Monday, July 24, 2017

THE SECRET MEETING BETWEEN EL PRESIDENTE AND COMRADE PUTIN.




Vlady, did you try to hack our elections?

Nyet, Comrade Trumpski, I would never do that.

Are you sure Mr. President?   All my intelligence agencies have told me that you have done so. The head of national intelligence, Mr. Clapper said that you did. and so did James Brennen, the head of the CIA.

Are you sure you did not?

Nyet, Comrade President Trump.  I would never betray you.   Besides if I did show the kompromat,
it would not be good for Russia.   After all the democratskis in your house and senate want to pass more sanctions over our activities in the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.  And they would impeach you.  You must put a stop to this Mueller investigation.  I have some left over radium tea to serve him and James Comey, those traitors to your cause. No one needs to know how I bailed you out on your bankrupt casinos, and the new Trump tower in Gorky Park, planned for your second term.  Do not worry about not having enough roubles to complete the construction; I have many friends who will use my $200 billion stashed around the world under secret names to pay for the construction.  You as an experienced builder will be able to supervise the progress, and there might even be a little left over for building the solar wall to keep out the Mexican rapists from Texas and New Mexico.

I have looked into your eyes and seen your soul, Comrade Putin.  This will be the start of a beautiful friendship.
But what about the pee videos? I am afraid that the failing NY Times and the Amazon Washington Post will find out about me and the Russian whores who peed on me. 

Do not worry Mr. Presidentski, these troublesome individuals have already been sent to the bottom of the Volga.  We have used the antique equipment used to eliminate Rasputin, so no one will ever know.

Comrade President Trump, you need to dissolve your Duma.  Imagine the Democrats and the Republicans wanting to increase sanctions on Russia, just when we are about to approach the GDP of California?  This is impossible.  We need economic help so that we can increase our hegemony in Syria and in Iraq.  And your impeachment will not help us.



Do not worry Comrade Putin; I can veto any such silly legislation even that has bipartisan support of both houses of congress, so that I can seem tough on Russia.

But Comrade President, they will override your veto and if that happens, there is no telling what information can be leaked to the world press.  As I have been trying to instruct you, freedom of the press is not a good thing for strong leaders such as us.   You are taking a step in the right direction in calling it fake news, but it is not enough.  You need to throw a few bodies in the Potomac, to discourage such impudence.

And your son-in-law being called before congress?   At least the Republican leader Grassley has called for closed-door hearing so that the idiot is not on national television.  I am sure you prevailed upon him for this step.  Once he opens his mouth, we are possibly in great trouble.  But of course you can pardon him with your complete pardon power.

By the way, I particularly enjoyed Mr. Comrade President, you walking around the table at the G-20 to come over to me to suggest we have a private strategy meeting.   Just like Don Barzini and Don Corleone. Making me feel more important than your NATO allies is a step in the right direction.
But bear in mind that your daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Kushner are dangerous to your image.  Neither of them knows anything about world affairs, and you must send them to be ambassadors to Japan and to Israel so that they cannot make more trouble for you.  You need to listen to my advice on how to do this.  Kushner does not even speak in public thank Lenin. And your daughter sitting in uninvited to a world leader conference?  Not smart. Not good optics.   Even I do not appoint relatives to the soon to be reconstructed Supreme Soviet.

Mr. Comrade Presidenski, we have a lot of work to do.  And you have a lot more money to make.



Monday, July 17, 2017

POLARIZATION, AMERICA AND THE WORLD.




Everyone seems so convinced that they are correct.  A nation of true believers.  Trump supporters, seemingly convinced that he is doing "wonderful" things for the country.   Progressives obsessed with the notion that the country is going off the rails, led by a mad engineer guiding the great locomotive of American world leadership into a dark morass of perverted nationalism, who think that the misguided fools in fly-over country are conned into voting against their own interests.  And conservatives who believe that Trump has betrayed the principles of true conservatism.

How did we come this far?   How did we surrender our sanity to this mad irrationality?  Do the disaffected masses actually believe that this will happen?  That their jobs in the mines will be restored, that the great factories and steel mills of the Midwest will again employ low skilled labor, when the economics plainly point in the other direction, a direction where robotics and automation have already replaced more and more of these jobs? Even radiologists wonder when they will be replaced with x-ray reading computers.

The problem is that things are now moving so fast, exponentially, not linearly, and people are struggling mightily to keep up.  It could be a losing battle.  The breakneck speed of innovation is changing societal structure so rapidly; humans may need computers to help them figure out what to do.  Ergo, A.I.  There is early talk of a guaranteed annual income for all, paid for by taxes on increasingly productive corporations, making more  money than ever, but needing less human employees who need sick days, family leave and maternity benefits, not to mention health insurance.  Writ large is a possible dystopian future.

The left points out that the top 1% controls 90% of the wealth, drawing parallels to the gilded age, and the right thinks that Health insurance is not a right.  That rich people paying more taxes stifle economic growth, causing job creators not to create jobs.  Leftist economists think that has not worked, that when the rich have more money, they do not spend it, but the poor do, stimulating economic growth.  Both sides have statistics to back up their different points of view.   History has its lessons, but a Dickensian view of the world has lasted since Homo sapiens left Africa thousands of years ago.  And such philosophies have endured for ages.

Is it that the attention span of the average American is now as short as its President?  Do people read economics, or history, or civics?   Is it not taught in the schools?  Do the late-night comedians who go out in the street asking the average person who their senators are or who the Secretary of State is and getting an "I have no idea” really an interview of a representative group of Americans?  Or do they just cherry-pick the ignorant for a cheap laugh?   I hope so.  It is funny when people do not know when the Declaration of Independence was signed or that George Washington was the first President, but that he gave the Gettysburg address.

What is the matter with America?

Seems like people either do not care or are so uninformed or fed up, that Trumpian lies are becoming the norm.   Such a danger to our polity has many philosophical and psychological answers.  People deny, then become inured to the things they see on the 24-hour news cycle.  They would rather watch entertainment than what is happening in the real world.   Or football, where gladiators get their brains scrambled so that after their footballing days are over, they are consigned to a mental health facility, commit suicide or become a burden to their families, their loved ones enraged by the concealment for years of the dangers of the sport, so that billions can be generated for the coffers of the NFL, a business that dismissed and, worse, covered up the allegations of harm caused for years to unwitting participants seeking a way out of their underprivileged lives.

Politics these days seems no different; it has become a blood sport, fed by rival networks both progressive and liberal that cannot accommodate another point of view because it might damage their revenues.

The cable news networks have never had higher ratings, fed by the scandal-ridden Trump administration.  But even under the virtually scandal-free Obama administration, the accusations of birtherism and of Hillary Clinton's emails distorted the real issues facing America because these distractive issues generated a larger audience, their salaciousness and tabloid appeal undeniable.
No one really cares about the mundane issues of governance.   Its boring to most and Trump knew that all along.    But he may have gone too far, as did a number of con men and demagogues--Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Elmer Gantry, PT Barnum to name a few.

Health care as a right, women's reproductive issues, foreign policy, the danger of North Korea and of Russia and last but not least to Planet Earth, the home we cannot in the foreseeable future escape.  Is the tax more spend more Democratic model or the Republican tax less spend less the proper course?  These are complex economic issues not given to politicians who do not understand the implications of economic policy.   Nor do they understand deep divisions on social issues, including abortion, which if one wishes to be fair, has moral support for both positions.   That is precisely why it is so controversial. 

The real problem is that Americans do not wish to sit down and discuss these issues in a rational, discursive manner.  Such didacticism requires articulation and language that has seemed to disappear from our vocabulary.   Language is the tool, and many have lost the ability to converse.   People shouting at each other never solve anything.

When national discourse becomes strictly ideological, an ossified religion, then a demagogue can step in and fill the space easily with shop worn but unworkable solutions that incites a climate of violence, hatred and national despair.  Politics has unfortunately devolved into a semi-religion, a divine knowledge based upon ignorance, a divine pseudo-knowledge of only Manichean opinion.


It has become possible that the barbarians are no longer at the gate, they are inside and the Republic is in grave danger of dying from within, as did the Roman Empire.   Historians do understand one thing:  that nation states, or empires throughout history do not last in perpetuity.  The ones that do are based upon tolerance and understanding.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

THE MADNESS OF KING DONALD





Increasing evidence of insanity continue to emanate from the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, causing numerous psychiatric sources to opine about the NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) president, who having accomplished nothing but installing a retrograde Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, struts and prances around the living quarters in his bathrobe and pajamas, tweeting crude insults to members of the media, especially women, and ranting at his staff while going from TV to TV.   Sallying forth with embarrassing lies and pronouncements, preparing for his 2020 campaign by conducting rallies among his unenlightened followers, instead of governing, having failed to appoint mid level bureaucrats, leaves the government to flounder about, like a grouper just fished out of the water lying on a deck waiting to be disemboweled and served for dinner.

And now the mad king goes to the G 20 summit, unprepared, because he does not read briefing papers, or meet with staff.   Be prepared, Donald, to have your lunch eaten.

Enter Vladimir Putin, an evil kleptocratic KGB murderer, who denies all interference in our elections, and prepares to meet Donald Trump.   What will they discuss?   How to fire Robert Mueller or dump him in the Potomac?  Perhaps feed him some polonium-laden tea?   How to keep the Russian investments in Trump bankruptcies secret, saving the Donald's financial empire?  Oh, of course, for public consumption, they might discuss the US having shot down a Syrian warplane about to drop barrel bombs on children and how the US is to handle the North Koreans, etc.   But that story is for "losers," or "neudachniks," if you prefer the Russian transliteration.   Nothing will come of it, save some public blather.

Putin really knows how to deal and steal.   Rosneft, the Russian oil company/money laundry is a creation of Russian kleptocrats of whom Putin is the capo de tutti capi, ostensibly richer than Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and Warren Buffet combined.  The difference, of course, is that Putin's money has been made by stealing from others and murdering his critics, including journalists, financiers, and business adversaries, either sending them to watery graves in the Volga or serving them the aforementioned tea.  Oh, I forgot, having some of them riddled with bullets near the Kremlin wall.  

Trump will be attending Putin University at any meeting with a man who has an 80% approval rating in his own country, unlike the feckless Donald who is sinking fast, around 38%.  Imagine that, Russia with a failing one trick (oil and gas) economy having such a soaring approval rating?

Could it be the control of the state television, the newspapers, the Internet that might be helping with this?    Are Russian muziks dumber than Trump voters?  Less informed?  Hard to believe, since only 20% of American voters follow politics at all.  They actually believe that Trump is going to send them back to the coalmines, making America great again.   And after all, this notion, this appeal to nostalgia is a powerful seductive slogan for an empty headed, pandering con man.  He knows how to run a reality show, after all.   Donald is all about America in the 50s and 60s, and judging by his cabinet members, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry and Betsy De Voss, a segregated, white revanchist America is on their distorted agenda.   The 50s were peaceful under Eisenhower, but social progress was limited to the white middle industrial class, now being replaced by a mélange of color and immigrant diversity and robotics rendering America a new frontier of technology.   Immigration policies that wish to stifle this aspiration to greatness is doomed, an illusory fantasy cloud crafted by a mad hatter immersed in the wonderland of his own narcissism.

And the loss of healthcare for millions of Americans as a right not an earned benefit, is a non-starter except for retrograde luddites like Mitch McConnell, a politician that makes Machiavelli wiggle with delight in his 15th century grave.  Paul Ryan, the other power broker of the GOP sees only lower taxes, caring nothing about the American experience.  Whichever way the wind blows is fine with him.  Unprincipled cowards, both.

Oh America.  It is the fourth of July.  The founding fathers are recoiling from the 18th century compromises that founded the country.  Thomas Jefferson is wondering how science, one of his main passions, aside from impregnating slaves, is being thwarted by the likes of Rick Perry, and Scott Pruitt, who is forcing forward his climate denialist agenda, rolling back rules diminishing pollution and lead in the water.  

Theodore Roosevelt called these hombres malefactors of great wealth.  Well folks, they are in control of our government, and it will be years before we can get back to where we need to be.

The Madness of King Donald is on full display, with the help of the GOP and its pusillanimous leadership.  At least when America was great there were great leaders in the Congress, who thought beyond blind partisanship.