Logic is Overrated

“It’s just, well as long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma.”

Words matter. Someone gave the president a masterfully intricate, hand-crafted collection of the best words available, all intended to promote a fallacy of relevance: argumentum ad baculum, or the “might makes right” fallacy. And just like that, Donald’s words shouldn’t matter — but they still do, because he’s POTUS.

Yes, it’s ironic that Donald Trump chose a “fallacy of relevance” to defend his failing presidency, but the consequences could be catastrophic. If you go look, you’ll see that pretty much every knife in Donald’s drawer is a fallacy of relevance, including the genetic fallacy, ad hominem, ad populum, or ad misericordiam (literally an “argument from pity”). Poor Donald. This job is HARD.

There is nothing new or particularly surprising here — conservatives have always responded to the “strict father” (do as I say) model of governance. ‘I don’t care if you love me or not, there are rules in my house. I’m sorry your brothers just opened up a six inch laceration across your scalp — it was an accident — now say you love them. We’re a family. Say it.’

Wait, what? You didn’t hear that? Well, the transcript is available for the media, pundits and others to discuss ad nauseum; I’ve done many a deep-dive into the language deployed to destabilize our democracy. But yeah — this speech was designed to put Charlottesville in the rear view mirror. ‘Families squabble. Get over it and get past it, because the men and women sitting in front of me might just lose a limb or their lives if you don’t.’ Seriously — it’s all there if you just look. Continue reading

Whistle Blower

On Twitter I said, “Waiting to learn which dogwhistle #PresidentBannon will have @POTUS blow next is killing me. C’mon, @realDonaldTrump, fail #ResignInDisgrace

While it’s amusing to needle the president and your conservative pals about the bloated, sick white nationalist scumbag behind Trump’s throne — what’s happening to families and neighbors as a result is tragic. We’ve always known the “R” in Republican stands for regressive — and President Bannon has dragged us all the way back to the Civil War … and it’s tearing families apart, again.

What follows is a public letter written by the father of one of those alt right, neo-nazi terrorists who invaded Charlottesville.

“My name is Pearce Tefft, and I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local news stories over the last several months.

“On Friday night, my son traveled to Charlottesville, Va., and was interviewed by a national news outlet while marching with reported white nationalists, who allegedly went on to kill a person.

“I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home.

“I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.

“Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family’s heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now.

“Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.

“His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home. We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview.

“He once joked, “The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven.”

“Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. Please son, renounce the hate, accept and love all.”

Remember, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts w/o wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.” — Dr. Martin Luther King

The father’s original letter posted here.

“Justice” for all …

There’s no shortage of opinion online. This is mine. I want to focus on the positive for just a moment: most of the planet agrees Nazis are evil. There really wasn’t all that much equivocation on the point, save from those who allow their personal politics to trump personal morality. From their perspective, all the so-called baby-killing, Marxist-loving, tree-hugging liberal hippies are the ones without a moral compass. There is no middle ground in America — the entire country has become a no-man’s land. Unfortunately, it is not demilitarized.

Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia noted with justifiable alarm that the militia members who invaded his commonwealth were better armed than the state’s police. Every other day comes a new threat of armed insurrection if, and only if we can believe Donald Trump when he said, “We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution.”

This president has major legal issues waiting on his newly refurbished “dump” of a doorstep. His supporters say they’ll quash this legal dilemma and Trump’s possible removal from office with bullets (or, if unavailable, an automobile). There wasn’t much ambiguity in the statement Trump’s staff insisted he read — but the subtext was chilling. While he’s in charge, anyone resisting hatred and bigotry is every bit as suspect as the Nazi preaching hate, anti-government militias clutching their phallic blankets, or your basic, everyday, garden-variety bigot. Trump will pull out all the stops to make sure that citizens on the streets remain orderly — and obey.

“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.” ‘Punch a Nazi in the face? Go to jail — I promise you — I’m going to give you the best justice … so much justice you wouldn’t believe.’ It’s a pretty carefully crafted bit of intimidation for any American still brave enough to take to the streets of their city and bar the gates against intolerance, isn’t it? “Anyone,” perhaps “from many sides,” is liable to be arrested.

On delivering justice: “We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear” sounds good. Seems clear he’s going to throw federal money and resources at local police departments (who needs another surplus tank?), further militarizing the force. Add to this toxic stew of “policy,” Trump telling cops “we’d like to get them out a lot faster, and when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice.”

Maybe it’s me. Maybe the president of the United States didn’t just say, ‘when the KKK comes KKKalling, you’d better be on your best behavior — or else!’ I believe he did. He read that statement as if he’d survived months of beatings inside the Hanoi Hilton and was dragged in front of the cameras. He couldn’t help himself, either — setting aside the small issue of standing up to Nazis and bigots — leading his remarks with an informercial starring Donald Trump’s imagined greatness at presidenting.

He buried the lede. He did it on purpose. And the official White House reaction to Charlottesville is clear: we will spare no expense to maintain order on the streets. When the Klan and the armed militia arrive in your city … don’t get your panties in a twist or Trump’s troops might have to deliver some good old-fashioned “justice” to your face — and it won’t “be too nice.” You’ve been warned.

You’re welcome.

Babysitter Needed, Inquire Within

The Russian government now openly refers to the “utter powerlessness” of Donald Trump, writing “hope that our relations with the new American administration would improve is finished.” That statement by Prime Minister Medvedev is flat wrong — and meant to confuse you. The Russians don’t have a problem with Trump’s administration — they have a problem with the U.S.A.

Meanwhile China commiserates, noting POTUS “likes to tweet,” adding “emotional venting cannot become a guiding policy for solving the nuclear issue” with North Korea. You know we have a potential crisis on our hands when Kim Jong Un is the more reliably predictable actor than the president.

It seems pretty clear to me that when Trump is challenged on his lack of diplomacy, or having a feeble grasp of world affairs, or someone laughs at his lumberjack competition handshake — full frontal attack is all he knows. That’s fine contained to 140 characters or fewer — but the idiot man-child has new toys these days and requires constant adult supervision. John Kelly is the new babysitter — let’s hope he doesn’t show him how to use them.

Scientia ipsa potentia est — knowledge itself is power.

Going Nuclear

Go ahead and laugh at the double entendre, Donald, and miss the point. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time (sorry about that, Serge).

About now “Tom Joad” would take you deep inside Orwell’s memory hole, where Donald dumps facts, science, reason and compassion. TJ would tell the story of Trumplethinskin and Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times (a former WaPo reporter Trump claims changed a story to make him look bad — he didn’t).

Tom Joad 2.0 isn’t as “philosophical” as some may yearn for — but it’s by necessity. I’m not the first to note that this angry man-child of a president is literally banking on us to get bogged down in debate, bamboozled by his bullshit, as he surrounds the White House with an army of lawyers. He’s Fielding Mellish absent the bumbling charm — and with a mean streak a mile-wide. This is not normal. Continue reading

GOP Failure Friday

So John McCain is the hero in our story again, right? Not so fast. If it took removing the tumor from his head to get him to say to his GOP colleagues, ‘gee fellas, the American people expect us to do our jobs here,’ then fine … tumors for everyone! YOU get a tumor — and YOU get a tumor! (Spare me … cancer has touched all our lives … I don’t need a lecture.)

I’m sure McConnell remains stumped. After staunching the Republican bloodletting at just 15 million newly uninsured Americans (their “skinny” option, because you can never be too rich or too thin), and getting that dramatic, last-minute phone call from the Drumpf Führer himself on the Senate floor — it was just another “very disappointing” FAILURE. Sad.

Meanwhile the new communications guy at the White House has been the source of his own leak, promised some kind of “night of the long knives” inside the West Wing, and swore a blue streak while talking to a reporter. His takeaway? ‘Don’t trust reporters.’ Really? Kiss my *, mooch.

Like that matters anyway. His boss doesn’t really hold anything back himself. I was reminded the other day of that scene from David Finch’s 1995 masterpiece “Se7en,” where Morgan Freeman describes finding a treasure trove of rambling, paranoid and often delusional ravings in John Doe’s notebooks, “placed on the shelves in no discernible order … just his mind poured out on paper [Twitter].” I’ll leave out the Mad King /Jaime Lannister reference until later in the season.

You’re welcome.

… also, Democrats don’t need “A Better Deal,” they need a better slogan. I humbly suggest “Impeach and Replace.”

Presidential Paybacks

Candidate Trump: ‘Make great deals for Medicare; stop big pharma from ripping us off.’

Trump Today: ‘My pals from Merck and Pfizer are at the White House today for some payback and millions of dollars in free media.’

That’s okay, it’s “Made in America” after all, where it’s still legal to price-gouge senior citizens and/or dying patients. These pharmaceutical parasites continue to keep us popping pills at prices considered obscene by every other industrialized nation on earth. We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!

That new thingamahoozit they displayed at the people’s house is certainly innovative. Getting an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work is okay in my book, too (literally). But that’s only part of the Merck and Pfizer story, and a different tune than the one you were singing earlier. Those drug company stocks should show a healthy gain thanks to the Twitter ad you posted, POTUS. Quick question: is there an actual ledger of donations vs. Trump infomercials? A live stand-up has to cost more than a tweet, right? How do you balance the books?

You’re making bad deals and, as Commander-in-Chief, cravenly caving-in to Russian demands and running away isn’t what we’re used to from from our leaders. Your move neuters whatever meager defenses Syrian rebels have to withstand Russian-backed forces who are propping up a murderous dictator. Freedom? Sorry, America isn’t in that business anymore … we have new owners. Russia gets what Russia wants. Say, what’d you get out of the deal, Don? Bupkis. Nada. Zip. Just like the content of your character — a great big, fat, empty nothing. Continue reading