Sunday, November 22, 2020

Tr*mp, the Opera

 

Reality being what it is at the moment, I’ve found it easier to cope by viewing current events as a kind of dramatic performance which, sooner or later, will have to be over.  Too tragic for farce and too farcical for tragedy, it has to be opera.  The music is in my head.

In my libretto, Tr*mp sincerely believes the craziness he’s been spouting (and Giuliani sings the role of Tr*mp’s id.). All his life, Tr*mp has been a devotee of Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking.  He genuinely believed he would win a second term: after all, positive thinking always had worked for him before!  (It often works pretty well for those who are born to rich fathers who bail them out of all their failures.)

Friedenberg’s cognitive dissonance theory gives us a useful description of how people behave when their deeply held beliefs are disconfirmed.  Their first response is to double-down, finding rationalizations for why the disconfirmed belief remains valid.  With a decent number of fellow believers (or sychophantic enablers) around them, they can cling to their delusions for a long time.  

Chorus: Indeed, Sir, ’tis a dark conspiracy!
             If you believe it, we, of course, agree!

Rudy:    And I, your knight, shall rout the enemy
              Including Soros, Gates, and AOC!


(In a subplot, Christian Soldier Mike Pompeo is off in the Middle East, pursuing policies aimed at hastening the Apocalypse and the Second Coming.  He has his own delusions, and his own agenda.)

I don’t know when the curtain finally will come down on Tr*mp, and I expect that Tr*mpism will outlast him.  Meanwhile, the virus thuds along the bass clef like a tympani, impossible to ignore for long, however hard we try.  This opera, I’m afraid, is Wagnerian — too dark, too noisy, and too damned long.
 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

About that election...

 

 You may feel like it's okay to take a breath now, but the stink of authoritarian populism still hangs heavy in the air.  Biden may aspire to lead a united country, but it won't be happening any time soon — if ever.  Some of the oversized American flags may come off the pickup trucks, but the American reservoir of racism and misogyny remains full to the brim, continues to spill over into the streets, and will allow Republicans to continue exploiting the divisions that make minority rule possible.

Tr*mp's supporters. whether they know it or not, are okay with fascism — and there are a hell of a lot of them.  Add in the 20% who didn't trouble themselves to vote – which probably means they figure they can live with anything – and that's a significant majority of America.  That ratio is probably neither better nor worse than what you'd find in other developed countries, human nature being what it is, but the past four years offered ample evidence that the threat of fascism in the USofA is real. 


Friday, October 30, 2020

October

 

 

The avalanche of news this month kicked up a tsunami of commentary.  I saw no reason to kick in my own half-pint, having nothing especially original to offer.  Maybe I'll have something new after the election — maybe not.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Briefs

 


• I've watched every presidential debate since Nixon-Kennedy, and last night's performance was easily the most entertaining.  I also found it more useful than most, in that it provided a clear delineation  of the characters of the participants — Tr*mp as a bully, and Biden as far more impervious to bullying than many may have expected.  Those looking signs of senile dementia should have seen far more in Tr*mp's behavior than in Biden's — and for those just looking for signs of basic decency, Biden was the clear winner.

• Anticipating a loss of the presidency – and, perhaps, their Senate majority as well – Republicans are certain to confirm the Religiulous ACB to the Supreme Court in coming weeks.  If Democrats follow through on a threat to "pack" the Court with two new Justices, Chief Justice Roberts once again will become the swing vote – but well may be less inclined to support positions of the Democrats who "sullied" the institution he holds dear.

• If a District Attorney can "get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich," it's pretty clear that Kentucky's Attorney General could have won indictments of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor if he'd had any desire to do so.  Granted, a Kentucky jury most likely would have swiftly acquitted them — but the process would have looked at least a little more like "justice."

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Reality Check

 

“Alternative facts” are facts indeed — in alternative realities.  As you’ve probably noticed, the USofA is suffering a bad case of multiple reality disorder at the moment.  Even a Democratic sweep in the upcoming election won’t change that. 

Not much of what a human being “knows” is based on personal experience.  The bulk of our “knowledge” comes from trusted authority figures — parents, teachers, scientists, priests, talking heads on TV, celebrities, social media influencers, etc. etc.  The only thing we ask of them is reasonable consistency with our other authority figures.  Human beings have always lived in bubbles where received knowledge included large dollops of misconception — but in the past, the bubbles didn’t bump up against each other nearly so often.

The QAnon cult is pretty firmly entrenched in Evangelical Christianity these days. The Boogaloo crazies will remain well-armed, and the racists will be even more paranoid.  Fox News won’t lose any viewership.  I’d like to know how a Biden Administration will handle that.  “Bringing the nation together” sounds good, but it won’t happen in Joe Biden’s lifetime.

__________

The death of RBG was a gut punch to progressives.  If a Democratic President and Senate decide to go ahead and "pack the Court," they won't hear any complaints from me.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Real Story



With all the chatter going on about Tr*mp's "mini-strokes," I figure I ought to tell you what really was happening that day at Walter Reade.  I have absolutely no evidence, but hey, it's 2020 — and it sounds good!  What more could you want?

 Frankly, I was sure about what was going on the day the news broke about Tr*mp's surprise hospital visit.  News that Pence was put on-call "in case" Our President needed anesthesia has only confirmed what I thought then.  Anesthesia was planned: Tr*mp was scheduled for a colonoscopy.  Unless he chickened out, Pence actually got to be president for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Of course, a colonoscopy is pretty standard for a man in his seventies – so one might wonder why it was such a big secret.  The answer, of course, is Tr*mp's fragile ego and macho pretensions.  He just couldn't stand that anybody might envision him bare-ass with some guy probing between those enormous buttocks.  (I don't much like envisioning it myself.)

If you really need confirmation, you might want to check how much tweeting he did the night before.  He'd have spent quite a bit of time on the toilet.

 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Catch-up for August



August was, to put it royally, a mensis horribilus.  So many upsetting things were happening, and so much was being said about them, that I didn't feel any particular need to toss my two cents in.  Just the same, there are a few points I haven't heard from the usual talking heads.

• Mohammed bin Zayed knew just as well as Bibi that the annexation plan was dead in the water – so what did MbZ get in return for formal UAE recognition of Israel?  My guess would be an assumption of military support if the Shi'a majority in the Emirates made any significant effort to overthrow the Sunni monarchy, threatening its monopoly aver all the power and wealth.  Israel would cite Iranian involvement – which is pretty much inevitable anyway.

• You've probably heard a lot of confusing explanations for why the market is soaring, but the real explanation is simple.  The Fed created a few trillion dollars of new money.  It was distributed quite broadly across the population – but, the American economy being what it is, all that money was slurped up to the top with the usual giant sucking sound.  That money had to go someplace, and bonds are paying bupkis.

• Both parties are running fear-based campaigns this election season, and it remains to be seen whether Americans are more afraid of racial minorities or fascism.