Monday, October 1, 2018

The Trussians Are Coming

Back when I was in my youth, some time ago, there was a comedian who ran for president. His name was Pat Paulsen. I believe he "waged" his campaigns not with the intention of winning, but rather to add levity to politics and increase the strength of his brand.

His quotes included:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can only make a monkey out of the voters every four years."

"All the problems we face today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian."

Since the inception of the Tea Party, and their success at the polls, we have witnessed an surge in "politicians" of this nature. Only the humor has been replaced with hatred, vitriol and bigotry. Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis featured an ad teaching his children to emulate Trump complete with an explosion in his backyard. And the appearance of 'I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat' tee shirts at Trump rallies, while we are in the mist of an investigation to determine to what extent the current administration conspired with the Russians to meddle in our democracy, is quite troublesome.

These non traditional candidates, shamelessly, are driving out traditional, more decent, moral and competent, candidates witnessed by the departures of Darrell Issa, Jeff Flake, Paul Ryan and 28 other Republican congressional candidates not seeking reelection.

Humor is a wonderful thing. But it is not a panacea for all things. As Trump and the Trussians continue to defile America, attack her traditions, institutions and the rule of law, it may be time for a quote from one of our country's founding fathers who refused to sign the Declaration of Independence because the Constitution did not yet have a Bill of Rights. Patrick Henry said:

"Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell and (Vladimir Putin)…..may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it."

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Understanding Trump

First, Donald Trump cognitively is a corporate leader. Corporations are by their very nature dictatorships ruled by CEO's and often a board of directors that is somewhat beholden to  shareholders. The sole objective of corporations is to accumulate wealth and power (to facilitate further accumulation), for top executives and board members, and shareholders.

Employees are merely expendable ciphers of the corporations, a necessary evil to be eliminated whenever possible. Trump's lack of concern for his workers and failure to pay some of his small business vendors over the course of his life is a result of this mindset. Be loyal and produce or your fired, until I don't need you anymore. He has also demonstrated the same lack of concern for clients exemplified by the lawsuits against Trump University.

For Trump and the super rich like-minded, laws and regulations get in the way. The environment, the quality of life for Americans, the future of anything are irrelevant annoyances and consideration of them stands in the way of their one and only purpose. Traditions, institutions, civility are roadblocks that must be torn down. Wealthy donors and supporters are his shareholders. No matter, as Balzac stated, "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."

Trump likes dictators. He likes Putin and Jong-un. They are his contemporaries. Their corporations run relatively smoothly.

And foremost, Trump is also an entertainer, a showman in the vain of P.T. Barnum. And though he craves validation, he fully understands that he is CEO of America because of his base. He was elected because they are discouraged, disenfranchised and afraid. He continues to play on their frustrations. He continues to delve into the dark corners of their minds, and has shocked them to the point of giddy stupefaction. He must have their ratings or the show will be cancelled.

Trump is the culmination, the final product, of the Revolution of Insanity in America that began with Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Back during that period, when facts and figures, reality, and the truth still had some relevance, Tea Party thinkers criticized deficit government spending. They argued that since American families must live within budgets the Federal government should also. Government should be run like a business. Then when they began to consider healthcare, care of the elderly, education, addiction, and support for small businesses not to mention the Blackwater debacle which broke the budget, they ceased. Faced with the idea of "firing" a sick family member whose medical bills exceeded the family budget or farming out a child to avoid father's income from being taxed, they soon realized the folly of this analogy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trump World: The Lies We All Tell Ourselves

Despite the damage being inflicted by Trump's policies, more and more I am coming to the realization that it's a numbers game. The earth is finite and real solutions will never come about without an acceptance of the fact that many of the paradigms and models we all use are flawed. Most people regardless of political affiliation believe that what they want is what they need. And they want what they need immediately without regard for consequences or how they impact others, the world, or the future. The two dimensional television unreality of Trumpism reinforces this and causes consequences, facts and the truth to take on an almost surreal state. We can put our heads in the sand, or switch channels but ultimately we cannot turn off the consequences of our actions forever. The days of reckoning are already beginning in the form of mind boggling debt, crazy weather, diminished employment opportunities, and unsustainable populations,

There was open talk among intellectuals that Trump is delusional and void of reality evidenced by his claim that it is not his voice on the Hollywood Access tape. Technology in our middle history (planes, trains and automobiles, telephone and pre-cable television) brought people together and fostered a sense of community. The New Media has done quite the opposite. Since it impossible for humans to access and process the vast amount of information that is available, and people are becoming unable to differentiate between what is reality and fake news, people are becoming selective and live in technology tribes. And we are becoming dumber and are becoming addicted to "attached" technology, some of which is really useless in the broad scheme of things. The financial aristocracy whose members have always lived in a self-imposed bubble, understand this and are using this understanding to manipulate the rest of us. This was a major factor in Trump's win though he probably doesn't understand any of this.

Liberal Google and Microsoft really don't care as they live in their own very comfortable eco-friendly, organic bubbles. And Amazon is reaching monopoly status but nobody even talks about it or the multitude of mergers that have transpired recently.

In Trump World, to maximize their wealth and power, reactionaries, religious fanatics and plutocrats now hide under the conservative label and use their resources to undermine and attack the Age of Enlightenment philosophies and traditions of Christian charity and mercy that shaped the beliefs of our Founding Fathers, all the while paying insincere public homage to them like Roman Gods.

Meanwhile a significant segment of America is being ravaged by drug addiction. There is a line from the Oliver Stone movie, Savages: " Drugs are a rational response to an insane world." Though Stone was talking about marijuana, guessing the same goes for opioids.  Most in the areas ravaged by addiction essentially haven't done anything wrong. Most did what they were told to do.They worked hard and played by the rules, for the most part. And for decades they have been neglected.  And they are coming to the realization that there might not be a way out. Most of them are probably right. And they voted for Trump. It is impossible to comment definitively on their condition or their chances from any bubble.

Trump World is about tribalism, bubbles, enemies, real or fancied, and the lies we all tell ourselves. It is primal, dog-eat-dog. It is impossible to fully understand without again acknowledging the impact of social media and technology on all of us. We are getting to the point where we literally live in groups in clouds. And technology is beginning to appear to have more value to some in the upper strata than people. If Marx were alive today perhaps he would declare it the new opium of man.

Living in Trump World doesn't foster contentment and actualization but contrarily anger and fear. In this state it is very difficult to solve weighty problems let alone even fully understand them and their gravity.