Living Large In Carson City: Chaos Is The Food Of Dictators Edition

ErisDiscordiaclr.pngEris Greek Goddess of Chaos

Now the Indians are dressing up like cowboys
And the cowboys are putting feathers and turquoise on
And the music is sold by lawyers
And the fools who fiddled                                                                                                     in the middle of the station have gone                                          Johnny Lee Cherokee Fiddle

For those of you who saw Urban Cowboy, you will remember Johnny Lee’s incredible tune, Cherokee Fiddle. The song’s lyrics talk about an American Indian fiddle player who journeys each year from his home to a distant city to play his fiddle in the train station and make a few dollars for his troubles. The deceptively catchy tune is admirable for its roots in country music. However, like the characters in the movie, Lee’s protagonist is caught up in the changing times. The old ways give in to the pressure of more modern conventions that leave the Indian fiddle player wondering what  happened and lamenting the fact that he is no longer relevant. Chaos ensues and the world moves on.

The passage from the song above describes exactly how I view the world in the shit storm that is the Donald Trump pseudo-presidency. Up is down; down is up. What once passed for truth and enlightenment are now false flags of a bygone period of naivety. Evangelicals embrace a man who is as wicked in his worldview as he is in his sexual peccadilloes. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, is maybe the best example of false prophets being hailed by the chosen. The Dallas Observer came up with 10 examples of how Jeffress excuses the excess and sins of the Orange one in an article titled, A Guide to Robert Jeffress’ Excuses for President Trump. Take number three for instance when Jeffress justifies Trump’s directive to separate children from their parents at the border,

“Any American who commits a crime is going to be separated from his or her child,” Jeffress went on. “You don’t send children to jail with their parents in America, so I’m not sure why the only criminals who would get a pass on that policy would be illegal immigrants.” Dallas Observer

Huh? Equating hardened criminals to poorly educated, impoverished, and often asylum seeking immigrants fleeing murderous conditions in their home countries is the thinking of a chaotic mind who has lost plumb. I won’t go into the other nine, but they are equally reprehensible. Yet, this is where we find ourselves at the beginning of the New Year. Men of God aligning themselves with a known philanderer, liar, and a cheat. Parse it however you want, but be sure to mark one down for the chaotic zeitgeist facing America today.

In a few hours, Herr Trump will take over the airwaves to lay out his  reasoning for wanting to build an ineffective Medieval wall across the southern border of the United States. Supposedly, he will also address why he thinks shutting down the government is such a good idea as well. In the past few days, he and his minions have been spreading lies and untruths about the number of terrorists entering the United States, not bothering to make clear that the southern border is one of the locations with the fewest number of terrorists stopped from entering the country. Sarah Huckabee Sanders put the number at 4,000 before Chris Wallace corrected her and exposed her lack of facts. Vice President Mike Pence made this ridiculous claim recently,

“In the last fiscal year, we apprehended more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our southern border from countries that are referred to in the lexicon as other than Mexico. That means from the Middle East region.” — remarks at a Washington Post event.  AP Fact Check

In truth, only six people were stopped at the U. S. southern border in the first six months of 2018 (the most up to date numbers) who had ties to government watch lists . This doesn’t mean they were actual terrorists but were in some way related to terrorists or had suspicious background check information that automatically placed them on the list. Pence’s claim that those suspects were from the “Middle East region” is simply a stretch of his overly active imagination. Taken in toto, if you count Trump’s base and his sycophantic supporters in Congress, the end result is a chaotic mishmash of false and misleading statements that have only one purpose: To scare uninformed Americans that their lives are in danger and a state of emergency exists on the level of Russian paratroopers falling for the sky like rain drops.

I am not one to draw comparisons to the rise of Nazis in Germany before WWII and anyone, but the social conditions and the rise of Hitler are eerily similar to what we see going on in America today. An exhaustive six page layout on gives a bullet point list of the Rise of Nazis and how Hitler used his oratorical powers to create bogey men beyond just the Jews including homosexuals, gypsies, Communists and others to justify his rise to power and create chaos that only he could combat. Trump is no Hitler. He’s not nearly smart as Hitler. He is, however, a excellent purveyor of fear and malice toward any group he sees as worthy of using as a distraction.

And let’s face it. Trump needs a lot of distraction right now. He knows his border wall will not work. Indeed, the border wall meme is now revealed as a gimmick dreamed up by his handlers to remind him to push his views on immigration. It appears Trump’s distaste for reading off teleprompters would lead him astray of his intended message, so his aides came up with the wall trope to keep him going in the right direction. It worked. I will never be able to get the sound of his deplorables chanting “Build the Wall, Build the Wall” out of my brain. Talk about creating chaos. It begs the question was “Lock her up”  a misguided glimpse into the future where he becomes the target of a similar chant like “Impeach the motherfucker”?

While we progressives take pains to point out Trump’s inconsistencies and amoral view of politics in America, I must say there is a little fear in me as to just how far Trump will go. Declaring a State of Emergency is no laughing matter. Like Hitler, it would give him power beyond that of a normal leader. The next off ramp on the chaotic highway to madness is Dictatorship. It is a place where fear is the norm, persecution is the law of the land, and the chaotic is ever present. Can’t wait to hear what he has to say in a couple of hours. More to come.

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 Chaos Theory Edition

Maybe I am a bit thicker than most. All of 2017 and now 2018, I’ve watched the Trump circus win the presidency, circle the wagons, uncircle the wagons and bounce from one scandal to even greater scandals every week. By all rights, he should have been toast after the Access Hollywood tape revealed he bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing womens’ pussies. By god, as an entertainer and a powerful man, it was not only his right to do so, but it was expected of him. Narcissistic jokes aside, Trump seems not to be able to find that “third rail” of political suicide most Americans expected him to stumble over eventually.

Even the most skeptical Americans, and certainly liberal Democrats, were not ready for the deluge of scandals, ineptitude, greed, and simple mismanagement of the existing arms of government that are necessary to keep the ship of state afloat. Trump’s “White House” has been more than remiss in their lack of interest in keeping the gears of government running smoothly. As of January of this year, many important jobs are still not filled.

This includes assistant secretaries, chief financial officers, general counsels, heads of agencies, ambassadors and other leadership positions that experts believe are critical for the federal government to function effectively. These represent about half of the roughly 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation.

The White House likes to blame Congress for dragging its feet, but that’s only part of the story: As of this morning, there is no pending nominee for 245 of the 626 jobs we’re tracking. Among them: deputy secretary at Treasury and Commerce, director of the Census, director of ATF, director of the Office on Violence Against Women at Justice and commissioner of the Social Security Administration.  Washington Post

Also, left out of the list is the crucial position of Ambassador to South Korea. Trump’s attacks on North Korea have been relentless and caustic leaving Kim Jong Un’s southern neighbor twisting in the wind without an ambassador to what should be its most powerful and valuable ally. Instead, the South Korean government hears, like the rest of the world, our Tweeter in Chief’s most recent attack on one of the most dangerous leaders in the world over the Internet. Now, in an unimaginable foreign affairs snafu, Trump recently decided to set up a meeting with the North Korean dictator without the support or knowledge of his Secretary of State. What gives?

Of course, Trump for all of his bombastic rhetoric has some successes and some failures. He seems most effective in Obama era policy reversals. His modus operandi in approaching appointments is to find someone (usually from the business world or Wall Street) who is diametrically opposed to the stated goals and mandate of said agency. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, is a good example. With no experience in running a department the size of Education, no public-school history, none for her children and a heavy dose of God-inspired belief that Charter and Private schools need public funding, her role has become more of a joke than an actual appointment to improve public education in America.  Check out this article for a list of the changes of heads of departments in the Trump administration – so far.

Then there the ongoing scandals that the Trump gang is dealing with on a day to day basis. Trump’s go to avoidance technique is simply to obfuscate, obfuscate and then obfuscate again. The more Robert Mueller digs the more outlandish Trump’s behavior becomes. Every time a new “indictment” or avenue of investigation occurs, the more erratic and “over the top” he becomes in his tweets, policy changes and/or reversals for no apparent reason.

Consider the week after the now infamous Stormy Daniels 60 minute interview. While the interview itself was mostly a yawner, the accusations contained in it put a damper on the normally gregarious serial tweeter. Yet, while he remained quiet on Stormy, he roiled the Washington political scene with a series of surprise “announcements”. He announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats in solidarity with American European allies over the alleged Russia poisoning in England. He whined like a baby as he signed the budget agreement when he didn’t get the money he wanted for his beautiful wall. After firing several high-profile department heads, he is reportedly secretly planning to get rid of his Chief of Staff and not replacing him. He seems to think he can do just fine filling that role himself.

The upshot of all of these minor and major upheavals to the White House staff and policies results in nearly utter and complete chaos. This is what America bought itself in 2016, chaos. Not chaos in its strict definition as in “complete disorder and confusion”. This kind of chaos is disruptive and unplanned. No, Trump’s brand of chaos is planned, implemented and nurtured for reasons only he and his closest advisers understand. But it must be made clear, Trump’s chaos is a game plan. A plan he has followed all of his life both privately and in business. He thrives on it.

I once had a boss who during the course of a normal day would tell me something in the morning about how something should be handled. Later on, she would tell another manager a completely different way to handle the same situation. Eventually, the other manager and I would find ourselves at odds on how to actually deal with the situation. Invariably, the two of us would become angry and go to our boss to express our frustration with one another. I can remember those meetings. She would sit us both down, hear our complaints and then proceed to set down a completely different solution to the problem.

It took me a while to figure out that this was an intentional-ego ploy on her part. When the inevitable blow up occurred, she could use her power over us both to “settle” the argument so she could be seen as the wise and firm arbitrator of any situation. I think this is what Trump is up to and has been all his life. When things go awry, he denies any involvement. He then supplies off-the-cuff “fixes” for the situation that makes him look good in the eyes of his base. The bigger the lie, the better the outcome from his point of view.

Unfortunately, my situation was much less significant than the acts of the most powerful man on the face of the earth. Put your seat belts on. Chaos is going to be the order of each and every single day Trump sits in the White House. He will and is already causing serious problems for the American democracy.  This is who Trump has always been. He is a liar, a cheat and an egomaniac grifter. America can expect no more.