Living Large In Carson City: Democracy on the Line Edition

“My life before him was so simple and decided, now after him…It’s just…After.” ― Anna Todd

I ran across the quote above and got to thinking: What was it like not having Donald Trump plastered across the media world when life was simpler and more rational and sane. The first time I really paid attention to Trump was when he made that long escalator ride down with Melania in Trump Tower to announce his presidential candidacy. They were still holding hands back then, and Americans had never heard her utter, “Give me a fucking break.” Five years later, things have changed.

I can barely remember the feeling of knowing Barrack Obama was sitting in the White House, and all was relatively well in the country. Where did those times go? Now, all I have are memories of those days. After five years of scandals, pandemic, lies, distortions, Bill Barr, and the corrupt Republican Party even those memories seem surreal. Merle Haggard sang a song with this line, “Let’s stop rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell” which seems fitting in the age of Trump and his wild grifting philosophy.

Frankly, I am frightened. Frightened because Trump might win. Frightened Trump might lose but disavow the election results. Frightened because there is an element of American society that is so butt fuck stupid that they support this monster, even unto taking up arms against the Constitution, our American way of life, and all that entails. Frightened of the prospect of innocent people being killed in the streets because of their belief that we do in deed live in a free and democratic society. Frightened that if the election is contested in the courts and it winds up in the Supreme Court, conservatives will once again steal the election regardless of the impact it has on our society.

I want to believe that I’m just being foolish and believe it couldn’t happen in our country. I thought something like that when Bush vs Gore went to the Court. I remember the night of November 3, 2016 when the results came in and Trump was declared the winner early on in the evening. It never occurred to me that as bad as we knew Trump was in the beginning that he would progressively become worse and worse until our country no longer resembles the country we lived in under Barrack Obama.

I am ashamed, dishearten, and sickened by the fact that America, once the mightiest and most revered country on the planet, is now little more than a laughingstock on the world stage. It breaks my heart that because of Trump’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 virus that 226,500 Americans are dead with just under nine million cases confirmed in the United States. I am depressed that an equal number of deaths are on the horizon.

Most of all, I feel helpless. Helpless that there isn’t anything tangible that I can do about it other than vote. I despair that my vote and the vote of those who feel and believe the way I do might not be enough to stop the madness before the nation is consumed. I feel helpless I like so many others have lost hope in this time when hope is so badly needed. I want to believe that the evening of November 3 will return a favorable decision for the freedom and sustainability of our Republic. Yet, the abyss of shame I feel for not believing in the good of the American people and the centuries old process might not be enough.

I know that many of you will tell me to buck up, think positively, and keep the faith. I wish I could tell you I do. Yet, looking back over the past four years, it hard to lift my thoughts up to combat the constant stream of lies, abuse, and general disregard of basic decency that this administration seems to embrace as normal. Maybe, we should have seen this coming. Maybe, but honestly, if someone had told me that we would be in this position two nights before and election that could be the end of the America we’ve known all of our lives, I would have laughed in their face. Such is the nature of evil.

The type of world we live in on November 4 (or when ever we find out the outcome of the election) depends so much on the whims of fate. What we will have to live with regardless of who wins is going to be a new day for America. If it’s Trump, well, I will let you fill in your own vision of the future. If it is Joe Biden, we will have to come to grips that there is so much wrong with our America. Things we’ve too long swept under the rug. The fact that I am writing this, and I know you know the feeling, means that our democracy is in peril. How to heal the rift between Republicans, conservatives in general, Evangelicals, and a laundry list of repressive factions who thought it wise to align themselves with a fascist dictator wanna’ be will be daunting.

The clock is ticking. Today is Monday, November 2, less than twenty hours before the vote begins. So many questions are on the table with so many answers on the horizon. It’s hard to put on my happy face and look the future in the eye. Yet, deep down inside me, I want to believe the madness is coming to an end that Biden and Harris will overcome the flood of lies and adversities to prevail. Yet, something in me knows that Donald Trump is still playing his long game, still grifting, still looking for the big score. A score, I fear, America can’t afford.

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: The Long Play Edition

“We will bury you!”

Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev 1956

For the past two weeks, I have experienced writer’s block like no other time in my writing career. My first attempt was about Trump’s abysmal response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and his increasingly bizarre reaction (or non-reaction) to the disease that has  killed 170,000 plus American citizens. After that, I tried to write about his, again, abysmal reaction (or non-reaction) to the controversy over protests across the nation calling for deep changes in the way America views race, hate, and politics. He has dropped all pretense that he is not a racist son of a bitch and is not worthy to comment on a movement that he is ill equipped to handle or understand.

Next, up popped his dunderhead denials of the New York Times revelations of Russia paying bounties for Afghan fighters to kill American soldiers. Now, if today’s headlines are true, so has Iran.  Always angry, always mean spirited, always divisive, the man is literally a walking advertisement for everything that is not America. Now, it’s an all out assault on the Post Office. Sadly, he can’t even lie that he is actually doing something to help America. No, he openly admits his actions are meant to help sway the election in November in his favor by crippling mail in voting by states.

When Trump first came up with the slogan, Make America Great Again, many Americans scoffed thinking America was great already. No need to make it great – again. Three and a half years later how things have changed. Under Mad King Donnie the once greatness of the nation has slipped and spun into near oblivion. Who knew he was speaking prophetically? He fans the flames of racial prejudice, ignorance, white power, hatred, and more. Trump has done only one thing perfectly. He expanded, nurtured, and embraced the swamp he promised to drain.

But back to Americans. When in our history have we ever been more divided. The Civil War, maybe, but has all that much changed. White Americans seem not to know the meaning of irony. Everyday a new revelation of white people acting badly spouting racial slurs, committing acts of white privilege, and holding ideas that make normal white people wish they had been born anywhere but here. Maybe in this age of über news coverage,  both real and fake, white people haven’t caught on to the fact when they say something ill advised chances are someone has a phone pointed at them and is recording their indelicate moment for all the world to see.

There is a lot of speculation out there about just what is Trump trying to do in his insane rants, bizarre stances, and unorthodox approach to the campaign, especially with his own base. One theory is he is trying to sabotage his own election chances.  The less than reliable Tucker Carlson said as much on the air recently. His theory, and that of others, states that Trump can see the writing on the wall, and rather than come up a loser, he can make things look so bad for himself, he will throw up his hands and call the election twisted and corrupt and walk away a “winner” (or whiner). Longtime New Yorker, Donnie Deutsch, has known Trump for decades. He agrees with Carlson that as schizoid as it sounds that Trump will walk away to keep from being seen as a loser. Or he continues to alienate voters from both parties while hanging onto his basket of deplorables, some of whom, are violent, white nationalist and racist who will rise up and declare Trump the true authoritarian he aspires to be.

Then there are the scary neo-Nazi anarchists who actively seek the destruction of our democratic society. Groups like  the Base and Atomwaffen Division are not simply wanna’ be bad boys, but active groups that are recruiting mostly young white men to prepare for a race war they wholeheartedly embrace. There is no evidence these ultra whack jobs support Trump, but it is not beyond believable that they would welcome a break down in societal rules to step into the breach and exacerbate any conflict Trump’s whack jobs might promulgate at the behest of the Mad King Donald. Regardless, as Black Lives Matter demonstrators continue to show up at white supremacists rallies where the supremacists are armed to the teeth, one has to wonder when the day will come when some hot headed knuckle dragger simply draws down and starts blasting away at the other side. And, sorrowfully, it will happen.

Now, Joe Biden has made his choice for vice president, Kamala Harris, and the world is in a tizzy. Democrats are ecstatic, gushing with pride and an excessive abundance of hope and expectations of great things to come. For all of his craziness and vile personality traits, either Trump has some very smart people in his campaign headquarters or is, himself, a master politician. Overnight, he came up with plans to counter the online Democratic convention with barnstorming tours  across the nation to coincide with the Democrats and their machinations of the nominating process. Those tour stops have done little to stymie the Democrats to date, but you have to give him credit for making the effort.

With seventy odds days to the election, Trump has pulled out all of the stops. His latest ploy is, as mentioned above, is attempting to dismantle the United States Postal Service in the name of cuts to neuter one of the most important tools of our democracy. The Trump administration knows if mail-in ballots were to be cast and counted on time that his days of wrecking our democracy are over. The acting Postmaster General just yesterday claimed that no cuts to the agency will be put into effect until January next year after the election is over and counted. Yet, in reality, no one believes that Republicans will sit still and let the post office do its job. There is too much at stake like the death of the administration, and hopefully, a slew of Trump supporting Republicans losing their jobs.

The 500 pound gorilla in the closet is Russia. This week the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee released its findings on the depth of Russia interference and collusion of the Trump administration then campaign 2016. Their damning conclusions were that, yes, Russia and members of Trump’s team routinely shared information with Russian contacts (and vice versa) to help Trump win the 2016 election. And it hasn’t stopped. New information indicates that Russia is doing all they can to ensure Biden is defeated and Trump remains in office.

I vividly remember back in 1956 watching the evening news and seeing Nikita Khrushchev bellowing from a podium in Moscow as he addressed Western diplomats saying “We will bury you.” Actually, his quote was much more telling. What he said was, “whether you like it or not, history is on our side, we dig you in.” With Trump in office acting like the quintessential Manchurian Candidate, who knows, maybe Old Nikita’s words were not just a bombastic threat, but a long term play that is now coming to fruition.

Living Large In Carson City: When America Faces The Present Edition

“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools,

and those who dare not, are slaves.” Lord Byron

Well, it’s finally happened. America has gone to hell in a handbasket. Seriously, Trump has had to briefly retreat behind the wall he finally built – but around the White House. He continually skulks about like a demented little dwarf king whose most important task is to stamp his tiny feet and wail at his underlings and perceived enemies. The military is denouncing the president as unhinged and incapable of ruling America. He falters down a ramp and needs to hold a glass with two hands to drink water. Americans have taken to the streets to protest the murder of a black man whose most salient crime was being black in America. Even staunch Republicans are beginning to see that their support of Mad King Donald is about to bite them in the ass come November. Some are desperately looking for any way out of the web they spun and now find themselves mired in up to their eyeballs. And, of course, the Pandemic moves on behind the scenes at open beaches, restaurants. protest marches, and thurches across the nation.

One could argue that those mentioned above would inevitably turn on Trump simply out of self preservation. The military brass know that to follow illegal orders from the president would still be following illegal orders, making them complicit in any aftermath that would arise. Treason is not out of the realm of possibility if Trump demands something outside Constitutional parameters like using the military against American protestors. Republicans have to see that their chance of governing on any meaningful level is slowly being eroded as Trump’s poll numbers sink, and their reputations, suchs as they are, along with sagging numbers are at risk. These people exist on a plateau that the common American have no understanding of other than the fact we live in a double-standard universe where power is everything and not having it makes one irrelevant.

The crazy times we live in cannot be totally laid at the foot of the fence surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Average Americans are turning up in droves spouting racial epithets, supporting well-known racist dog whistles, and the police have gone bat shit crazy as they try to control peaceful protests with tactics that are anything but peaceful. Old white women seem to have a special propensity toward outright outlandish behavior. It is as if a Trump rally has metastasized and spilled out thousands of rabid, froth spewing demonoids onto the public landscape with marching order to make complete fools of themselves. I am not naive. I’ve lived in the deep south and East Texas. But really, where are these people coming from, and what reason do they have to live?

The thing that really startles me is the audacity that people exhibit when they make rude racists statements to people who are actually filming them. They know they are being filmed. They must know on some level that their faces and actions will soon be burning up the internet as their bigotry goes viral. Yet, not a day goes by that a legion of offenses are pasted across the news cycle of dumb-ass crackers acting, well, like dumb-ass crackers. It is more than a little disgusting and somewhat frightening to see these incidents play out in real time. What are they thinking?

But, therein lies the rub, they aren’t thinking. They simply feel emboldened to be who they always were under the cover of their white neighborhoods, churches, and fraternal police organizations. Of course, much of their new found freedom to proudly fly their freak flags can be traced back to Trump and his own racism, hatred, and white privilege. America can no longer laugh at Trump’s narcissistic acts of exclusion. Sure, we have all had a fine old time pointing out Mad King Donald’s lack of filters when it comes to dealing with issues of importance. It was funny for a couple of weeks, but here’s the thing. Three and a half years in, Trump is pushing his agenda of divisive hatred and racism more and more each day he sits in the chair of the presidency. He’s only getting started.

Okay, people can be obtuse and do ignorant things without thinking. Your average non-thinking American, especially white Americans with a sense of privilege, simply believe it is their right to lord their “specialness” over people of color or those less fortunate. But it is not just non-thinking Americans, more and more we see police officers doing much the same thing with the added threat that they are armed and prone to violence. Seeing the protestors subjected to mindless vicious attacks by the people who are supposed to be protecting them is simply unconscionable. Yet, America sees it over and over again on cable television as if this is a new normal we all have to accept or be drawn in to the violence and are condemned for standing up for what is right.

Does anyone really care what Meghan McCain says on The Voice? Does it matter that Tucker Carlson, a known provocateur, spouts idiocy and lies nightly on Fox News? Who wants to watch another second of Kellyanne Conway sniping away at Chris Cuomo on CNN? Or god forbid, anyone having to sit through another dreadful press conference by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. The worst case scenario is seeing Trump seated at a long conference table with Mike Pence peeing his pants as he fawns over the supreme leader telling him what a great job he is doing for Christian values and white bigoted racists from bumfuck middle America and beyond.

And so it goes. Where it will stop, literally, no one knows. While Trump’s poll numbers are in the tank, there is no guarantee that he will not pull some crazy shit like, oh I don’t know, allowing Russia to steal the election for him. He’s done it before. Why stop now? This is the state of America as it stands today. Come November, there is no guarantee he will willing vacate the White House if he loses without calling on his goon squads, white supremacists, crazy old white women, and let’s not forget, the indubitably  rancorous basket of deplorables to take up arms and secure the government for him. He is that batshit crazy.

No place is immune in the country from the lunacy spreading across the nation. I live in a relatively small city in Nevada. Normally, Carson City is a happy, energetic place where the dregs of the old west makes reality a little bit bigger than life. There is an online chat group called something like Neighbors where people can post notes like Stray Dog Seen Running Free on Sierra Drive!!!. Or Firewood Available contact Earl. For the most part, it is a Mayberryesque existence were the only real excitement is when a herd of female deer and fawns happen to run into a band of young bucks on the backstreets of the neighborhoods. The excitement is breath-taking, but no real controversy.

Earlier this week, someone posted something to the effect of why is the only thing covered on the news shows about racism? The poster was tired of having to watch protestors making a commotion about racism. Of course, it devolved into a two-sided argument. On one side, there are the “neighbors” who have lived here all their lives and never saw a racist act. One person even said, I swear, that (and I paraphrase) there were 20 black families according to county records in Carson and they live, worship and gamble in our midst and never cause a problem. What scares me is in their postulating on racism, they are tone deaf to the fact that their comments are – racist. The rest of us who have lived elsewhere and have different life experiences can only shake our heads and wonder when will it ever stop.

Wackadoodle of the Week

Really?

Megachurch pastor tries to rebrand ‘white privilege’ as ‘white blessing’ gifted from slavery

 

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: And The Hits Just Keep On Coming Edition

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev’rything that stands
                    The end   The Doors 

Okay, so I am not as pessimistic as Jim Morrison and his fanciful cohorts of the LA music scene, but I will confess to having a certain number of questions about just what the hell is going on in the country. The pandemic is, of course, skewing reality into totalling uncharted waters with no end in sight. Trump is said to be considering winding down the coronavirus task force while the death toll is inching its way to 80,000 deaths. Now, Axos reports Trump and some senior administration officials are questioning whether those fatality numbers are accurate. They maintain the numbers are smaller while health officials believe the 80,000 deaths is probably much lower than it should be.

Now, America finds out that Trump is not only an inept commander in chief but totally lacks the interest needed to do his job. Who’s in charge one might ask? Knowing the president’s lack of trust in anyone but his closely knit family, the obvious choice (and one not too surprising) is son-in-law Jared Kushner. In an article in GQ titled “Jared Kushner Is the “De Facto President of the United States”, Luke Darby quoted Gabriel Sherman  from a story for Vanity Fair  who stated, 

“Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States,” a former White House official told me. The previous chief of staff John Kelly, who’d marginalized Kushner, was long gone, and Mick Mulvaney, a virtual lame duck by that point, let Kushner run free. “Jared treats Mick like the help,” a prominent Republican said. GQ

Kushner was the guy who was going to bring peace to the Middle East and took up the mantel as savior of America from the pandemic crisis. Neither happened. On peace in the Middle East, he was widely criticized as little more than a dilettante with no experience and few ideas. The extent of his mishandling of the virus supply chain is still being investigated, but it is safe to say that his cadre of frat boy gofers at his leadership bungled everything while helping out people who Kushner favored. Did anyone vote for Kushner for president?

Recently, Trump barred Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases from testifying before House panels investigating the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic saying, “The House is set up. The House is a bunch of Trump Haters.” Instead, Fauci will testify in the more friendly Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Trump went on to say no corona task force members will appear before the House without the permission of newly installed House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Considering the Constitution sets up the House as one of the important oversight entities that is meant to rein in out of control executive branch actions, it begs the question, “Who will?” Mitch McConnell? I don’t think so.

Today, word came that Fauci and two other prominent doctors from the coronavirus task force have been exposed to someone who had the virus and will be in self quarantine for the next two weeks. Yesterday, the administration revealed that Stephen Millers wife has been tested positive for the virus. This is important because she is the vice president’s press secretary.  Also, one of Trump’s valets also tested positive. Part of his duties was serving the president his meals. So, now, the virus has entered the inner sanctum of the White House, a virus that Trump said would magically go away with a few days back at the beginning. California marks week eight of the original stay at home order. And so it goes.

Trump’s earlier call to shut down the coronavirus task force received such a public outcry that Trump saw a chance to use its popularity and now says the task force will transform into guiding the nation back to work. Germany, South Korea and China have what appears to be a second wave of confirmed cases of the virus as they too have tried to reopen their economy. It would be nice to have someone in the president’s chair who did not cater to the forces of capitalism and big corporation that are surely going to make things worse, but rather, listens to health experts and what can be see as proof rather than speculation.

The one thing that is becoming clearer as each day passes is that the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic has been bungled from the get go. His inability to grasp the seriousness of the problem has been breathtaking. His administration is made up of mindless sycophants who’s only motive is to keep their jobs. This means, of course, kowtowing to Trump’s every whim and not asking the hard questions or give accurate scientifically based information that would help mitigate the pandemic to some degree.

And that’s not all. Attorney Bill Barr took the unprecedented step Friday to throw out the case against Michael Flynn. Flynn admitted not once, but twice that he had lied the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials before withdrawing his pleas. If there was any doubt that Barr is an evil force in the administration, there is little doubt now that he is the head asskisser in support of Trump and the politicalization of the Justice Department. In a story in USAToday written by Savannah Berhmann titled “Michael Flynn: What we know about Trump’s former national security adviser”, Behrmann quotes Rep. Adam Schiff from California as saying,

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, said the Flynn decision “does not exonerate” Flynn and rather “incriminates” Attorney General William Barr, adding that this is “the worst politicization of the Justice Department in its history.” USAToday

Finally, in an effort to reframe the news as his polling numbers plummet, Trump and his minions are pushing the false narrative that China developed the coronavirus in a lab. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is so outfront with this lie that world leaders and his own staff are angry and upset that an official of his stature would would be party to spreading a demonstrably false narrative. Leaders around the world seem to have their feet more firmly planted on the ground than the yahoo leader of the State Department. At a time when cooperation, not false controversy, should be the goal of all world leaders, Trump seems to see his reelection prospects more important than making “big boy” decisions for the good of, not only America, but the world. But we already knew that. Maybe Morrison and the Doors were on to something.

Wacko of the week

In First Briefing, Trump’s Press Secretary Pledges Not to Lie 

 

Living Large In Carson City: Stupid People Got No Reason To Live

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in larger groups. George Carlin

Since well before the 2016 election, like most thinking Americans, I was a little confused by Donald Trump. To be sure, all Americans can be forgiven simply on the face of what the man had to say. And of course, his penchant for telling lies. Who in their right mind would speak out loud what most four year olds know should only be expressed in their private thoughts. Who says, “I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and nobody would do anything?” Or the old standby he pulls out to make polite conversation, “I grab ’em by the pussy.”  I mean honestly who says things like that in the real world.

Fast forward to April 2020 where Mad King Donald has morphed into a clinical lab for conspiracy theories, ego infused proclamations that can sear one’s eyebrows clean off one’s face, and delusions of grandeur that would shame Kim Jong Un (if he is still alive). Americans have officially moved beyond the realm on reality to something not even the Twilight Zone would air. Yet, whereas two weeks ago, America was holding its collective breath in hopes that the Coronavirus would quietly go away and spare the nation more senseless deaths, Trump has gone full metal jacket and life as Americans use to know it is gone.

It’s near the end of April and the virus continues to rage on with no end in sight. Trump is pushing for an end to  social distancing in some areas of the nation, and still not admitting that it is the healthcare experts who should be running this shit show as to when it would be safe to open the country back up. His logic is that the economy has to restart to get businesses back up and running before the economy falls apart. Oil has tanked buy slowly reviving. The Stock Market is limping along like a homeless person wandering the streets of LA. And good people are clamoring to be set free from governmental regulations. More on these people later.

This is where it gets weirder. Last week, he claimed some pretty extraordinary stuff, not the least of which is that he has absolute power over the states, and basically, he is above, or maybe, is the law. Constitutional scholars were quick to point out that he has no such power. Backtracking the next day, he backed off of that claim only to reassert it in the following few days. Most Americans have heard his proclamation, yet, where is the hue and cry to have the bastard committed to the nearest jail or loony bin? The silence from the masses is deafening and surprising. Three years ago, only his basest base would have stood by and let such an outrageous statement stand. Now, it seems like all of America is his base. Possibly, Americans have heard so much crap come out of his mouth that numbness has set in or maybe the country has gone a little insane along with him.

The question is what will Trump’s assertion that “When somebody is president of the United States, your authority is total” as he said in a press conference recently mean in the long run. Most Americans will shake their head and say there goes Mad King Donald playing Napoleon again. But there are those like the ones mentioned above who will take a totally different stance.

On opening up the economy, there will be more protests like those that happened last weekend where seemingly intelligent, non-basket of deplorables types, will petition state governments to open up the economy to gets paychecks flowing back into the pockets of the working class. If that were the sole concern, it would be understandable. People have to eat. Theys have to pay their bills and on and on. Americans are frightened right now and will grasp at any hope if it promises them a safe haven.

Of course, the issue here is America is only at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and it is going to be some time before infections peak and level off. Reopening the economy could have the exact opposite effect if a month from now infection rates increase and the economy has to be shut down again. It is a dilemma only the health professionals can speak intelligently on, certainly not Trump.

Yet, Trump is pushing for phase 1 to begin as soon as possible. Why now? Why take the risk? An answer can be found in the fitness industry.

Their inclusion follows a last-minute lobbying push by an industry not known for flexing its muscles in Washington. While not every major company was part of the effort, conversations with 10 leaders in the fitness-club business reveal an influential network of relationships that kicked into gear over the past few weeks and helped move gyms to the front of the line — even to the surprise of many in the industry.

Noteworthy figures in the effort include a Trump-loving fitness-center owner in Pennsylvania, Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew, billionaire real-estate mogul Steve Ross and the US Surgeon General. CNN

Gyms are like the worst possible establishments to reopen. As the article notes they are places where people sweat, breathe on each other, and share unsanitized equipment as a natural course of action. Yet, there they are on the frontlines calling for relaxation of the social distancing mandates. If, as the story notes, “an industry not known for flexing its muscles in Washington” can have an effect on the president’s decision making process, what power would industries like oil and gas, the restaurant associations, airlines, or worse yet, the National Football League be able exert on Trump to open the country  -safeguards be damned.

Trump is too much of a capitalist screw up and fearful of his reelection prospects not to take some action to open things up on some level. The group that should strike fear in the hearts of Americans are his whacko base. The question should be asked why is it that some right wing protestors show up armed to the teeth simply to stand around on governmental building steps and look awkward and a bit unhinged. Still, these people are a growing concern to most thinking Americans.

While many Americans have been concerned that Trump’s base might turn ugly if he isn’t reelected, now with the onset of the virus and his reelection prospects in doubt, some in the psychiatric field are taking a more serious look at what his base might be capable of in times of crisis.

In an article by Igor Derysh for Salon titled “Trump’s lockdown protesters resemble ‘child soldiers’ and ‘urban gangs’”, he interviewed Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine, about her findings. Derysh also notes,

Lee is also “a project group leader at the World Health Organization Violence Prevention Alliance. She told Salon that Trump’s recent call to “liberate” Democratic-led states was a dog whistle to his core supporters.”

“Subconsciously, it is a loyalty test for the people,” Lee said. “In Africa, where I did some ethnographic work, child soldiers would be recruited and made to kill a family member to demonstrate their allegiance to the government and not to the family. Similarly, in urban gangs in America, one may be challenged to kill a police officer to prove one’s willingness to uphold gang rules over societal rules.

“When Donald Trump suggests that the virus be taken as a ‘hoax’, that people gather in churches or that people protest for their own sacrifice, he is actually testing people’s loyalty to the ‘laws’ of his mind over the laws of nature, or even impulse for survival. The more he abuses them, the greater their devotion grows, since the psychological cost of admitting their mistake is ever higher — and so it becomes easier to dig a well of unreality than to see the obvious truth. Salon

In recent days Trump has spoken from the podium at his daily press conferences about gibberish that makes him look totally deranged. Yesterday, he suggested his medical team look into injecting disinfectants or light into people’s bodies to eradicate the virus to the horror of medical staff looking on. As President Andrew Shepherd noted in the final scene from American President,

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight.”

In the error of Trump, those words could not be more true.

Whacko Doodle of the Week

Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, in her interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN.

Living Large In Carson City: Helter Skelter/Look Out, ‘Cause Here She Comes Beatles Edition

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. William Butler Yeats

The time is now. Helter skelter. Charles Manson

Maybe it is a sign of the times when one of the world’s greatest poets and one of history’s most vile madmen can be quoted together and the outcome makes perfect sense. As Americans face a long, lonely haul before the end of the coronavirus outbreak can even be accurately predicted, all patriotic citizens should take a moment to reflect. Working through the haze of self quranteening, furtive early morning runs to Costco in search of the elusive toilet paper roll, and late night cocktails and snacking, most of America is too stupefied to take note of the state of the U. S. government, much less make sense of it. Such are the times.

Ground zero at my house is relatively calm, if not, with a fine pall of worry and concern hanging over our humble estate about how this is all going to play out.  Nevada is ranked number 23rd in the nation with just over a 1,000 cases diagnosed and 17 deaths. Of course, most people don’t understand just how lopsided the population concentration is across the state. Consider at this time, the megapolis of Las Vegas accounts for 753 of the diagnosed cases and 15 of the 17 deaths. The numbers are growing, of course, with yesterday accounting for 48 of the diagnosed cases since Monday, March 30. I digress.

Underneath all of the folderol and wacky miscommunication coming out of Washington and Trump’s mouth, serious shit is happening. Serious shit that the president and his minions would be happy for the rest of the country to ignore. In case America has forgotten, there is a presidential election coming up in November, and ready or not, the federal government and the states need to be prepared for it. This is where it gets complicated and nasty.

For all my life, there has been one truism that has held true through every election, presidential or otherwise: Republicans will do everything in their power to suppress the vote, which skews the election in their favor. Of course, over history there have been times when the issue swung to the other side like during the Jim Crow era, but in our modern world, Republicans have been the culprits. It doesn’t matter if was the Poll Tax, tricked out gerrymandering, throwing people off the voter rolls for no apparent reason, or simply, as we see today, closing down polling places at the last minute leaving voters to fend for themselves. The poor are disproportionately affected by this in a negative way, well hell, all Americans are to some degree.

Considering Trump’s manic thirst for power, the states need to take the lead on this pronto. Since there is no way to predict when the coronavirus will abate, or that it might go away during the warm summer months only to rekindle in the fall, the November 3 election date is iffy at best. Conventional wisdom holds that given Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, it isn’t a stretch to see him executing an executive order cancelling the election in light of the virus’s toll on the economy and the country.

The only way to possibly avoid such an action is for mail-in voting to be in place when November rolls around. The problem is that state’s are going to be cash strapped for the conceivable future due to outpouring of funds to prop up the medical profession as the virus takes its toll. Normally, the states could turn to the federal government to subsidize a project like this, but not in Trump world. Hell, he’s reluctant to send funds and equipment to state’s whose governors he sees as as not being appreciative enough of his actions.

For Trump, the virus is a wet dream that not even he could have imagined. In it he will see the perfect excuse to cancel the election and declare himself the grand poobah for four more years. Does anyone think that a court challenge wouldn’t go all the way to the Supreme Court? Does anyone have faith in the justices coming to  a fair and impartial verdict that puts the country first ahead of Trump’s wishes? I don’t think so.

In an article titled “How the coronavirus pandemic could soon explode into a constitutional crisis” by Cody Fenwick writing for Alternet, Fenwick quotes Davie Daley author of the new book UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling to Save Democracy who is sounding the alarm about just what could happen if conservative Republican governors follow Trump’s lead to suppress the vote later this year. Here he talks about recent events in the Democratic primary in mid-March,

. . . it gets harder and harder to imagine how a normal election might take place. As the crisis was ramping up, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he was canceling the March 17 election, in which Democratic primary voters were primed to go to the polls. He made this announcement the day before in-person voting was to take place, citing the danger posed by the outbreak, only to be ordered by a judge to proceed with the vote. He defied that order and kept the polls closed anyway. RawStory

Speaking of the polls, the article goes on to point out some obvious and serious concerns. Fenwick notes that the virus is especially hard hitting when it comes to seniors. Seniors are the primary source of people power that run most elections. What if there just aren’t enough poll workers to open the polls, or they are too frightened to show up at an event where hundreds if not thousands of people file in off the street to stand three feet away from them as they get their ballots. Fenwick also points out, how will voters exercise safe distancing when standing in line while queueing up to vote. Daly says it best,

“There are solutions, which all revolve around early voting, expanding vote by mail, expanding drop off centers and no-excuse absentee balloting,” said Daley. “All of this needs to be done in an effective way, and all of it costs money.” RawStory

Why are Republicans so afraid of mail in voting. Well, first of all, they can’t control the turnout. Second, if they can’t control the turnout, they can’t inhibit onsite polling places from dismissing voters as they show up to vote. This would mean they would have to turn to more nefarious means of suppressing the vote, further exposing their underhanded actions to skew the will of the American people. Old folks, minorities, and disabled voters would suddenly become a force to be reckoned with. In their own words, the issue comes down to this,

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston became the latest GOP official to warn about the perils that vote-by-mail initiatives would have on his party.

“This will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia,” he said. “Every registered voter is going to get one of these. … This will certainly drive up turnout.” RawStory

And now famously, Mad King Donald,

Trump earlier this week similarly told “Fox & Friends” that Democrats were pushing for initiatives that would generate “levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”RawStory

And so it goes.

Wacko of the Week Award

On Tuesday afternoon, a train engineer named Eduardo Moreno, apparently with great deliberation, derailed the freight train he was manning in Southern California, nearly killing occupants of three nearby cars. His target? The USNS Mercy, a Navy medical ship that’s been assisting nearby hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

“I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here,” Moreno reportedly told the officer who arrested him. Apparently, Moreno believes in a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus crisis is a hoax being deployed to cover for a shadowy takeover of the government. RawStory

Living Large In Carson City: Fear The Party That Has No Conscience Edition

Do not go gentle into that good night.
                                          Rage, rage against the dying of the light.                                                                                                                      Dylan Thomas

It brings me no pleasure railing against Donald Trump week after week. Often, I find myself sounding like a tweaked out conspiracy theorist which brings little joy to me or my friends. Yet, how can anyone watch the events of the day play out on the television screen and not feel something is wrong and pushing America off the rails into unknown territory. Of course, our Forefathers hoped desperately to help us avoid such a fate but not even they in their wisdom could have envisioned Donald J. Trump.

I could talk about the latest political faux pas pertaining to the Roger Stone case, Bill Barr’s meddling, and Trump’s complicity. Or the latest round of pardons for criminals of the past that Trump seems to delight in granting. Or the appointment of a man who has been characterized as divisive, unintelligent, abrasive, and contentious who has no history in the United States intelligence service being named to head all seventeen spy agencies. Or Mike Pompeo’s abrasive demeanor requiring the swearing in of a new deputy secretary of state to calm the waters at State due to a near “toxic situation” created by Pompeo’s less than camaraderie inducing style. But honestly, most people don’t care or can even be bothered with the shenanigans being pulled off by Trump and his merry band of  anarchists.

On a different note, for years I’ve heard and subscribed to the “idea” that there is no difference between the two major parties. Basically, the goals are the same with different means of achieving the same ends, none of which, favor the little guy. Honestly, I always held back a little hope that the Democrats weren’t as bad as the Republicans in promoting a message that was less than just. Bernie Sanders has changed all of my thinking on this topic.

It is a surprise to see people who are normally sane and centered suddenly getting on the bandwagon with the sole goal of tearing the Vermont Senator down. Sure, he is the front runner, but party unity should trump overzealous condemnation of fellow Democrats. Young people see through this and have spoken with their vote. However, after the last debate, MSNBC seemingly lost its mind when it allowed James Carville, Chris Matthews, and regrettably, Joy Reid, to openly trash Sanders as if he was Putin incarnate come to our shores to spread lies and deceit across the land. Carville and Matthews’ reaction is understandable. Both are longtime party hacks with little in their quivers other than hyperbole and angst. Reid, however, was especially disappointing. She stated,

“He is presenting what he is doing as a hostile takeover, not a merger with the party that he caucuses with in the Senate,” Reid said during a discussion with DNC chair Tom Perez.

She added, “He is … essentially sort of kicking to the curb 65 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton, Obama Democrats, people who consider themselves lifelong Democrats.” Politicusa

How can a candidate win nearly 50 percent of the vote in Nevada be involved in a “hostile takeover” unless she meant that the voters in Nevada were somehow trying to undermine the democratic process. More importantly, what does the 65 million voters that voted for Clinton (Obama Democrats) have to with anything. Reid, who is relatively new on the national news scene, will learn quickly that a person or party is only as relevant as the last election they won. In this case the 2018 midterms were the last “win” the Democrats enjoyed, not Hillary’s loss to Donald Trump. In fact, a case could be made that because of her loss to Trump Democrats saw the need for a realignment to ensure they stood up to the Republicans and not waste time on looking back at a failed election.

The reality is that MSNBC is only part of a much larger problem, and that is of course, corporate media. Corporate media doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that a free and unbiased press is the best thing for democracy. The problem is in the term “corporate” which feeds on wealth and power. For corporate media to survive, it needs a lot of money; money on a massive scale. When unvarnished coverage of the news runs headlong into the will of corporate executives, it doesn’t take a mental giant to figure out who wins.

In the case of Sanders, the Democratic Party, corporate media, and all corporate powers fear the idea of him even coming close to getting the nomination. Not the office, mind you, but the nomination at all. Sanders internet pages on how he stands on issues are impressive. One particular issue is enough to highlight here:

Get Corporate Money Out of Politics

  • Ban all corporate contributions to the Democratic Party Convention and all related committees, and as President he would ban all corporate donations for inaugural events and cap individual donations at $500.
  • Abolish the now-worthless FEC and replace it with the Federal Election Administration, a true law enforcement agency originally proposed by former Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold.
  • Enacting mandatory public financing laws for all federal elections.
  • Updating and strengthen the Federal Election Campaign Act to return to a system of mandatory public funding for National Party Conventions.
  • Passing a Constitutional Amendment that makes clear that money is not speech and corporations are not people. Bernie Issues

It is little wonder corporate media is so harshly against Sanders as the frontrunner in the ongoing nomination process. The issue isn’t whether you support Sanders, Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, or whoever. The issue is a fair and democratic process that allows all nominees the right to run their campaign without being strapped with undue criticism that effectively hamstrings someone like Sanders. Someone who is fighting against the very critics who are linked to the Democratic National Committee and corporate powers across the political spectrum.

The issue really is whether or not we continue down the same road we’ve be going down for at least the past 50 years. More swamp, more failed promises, more debt and on and on is what the establishment of both parties promise. It is time that America faces up to the fact that our government as it is run today does not take the common people’s needs into consideration any longer.

While Sanders certainly has issues, at least he is standing up and saying a correction is in order. One that requires the wealthy one percent to pay their fair share of taxes. One that thinks healthcare is a right and not a privilege. One that believes party elites need to stop doing the same thing over and over even in light of the fact that America is dying. Something has to be done to right the ship as it were. Whether it is Sanders now, or someone in the near future. America needs its people to stand up and say enough is enough while there is still time.

Living Large In Carson City: This Ain’t No Disco/This Ain’t No Fooling Around David Byrne Edition

 “If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it. ” Mark Twain

Less than 24 hours after the Senate Republicans voted to exeronate Donald J. Trump of obvious high crimes and misdemeanors, the president showed all the signs of a mad man run amok. The following morning at the National Prayer Breakfast, he came bearing a copy of the USA Today newspaper that proclaimed in bold block letters ” Trump Acquitted” at the top of the page. From there, things went predictably downhill.  In his speech to the historically non-partisan meeting he stated,

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” Trump said. “They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.” NBC News

It is becoming increasingly apparent that to criticize Trump’s aberrant behavior beyond noting that he is a seriously disturbed individual is simply playing into his bully mindset which is self-affirming regardless of who criticizes or praises him. At the annual prayer breakfast, he wasted no time  attacking Nancy Pelosi (who sat a few seats away) and Mitt Romney for using, in his words, their faith to publically attack him. Besides being incredibly offensive and laughingly unchristian, his actions, then and later in the day at the White House, verged on outright slander. It raises the question just how far Trump will go in punishing anyone who stood for impeachment or is a perceived enemy in his warped mind.

Over the course of the day, he attacked everyone from the past and present including Robert Mueller, Andrew McCabe, Hillary, Romney, Pelosi, former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, former FBI Director James Comey, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, and others too numerous to mention here. Conversely, he lauded praise on his sycophantic Republican enablers calling out one after the other to praise and charm while he told jokes and laughed his way through both meetings. To a man and woman, they ate it up chuckling and laughing continuously as Trump ranted on and on. To say his actions both brought shame on the office of the presidency and highlighted in stark illumination his mental demise is an understatement. A common definition among psychologists seems eerily apt for what Americans saw on stage this morning after,

Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes identified interchangeably as sociopathy or psychopathy, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as: “A mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.” Psychology Today

Honestly, is there anyone who didn’t see something of this nature coming if not outright expected it. What is most disturbing is the way conservatives, and Republicans in particular, have abandoned all sense of decency and the moral high ground to allow Trump free reign in doing whatever he chooses. It is as if the rest of us are witnessing some alternative universe. One where conservatives are living in a totally bogus reality where up is down, wrong is right, and Trump is an angelic savior who is not to be questioned let alone be held responsible for his behavior.

The overarching question is what has gone wrong with the Republican Party, collectively and as individuals. It is hard to believe in the world of Trump that once upon a time there were actually people who called themselves patriots and Republican in the same breath.  They believed in the rule of law, the Constitution, and the all important separation of powers where the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judiciary worked in tandem as checks on the power of the other individual branches to achieve balance. The system worked well until 2016 when Trump was elected, and the entire conservative cabal lost its mind.

Charles Mackay  was an early social scientist who was fascinated with the psychology of crowds and the masses. His seminal book published in 1841 titled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is still studied, and for the most part, highly regarded. He is quoted as saying, 

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

For many scholars familiar with Mackay’s work, he has taken on an almost visionary personae. He was concerned with economic bubbles, not unlike the ones Americans have dealt with over recent years. His work, arguably, suffered from lack of experience and foresight developed over the years, but his foundational tenets were solid nonetheless. He also explored the motivation behind the witch mania that became popular in both Europe and America related to overzealous religiosity. Mackay also believed the crusades and popular prophecies were a type of mania that motivated, on one hand, vast numbers of people across the globe to engage in battles to support their particular belief systems, and on the other, to believe projections of the future without sufficient warrant. In every case, the people involved molded their beliefs to fit the prevailing zeitgeist without questioning or acknowledging the impact of their reasoning.

Watching the Republican crowd at Trump’s victory laps immediately after the vote for acquittal when Republicans Senators blindly ignored a mountain of evidence proving the president’s guilt was breathtaking in it audacity. There and since, the actions of conservative lawmakers has been nothing if not embarrassing. This sycophantic, servile kowtowing to Trump is chilling as is his monarchical acceptance of their praise and glorification.

While there seem to be obvious similarities between the Trump army and Mackay’s research into the madness of crowds, Trump’s minions seem far more sinister and evil (although it  is a stretch to think marauding crusaders, either Christian or Muslim, could be any less forbidding). No, this is a new kind disease infecting the Grand Old Party today. It is a cancer eating away at the heart of our democracy, decimating the Constitution, rendering low the rule of  law, and hoodwinking the masses into seeing Trump as the savior of the American Dream. He is not. Sane people see him for what he is and recoil in horror at what has been going on the past three years in the United States.

The sooner the rest of America comes to grip with the fact that all the lies, cruelty, ad hominem attacks, border wall boondoggles, assaults on the environment, and cuts to healthcare, education, Social Security, and on and on are simply diversions in a grander scheme, the better off  America will be. No one likes to think their fellow Americans are capable or deluded by the promise of power to the point of staging a coup against our great country, but collectively, Americans had better come to that conclusion . . . and quickly.

This is reality. Get used to it, and above all else, get mad. Hate is not an enemy that one fights with clean hands under the The Marquess of Queensberry Rules. The election will be a street fight up until November 3. Then things will get real. If Trump wins, all bets are off, and America will cease to be a democracy. If the Democrats win, the fight will shift to retain power until the country heals and our way of life is returned to a semblance of law and order.

These are the only two paths to choose from as America goes forward. Get used to it.