Donald Trump Is The American Caligula… That’s Not A Good Thing

Not A Revelation: Donald Trump thinks he’s King… or, in German — “Kaiser” — the Germanification of the name “Caesar”.

But Donald Trump is such an incompetent, that he can’t even get being a “Caesar” right. He’s gone and modeled himself after another Roman emperor — Caligula.

We keep reaching for the words to describe our times — times that are increasingly indescribable. The word Michelle Goldberg used today is perfect (until the Trumpanistas surpass it): “Debauched”. We live in Debauched Times because the man occupying the White House is a modern, Adderall-huffing, bloated orange Caligula.

Donald Trump has destroyed every bit of common decency we ever associated with ourselves. While the real Caligula probably wasn’t anywhere near as insane as the Caligula in our imaginations (his enemies wrote the histories), the more we experience Donald Trump and his myriad debaucheries, the more we have to look at Caligula and ask “Okay, but what if he really was that bad?”

In addition to killing everyone he feared (including the men who put him in power), Caligula declared himself a god. He replaced the heads on the statues of gods all around Rome with his own head. Most famously, Caligula wanted to make his horse consul. Between and around all that, Caligula epitomized debauchery in every form. If it felt good to him, he did it.

Or, as Caligula himself put it: “Remember that I have the right to do anything to anybody.”

That sounds almost painfully like “I alone can fix it”.

Just as Caligula debauched (and debased) an already debaucheded Roman society, so too is Donald Trump taking our worst instincts and feeding them Trumpian steroids. We stand by, watching (disapproving — horrified even), but, in fact, doing nothing to stop it while the debauchery continues unabated. We have blown past moments of what should have been end-of-the-line absurdity — images that previously would have defined a presidency and ended it on the spot —

Instead, these images have become shards in a massive mosaic that, if you look at it one way, looks exactly like Donald Trump. But, if you turn your head and look at it slightly askew? You see the deeper problem within: Massive, systemic, foundational REPUBLICAN corruption.

This shouldn’t be a revelation (though it apparently is — and that’s horrifying): Our problem isn’t Donald Trump, it’s the whole damned Republican Party. It’s the 1% trying desperately to make minority rule (by them) a permanent fixture of American political and social life. They have already hijacked the judiciary (that would be Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland or any Obama judicial appointment a hearing then cramming every doctrinaire conservative shithead into the openings deliberately left behind). They’ve already used two stolen SCOTUS seats to make political gerrymandering a permanent fixture — thus putting the legislative branch in their clutches forever.

Democrats may win the overwhelming majority of the votes but gerrymandering dilutes those votes down to where a handful of Republicans can beat them. With the legislative branch permanently in their hands, the executive is easy — especially when concurrently you’ve been remaking the presidency as a side show Caesar-ship. Just not the right Casear…

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Dear Moscow Mitch: I Despise You MORE Than The Man Who Sexually Molested Me When I Was 14. I’ll Explain…

Dear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (AKA Moscow Mitch):

I know I am far from alone in hating you. I’m sure you learned long ago to ignore being hated — because so many people have hated you your whole life. Being an empath by nature, my impulse is to empathize with that version of you. I imagine you were bullied repeatedly in every schoolyard you ever stood in. You have that look…

This is hard to confess but I’m here to be honest — just like my blog says: No bullshit. If I had ever met you in a schoolyard, I would probably have bullied you, too. back in the day. I never physically bullied anyone — I was way too short to do that. I used sarcasm instead. I am not proud that I hurt people using that sarcasm. If I could go back in time, I would apologize to each and every person I did that to and ask if there was any way to make it up to them.

I would feel crushed if they said no. Crushed but deserving of that feeling. That’s why I feel okay about hating you, Mitch.

I think I’ve evolved from the short-of-stature, too-quick-to-open-fire-at-everyone schoolyard person I was. I’ve learned that hurting people is bad for them and bad for me, too. But there are exceptions — people who regularly hurt other people. I feel no obligation to be kind to their feelings whatsoever. I’m empathetic but a little pragmatic, too.

I believe in Justice.

And I believe, Mitch, that YOU have evaded Justice for far, far too long. If me being unkind can help to change that? I’m all in. So here we are…

I hate you, Mitch, first and foremost because of what you are actively doing to this country that I genuinely love. As flawed as my country is, I love being a citizen of it — because I believe that we can push it toward the better ideals on which it was founded (not all the ideals were good — we kept slavery alive and that terrible decision still haunts us). I hate you, Mitch because you epitomize conservative cynicism.

I hate you, Mitch, because you’re corrupt. I hate you because you’ve taken so much Russian oil money into your PAC — insisting it’s all legal; yes, it was legal, Mitch — but once the context changed to treason and election fraud, those donations became “extra-legal”, shall we say. The context forces us to question your loyalties, Mitch. We know you serve your Republican Money Lords (the Kochs). Do you also serve Moscow?

I think you do, Mitch. It makes me hate you even more.

I hate what you did to Merrick Garland. I hate the bullshit reason you gave — drivel to the effect of “the American people deserve to make this choice…” despite the fact that Barack Obama WAS popularly elected and by a significant majority. He was operating within the guidelines of his job — as mandated by the Constitution. I hate the fact that no one in our news media grilled your testicles to a crisp over that.

I hate that you held up every single Obama judicial nominee because you were on a mission to stack the judicial deck against the majority of Americans. I hate that you want to shitcan the ACA. On a personal note — having a history of bi-polarity and depression, your actions there directly affect me, my healthcare, my future.

I hate the sound of your voice, Mitch. I hate the fact that you get to stand there at the Senate lectern spewing the worst kind of lies.

I hate that you think you will get away with betraying this country. Molesting our Democracy… It brings back memories. Horrible ones.

I have come to understand the man who molested me when I was 14. I am not at peace with what he did to me on two separate occasions, but I see him in his context. I believe he was sexually molested as a kid and he was simply paying that molestation forward onto me as sexual molestation victims sometimes do. I believe I was being sexually assaulted, in essence, by the boys who regularly sexually assaulted my molester.

Context is everything. Your context defies explanation. Well, it defies reasonable explanation. Your context is pure, unadulterated, long-time corruption.

That’s why I hate the fact that you’re a hypocrite. I hate that you were probably discharged from the military over an act of SODOMY that YOU have been covering up. I hate that your wife’s as corrupt as you are and that she “…designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.”

I hate that you worked your ass off to lift sanctions against Oleg Deripaska — a “…powerful oligarch and close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Deripaska had been a major client of Manafort but had sued him over a failed business deal in Ukraine and was seeking to recoup almost $25m.” I hate that you worked your ass off to lift sanctions against him. I hate that Deripaska then took that proprietary polling data, turned it over to the GRU who weaponized it and turned it on the voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. I hate that THAT direct influence on specific voters effectively suppressed enough Democratic voters that Trump “won” by a combined 77,000 votes across three states (Michigan, Wisconsin & Pennsylvania).

I hate that at the meeting Barack Obama called at the White House in September 2016, BEFORE the election, YOU stood up — after our IC and the FBI presented hard evidence to you that Russia was going all in to try and elect Trump — and insisted YOU would label any attempt to inform We The People that Russia was cyber-attacking our election as “politicizing the intelligence”. I hate you, Mitch, because YOU wanted We The People kept in the dark.

Why was that, Mitch? Don’t bother answering. I know it’ll be a lie and I’ll just end up hating you more for it.

I hate you, Mitch for what you’ve already done to this country and our whole system of government. I hate that you destroyed comity in the Senate probably forever… well, it will be destroyed so long as Republicans sit in the Senate. I hate that you are the Senate Majority Leader.

I hate that you are alive, Mitch. I hate that you breathe. I hate that you ever experience a moment of pleasure or joy. I hate that I feel that way about you. I hate that you have made HATE so present in my heart and mind, Mitch.

I hate you for bringing me down to YOUR level.

Now let me tell you why, in spite of all that, I “love you”, Mitch. I love the fact that — as much as I make cruel (okay — bullying) jokes about how turtle-like you are, at the end of the day, you’re “human”. You’ll die. I love that fact about you. What I love even more — if I can manage to outlive you, I will get the chance to piss on your grave.

That’s how much I hate you, Mitch — and it pains me. I hate you so much that I actively dream of defiling your resting place.

For the moment, unfortunately, that means you’re winning. You’re more present in my head than I am in yours.

I hate that.

But there’s solace. This morning former Republican congressman & MSNBC host Joe Scarborough coined (or caused to go viral) “MOSCOW MITCH” which, as I write this, is trending big time on Twitter.

The world is on to Mitch. Finally. My hope — Mitch finds himself back in the worst schoolyard he ever had to negotiate. And a life of stolen privilege is about to get taken out of his soft turtle hide.

America’s Love Affair With “Stupid”, Part II: “Donald Trump, Super Star”

A thought experiment. Put these two things in your mind together — Donald Trump & the word “stupid”. Aside from drawing the direct connection — “Donald Trump is stupid” (an inescapable fact) — let the two things sit for a moment. Yes, Donald Trump is stupid… but how is Donald Trump stupid? In what ways is Donald Trump Stupid? Specifically, what has Donald Trump done, said or tweeted that was stupid? See how we’re not talking about a line anymore, we’re talking about “an environment” — as in, a whole “environment” of stupid?

Patrician George HW Bush — a cynical politician’s cynical politician — chose Dan Quayle as his veep. An attractive young politician from Indiana, Quayle, on the surface, made sense. But Dan Quayle, the human, was a less than stellar example of the species. He was certifiably stupid. Said certifiably stupid things. Did certifiably stupid things, too…

Dan Quayle was not an outlier in Republican stupid — as it concerns vice presidential choices. John McCain outdid George HW Bush in cynicism when he chose Sarah Palin. He outdid Pappy Bush in stupid, too. If McCain had bothered to spend an hour in a room — alone — with Sarah Palin, I find it hard to believe he could have stomached all the stupid. But McCain famously didn’t vet Sarah Palin. That was stupid…

By the time Donald Trump rolled around, the Republicans had made stupid politically viable. You could get up at a meeting of Republicans and say flat out stupid things — and be seen as mainstream. The same wasn’t true for Democrats. Now — to be fair — Democrats are also guilty of stupid. But Democrats are stupid in a very different way. They’re not intellectually stupid, they’re “practical” stupid. That’s a subject for another rant.

Back to Trump. By 2016, Republican culture had become fertile soil for pretty much any kind of stupid.

Keep in mind — as they entered the 2016 race, Republicans were already deeply engaged in a cynical, greedy enterprise — seizing the reigns of power by hijacking the judiciary. As the 2016 race got serious, Mitch McConnell was already refusing to give Merrick Garland a hearing because (McConnell’s explanation — the American People deserved to make that choice, NOT the president those same American People had overwhelmingly chosen). That was flat out stupid. It didn’t make sense. It was bullshit. It was stupid.

And yet — as stupid always does in America — stupid played. And won. McConnell got away with something shockingly stupid because we let him. No shit. We The People let stupid triumph.

Trump’s campaign announcement was stupid start to finish. In retrospect, it was a remarkable amount of stupid crammed into one place at one time. And yet, despite a few days of “outrage”, we allowed Donald Trump’s candidacy to continue.

https://time.com/3923128/donald-trump-announcement-speech/

How could WE shrug off something so stunningly offensive? In this instance, Trump was spouting stupid — and we were accepting stupid. Oh, sure — in the moment we were offended by it. But we stopped being offended by it. We must have — cos we let it slide. We accepted Trump’s stupidity (his racism and bigotry — both products of stupidity) as “just how he is”. Trump was a “different kind” of candidate.

He became a “different” kind of president. A stupid one — exactly as advertised.

For going on three years, we have experienced a presidency steeped in stupidity. Donald Trump says things that redefine the word “stupid” almost daily. He holds to stupid positions based on stupid assumptions and stupid, racist beliefs that result in consistently stupid pronouncements and policy positions. He lies blatantly — stupid, easily disproven lies — delivered gracelessly. Our news media points out the lie — and how stupid it is — yet Trump holds firm. That’s stupid.

We let him get away with it. That’s stupider.

Hmmmmm… maybe our problem isn’t Donald Trump. In Julius Caesar, Cassius says: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…”.  Which brings to mind another quote, equally prescient: “Stupid is as stupid does”.

Forrest Gump could teach Donald Trump — and us — a ton about what stupid really is.

Can We Be Honest? “Conservative Thinking” Is An Oxymoron

I’m a proud Progressive. I prefer the term “progressive” to “liberal” because the word liberal has gone through too many gyrations over time to be effective as an accurate descriptor. “I’m a liberal” could mean a whole lot of things that “I’m actually not”.

Progressives, as the name implies, want to progress. We want to see people — as a society — progress. We want each individual person to progress — to feel like their lives are constantly improving — as are the lives of their children and grandchildren going forward. There’s a caveat there — progressives build into their calculus the fact that change is a constant. In order to progress successfully, one has to accept as a fact that things will change. People will change. Circumstances will change.

Change is a Fact Of Life.

Progressives say “Okay — change is a thing — let’s deal with it like big boys & girls, accommodate where we must but convert to our advantage in every other way”.

Conservatives also do what their name implies. They want to conserve — what is (if only because they failed in this instance to conserve WHAT WAS and so have no choice but to accept it) but really — they want to conserve WHAT WAS. Or how they “remember” what was. How they idealized “what was” in reality.

There’s a reason conservatives tend to be more institutionally religious — more affiliated with their church than the spiritual side of their faith. They like the rules and regs; doing unto others — that’s a little too hippie-dippy for them. You know — “progressive”. They prefer the concrete of Commandments. Don’t Do This, Do That — Or Else.

Conservatives want to hold tight to a thing that makes them feel safe and secure — a world where men were men and women (and people of color, non-Christians, LGBQT people) knew their place. They see the antebellum south as a kind of heaven on earth. They think white people ARE America. And that’s the America they want to conserve.

Unfortunately, that America is entirely a figment of their imagination. Yes, white people have always held sway. But “white people” have never been the engine that drives the remarkable (but flawed) experiment in self-government that is the United States of America. One of our flaws is that white people have held too much sway. The engine — the thing we call “American Exceptionalism” is diversity. It’s the flow of people from every other country in the world into this one — e pluribus unum — from many, one — that’s the nature of American Exceptionalism.

It’s the opposite of what conservatives “think”. That’s just it — conservatives, by their nature, don’t have to “think”. When everything you do is motivated by your knee jerking lizard brain, you’re not thinking — ever. You’re reacting in real time to a fear-fueled twitch instinct. Everything you do is colored by it. Your whole goal in life is to get the toothpaste back into the tube.

As we all know — that’s never going to happen.

This is why conservatives stopped playing by the rules the rest of us play by. It was leading them nowhere — except to extinction — and they know it. That’s why Mitch McConnell — at the behest of conservative money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein) — refused We The People Merrick Garland (chosen by the POTUS we elected) — then conspired with Russia to literally STEAL election 2016 in order to shove conservative judges into every open judicial seat — seats they’d been KEEPING open for this very purpose.

Make no mistake — what Mitch McConnell did and is still doing — is a deliberate soft coup d’etat. Mitch is a traitor (not a revelation). Mitch is the conservative errand boy, doing what he’s told to do. Reminder — it’s not just conservative money holding Mitch’s nuts in their hand — it’s Vladimir Putin, too. Mitch has taken gobs (as in MILLIONS) of Russian money into his PAC. In the abstract — perfectly legal. But in the midst of a counter-intelligence operation looking directly at Russian influence on American politicians and an American election? NOT so innocent or even legal perhaps). But I digress…

Mitch isn’t “thinking”. He’s reacting. He’s trying to drag us back to a time and place in the past that never was — not because he’s thinking how good it will be for us if only we’d listen to him — but because he’s stuck in the past like a mastodon stuck in tar — sinking slowly — grabbing desperately at everything around it.

They can’t save the mastodon. They can only get sucked into the tar with it. Welcome to “conservative thinking”.

Can We Be Honest? “Conservative Thinking” Is An Oxymoron

I’m a proud Progressive. I prefer the term “progressive” to “liberal” because the word liberal has gone through too many gyrations over time to be effective as an accurate descriptor. “I’m a liberal” could mean a whole lot of things that “I’m actually not”.

Progressives, as the name implies, want to progress. We want to see people — as a society — progress. We want each individual person to progress — to feel like their lives are constantly improving — as are the lives of their children and grandchildren going forward. There’s a caveat there — progressives build into their calculus the fact that change is a constant. In order to progress successfully, one has to accept as a fact that things will change. People will change. Circumstances will change.

Change is a Fact Of Life.

Progressives say “Okay — change is a thing — let’s deal with it like big boys & girls, accommodate where we must but convert to our advantage in every other way”.

Conservatives also do what their name implies. They want to conserve — what is (if only because they failed in this instance to conserve WHAT WAS and so have no choice but to accept it) but really — they want to conserve WHAT WAS. Or how they “remember” what was. How they idealized “what was” in reality.

There’s a reason conservatives tend to be more institutionally religious — more affiliated with their church than the spiritual side of their faith. They like the rules and regs; doing unto others — that’s a little too hippie-dippy for them. You know — “progressive”.

Conservatives want to hold tight to a thing that makes them feel safe and secure — a world where men were men and women (and people of color, non-Christians, LGBQT people) knew their place. They see the antebellum south as a kind of heaven on earth. They think white people ARE America. And that’s the America they want to conserve.

Unfortunately, that America is entirely a figment of their imagination. Yes, white people have always held sway. But “white people” have never been the engine that drives the remarkable (but flawed) experiment in self-government that is the United States of America. One of our flaws is that white people have held too much sway. The engine — the thing we call “American Exceptionalism” is diversity. It’s the flow of people from every other country in the world into this one — e pluribus unum — from many, one — that’s the nature of American Exceptionalism.

It’s the opposite of what conservatives “think”. That’s just it — conservatives, by their nature, don’t have to “think”. When everything you do is motivated by your knee jerking lizard brain, you’re not thinking — ever. You’re reacting in real time to a fear-fueled twitch instinct. Everything you do is colored by it. Your whole goal in life is to get the toothpaste back into the tube.

As we all know — that’s never going to happen.

This is why conservatives stopped playing by the rules the rest of us play by. It was leading them nowhere — except to extinction — and they know it. That’s why Mitch McConnell — at the behest of conservative money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein) — refused We The People Merrick Garland (chosen by the POTUS we elected) — then conspired with Russia to literally STEAL election 2016 in order to shove conservative judges into every open judicial seat — seats they’d been KEEPING open for this very purpose.

Make no mistake — what Mitch McConnell did and is still doing — is a deliberate soft coup d’etat. Mitch is a traitor (not a revelation). Mitch is the conservative errand boy, doing what he’s told to do. Reminder — it’s not just conservative money holding Mitch’s nuts in their hand — it’s Vladimir Putin, too. Mitch has taken gobs (as in MILLIONS) of Russian money into his PAC. In the abstract — perfectly legal. But in the midst of a counter-intelligence operation looking directly at Russian influence on American politicians and an American election? NOT so innocent or even legal perhaps). But I digress…

Mitch isn’t “thinking”. He’s reacting. He’s trying to drag us back to a time and place in the past that never was — not because he’s thinking how good it will be for us if only we’d listen to him — but because he’s stuck in the past like a mastodon stuck in tar — sinking slowly — grabbing desperately at everything around it.

They can’t save the mastodon. They can only get sucked into the tar with it. Welcome to “conservative thinking”.

How Failure Of Imagination Kills…

When the forensics get done on our Time — and the Big Question gets asked — “How in the world did Americans let such an obvious criminal & traitor 1) get elected & 2) remain in power so long?

The answer will complicated with lots of moving parts (requiring actual calculus to figure out). One of the biggest moving parts will be the Republican Party itself and the monstrosity of its actions here. But the fact that they were complicit — in ways that even predated Trump’s takeover of their party (think Mitch McConnell & his refusal to even talk to Merrick Garland) goes right back to the heart of my premise. We “didn’t see it”.

In real time, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans did something no other Senate had ever done before — held a President’s SCOTUS pick hostage. Mitch’s excuse was so phony it should have physically hurt every ear that heard it. It was Bullshit On Steroids: “The American People should get to decide who the next SCOTUS judge is”. The American People in that equation are the ones who VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA and made him POTUS — the guy charged with doing that very thing.

Yet here we are. No Merrick Garland. Neil Gorsuch instead. Funny how the rules work when you make em up as you go along — AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

With all this press going at this story like sperms going at an egg — you’d think someone would have gotten through already and “fertilized” that egg. And yet — with a mountain RANGE of evidence staring them in the face, the Press seems blind to it. It’s there — they kinda know it is — and yet they can’t bring themselves to go and report it. It’s like they just can’t “trust” themselves and what they’re thinking. What they “know”.

This is how “FAILURE OF IMAGINATION” works. Under normal circumstances where everything’s normal — failing to think with imagination won’t hurt you (not much anyway). You can always muddle along in your mediocrity enjoying the status quo until you don’t.

But this here ain’t “normal”. Not even remotely. Gawd, I hope that’s not a revelation. Laws weren’t written to deal with our particular situation. This wasn’t “imagined” by the Constitution’s framers — a flat out treasonous POTUS and the flat out treasonous political party supporting him (the framers didn’t even want political parties; they happened because we’re human and tribal by nature). See how our problem is “outside the box”?

The solution to our problem will have to come from “outside the box” too. Part of our problem is — the criminals are using our rules to undermine them — as part of the whole Cyber War they’ve been waging against us as we sleep. We’re miles behind — in large part because we’ve been so damned slow to SEE what was happening.

Not slow to SEE, so much, really, as GRASP. We saw all this happening — but failed to grasp what it meant — and how it was playing out in all its terrible detail RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. That, too, is failure of imagination.

FAILURE OF IMAGINATION is how McConnell got away with circumventing the will of the American People to deliberately remake the judiciary as conservative when the people CLEARLY want it progressive?

HOW has Donald Trump gotten away with HIS shit for as long as he has? How did we ever let him get past “Mexicans are rapists” or “Pussy Grabbing” or every stinking lie he’s told from the moment he became OUR EMPLOYEE? How have we not been able to stop this — or even report this accurately?

I’ll let you fill in the blank — with an “Amen!” chaser.

But it isn’t just OUR failure of imagination — as citizens. We rely on our Press (as per the First Amendment) to be the final check on power. To do that they need to IMAGINE the worst — because you can’t report all the possible reasons things happen if you don’t include that. For one, you’re not being accurate.

But — strangely — watch enough news, and of all the possible answers to The Biggest Question Facing Us — Why Does Donald Trump Act Like Vladimir Putin Owns Him? The American Press STILL refuses to answer the question: “BECAUSE VLADIMIR PUTIN OWNS HIM”.

It seems bizarre that one can’t “imagine” the thing that’s not just “staring you in the face” but stabbing you there, too.