Of Bond Villains And Presidents

Some of us used to joke how much Donald Trump was like having a Bond Villain as president. Been a while since that was funny. That’s the problem with irony: it can cut like a knife. One of the reasons our news media cannot wrap its head around Trump — to this very day — is because they lack the imagination to “see” Trump. Because they’ve convinced themselves that “both sides do it”, they’ve already got it in their heads that if Trump hadn’t done it first, some Democrat would have done it anyway. So, whatever Trump is doing — it’s not “corrupt”, it’s not a “crime”, it’s not even “treason”. It’s “the new new normal” because this (apparently) is what “both sides do”.

No, it is not.

Ronald Reagan was the first “movie star president”, but he wasn’t the first POTUS to use “movie star thinking” to win a presidency. Jacqueline Kennedy may have associated JFK’s 1,000 days as POTUS with “Camelot” after he was assassinated, but the idea stuck: a story about our present fit snugly with a story about a mythological past that never was. The Kennedy White House had all the same sparkle as Hollywood. Why, Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe even famously sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Americans like that. A lot. We especially like it when you do things positive with that star power. Or convince us that you are even if you’re not.

Back to Reagan. He understood the seductive qualities of smoke plus mirror. Stories can be as real as reality if you want them to be. Style over substance is not a new idea. Trickle down economics, coming from Reagan, was like the last little bit of a movie star’s gold-plated essence seeping into ordinary Americans’ grey, humdrum lives. It doesn’t seem like Reagan was anywhere near as cynical as the rest of his party. He may really have seen America as some “shining city on a hill”. Problem was (and remains) — the shining city in Reagan’s mind was all painted on a backdrop.

Ronald Reagan wasn’t the first person to get confused by Hollywood into thinking his version of America was “America”. In the terrific “An Empire Of Their Own: How The Jews Invented Hollywood”, Neal Gabler theorizes that our whole notion of “America” is, in large part, a fiction invented by Jewish movie studio owners (with plenty of Jewish writers and directors, actors and other technicians assisting) to, in essence, give them something into which to synthesize. Having spent almost two thousand years as “outsiders”, Jews suddenly had a chance, Gabler thinks (and, personally, I like his thinking), to invent a world that might more willingly accept them.

Having spent a career in the “making shit up” business, I’m keenly aware of the media’s power to invent not just worlds that don’t exist but ideas that, without the smoke and mirrors, couldn’t hold water. Time travel, for instance. A lot of “why” people think it’s possible is because stories have said it is. Those stories weren’t based on any sort of physics. They were based on “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if…!”.

Trump is even more of an invention than Reagan was. Trump’s dad — Fred — knew his son was a “lox” as a negotiator. And anyway, making deals you never intend to honor is not actually “negotiating”. If Mark Burnett never imagined “The Apprentice” then none of Vladimir Putin’s investment in Trump would ever have paid off. But, Putin understands how propaganda works. He knows how to use it: destroy our common idea of “reality” then use the ensuing chaos to invent a “new reality”. Like, say, one where Donald Trump isn’t corrupt or a traitor.

Bond villains aren’t supposed to make you think. Even if they have some theoretically correct point of view — humans need to be stopped from destroying the planet — Bond Villains always go about it too heavy-handedly. I always wonder as I watch Bond movies, who’s cash flowing this guy? Who’s paying for the high tech set up and the gadgets and the rocketry and the people! Think of the payroll a guy like Blofeld has to maintain. Some of those people are super qualified, too. They don’t come cheaply. And is there any sort of profit-sharing involved? What kind of benefits does a Blofeld offer people he hopes will willing break the law with and for him? How do people who work for Blofeld report their income?

I know — it’s stupid to worry about things like this — he’s just a Bond Villain FFS! But then, I’m a John Le Carre fan, not an Ian Fleming fan. Oh, sure — in my youth, Bond was great fun (but then, Sean Connery was the Bond of my youth and movies like “From Russia With Love” remain the canon’s gold standard because they keep Bond’s world more real than surreal. I wonder if “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” suffered from an emotional Bond at the ending (he openly cries when his lover is shot dead — by Blofeld) or a more or less lackluster Bond (George Lazenby) trying to fill in for the recently departed-from-the-franchise Connery.

Le Carre (one of 2020’s cruel losses) based his Circus on the very real British spy agency he worked for. His spies weren’t about adventure or busting super villains, they were about betrayal — personal and tribal. The (usually) unspoken mantra underlying most of Le Carre’s work: “Love is the thing you can still betray”.

Though personally incapable of love, Donald Trump is much more a Le Carre villain than a Bond Villain. Trump’s villainy is pure betrayal. Not of love, but of everything else — everything everyone else loves. We know who his backers are. Even his political party knows who Trump’s backers are — the backers who aren’t them, I mean. The backer who holds them all in their thrall. The backer who’s been running this show since Trump was declared the “winner” in 2016: Russia.

No writer sitting down to write this, what we’ve been living, as a Bond movie could get away with it. It’s relentlessly over the top for starters. Who the hell acts like this — outside of a Bond movie — and not one of the good ones? Turns out, Donald Trump does. His whole party does.

In the Bond movies, the villain either dies spectacularly or gets away to fight another day. Soon enough, another cash flowed Super Villain will step up to fill the vacuum (having apparently fooled his investors into believing he could do what all the other supervillains couldn’t — deliver a return on their investment). We never get to see actual justice delivered — the kind that would flow from We The People. Bond movies don’t seem to exist inside the same democracy we do. Or did…

That’s what’s on our plate: how do we deal with the Bond Villain in front of us? He may not be a very good Bond Villain, but he’s ours. In fact, Trump’s such a crap Bond Villain that he doesn’t even qualify. He’s more a small screen TV villain punching above his weight — getting away with it — but only until now.

Come January 20, 2021, we will begin to write Trump the ending he deserves. We will challenge every single pardon he’s issued because we must. Trump’s whole presidency is based on treason — take Putin out of the 2016 equation and Trump never gets through the primaries. Just like traitors can’t legally become president, whatever they do WHILE president — that also doesn’t count as “legal”. How could it?

By obstructing justice, Trump and the GOP have tried to keep the rest of America from learning what the REAL story of the last four plus years has been. That obstruction is about to hit a wall. A rejuvenated Department of Justice dedicated to Justice (rather than to being a mob boss president’s consigliere), asking hard questions under oath — restarting every investigation Bill Barr or Rod Rosenstein stopped (especially the counter-intelligence investigations into Trump’s relationships with Russia) — will change the landscape significantly — just by asking hard questions under oath.

Anyway — Trump was never the real Bond Villain at the heart of this story that Mitch McConnell. Mitch after all is the link to the answer to my questions — who pays for these Bond Villains and all their toys? Turns out? Our villains are so bad — and so real? They put Bond villains to shame.

Why Did OUR Bond Villain Have To Be Such An IDIOT?

You would think that a Great Nation deserves a great villain. Or villains even. America has villains by the bucket. It’s the word “great” that I’m bumping on…

Donald Trump is a villain. Even most of supporters think of him as a villain who’s THEIR hero. I bet most of Trump’s kids — if you read their therapist’s notes — also think daddy’s the cause of everything wrong with their lives. But for all his absolute, top-to-bottom, pound-for-pound, America-destroying villainy, you can’t look at Trump’s work product and say — honestly — “Great stuff, Donald — you’re not just a good villain, you’re a great one!”

Donald Trump is a booby prize villain. He ain’t Ernst Stavro Blofeld (James Bond’s most reliably persistent antagonist), he’s Ernst Schmo-feld. He’s the real villain’s idiot cousin.

This week alone has been a highlight reel of stupid SO stupid it needs its own zip code. Greenland FFS?

Perhaps the reason we got the Worst Of All Possible Bond Villains is because he stands at the head of the boardroom table of the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight If Their Lives Depended On It — the Republican Party. It’s kinda transcendent when Republicans turn out to be the very women-hating, racist greedheads we always joked they were.

I don’t even have to quote certain Republican clowns. Their faces alone shout how flat out stupid they are…

Louie Gohmert – The Stupidest Carbon-Based Life Form In Congress
Republican Congressman – and sexual assault enabler – Jim Jordan
Republican Congressman – and drunk-driving expert – Matt Gaetz

I”m not making this up, am I? As Bond villains go, this crowd’s pathetic. Worse. But they’re all pikers compared to the man who leads them — the “man” who has a whole wing to himself at the Pantheon Of Bond Villain Mediocrity — Moscow Mitch McConnell.

Mitch is a burglar who steps in shit outside the house, tracks it all the way through — then all the way back home where you can find him — sitting in shit, counting the loot he stole. That’s how that Russian aluminum factory will play the more we understand what Mitch did and has done.

Mitch had to lift sanctions against Oleg Deripaska to get the $200 million to build the factory. Oleg Deripaska was sactioned because of the role HE played in STEALING ELECTION 2016 on Donald Trump’s behalf. Deripaska, remember, is an oligarch who’s very tight with Putin, has deep ties to Russian Military Intelligence, received proprietary polling data re PA/MI/WI from Paul Manafort and turned that data into weaponized Facebook ads that played on the computers of Democratic voters in — what a coincidence — PA/MI/WI. Oleg Deripaska is our enemy in every way, shape and form.

The impact on US though goes far, far beyond Mitch getting a factory that will employ 600 hard-to-employ Kentuckians. Russia now has a voice in Kentucky’s politics. They’ll EMPLOY people. They’ll pay their benefits including their health insurance. To hurt that factory in any way will be to hurt those Kentuckians. And Russia.

Another “not a” coincidence? Russia has already approached 8 other states with similar offers of similar factories. Mitch McConnell opened the door to even more Russian control of American LOCAL politics. To call Mitch McConnell a traitor would be an understatement.

But, again — this isn’t buried deep. It’s a cat turd in a sand box.

Mitch McConnell’s treachery is so out in the open the glare physically hurts. It’s that overtly stupid.

Ya know… now that I think of it — the fact that WE put up with clown car stupidity this screamingly over-the-top? Maybe we shouldn’t be laughing quite so hard…

Donald Trump Is A Racist, Misogynist, Corrupt Traitor — But Does He Have To Be So Bloody STUPID About It?

Greenland? The Effing-Moron-In-Chief wants to buy Greenland? Is that so the Space Force has somewhere to train?

We knew on election day 2016 when Trump was declared “winner” that something bizarre had just happened. We felt ourselves — the election — our future being hijacked in real time. We knew in our guts that this didn’t add up. It was too horrible to be real. Worse — it was too stupid.

Donald Trump is a lot of things — none of them good: he’s racist. He’s a misogynist. He’s a rapist and a con man and a traitor.

Donald Trump probably can’t spell the word “strategic”. He has no “master plan” for anything. FFS, he wasn’t even a good businessman (that’s an invention of Mark Burnett’s to justify “The Apprentice”). Trump’s whole MO is like a bad improv where he’s already flop-sweating as he goes for the lame dick joke — and blows the punch line.

Yes, Trump’s racism and greed and rapiness and corruption and heartlessness and cruelty and treason are galling. But what makes every bit of it so much worse is the wrapper it all comes in — the package of pure stupid.

Before we can even get to the horrible, chewy center of Trumpism, first we have to get past the “candy-coating” of raging idiocy. What was it Rex Tillerson called his boss? Not just a moron — “A fucking moron”.

Donald Trump is a circus side show geek who’s taken over the side show then the circus — then the whole town where the circus had set up shop. Something wicked AND STUPID “this way came”. It’s the stupid that makes the wicked so much harder to take. We have a Bond Villain as president — but it’s not a good Bond Villain, it’s a cut rate one.

Instead of a “Blofeld”, we got a “Schmofeld”.

Though he can’t tell a joke to save his bloated, orange life, Trump himself is the biggest punch line to ever walk the planet. FFS — pick an interview. Pick a piece of video tape (don’t pick a book — Trump didn’t write it). I dare you to get all the way through it without either groaning, sighing, rolling your eyes or slapping your forehead in exasperation. Yes, because whatever Trump said is such a blatant lie — but more because the lie is so easily disprovable — and so goddamned stupid on its face.

The Trumpian emperor isn’t just naked, he’s oblivious of how naked he is. How nakedly stupid he is. Donald Trump thinks this is how rich guys live —

Stupid, right? On a scale of one to ten — it’s a 50.