting down in front of the television to tune it in. It just seemed so futile and unseemly to sit and listen to grown men of supposed stature lie blatantly about a man who is so undeniably guilty. Not just of minor human fragility, but a man of deeply depraved and wicked moral tendency. A man who is gladly wrecking our democracy, our way of life, and all of the the truths that make America the greatest nation on the planet. Or well, it used to be. Trump has sullied our good name on the world stage by acting out like a two year old who has lost his binky. He is literally that pathetic and obtuse. Now, the trial is goes into the final weekend with a vote on not allowing witnesses and a scheduled acquittal on all counts next Wednesday. Thanks Mitch . . . for nothing.

Okay, I succumbed and started watching snippets of the speeches daily from both sides. The takeaway from the Republican’s side was to simply lie, lie, and lie some more. It repulsed me to hear Trump’s White House lawyer, Pat A. Cipollone, rebut the Democrats claims and accusations without even a hint of irony or regard for the truth. It boggles the mind and tests the realms of reality to envision, let alone understand, what Trump’s crew of vipers posing as lawyers did to come up with such hogwash then spout it out on the Senate floor without breaking down laughing.

The very real fact that should disturb anyone who loves and cherishes this country’s freedoms and place in the world is the rise of the ubër conservative. Not the down and dirty ragtag Trump basket of deplorables, they have always been around. It’s the sleek, sauve and creepy guys in expensive suits who seem to have sprung  fully mature out of Trump’s forehead (apologies to Athena and Zeus). They are rich and  powerful and becoming even more so under the Trump regime. Some, like the White House’s Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, crazy Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Gordon Sondland, and others come off more as clowns than actual players. Their obvious greed and lack of a moral compass designates them as slimy hanger ons – nothing more.  Granted, they can do enough harm simply by existing in Trump’s swamp world, but because of their buffoonery they are seen as not exactly to sharpest knives in the drawer or the most diabolical.

No, the dangerous types are of the likes of Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin,  Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and that prophet of doom Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller. These people not only manufacture the Kool Aid they have found a way to survive and thrive on it. To be honest, this only a short list and space will not allow me to delve into the numerous questionable conservative judicial appointments, wacked out evangelicals who hang on Trump’s coattails like a scrum of lice, or the irresponsible department heads who exist only to do Trump’s wishes.

The depths of depravity that the likes of Mnuchin will slip into came evident at the annual Davos Economic Forum circle jerk on climate change last week. In an article by international climate activist Payal Parekh titled “We can’t trust the billionaires of Davos to solve a climate crisis they created”, Parekh makes an insightful comment,

While Australia is burning and frontline communities all over the world are threatened by the very real consequences of the climate crisis, Davos-style meetings will never give us the answers we need. In truth, it would be foolish for anyone to expect a private club whose 1000 member companies have paid between 60,000 to 600,000 swiss francs to be a member (the more you pay the more access you have) should be trusted to solve an issue they created. The Guardian

There were those there that spoke truth to power. Both Prince Charles of Great Britain and Sweden’s Greta Thunberg gave impassioned speeches telling the world the truth about the crisis the world faces. Thunberg was especially pointed in her criticism and demands on behalf of the world’s youth. She stated,

In Chapter Two, on page 108 in the SR 1.5 IPCC report that came out in 2018, it says that if we are to have a 67 percent chance of limiting the global average temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we had on January 1st, 2018, about 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit in that budget.

And, of course, that number is much lower today, as we emit, about 42 gigatons of CO2 every year, including in land use. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining budget is gone within less than eight years. These numbers aren’t anyone’s opinions or political views. This is the current best available science. Though many scientists suggest these figures are too moderate, these are the ones that have been accepted through the IPCC. WeForum

Yet, leave it to Mnuchin in his creepy, elitist frat-boy demeanor to strike exactly the wrong tone when he shot back at Thunberg’s statements.

Asked by a reporter at the World Economic Forum in Davos whether the climate policies Thunberg advocates would hinder US economic growth, Mnuchin answered, “Is she the chief economist, or who is she? I’m confused.”

“It’s a joke,” he went on. “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.” Vox

These are the people running our government. Their lack of self-awareness, willful neglect and immature understanding of what is at stake to our environment and future of the planet is stunning in its obtuseness and sheer audacity of their head in the sand approach. No, Thunberg does not have a degree in economics, but  the question is not why is she commenting on the peril facing our world, but why are people like Mnuchin not asking the same hard questions. It doesn’t take a genius in economics to understand the issue as Mnuchin’s comments so vividly illustrate

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is another case in point. How these people get elected to public office is unfathomable. Pompeo’s only qualification for holding the Secretary of State position is the fact that he is a Trump sycophant without little of anything that might be called a “soul”. His demeanor is that of a thuggish husband without the cheek stubble and  a dirty stained wife beater t-shirt. His recent outrageous treatment of a NPR reporter of the venerable All Things Considered public radio show was unconscionable as it was indicative of his fear of not being treated like a great pasha of Trump world.  It seems beyond low ball, easy-to-answer questions that allow him free reign to bash Iran he is unable to hold his water when dealing with important issues like Ukraine and the conspiracy Trump created.

These two are only the tip of a very unctuous swamp pool that has swallowed up Washington, D.C. and the White House. The “players” of Trump world’s attitude reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s lead character in his book Bonfire of the Vanities. Not unlike the characters in Donald Trump: The Presidency, Wolfe’s leading man is  Sherman McCoy. McCoy is a Wall Street investment banker who is riding high on both the unbridled opportunism of a bull market and his on inflated ego. McCoy sees himself and his cohorts as “masters of the universe”, not unlike Trump and his avariousious cadre of suits who claim both allegiance to him and the spoils of governing.

Getting back to the impeachment trial, week two saw the Trump lawyers present their side in defense of Trump and his actions. Has there ever been a more audacious collection of liars and dissimulators to ever walk the face of the earth? Alan Dershowitz, a once respected professor and lawyer, can be seen as the worst. His argument on why Trump should not be removed from office ultimately comes down to this statement by Dershowitz,

“If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

Dershowitz’s argument during a Senate question-and-answer session reverberated across Capitol Hill and social media, sparking warnings that—if accepted—Trump or any other president would be free to do whatever they please as long as they can claim they were acting to advance their chances of reelection.

“This of course would mean that a president could not be impeached for doing literally anything in the service of his own reelection,” tweeted Cornell Law professor Josh Chafetz. Raw Story via Common

Dershowitz’s statement is the description of a Third world monarchy, and that dear reader (as many across Washington noted) is the template for authoritarianism.

 

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