I have had to spend the week back in Shopping Mall USA this week. As a result I have gotten to watch the royal mess that is the Republican national convention. It's been a very graphic display of how far America has fallen, and how ludicrous the GOP has become. Tonight was supposed to be a well oiled machine- but then Ted Cruz stopped by.
I've got to hand it to Cruz, he could have taken the expedient path and sold his soul to the devil that is Donald Trump. But he refused to endorse him. He appears to understand what Rubio, Walker , and the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver do not-that Trump is dangerous. I am no fan of Cruz whatsoever- but to take the path he took tonight was pretty bold, IMHO. Without naming the vulgar talking yam by name-he showed him to be the truly worthless soul that he is. As one analyst said, "He chose to short Trump stock big time". Its a risky position-but far more principled than anything Trump has ever done. I will reiterate that Trump is truly dangerous-a threat to the heart of the Republic.
So here we go. You have just seen another sign of the apocalypse, wherein I write kind words about Ted Cruz. It appears the GOP is lifting it's convention script directly from the book of Revelation.
Damn them all now.
Damn the delegates who will vote for this man. Damn the professional politicians who will fall in line behind him or, worse, will sit back and hope this all blows over so the Republican Party once again will be able to relegate the poison this man has unleashed to the backwaters of the modern conservative intellectual mainstream, which is where it has been useful for over four decades. Damn the four hopeless sycophants who want to share a stage with him for four months. Damn all the people who will come here and speak on his behalf. Damn all the thoughtful folk who plumb his natural appeal for anything deeper than pure hatred.
Damn all the people who will vote for him, and damn any progressives who sit this one out because Hillary Rodham Clinton is wrong on this issue or that one. Damn all the people who are suggesting they do that. And damn all members of the media who treat this dangerous fluke of a campaign as being in any way business as usual. Any support for He, Trump is, at this point, an act of moral cowardice. Anyone who supports him, or runs with him, or enables his victory, or even speaks well of him, is a traitor to the American idea.
Damn, to name one, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, now exposed as the feckless political weakling he's always been. On Wednesday, during an inexcusable CNN-sponsored informercial for himself, Ryan was asked the only question that mattered:
But the challenge facing Ryan was clear when he was asked a question by Zachary Marcone, a Republican who said he couldn't support Trump because he is "openly racist." "Can you tell me, how can you morally justify your support for this kind of candidate?" Marcone asked.
Ryan responded like the spineless careerist tool he's always been.
"You're going to help elect Hillary Clinton and I don't think Hillary Clinton is supporting any of the things you stand for if you're a Republican."
In other words, if we don't elect this authoritarian wild man, I won't get to gut Medicare the way I've always wanted to.
Drowned out in the cacophony of tragedy this weekend, was a very well delivered and well written speech by filmmaker Ken Burns (who has done great documentary series on The Civil War among many others) who let us know, in no uncertain terms, why, He, Trump, is a dangerous threat to the American Republic-every bit as dangerous as our fetish about firearms. It is worth reading, and for the record I agree with him. If you don't, well, may God have mercy on you, but don't expect any sympathy here.
Take it away Mr. Burns:
For 216 years, our elections, though bitterly contested, have featured the philosophies and character of candidates who were clearly qualified. That is not the case this year. One is glaringly not qualified. So before you do anything with your well-earned degree, you must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process, divided our house, to fight against, no matter your political persuasion, the dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience in the much maligned but subtle art of governance; who is against lots of things, but doesn’t seem to be for anything, offering only bombastic and contradictory promises, and terrifying Orwellian statements; a person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter; who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment; who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, immigrants, and all Muslims; a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan; an infantile, bullying man who, depending on his mood, is willing to discard old and established alliances, treaties, and longstanding relationships. I feel genuine sorrow for the understandably scared and — they feel — powerless people who have flocked to his campaign in the mistaken belief that — as often happens on TV — a wand can be waved and every complicated problem can be solved with the simplest of solutions. They can’t. It is a political Ponzi scheme. And asking this man to assume the highest office in the land would be like asking a newly minted car driver to fly a 747.
As a student of history, I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient proto-fascism, a nativist anti-immigrant Know Nothing-ism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African-Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber-rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that, predictably, points fingers, always making the other wrong. These are all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past. But they now loom in front of us again — all happening at once. We know from our history books that these are the diseases of ancient and now fallen empires. The sense of commonwealth, of shared sacrifice, of trust, so much a part of American life, is eroding fast, spurred along and amplified by an amoral internet that permits a lie to circle the globe three times before the truth can get started.
We no longer have the luxury of neutrality or “balance,” or even of bemused disdain. Many of our media institutions have largely failed to expose this charlatan, torn between a nagging responsibility to good journalism and the big ratings a media circus always delivers. In fact, they have given him the abundant airtime he so desperately craves, so much so that it has actually worn down our natural human revulsion to this kind of behavior. Hey, he’s rich; he must be doing something right. He is not. Edward R. Murrow would have exposed this naked emperor months ago. He is an insult to our history. Do not be deceived by his momentary “good behavior.” It is only a spoiled, misbehaving child hoping somehow to still have dessert.
And do not think that the tragedy in Orlando underscores his points. It does not. We must “disenthrall ourselves,” as Abraham Lincoln said, from the culture of violence and guns. And then “we shall save our country.”
This is not a liberal or conservative issue, a red state–blue state divide. This is an American issue. Many honorable people, including the last two Republican presidents, members of the party of Abraham Lincoln, have declined to support him. And I implore those “Vichy Republicans” who have endorsed him to please, please reconsider. We must remain committed to the kindness and community that are the hallmarks of civilization and reject the troubling, unfiltered Tourette’s of his tribalism.
The next few months of your “commencement,” that is to say, your future, will be critical to the survival of our republic. “The occasion is piled high with difficulty.” Let us pledge here today that we will not let this happen to the exquisite, yet deeply flawed, land we all love and cherish — and hope to leave intact to our posterity. Let us “nobly save,” not “meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”
Who as we noted here at Far East Cynic HQ , last year, would be Sen Tom Cotton (douche bag-AR)-a worthless man, the freshman Senator from Arkansas, who seems not to have a very good understanding of his place in the United States government.
However when we wrote about him then, we were just decrying his stupidity when it came to foreign policy and demonstrating that he really had not done very much except show that he needs to take some remedial lessons on geography and history. Little did we realize at the time, that he was truly a fucking asshole and had no soul whatsoever. As it turns out, he had bigger ambitions on his mind, ambitions that included joining a list of folks who had sold their souls to Satan.
In early 2014, after decades of government and nonprofit work that reflected a passion for public service, Cassandra Butts got a reward — or so she thought. She was nominated by President Obama to be the next United States ambassador to the Bahamas.
It wasn’t an especially high-profile gig at the crossroads of the day’s most urgent issues, but it was a longstanding diplomatic post that needed to be filled, and she had concrete ideas about how best to do the job.
“She was very excited,” her sister, Deidra Abbott, told me.
The Senate held a hearing about her nomination in May 2014, and then … nothing. Summer came and went. So did fall. A new year arrived. Then another new year after that.
When I met her last month, she’d been waiting more than 820 days to be confirmed. She died suddenly two weeks later, still waiting. She was 50 years old.
The delay had nothing to do with her qualifications, which were impeccable. It had everything to do with Washington. She was a pawn in its power games and partisanship.
At one point Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, had a “hold” on all political nominees for State Department positions, partly as a way of punishing President Obama for the Iran nuclear deal.
At another point Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, put a hold specifically on Butts and on nominees for the ambassadorships to Sweden and Norway. He had a legitimate gripe with the Obama administration over a Secret Service leak of private information about a fellow member of Congress, and he was trying to pressure Obama to take punitive action. But that issue was unrelated to Butts and the Bahamas.
Cotton eventually released the two other holds, but not the one on Butts. She told me that she once went to see him about it, and he explained that he knew that she was a close friend of Obama’s — the two first encountered each other on a line for financial-aid forms at Harvard Law School, where they were classmates — and that blocking her was a way to inflict special pain on the president.
Got that? Not about any significant legislative issue with an obviously qualified nominee for what is not necessarily a critical diplomatic post. All because he wanted to play out the role of spoiled child.
Some people are ideologues. Some people are charlatans. Some people are opportunists. And some people are simply raging, flaming holes of pure ass. As Bruni's column makes clear, at least in the case of Tom Cotton, these categories are far from mutually exclusive.
Oh and by the way, Cotton's office does not dispute any part of this story. But Dudley Douchebag tried to paper over his evil by saying he,"had enormous respect for her and her career."
Sure you did, shit for brains.
Since Tom Cotton believes he is saved by grace, he seems to think that gives a pass on behaving like a decent human being. News Flash! –It doesn't.
Tom Cotton weaponized a dying woman's final days in order to "inflict special pain" on the president. Tom Cotton is a petty, sadistic swine who has the basic conscience of a cholera outbreak. He should be shamed from office, and he should be shunned by decent people.
Paul Ryan unconditionally surrendered to the forces of evil on Thursday:
Donald Trump and I have talked at great length about things such as the proper role of the executive and fundamental principles such as the protection of life. The list of potential Supreme Court nominees he released after our first meeting was very encouraging.
But the House policy agenda has been the main focus of our dialogue. We’ve talked about the common ground this agenda can represent. We’ve discussed how the House can be a driver of policy ideas. We’ve talked about how important these reforms are to saving our country. And we’ve talked about how, by focusing on issues that unite Republicans, we can work together to heal the fissures developed through the primary.
Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives. That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall.
It’s no secret that he and I have our differences. I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.
For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I—and my House colleagues—have invested so much in through the years. It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead.
Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.
Yes, I am sure Trump will help you build your Hegelian hell that so strive to build, Mr. Ryan-you self serving little prick.
Brave talk from a man who used government assistance to put himself through college, and then could not be bothered to do a few years of service to his country.
Trump will do what Trump does best: serve his own interests. But that’s really what Ryan is doing, too: if he doesn’t back Trump, his chances of losing his Speakership increase. Hell, he might even find himself in a more difficult primary. So he sold himself cheap.
Here, Mr. Ryan, here is a towel to wash the jizz off your mouth.
Besides all the other things that are at stake in this current Presidential election; trivial things like the survival of the United States as a democracy and survival of a free press, is also trying to put a nail in the coffin of those folks who believe that the "market solves all things" and regulation is bad for business.
Marketplace, which is a great economics program on NPR ran a story on Thursday about the effects of the free market run amok:
Three years ago, I sat beside the bed of Zhang Runxiang as the 42-year-old lay dying of uterine cancer. She and dozens of others in Liuchong village, a tiny hamlet in central China's Hubei province, have petitioned China’s government and complained on state-run television that they’ve had been poisoned by Dasheng chemical, a company that manufactures phosphate fertilizer on a hill above the village.
Two days after I visited Zhang, she died.
She is buried on a hillside above the village. Spring rain from low, dark clouds overhead soak the terraced plots of bright yellow rapeseed surrounding her grave.
“She was a good person — very outgoing,” said Zhang's friend Xu Huiping.
Xu stands with an umbrella, bowing to her friend’s tomb. The two belonged to the same village farming collective. Xu walks across the hillside to the next hill — nothing grows on top of this one.
“This is where they dumped phosphogypsum," Xu said, kicking a layer of gray ash underneath a thin layer of topsoil. "You see the gray ash underneath the topsoil here? That’s why nothing will ever grow here.”
The entire story is a classic case of the government failing to do its job and failing to hold a business accountable for its bad business and environmental practices. The ordinary people are the ones who suffer-in this case literally hundreds of them condemned to die by cancer. And when they have tried to raise the issue to authorities, they have found themselves threatened, evidently with impunity, by the owner of the business himself. Money counts, but doing what is right? Not so much.
Marketplace contacted Dasheng Chemical owner Zhong Shoubin. He refused to be interviewed. Marketplace also contacted several local officials. None of them answered our interview requests.
“Personally, I think that Dasheng Chemical obtained a free pass from the provincial government and the environmental protection bureau,” said Li Jun, former village chief of Liuchong.
Li said he was fired because he allowed too many of his villagers to petition in Beijing. Marketplace spoke to him in 2013, while he took care of his father, who was dying of cancer.
“As the former leader of this village, I feel ashamed," said Li. "Our villagers are telling the truth, and I’ve appealed to my superiors many times, but nothing has ever been done to stop the pollution.”
Interview requests to both the Hubei provincial government and China’s ministry of environmental protection went unanswered.
Listen to the entire story at the link here. It's tragic, completely avoidable, and a warning of what hell our Galtian overlords with their new patron saint, He, Trump, want for the rest of us.
As a part of the conference I am hosting I had to go to a social event last night. After a couple of large hefeweizens, a member of our group brought up the subject of the demon that is Donald Trump. Like throwing chum in the water, I took the bait. To my great regret.
One thing that really stuck in my head was when I pointed out that Trump proposes to default on US debt. The ardent moron's, supporter's response? "Yea well at least he will do something about the huge debt!" And this was from someone I think of as fairly intelligent. Yet, he could not make the distinction of the difference between the idea of lowering the public debt (good) and defaulting on US debt bonds ( really, really, bad).
This is what we are dealing with today in America. It is scary and its also very dangerous.
When I got home, I had several more of these:
And when I went to sleep, I dreamt about these:
I suspect that next year I will be working on this.
Especially people of the "Fox News Viewer" persuasion.
I admit it. I am astounded American politics is where it is today. I mean really, Donald Trump is probably going to be the GOP nominee? Really?
If you read any of my posts from earlier in the year-you will know that I expected the Donald to be going down in flames by now if not already gone. That, it seems, was a mistake. I gave Republican voters more credit than they deserved. I assumed that eventually, they would see through him and he would stand revealed as the worthless charlatan he is-and the nominating process would have moved on to another criminal candidate.
Today, I am here to tell you I was wrong.
Now please don't misunderstand me, Donald Trump is a hideous human being and in no way whatsoever deserving of a place on Pennsylvania Ave. And I hope , fervently, that he will never get there. However, I had more faith in the people than this. Surely they cannot be that stupid?
Evidently they can be.
Let's consult with the blog's political correspondent, Charlie Pierce:
It had been a while since I'd been to see the increasingly normalized donkey show that is a Trump rally. The rough edges have been smoothed out a tad, although the events in California last week showed pretty conclusively that they're not entirely gone. The warm-up acts on Sunday included a local minister, who offered a prayer. A Vietnam vet led the Pledge of Allegiance. A former Miss Indiana sang the National Anthem. An overripe state representative called the Affordable Care Act, "the worst law ever passed in this country." (Providing 15 million Americans with affordable health care is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act? Where do they find these people?) And a campaign aide named Stephen Miller wound some stems and burned some barns. He bellowed out a litany of all the Others who have been jiving the good people of Terre Haute out of their country for year after year.
"They don't care about you," Miller thundered. "Donald Trump cares about you!" Jesus, somebody buy this guy a nice armband for his birthday.
For himself, He, Trump hasn't moved very far out of the comfort zone that has surrounded him since he first ascended to the top of the polls. The stump speech is still a paean to his own greatness as demonstrated by his poll numbers—NBC has him 15 points ahead in Indiana as of Sunday, which really would be the end—and now he has a string of primary victories with which to buttress his limitless self-regard. "Lyin' Ted" has been joined by "Crooked Hillary" in his menagerie of imaginary villains. (Pivot toward the general!) "The government in Iraq is so crooked, maybe we should send Hillary over there to run it."
The stump speech still winds around itself two and three times and it still remains basically a tautological knot. The country has problems. He can solve them because he is He, Trump, and you're not, and neither are those other losers. The difference is that his typical audience is less the free-floating bag of grievances they once were. They now carry themselves as dedicated supporters. They don't care how many times in one speech he talks about the trade deficit. They cheer every time he mentions knuckling China. He is winning. They are winning. That's what matters.
"The Washington Post has a big article right here," he said. "The time has come to admit that Republican voters want Donald Trump as their nominee." And then, as the applause rises again, he spreads his arms and unleashes the very encyclopedia model of a shit-eating grin. He's probably talking about a piece last week in which Philip Bump—who is not the entire Washington Post—found some establishment Republicans who resignedly are signing on with The Great Accommodation. But nobody in the Indiana Theater cares. It was one more fight that they all won. His fait is accompli now, and so is theirs.
"If I win," he said, "it's a mandate. It's a mandate for genius."
Throughout the speech, if you can call it a speech, it was hard not to wonder about the people in the hall, especially when He, Trump told the crowd that, "Lyin' Ted will always let you down." Now that his support has solidified and proven durable all over the country, there are a lot of people whose investment in him is now total.
I wondered about Kris out on the sidewalk, who has followed He, Trump around the country because he liked what He, Trump said about closing borders to cut off the heroin that killed his child. That is a heavy burden to carry and a heavy burden to place on a candidate, even a candidate who has asked to carry it, which Trump certainly has not done. He is riding on a wave of pain that he never has felt. He is riding on a wave of anxiety he never has encountered. Beyond their love of him, there is no indication that he is as deeply aware of what has powered his rise as the people whose fear, and doubt, and, yes, hatred has powered his rise. Their job is still to wait in line, cheer on cue, and give him the devotion that he has earned because, after all, he is He, Trump, and they're not, and that will never change.
This is your democracy America. You are pissing it away royally. Trump and the millions of thugs people who following him, will lead you to oblivion. That you are too stupid to realize it is the great mystery of our age.
The analogies to Jesus Christ Superstar are obvious. Only , unlike Christ, Trump is not on the side of the angels.
Middle of the road kind of guy. Love living in Asia and will be back there as soon as I can. I lived 8 and a half grand and glorious years in Asia traveling from one end to the other and generally having a really good time. Despite my best efforts to stay, I was "Quantum Leaped" to a 3 and 1/2 year exile in the USA to pay for my sins - suffering through the lunacy that is life in the American South. I am now back overseas, living the expat life again, working my way around the world- taking the long way home to Asia via the path of living in Germany. Like Dr. Samuel Beckett, I am hoping my next leap will be the leap that brings me home to Asia. Always on the lookout for my next ex-wife.