The passing of Nancy Reagan this week has rendered the American people, yet again, nostalgic for the days of Ronniemania. I was never a fan of the gipper; in fact it has always been my opinion that the damage the old freak did to this country was so immense that it would never be accurately assessed - we're talking incalculable here, kids! And yet, even I (and I'm loathe to admit it), have found myself these past few days looking back upon the Reagan years with a nauseating sense of twisted longing. Even Dubya is starting to seem marginally palatable to me. Can you believe that? Give a starving dog a piece of rancid sirloin and the poor creature will eat it every single time.
The biggest news last night (although the least surprising) was the withdrawal from the race of the GOP's golden child, Marco Rubio. Say what you want about the poor schlub, at least he was smart enough to see the writing on the wall. When he was unable to carry his own state of Florida, it was all over. The story of the implosion of the Rubio campaign illustrates perfectly the utter ideological chaos of the Republican Party. As comically right wing as the senator is, he just isn't extreme enough for the imbeciles and crazy people who have hijacked "the party of Abraham Lincoln". It is now a two-man race between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump - two of the most unstable candidates in American history. Although the least nauseating of the bunch, Rubio never stood a chance. If that very fact doesn't scream untold volumes about the state of conservatism in America, nothing will.
I've read enough biographies of Richard Milhous Nixon to know that he was a really smart guy - one of the smartest men to hold that office in the twentieth century. Even his most ardent detractors concede that he wasn't stupid - arrogant, yes - but very intelligent. I also know that he was psychologically unbalanced and that he never should have gotten within ten feet of the Oval Office. To think that for over four decades, generations of Americans, most of them African American or Hispanic, have suffered needlessly under our insanely punitive drug laws for no other reason than Dick Nixon's desire to score some cheap political points and win re-election in 1972. It defies any and all senses of human decency. We need to stop apologizing for this vile, contemptible bigot.
Recent video postings by Sarah Palin have been very amusing on the one hand, and quite disturbing on the other. It would appear that the poor soul is becoming a bit unhinged - that is to say - more unhinged than we've come to expect. It is amazing when you consider that, less than seven years ago, a major American political party chose this shallow, incurious woman to be second on their presidential ticket. Sarah Palin in 2008 was merely a prelude to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in 2016. John McCain will be eighty years old on August 29 of this year. To think that she might have been "a heartbeat away from the presidency" at this very moment is enough to give the most strongest of constitutions the dry heaves. We really dodged a bullet there, folks.
Would Hillary Clinton be a decent president? I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is that her credentials as a true progressive are paper-thin, and that she has an unsettling coziness with Wall Street and the banksters who have made a sport of plundering the American economy for over three decades. If she is the next president of the United States (and this is not merely an assumption on my part, it's a stone-cold fact) not a single one of these bastards will be prosecuted by the Clinton II justice department and sent to prison for their crimes against the American people. That won't be the case under President Sanders - you'd better believe it, baby. A whole lotta chickens are gonna be doin' some serious roosting!
On Election Day 2008, I really was naïve enough to believe that Obama would practically be the second coming of FDR. That didn't turn out to be the case. That being said, I have never regretted voting for the man, and as we near the end of his tenure, I have to concede that he's been a pretty good president. But I wanted more. You see, I was pining for greatness. Considering all of the nonsense he was forced to put up with, I suppose we ought to cut the guy some slack. When the history of these times is written in the not-too-distant future, Obama's legacy will stand fairly tall, while his detractors - the McConnells, the Boehners, the Palins, et. al. - will all end up looking like psychologically deranged little squirrels. No amount of revisionism will be able to white wash their legacies. For the past sixty years, the extreme right wing has been trying to do just that with Joe McCarthy. You will be kind enough to notice that it hasn't worked out too well for them. Old Joe still languishes at the top of history's scrap heap where he belongs - and where he'll remain.
On some YouTube site this morning, a well-meaning but utterly clueless Sanders supporter claimed that "she is not the Democratic Party." This poor guy has missed the point entirely. The problem with Hillary Clinton is that she is the Democratic Party. She's one of the reasons I left the Dems eighteen years ago next month. With donkeys like her, who the heck needs those elephants? They long ago forgot that they're supposed to be the party of FDR. They're not any longer. That's been the case for a very long time - we're takin' decades. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren are the exceptions. They've never been the rule. Perhaps that might change, but I'm not going to hold my breath. In the mean time we're forced to contend with the Hillary Clintons and the Chuck Schumers. I need a drink.
Here is (yet again) another example of the Democrats' genius for turning champagne into donkey piss. They were handed - on a silver platter - the most visionary candidate in their history (more than FDR even) and they have told him, in effect, to take a flying leap. Someone like Bernie Sanders comes around only once in a lifetime. Here's the good news: The next time a candidate of Bernie's vision comes down the pike, the Democratic and Republican parties will both have been consigned to history's garbage bin. There's a dandy thought for you. Good riddance to them all.
Within a few hours of Trump winning the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz took himself out of the running. The following day, John Kasich bowed out. I received an email yesterday from a woman named Jaime Brewer, who lives in Princeton, Indiana. She told me that she was moving back to her home town of Clay City, Illinois. She said that she was not meant to live in so broken a state. I could relate. I used to be proud of my Hoosier heritage (my late mother was a native of South Bend). Not so much anymore. The Midwest was at one time a pretty progressive region. That was then. This is now.
[F]ifty percent of the electorate are not likely to vote for any candidate in November who would deny the president the opportunity to perform what is, after all, his constitutional duty as chief-executive. This is also as it should be - given the warped mindset and ideological makeup of the mutant clowns currently inhabiting the House of Reprehensibles. They've never quite come to terms with what they perceive as "that evil, commie nigger" sleeping in the same, big WHITE house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that was once occupied by their sainted, feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor. Absurdist theater at its finest.
Less than half of this country is barely smart enough to understand that they have been sold down the river by their elected "representatives", while most of the rest are too utterly stupid to comprehend what has happened to them. Does that statement sound a bit extreme for your tastes? Take a gander at the presumptive Republican nominee. 'Nuff said?
The GOP is on the verge of nominating a dangerous and delusional sociopath to the office of the presidency.
I am not a Democrat; I left that worthless party eighteen years ago this month and never looked back. And I'm certainly not an admirer of Hillary Clinton. She is - beyond a molecule of doubt - the worst candidate the Democratic Party has ever nominated in their almost-200-year history. But even a corrupt, corporate stooge like Hillary is preferable to me when placed in comparison with Trump - to a certain degree....I guess.
I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders, but I have to be realistic. Barring another major scandal (you never know with those goddamned Clintons) he's not going to be the nominee. My only solace is the knowledge that, as bad as her term in the White House will be (and it will be bad - mark my words) we will survive Hillary Clinton. A Donald Trump administration might well mean the End of this country. Remember, you read it here, folks.
The most ironic thing about this whole mess is the sad fact that the Dems were handed this year - on a silver platter, mind you - the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history, and they blew it. Leave it to those silly Democrats: Give them two clear choices and they'll make the wrong one every time - and that would include every nominee since 1980. Damned-near all of the polls had Bernie defeating Trump very easily in November. That's not the case with Ms. Clinton. A few polls are showing her barely neck-and-neck with him.
Neck-and-neck with Donald Trump. Can you imagine?
As I speculated on May 24, an epidemic of political assassinations of a few fat and corrupt members of the House and Senate would more-than-likely put an end to this madness. Come to think about it, I get the giggles contemplating how fast federal legislation would fly out of the House of Reprehensibles, banning these lethal, rapid-fire, people-killing machines if something that dreadful were to happen. We're talkin' overnight. Can you imagine how many innocent children's lives would be spared in the years to come? Fifty-thousand? One-hundred-thousand? That wouldn't be such a terrible trade-off, come to think about it. Of course, there are today so many of these guns on the street due to the fact that in 2004, the village idiot of Crawford, Texas - stupidly - let the assault weapons ban expire, it would probably take at least a decade before any tangible results were noticed. Keep voting Republican.
Folks, it's time to sit down, take stock, and have a nice, long overdue, national heart-to-heart. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" is now an organized criminal enterprise. If the events of this past weekend didn't convince you otherwise, you're beyond hope. Only a kook or a fool can ignore it any longer. When faced with the worst public health crisis in American history (worse, in fact, than the polio epidemic of the twenties and thirties) Republican politicians opted to make the crisis even more deplorable. For nothing more than reasons of self-interest, they chose - yet again - to appease a domestic terrorist organization. That's all the NRA really is. They and the Republican Party are two networks spawning national dysfunction that need to be done away with - fast. This cannot continue. We cannot become accustomed to this appalling situation. Make them pay for what they have done to this country.
One of the things a reputable sociologist might possibly explain to us is, in the post-Hitler world we're supposed to be living in, how something like a Donald Trump presidency could possibly happen. It's certainly beyond my ability. And don't try to tell me that comparisons to der fuhrer are an overreaction. Both men rose to political prominence by exploiting religious hatred, racial prejudice and economic paranoia; both were megalomaniacs and narcissistic; both were sociopaths and completely ignorant on the subtleties of diplomacy - and both had really stupid haircuts. I don't believe for a minute that Trump is going to be elected in November, but it sure is unsettling to contemplate how close we've come to elevating to ultimate power a character as darkly Hitler-like as this uncouth nitwit. At least Adolf had good manners. It kinda makes you wonder, huh?
[UPDATE: 12/30/16: At the time I wrote this, I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. I never will again.]
For a political insanity junkie such as myself, 2016 turned out to be the most deliciously fruitful of years. I remember thinking that 1980 was the ultimate in surreal political theater. A feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor as the candidate for a national political party? They'll never top that! But they did; and every four years the clown car show kept getting stranger and stranger - and more depressingly ominous. The Republican Party has been inching itself - slowly but all-too-surely - toward Nazi territory for the last three-and-a-half decades. The inching has been so stupefyingly slow, that most people have barely noticed the change. Is that an exaggeration? Look at the presumptive nominee! Look at his following! Compare them with Ronald Reagan and any of his rallies thirty-six years ago! From the perspective of a battle-hardened lefty, Ronnie is starting to look fairly reasonable when compared to the right wing of today. Now that's pretty scary!
And congress? As I said after the carnage at Newtown nearly four years ago: Don't expect them to do anything to change. Still, the people of Dallas may take some comfort in the knowledge that the "thoughts and prayers" of the corrupt politicians on the NRA's payroll are with them.
We arrived at the FDR Library and Museum at around noon. The first building one enters is called the "Henry Wallace Welcoming Center", which is named for FDR's second vice-president (He had three of them!) There is a larger-than-life-sized photograph of Mr. Wallace's smiling face at the entrance greeting visitors as they walk in. Do you think that there's a "Dick Cheney Welcoming Center" at George W. Bush's library in Texas? I would think not. Who the hell in his-or-her right mind would even go near the joint with Chaney's face snarling at them from the entranceway? Would you subject your children to something that weird? I ask you.
Trump is a student of political theater. He has studied the GOP campaign process quite closely, and he understands - as anyone who seriously studies it can easily understand - that the only way a candidate is able to receive the Republican presidential nomination these days, is by stumbling around the country - with one foot on a banana peel and the other in his mouth - saying a lot of jaw-droppingly mean and stupid things. The only candidate to come close to the Donald in sheer meanness and stupidity was Ted Cruz. That's why Cruz was the only other contestant left standing in Indiana back in May. It was there that poor old Ted folded his cards. Trump had seen to it that he wasn't going to be "out-stupided", not even by a hideous Neanderthal like Ted.
The person I feel the sorriest for this morning is Bernie Sanders. His revolutionary campaign today lies in ruin. Had the main-stream-media and the Democratic National Committee not been in confederacy against him (as I believe they were), had every person who desired to cast their ballot for him been allowed to do so, he would today be the nominee. I also believe that he would have cleaned the Donald's clock on Election Day; every poll had him doing as much. As it stands, Ms. Clinton is now barely neck-and-neck with the guy. What the hell does that tell you?
But for the time being anyway, let's give Ms. Clinton the benefit of the doubt; and let's not forget the maniac that Republicans all over this diseased nation have chosen to run against her in this positively strangest of political years. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. At that moment in time, I was possessed of the crazy notion that the American people would never be silly enough to elect an idiotic frat-boy like George W. Bush to an office as important as the presidency of the United States. As it turns out, I was entirely correct about that notion. He won simply because, as governor of the crucial state of Florida, his brother was able to remove fifty-thousand African Americans from the lists of eligible voters. I guess poor ol' Jeb regrets that little bit of chicanery! Had Dubya lost in 2000, Jeb might very well have been the nominee today. Isn't that funny? Instant Karma's gonna get'cha, Jebbie!
It bugs me when people, to this day, (serious writers even) refer to Lenny Bruce as "a dirty comedian". He wasn't that at all. In fact, it is my belief that Lenny was the closest thing American humor has ever produced to being a free-form poet. That he was profane there is no denying. When one's vocation is to call attention to the sick society we all still inhabit a half century after his death, profanity is unavoidable; in fact, at times it can be essential. Lenny might have been "a surgeon with a scalpel for false values", but sadly, he was never able to provide us with a cure. Fifty years later, we look out upon the landscape to find that this sick society has only gotten sicker in the ensuing decades.
Please, someone kindly explain to me how we went from there:
"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Fair scare and starving yours again, our feather-brained farce upon incontinence, a neo notion, deceived in Librium, and desecrated to the prostitution that all mein were cremated awful.
What a long, strange trip it's been.
All available evidence tells us that the House of Reprehensibles will remain in the clutches of the GOP during the years 2017-2019 - and for the foreseeable future. The American people have yet to learn the lesson they should have learned a century-and-a-half ago about the inevitable economic disaster that always comes of right wing governance. But it should be conceded that it's not only the electorate that is at blame: This unfortunate situation is the end-result of years of the unconstitutional gerrymandering of congressional districts in states that are controlled by the Republicans. The key to victory for that disgusting party is, primarily, watering down the black vote. An area in any of these states that has a high percentage of people with dark skin, usually (conveniently) finds itself at the intersection of as many as four or five congressional districts, which are (conveniently) mostly white. As a result, the people most vulnerable get hurt even further by lack of representation. This is not a coincidence.
It is unsettling to me when I consider the fact that there are a number of people that I know personally - whose intellects I respect and admire - who are openly supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. This is a fact that I've found myself wrestling with as the weeks heading up to the November election come upon us. What is it? Could it possibly be a mere anti-Clinton reflex that is as innate as Pavlov's doggies salivating at the bells of doom? Or is it something a little more complicated than that? Whatever it is, I have yet to figure it out.
Let's face it, folks: Conservatives in this country have gone bat-shit-crazy. When the Republicans finally do fracture into a million itty-bitty pieces in a matter of a few short years, that will be a real opportunity for progressives to get to work remaking America's badly decimated infrastructure. If the Democratic plan for the future is to continue in their current guise as "Republican Lite", their certain destruction is imminent. By nominating Hillary Clinton in 2016, they are not off to a particularly good start. If the Dems are unable to detect the boiling rage just beneath their traditional constituency's surface, they will detect it pretty goddamned soon enough. You'd better believe it.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: FDR was a radical left-winger. His administration was literally oozing with radical left-wingers. Historians generally regard him as being one of the greatest president in the history of this republic. That's not a coincidence.
A mere forty-one days separates us from this moment to when the polls open to the public on the morning of November 8. And while one month and ten days can be an eternity in politics, don't count on any unpredictable scandal that's going to change the fact that Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States....I hope. Although, as I've said many times, I'm not in ecstasy over the fact that she is the "progressive" standard bearer in this race, the alternative is too horrible to think about. President Trump? If the American electorate is stupid enough to go down that road....well....it's sure going to be oodles of fun to write about. If the American electorate is stupid enough to go down that road, I'll be the only person I know personally who will benefit.
VOTE FOR TRUMP!
It's amazing how with the passing of the years, time goes by more quickly. it doesn't seem possible that nearly eight years has come and gone since Mr. Obama went to Washington. I'm not going to lie to you: this president has been a major disappointment in a lot of areas. But, given all he has had to contend with - particularly the complete idiocy of the Republican opposition - he and his family have held themselves up admirably, with great dignity and grace. Will he be remembered as a "great" president? I don't know the answer to that question; but it's a cinch he'll at least be remembered as "near great". That's not a bad showing either. History will have a lot to say about "The Obama Years". I can't wait to read some of it.
Here is how the Donald has even further debased our already thoroughly debased culture: On page 12 of this morning's Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY - my local paper - they quoted him by using the words "fuck" and "pussy". That has never happened before - not in that paper. This candidacy is too strange for words. I never dreamed I would live to see the day when I would be nostalgic for George W. Bush. The bar just keeps getting lower with these people.
What is happening in the United States in 2016 is very ominous indeed. The plutocratic forces that own this country are setting a precedent of fear and intimidation. The message has been sent and received: Don't you dare fuck with our agenda. It's enough to make any thinking person tremble with fear and loathing to contemplate how bad this situation might get if Donald Trump is elected in three weeks time. Thankfully, that's not ever going to happen.
[UPDATE. 12/30/16: It happened - Idiot Nation]
Did you ever get the feeling that you were living through an amusing nightmare? You can't make this stuff up. That's a good description of American politics in 2016: "An Amusing Nightmare". If I ever write a book about this era, that'll be the title.
It's impossible to believe that the people of this doomed country (at least the ones that vote) are, quite possibly, within less than a week from electing the most Hitleresque candidate to come along since der fuehrer himself. Don't make the mistake of dismissing that last sentence as a wild exaggeration from an unhinged lefty. The fact of the matter is that for the last half century, the Republican Party has been crawling - ever-so-slowly and ever-so-surely - toward an insanely dark and disturbing place. If you've yet to notice this undeniable phenomenon, you haven't been paying attention. A Trump administration might be just the thing to awaken you from your apathetic slumber.
And to think it has come to this. I'm not-at-all certain who is going to be declared victor at the end of what I know will be a very long day. I've so little faith in the civic intelligence of my fellow countrymen and women that a Donald Trump victory late this evening won't phase me in the least. In fact I'll be able to make some tasty lemonade out of those nasty lemons. If the Donald wins this thing, I'm the only person I know of who makes under a million dollars per year that will benefit handsomely.
The Democratic Party needs to disappear forever. Early in the primaries, it was obvious that they had within their grasp the most visionary candidate in their nearly two-hundred year history in the form of Bernie Sanders - and these idiotic Democrats blew it. At the time of the convention, every poll had him beating the Donald decisively, while Hillary was barely neck-and-neck with the guy. Bernie might have been the nominee but for the Democratic National Committee's sabotage. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton should go into permanent hiding. We want to be reminded of them no more. Go away. Go away. Go the fuck away.
On the morning of Election Day, bitter experience had me nearly resigned to the possibility of a Trump victory by day's end. When Dubya was reelected in 2004, no one paying attention could have doubted that he was the most insanely incompetent chief-executive in the history of the republic. When I received the news early the next morning that John Kerry had gone down to defeat, that was the moment I finally realized that these stupid fucking Americans were capable of just about anything. The star of a reality TV show is now the president-elect of the United States of America. The Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party are this morning celebrating. Think about that.
A woman on Facebook posted an ominous comment yesterday regarding an acquaintance of hers who is a German exchange student studying in the Los Angeles area. This person received a communication from his parents instructing him to come home immediately. The reason?
After the complete failure of the Bush years, I was naïve enough to believe that America might finally have learned its lesson. The first piece I wrote on this site ten-and-a-half years ago predicted that Bush would be the last Republican president. I was still making that prediction as late as the summer of 2016. I should have remembered the words of turn-of-the-century journalist, H.L. Mencken, who once famously observed, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." After this calamitous year, I promise you that I'll never again stray far from such sage wisdom. I'm suspecting that the Donald will be reelected in four years, and I trust that the inmates of this doomed republic will be just fine 'n' dandy with that.
So there you have it, kiddies: A wrap-up of Idiot Nation's worst political year since 1968. I really do hope that all of you have a happy new year - but I cannot fathom how the heck that will be possible. Good luck!
Auld Lang Syne
by Guy Lombardo
Give it a spin at midnight tomorrow for the sake of old times.
We'll taste a cup of kindness yet
"America has fallen."
Well now! Doesn't that just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside? The times they certainly are, uh, "changing".
I had been predicting for a decade that George W. Bush would be remembered in history as the last Republican president. A century ago the journalist, H.L. Mencken, warned us against overestimating the intelligence of the American people; I plead guilty to just such an overestimation. In the nineteen-thirties, Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about a totalitarian overthrow of the Unites States called "It Can't Happen Here". Well, guess what: It's fucking happened here.
There are an awful lot of people who should have been a bit more careful what they wished for. Maybe they don't understand the ramifications of their error now, but they'll understand them soon enough. The bazillion dollar shit hammer is about to hit the fan. In four years you won't recognize this place. I can't wait to see the looks of mass-shellshock on the faces of so many Americans. That'll be the funniest thing of all. So many of them and their elected representatives will attempt to blame the economic carnage that is surely coming on Barack Obama. Blame the nigger. It works every time. Why do you think there are so many innocent black men in prison in this country? C'mon, folks! Put on your thinking caps!
Good bye, America.
For auld lang syne