It Couldn’t Happen Here

Of course not! Never! You would have to be nuts to suggest it!

I’m not a conspiracy theory sort of guy. Never have been. Read that first “What I Believe” post. We landed on the moon, Oswald was the lone gunman, there are no black helicopters, etc.

But here’s the scariest thing I’ve read in a long, long time.

Lost for the most part in all of the furor about the Executive Order that banned entry from seven countries, even for people with legal visas, even for people with legal green cards, even for US citizens with dual citizenship, is the fact that tonight there are still people being detained, despite multiple Federal courts yesterday ordering them to be released.

And there have been at least three incidents that I’ve seen documented where US Congressmen and local District Attorneys have gone to the airport to demand the enforcement of the injunctions and to meet with those being held – and they have been denied. In every case, not only were they not able to get the detainees released, but they were not able to talk directly to any senior Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) officials, they were not able to find out how many people were being held, and they were not able to find out the names of those being held.

Federal court injunctions from the Judicial Branch.

Congressmen from the Legislative Branch.

They are both being ignored by a department of the Executive Branch. An armed department of the Executive Branch.

It’s Day Nine of the Trump Administration and these could be the first warning signs that we’re teetering on the brink of the worst Constitutional crisis since the Civil War 150 years ago.

Radical! Insane! Hysterical! Over the top!

Yep, I couldn’t agree more. I can’t believe I’m writing this shit. I also can’t believe that there are people debating whether or not to order Federal Marshals to go into the airports to enforce the lawful and Constitutional orders of the Judicial and Legislative branches of our government. Because it doesn’t take a Tom Clancy novel to see how fast that could get industrial-strength ugly.

Look at all of the other things in the Medium article I cited.

The fact that Trump has declared his Presidency for 2020 already, which allows him to collect tons of money (thanks, Citizens United!) unchecked. This is completely unprecedented.

The fact that Trump now has his own, personal, security force protecting him (working “in parallel” with the Secret Service they say), as well as his own, personal, intelligence service. This is completely unprecedented.

The fact that Trump fired every US ambassador to every country in the world and hasn’t yet even nominated or appointed a single one to replace them. And now we hear that the mass resignation of the majority of senior State Department staff last week wasn’t a protest, it was a purge.

I know. Radical! Insane! Hysterical!

It’s late. I’m tired, it’s been a long week, next week is going to be longer. I’ve probably been reading way, way too many Dan Brown novels. It’s about 99.99999% certain that all of this is nothing and I’m totally full of shit. Trump’s a bigot, an asshole, a cancer on the spleen of humanity, and Bannon is worse, but that’s it.

No one in the world hopes more that ten years from now we’ll look back on this post (I won’t delete it, I promise) and all be wondering, “Paul, what the fuck was in the water that night?”

Then why do I wonder whether we’ll be able to look back on this post and be wondering that in a month? Or next weekend?

Damn, I sure hope that I’m as full of shit and useless paranoia as I want to be right now.

Watch Bannon

When Trump does something mind-numbingly idiotic, racist, unconstitutional, and jaw-dropping — check to see what he’s doing that the doesn’t want you paying attention to.

This is hardly an original warning, but it can’t be repeated enough. Today, while we saw tens of thousands of outraged Americans spontaneously protesting at major airports all over the country to make the government allow people into the US when they have a legal right to be be here, Steve Bannon quietly got placed on the National Security Council while the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence were in large part removed.

National. Security. Council.

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(Should we be worried that the White House is so incompetent that they can’t even get this web page to be live?)

The National Security Arm is the primary conduit of information to the President regarding world activity, intelligence gathered from around the world, and threats to our country. It pulls together leaders of the intelligence community, the State Department, and the military. It’s pretty fucking important.

Steve Bannon is a self-declared Leninist. In his own words from that Daily Beast interview,

“I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

A man who wants to “destroy the state,” who wants “to bring everything crashing down,” who wants to “destroy all of today’s establishment,” THAT lunatic has now been put in a position of leadership on the National Security Council.

To anyone who voted for Trump for whatever reason, I would like to hear a rational argument about why this isn’t horrifying. In detail.

I want to know how the GOP, the party that has for decades wrapped itself in the flag, chosen their God as the one and only way to salvation, that has tarred others as unpatriotic when they dared to disagree, I want to know how they can justify or accept this.

Second question for the GOP (are you listening Ryan and McConnell? rhetorical, we know they don’t give a rat’s ass about this country, just their personal power and the lucrative “support” it brings from the megacorps that pull their strings) is this:

Now that Bannon is in a position to destroy the state, which would clearly be an act of high treason and possibly involve millions of casualties, do we wait for him to kill all those people (including us) or can we throw his ass in jail now and avoid the rush?

Refugees

It’s been a long, long couple of days and it’s late, so I’ll borrow something I wrote earlier today when I was more awake.

During a break I was flipping through my Facebook feed and saw this from Amanda Palmer (who I truly love and adore and you should too):

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Here’s the URL that’s linked.

In general I try to avoid reading the comments, because I can feel my brain cells committing suicide as I do so, but the first comment caught my eye:

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My tolerance for stupidity, hatred, and racism was at a low point today, so I responded:

“Flaro” doesn’t sound like a Native American name, so your ancestors were refugees and immigrants. Are you planning on taking your family and going back, or are you going to wait until Trump and his evil minions throw you out of the country? At which point, you’ll be a refugee – ironic, huh? You should pray that some other country is better than the 2017 United States. You know – like it says on the Statue of Liberty, and like the US used to be before the cowards took over.

In response to someone else, our pal Cliff had decided to help educate her, because he had “facts”! They must be facts, they were right there on the internet!

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Again, discretion is the better part of… Oh, to hell with it, let’s engage!

Cliff Flaro I would also like to point out that your information source has been declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That’s all I need to know about your argument.

At that point he said that it made him sad that I was so “intellectually bankrupt”. I knew he was really, really sad because there was also a frowny face. I couldn’t ask for clarification since he then apparently blocked me.

If he’s not careful, Cliff’s going to hurt my feelings!

 

It’s The Little Things

So many things about the Trumpencritter and his evil minions are disgusting and scary as hell. For one, let’s look at his total disgust and disregard for the American people.

Note, for the record, these are the same American people that he so vigorously campaigned for with pledges that he would “save us.”

What I, and most everyone else, notice is the little things. Yes, we need to be scared shitless over the daily shredding of the First Amendment, his abandonment of allies and longstanding treaties, his obsession with kowtowing to every whim of Vladimir Putin, his campaign to destroy the US economy… Ahem.

Yes, “little things.” Let’s look at a couple. There are more and more by the day, so this is hardly a definitive list.

Did you see the video of him boarding Air Force One today? Every President in my memory has always stopped at the top of the stairs and waved at the press. Trump walked up the stairs, ignored the press and everyone watching, never turned around, and marched into the plane.

The end of the world? Hardly. I see that the fifth-rate scum that make up America’s fascist press (Breitbart, et al) are going ape shit because the regular press is criticizing Trump and calling him out for ignoring this tiny time-honored tradition. But that doesn’t mean that it’s anything like a big deal in real life.

But it does show either, A) how completely ignorant and oblivious Trump is to what the Presidency involves; B) how Trump doesn’t give a shit about any of what the Presidency involves; or C) both.

Trump marches ahead, his back to us, sullen, frowning, glowering, leading the parade that only he can hear in his head. We, the American public, the American press, we’re not worth the effort to turn around and acknowledge our existence.

Just like he treats his wife.

Did you see the pictures of Melania being ignored by Trump as he arrived at the White House on his inauguration day? Trump arrived, got out of his car, and marched up the steps alone, completely ignoring Melania who was getting out of the car behind him. After greeting the Obamas, Trump went into the building by himself (leading that parade, too arrogant to even turn around…) while the Obamas put their arms around Melania and escorted her into the building.

Like Trump should have, if he had even half a gram of class, style, or manners. Like Trump should have if he had any respect whatsoever for his wife.

So whatever else, remember, while Trump may be trying to set himself up as a fascist tyrant, a dictator, and at best is already the worst President in US history, he’s also, plain and simple, a flaming asshole.

Calmer

I’ll say one thing for days that are so busy & hectic that you don’t have time to think, bouncing from one meeting to the next, then having a big formal dinner, then driving for four hours to get to the conference you’re at on Thursday and Friday.

There’s no time on those days to look at the news and see what incredibly idiotic, fascist, and unconstitutional things your new government has done.

I find myself much calmer. Not feeling safer – just calmer.

Somewhere There’s A Painting

Somewhere off in a deep, dark, dank corner far, far down underneath Trump Tower, there’s got to be a painting that’s looking younger and healthier by the second.

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It might be surrounded by thirteen black candles and framed beside an autographed picture of Joseph Goebbels.

Meanwhile, across the country, women named Kellyanne are desperately trying to legally change their names before The Trumpencritter shuts down the courts.

This Kellyanne just babbles on and on, sounding more and more every day like a bad Dr. Seuss parody written by a badly coded AI. And the press just keeps putting her idiocy out over the airwaves, even when she’s blatantly lying. Utter bullshit, yet the networks keep giving her air time.

What if they stopped? What if we had a tyrannical regime and nobody came?

 

Pay Attention!

You’ll hear that a lot. Pay attention!

As “humorous” as it might be watching Trump melt down on a daily basis because people are still hurting his feelings and still keep using those horrible, horrible facts (Hillary won the popular vote by three million, pass it on!) to show that he’s not the greatest leader since Alexander the Great, the legion of evil bastards that he’s put in charge of various departments are already wreaking havoc.

When the Interior Department tweeted side-by-side pictures of the Mall crowds for Trump’s inauguration vs. Obama’s inauguration, someone in the Trump Administration ordered their Twitter account shut down. Someone said The Trumpencritter didn’t like so they shut down a government service that gives critical weather & road condition information to people visiting National Parks all over the country.

Day One of the Trump Administration and the White House website eliminated any and all reference to climate change. THAT will teach them! THAT will prevent it from actually happening!

All employees of the Environmental Protection Agency today were given a memo with a list of restrictions on what and how they can communicate with the public. If we can’t change those pesky facts, we’ll make damn sure that no one on the government payroll or working on a government grant is allowed to say a single word about them.

It’s horrifying to see this on Day One and Day Two and Day Three. But note that it’s getting worse by the day. On Day Three we’re looking back on the innocence of the horrors of Day One. What will it be like on Day Two Hundred?

If we don’t demand that it stop right now, we won’t even know what they’re restricting by that time.

Dippin’ Dots? Really?

My favorite story of the evening concerns our pal from yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. It seems that he is just as petty as his boss, and for someone in a communications specialist’s position, he seems to be clueless about cleaning up his old online profile.

What kind of person has a five-year long feud with Dippin’ Dots?

I mean, the quotes that are coming out from a few months ago where he talked about never, EVER telling a lie as a spokesperson and how abhorrent that would be, those are “funny” enough given yesterday’s debacle. But this?

And if you think that yesterday’s rant about reality wasn’t a debacle, consider that the Dallas Stars were making jokes about it on their scoreboard last night when they announced the attendance. (1.5 million!)

Dallas. The reddest of the red cities in the reddest of the red states. And they’re making fun of this guy on Day One.

Unbelievable.

Degrees Of Crazy

We’re going to be doing this a lot, I’m afraid. That’s one of the biggest problems that’s popping up with the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, and now, a full 36 hours in, with the Trump Administration.

What’s the more insane, batshit crazy thing they did today? Was it Trump telling visiting the CIA to tell them that he has a “war” with the media because, “They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth”? Or was it the Trump press secretary ranting at the White House press corps, absolutely convinced that the crowds for Trump’s inauguration yesterday were the largest in history, when any idiot who can count higher than three without using his fingers can see that’s just total bullshit? Or was it Trump telling the CIA that ISIS wouldn’t exist if we had just kept the Iraqi oil fields when we invaded the first time…but maybe we’ll get another chance?

I think the award goes to the third one, although the first two are getting the most press and being made fun of the most on social media. The memes of Sean Spicer spouting ludicrous statements from pop culture go from the hilarious:

to the incredibly sublime:

Nonetheless, let’s not ignore the President of the United States saying that we should have kept a foreign country as our occupied territory, the spoils of war, because we should have “kept the oil.” More importantly, let’s not forget that he followed that comment with a wistful and wishful hope that perhaps we’ll have another chance.

I figured it would take at least a couple of weeks before he managed to fuck up accidentally and start World War Three. I didn’t expect him to be working so hard on it on Day Two!

Dissonance

Mirriam Webster defines “dissonance” as:

a mingling of sounds that strike the ear harshly :  a mingling of discordant sounds; especially, music :  a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord

I kept getting that fingernails-on-the-blackboard feeling caused by such a case of dissonance all day. It will only get worse as time goes on, I fear.

“President Trump”

Even as I type it, a part of my brain just refuses to make sense of it. I’m not stupid, I know on a factual level that Donald Trump is legally the President of the United States tonight. But that phrase, “President Trump,” simply does not compute on a very visceral level.

Certain terms shouldn’t go together. “Pope Bubba.” “General Cuddles.” “Senator Blutarsky.

That’s when I saw it. We have used that dissonance for humor and satire so often that we’re ill prepared for the day it became reality. When Bluto grabs Babs, steals the convertible, and exits the riot to cruise into the sunset, it’s hilarious to think that he eventually ends up as a US Senator.

Now there’s actually an ignorant, useless, undisciplined frat boy in the White House.

It’s time to rebuild and reinforce the values that are the basis for our society. It’s going to be a long, tough fight. But, as Brother Bluto said, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”