Living Large in Carson City: What’s a Liberal to Do?

I believe the Republicans have never thought that democracy was anything but a tribal myth. Hunter S. Thompson

Two speeches in the first week of September perfectly outline the areas of contention between the forces of democracy, and those who would reshape the U. S. government and the Constitution in an image that looks more like fascism everyday. Of course, the two speeches by President Joe Biden and Donald Trump offer a much different worldview of the nation and how the political winds are pushing both sides to the brink of incivility. Biden’s speech came from Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall on September 1 while Trump chose Wilkes-Barre, Pa on September 3 at a gathering in support of carpetbagger Mehmet Oz, and his bid to win one of the state’s coveted Senate seats. Biden came sounding the alarm that our democracy is in peril and called for a unified front in confronting Trump and his MAGA supporters. Trump came to speak only to his faithful, sowing seeds of distrust and lies that suited his purpose.

Since much of Trump’s psychopathic wailings were mostly in response to what Biden had to say, Biden goes first. Most Americans know that Biden came out swinging by attacking Trump and his MAGA supporters as an aberration never seen in American history. When he stated early on in the speech, “. . . too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal, Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” it was obvious this was going to be a speech to rock the nation. Had Biden stopped there, the speech would still be one for the record books. However, the president had much more to say and hadn’t begun to throw shade on Trump and his freaky band of loyal insurrectionist.

It is important to note, as well, Biden went to great links to distinguish Trump’s MAGA supporters from mainstream Republicans by stating, “Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.” No, Biden was speaking directly to Trump and the MAGA crowd saying aloud what others have not. The jig was up, and Biden for one would no longer condone the actions of known insurrectionists who think their views are more important and beneficial for the country than sane and honest understanding of the issues. They are wrong, and he was right to say so for the nation to clearly hear and understand.

As is their wont, Trump and his minions were quick to cry foul, calling the speech political, rather than bipartisan. They claim the choice of Independence Hall , and the fact Marine guards stood behind the podium, were indications that the president was using both as a ploy to underscore his message. It was neither. The Republicans are revisionists and seem to forget presidents of their own party that used the military and government buildings as backdrops for their own political messages. Can anyone forget W standing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” less than two years after September 11, 2002. In truth, the war was only just beginning. Or how many times in his four years of office did Trump use the White House, the Rose Garden, the Lincoln Memorial, and other sites to promote clearly political messages.

None of those instances compare to what Joe Biden did in Philadelphia . He wasn’t pushing a Democratic stance. Indeed, he seemed incredulous that much of the nation is either ignorant or complicit as to the gravity of what is going on in the nation today.. The only logical path was for him to cut to the quick of the matter and point a finger at the extreme right who are engaged in support of a creeping fascism that threatens the foundation of American democracy. He clearly surprised both the right and the left with his blunt, no nonsense delivery that named Trump and the MAGA Republicans as the culprits who choose conspiracy theories, Trump’s word, and nonsensical claims over truth and common sense. A more succinct way of describing Trump and his followers is in the incredible concept album The Point by Harry Nilsson and the song “The Pointless Man”. The lyrics quote the Rock Man when he says, “The rock man said, ‘Say babe , isn’t nuthin’ pointless about this game. The thing is, you see what you wanna see – and you hear what you wanna hear. You dig?”‘ Many in Trump World are obviously “seeing” the wrong things in America right now.

One reaction from the press deliciously describes what Biden accomplished in his speech. In an Opinion piece for Raw Story titled “No president in my lifetime ever talked about his Republican predecessor like Joe Biden did” , John Stoehr points out the oddity, and importance, of what Biden accomplished in his speech. He begins his commentary with the poignant statement, ” Here’s the important thing about the president’s prime-time address Thursday evening on the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. That it happened.” Stoehr continues by beginning several of his paragraphs leading into the points he makes with the refrain, “No Democratic president has ever, in my lifetime . . .”

  • . . . talked about a former GOP president the way Joe Biden did,
  • . . . questioned publicly the elemental patriotism of a former Republican president and his followers.
  • . . . identified the people’s enemy in the course of being the people’s partisan.

He then lays out Biden’s reasoning in his own summation of the speech writing, “In my view, last night’s speech was the BFD of BFDs.”

There is a simple reason why Biden did what he did, and one that some Trump and his MAGA acolytes cannot seem to grasp or refuse to acknowledge. America has never had a president like Donald J. Trump. The other 45 presidents for the most part acted with dignity and honor that the office demands. Sure, there have been exceptions, Nixon and Clinton come to mind, however, no American president was a known serial liar, grifter, misogynist, insurrectionist, twice impeached, or who defaced America’s standing at home and abroad like he has and continues to do. Biden was right to call him and the MAGA horde out for what they are: People who do not love this country and want to tear it down for their own selfish reasons jeopardize the very foundations of our republic. It is Biden’s job to call out those who would do so in as harsh and forceful a manner as possible. It’s called tough love.

Then there was Trump’s speech in Wilkes-Barre, PA with a decidedly darker and more insular tone. The speech ran two hours with little new revealed by Trump as he sang a false tune of danger and foreboding. It was only in the last six minutes when maudlin music filled the arena and his voice turned into a sing song lilt that things got interesting. Much like a greatest hits revival tour, Trump bashed everyone who he feels has not kissed the ring and backed his falsehoods and conspiracies.

This was the first time Trump spoke since the FBI served a search warrant on his Mar-a-Lago compound, so of course, they were the first to be criticized. He claims Democrats weaponized law enforcement “like never before” before claiming the FBI does not pursue “election facts” that tend to reside only in his mind. The Department of Justice in his view either condones or allows “egregious acts of voting irregularities and fraud”. His next statement is actually ironic when he said America has a president who is “cognitively impaired, and everyone knows it.” This is a point in his dirge that one realizes that maybe continuing is a waste of time. He goes on to touch on all of the hot button items that MAGA Republicans eat up like candy: China, Iran, free speech, the press is the enemy of the people, blah, blah, blah . . .

The gist of the speech’s ending is that compared to Biden’s speech Trump has nothing new to offer. While Biden’s speech might be seen as a bit caustic, Trump’s speech confirmed what the current president was trying to get across: Trump and MAGA republicans want to tear down our government and Constitution to uphold their falsehoods, grift, and the deeply held vision that America is doomed unless people turn to him as their savior. Biden put a wedge in that argument by calling out Trump and the MAGA crowd, but at the same time, acknowledging that not all Republicans are Trump Republicans. No one can say what the future holds for Donald Trump, but it is a good bet he won’t be winning over the minds and hearts of true Americans and patriots any time soon.

Living Large In Carson City: The OMG What Just Happened Edition

“I truly believe I am not afraid of death. What I shrink from, I believe, is the shame of dying as stupid and befuddled as I am.”
― J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

Okay, here is an informal poll for undecided voters in the upcoming presidential election who watched the first debate Tuesday night September 29:

Question 1:

What part of crazy did Donald J. Trump not exhibit in the first debate September 29?

a. Public masturbation

b. Screeching like a wild banshee

C. Lying in an apoplectic manner

d. Committing repeated acts of boorish behavior and acting like an ass

Caveat: If you said a you are correct although we don’t know what those tiny hands were doing behind the lectern.

Question 2:

Donald J. Trump came off as

a. Sick puppy

b. Yellowish green slimy slug

c. An angry puffer fish

d. All the above

Question 3:

As an undecided voter, Trump’s performance prompted them to

a. Blow chunks of their dinner across the living room

b. Run screaming to the Biden camp

c. Look around with a quizzical look on their faces wondering if they had

wandered into the Coney Island Fun House rather than the debate venue

d. Go violently berserk and start grabbing pussies with abandon

Question 4:

What hidden talent did Trump reveal over the course of the debate?

a. His ability to hold a one-man debate while others looked on

b. A penchant for stomping on little Chris Wallace like a bug scuttling across the stage

c. The truly amazing talent of protruding his lower lip well beyond the length of his beak like nose

d. Alternating snorting and puffing out his cheeks like a puffer fish (see question 2 above)

Question 5:

What one word sums up Trump’s performance Tuesday evening?

a. Bizzare

b. Putinish

c. Buttholerly

d. Skanky

What major lesson did the world take away from the debate?

a. America is a land of racist twits not worthy to lick the bootheels of the other industrialized nations

b. Republicans are jerks and assholes

c. No head of state should be extending invitations for visitations in their home country or in the United States

d. There is a very special kind of craziness at 1400 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C.

After you finish, please delete this message and put on your seatbelts, there are two more debates to go. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster protect us. We are fucked.

Living Large In Carson City: It’s My Party/ I’ll Lie If I Want To Edition

“The narcissist devours people, consumes their output, and casts the empty, writhing shells aside.”—Sam Vaknin

It must be difficult being Donald J. Trump. Gifted a life of leisure and privilege, at the age of eight, he along with his four siblings and three of his father’s grandchildren were the recipients of a one million dollar trust fund which in today’s currency rate would equal four times the original bequest. Puffed up, proud beyond mere mortal’s imaginations, it is safe to say life has come easy to the Mad Don.

Yet, at the pinnacle of what most normal human beings would think the accomplishment of a lifetime, he sees only insults, threats, and effrontery at every turn. The man is not capable of normal human reaction to anything that the rest of us demonstrate as second nature.

A case in point is Twitter’s reaction to his well-known tendency to stretch the truth, if not outright prevaricate, by taking the unprecedented step of adding a Fact Check label to the president’s Tweets. Readers can now see the truth behind the lies he sends hurtling through the social media atmosphere. Not unexpected, his reaction was swift and unhinged as usual and totally beyond his limited power as president of the United States. What part of the Constitution does he think gives him the right to shut down private sector businesses because they want to offer the public the truth. It baffles the mind.

His response to the public’s reaction to his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is even more telling. Gabe Sherman in his column for Vanity Fair pulls off what little clothes the emperor had left on his body when he reported about Trump’s outrage at the effect the coronavirus has had on (wait for it) . . . him.

As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim. “He was just in a fucking rage,” said a person who spoke with Trump late last week. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!” Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him. Vanity Fair

Forget the 100, 000 dead Americans. Forget the deep dive depression that the country is almost comically slipping into day by day. Forget any semblance of probity or self-awareness. Forget all of that because under this president fragile ego, it is all about him. Screw the rest of the world.

For Trump it is all about someone else that he can harangue and blame for his own shortcomings. He accused the Obama administration of leaving the country in the lurch by not preparing his administration with a pandemic game plan. Of course, he overlooked the sixty-nine page Obama Pandemic Playbook the former administration left behind. Not to be bogged down with the truth, in recent days he has focused his ridicule on among others like Joe Biden for wearing a mask to protect those who he comes in contact with while out in public. Something, Trump feels would somehow diminish his own manliness if his basket of deplorables saw him out about the country sporting a lifesaving mask.

A particularly attractive target recently has been MSNBC morning talk show host, Joe Scarborough. Mad Dog Donald has seized upon a tragic occurrence that happened nineteen years ago when a young woman, who worked in Scarborough’s Fort Walton Beach office when he was a congressman, fell after suffering a medical emergency and died when she passed out and hit her head on a desk in Scarborough’s office. Trump has repeatedly called for the “cold case” to be reopened and Scarborough’s involvement in the death be investigated. CNN explains it this way,

None of this is, of course, true. Trump is referring to the death of a woman named Lori Klausutis 19 years ago. As The Washington Post reported back in 2017 (when Trump first started making these unfounded allegations against Scarborough):

“Authorities determined 16 years ago that she died after losing consciousness from an abnormal heart rhythm and collapsed, striking her head. She was discovered in Scarborough’s office in Fort Walton Beach, lying on her back with her head near a desk, according to a 2001 police report.” CNN

While Scarborough is a player on the political front and can take what is thrown at him, Trump hasn’t given a second thought to the Klausutis family or the painful memories he dredges up every time he brings up the subject. This is typical Trump’s insensitivity on display once again as America has come to expect. It is savage fake ploy to attempt to turn the nation’s attention away from his failed presidency, and most recently, his dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

These are only a few of a swarm of recent examples that could be pointed out that define Donald Trump as a consummate liar, bully, grifter, and a small minded thug whose only goal in life is to uplift his own personae at the expense of others. As his poll numbers continue to slide, there is no guarantee that he will alter his ways in the hope that turning over a new leaf will make him look more desirable. This is a concept that has no relevance to Mad Donny. Why should he change? In his mind he is, to borrow a phrase from the Matrix movies, “THE ONE”. This is the only constant that he has taught America over the last three and a half years. Not that he is the one, but that he bleieves it.

It must be difficult to be Donald J. Trump. As he sees the love and respect he has for himself being tarnished at the hands of scientists, the legitimate news media, scholars, historians, and legal minds across the nation, his zone of comfort has to be shrinking every day. His claim of being “a most stable genius” has to be taking some serious shots to both his ego and his belief in himself. Why doesn’t America not love him for the superman that he is? Why do so many in the country work to tear him down and question his honesty? Why can’t the average American see the brilliance of his presence at the helm of our democracy even when he does everything he can do to bring it down at the aggrandizement of his own twisted myth he believes about himself?

At this point, any attempt to understand the president is a moot point. The only thing that matters is the election coming up in November. An election that in no way is decided at this point. With Russian interference, his basket of gun totting followers, the pandemic, his attack on mail in voting, and a packed judicial branch he and Mitch McConnell have constructed, all bets are off.

Wackodoodle of the Week

This week there was no doubt:

Woman with a hammer

Living Large In Carson City: The Politics Of Fear Edition

I believe the Republicans have never thought that democracy was anything but a tribal myth.       Hunter S. Thompson

As far as weeks go, this has been a doozy even for Donald Trump. He has at different times during the week led the country down a dark, twisted path to a near all-out confrontation with Iran that would have thrown the Middle East into even greater chaos. The downing of an unmanned drone by the Iranian army was the flash point that set the plan in motion aided by two of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Mike Pompeo and that neocon madman, John Bolton. While Trump maintains that he called off the attack to avoid killing civilians on the ground, his rationale for the last minute decision seemed dubious to some and an outright lie to others. For whatever reason, his decision was a good thing, however, the entire debacle smacked of the president, yet again, creating a problem then miraculously stepping in to save the day by backtracking on everything he said earlier. The result was he made America look weak and confirmed in the minds of many (allies included) that he is bat shit crazy, and the world should be afraid . . . very afraid.

His threat to begin mass deportations of undocumented immigrants (read millions) caught most of the nation off guard, including his own enforcement arm of Homeland Security – ICE. Once the scope of the mass deportations planned came to light, reality stepped in with  hard, cruel facts that there was no chance that a plan of this scale could be pulled off in a matter of a few days regardless of his highness’s mind farts. The line this morning is that he delayed the deportations at the request of the Democrats for two weeks. During this time, what? Congress is going to come up with a viable Immigration policy that will make everything better? Of course as USA Today and others noted, the announcement of the deportation program came just hours before Trump’s reelection party in Orlando which was surely not lost on the Republican base who live for red meat like this tossed at them. Coincidence?

Rounding out the top three debacles of the weekend, Trump is again a passenger on the sexual deviant roller coaster after prominent advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll, accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a dressing room at the Bregdorf Goodman department store over 20 years ago. The allegation comes from a forthcoming book by Carroll in which she chronicles the abuse by prominent men she suffered over the years. Trump denies knowing Carroll, yet New York Magazine posted a picture of Carroll and Trump taken at a party which contradicts his denial. The one outstanding difference that separates most of the other 15 women who have already accused Trump of sexual misconduct is that Carroll claims Trump actually penetrated her, thereby, constituting rape, not just the pawing, kissing, or other sundry attacks he is noted for in the past.

So, over the course of several days, the president had two major policy snafus and a credible accusation of sexual assault. A lesser man wouldn’t be able to overcome the public humiliation or bureaucratic backlash of any one of these three events. Yet, Trump abides as his base and other Republicans stand ready to defend him regardless of how egregious the events or accusations levied against him. Which brings me to the topic of this post.

For far too long, the Democrats have huddled on the sidelines keeping their heads down waiting for Trump to self destruct with little hope of eclipsing his out sized personality and numerous blunders on the national and international stage. Now, the Democrats have found a voice and are speaking out . . . not against Trump . . . but Joe Biden.

For the record, I think Biden is probably a good man. Barack Obama thought enough of him to make him vice-president after all. He comes off as a quintessential avuncular type who everyone would love as a grandfather or trusted adviser. He seems relatively intelligent, well-spoken, and possesses a long track record of public service and loyalty to the party. And that is the problem.

A vote for Joe Biden would be a vote for and a regression to old line party politics and all that entails. Think Hillary Clinton but more likable. His record is not without controversy either. Let’s just say Joe has a lot of baggage and not all of it good. In an article by Paste Magazine, writer Walker Bagman writes in an article “The Case Against Joe Biden”, detailing the non-progressive stances Biden took on many major issues of the day. As a Senator from Delaware, he spent 36 years in Congress, served two terms as vice-president, and toed the party line as would be expected from a loyal “company man”. He was, and probably still is, on the wrong side of just about every issue progressives are pushing for in 2020. And that is not good.

Oddly enough, his past service is also what is fueling his rise in the polls. People are so worn out by the spectacle that Trump has made of the presidency, older, more entrenched Democrats, see in Biden a respite from the wild shenanigans that Trump revels in on a weekly basis. He’s safe in that way that others like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren are not. Judging from how his mainstream supporters have jumped on the bandwagon, he may be hard to beat. A good example is the morning talk show, Morning Joe, and how Biden has taken on an almost mythical persona who Joe and Mika literally fawn over while gloating at Bernie’s slip in the polls. It’s a little disgusting.

The issue I have with Biden is his inability to grasp the fact that Donald Trump has changed American politics forever. Republicans have sold their integrity down the river to bask in the power that Trump brings to his presidency, and his lack of shame over what he will do or say to get his way. Biden rightfully takes offense at this but seems to miss the point that it’s not just Trump who has changed. It’s the entire party.

Americans saw Biden’s blind spot chronicled in an article in Daily Kos earlier this month titled “Delusional Joe Biden thinks Republicans will totally work with him if he’s elected president”. In a Tweet supplied by Sam Stein, Biden said,

“With Trump gone you’re going to begin to see things change. Because these folks know better. They know this isn’t what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Or worded differently, when Trump is gone, common sense will return to the Republican Party and government will return to normal (whatever that is). Biden is being naive here if not downright boneheaded. Where does he think all of Trump’s supporters come from in the first place? They are the constituents of the very same people Biden is referring to who are now serving in government. Not only do the Republicans owe allegiance to their base and the radical ideas that they hold, but the Republicans are themselves indoctrinated with the same undemocratic beliefs that they find every time they return home.

In another much ballyhooed misstep, Biden referred to his ability in the “old days” of being able to work with hardcore segregationists (racists) to get things done like major civil rights reform. On this point, I understand why Biden said this. He was trying to show his experience dealing with difficult factions to overcome differences to achieve meaningful legislation that led to change. That was then. This is now. Trump’s supporters are no longer principled dissidents, but frightened people who fear marginalization and loss of the privilege they have known all their lives. It is a frightening prospect for them to contemplate not being in charge or losing the power they have relished throughout most of the nation’s history.

Strangely enough, it is fear that is fueling Biden’s rise in both the polls and the hopes of many older Americans that he will be able to “fix” the chaos Trump will surely leave behind. It is the fear of change that the country so desperately needs that will push Biden through the campaign season and possibly into the White House. Fear will lead many voters to see Sanders as a socialist, Warren as too strident, Harris as an angry prosecutor, and all the rest as threats to the change they do not want and will not support. They want safe, not revolution.

For many Americans, safe is better than even one day of a Trump second term, which is hard to argue against. The question remains, however, is Biden the candidate of “safe” when America needs a candidate of change? Trump and his minions have worked to systematically dismantle a plethora of hard won social and governmental accomplishments dating back well before Obama came to power. On the environment alone, America needs a leader who will face up to the challenges Trump will create over the four years he is in office.

Biden hearkens back to a time that older Americans relate to in their own lives. They understandably want a return to civility and a positive course forward. The problem remains will Biden be up to first winning the primary and then the General Election? Will he ever get the chance to demonstrate his “ability” to work with a disgruntled and weaponized Republican Party across the aisle? Right now at this early date, the verdict is still out.