The Watering Hole; Friday, January 20th, 2017: “A Date Which Will Live In Infamy.”

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I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate
president. I think the Russians participated
in helping this man get elected . . .”
(Rep. John Lewis, D-GA; 1-13-2017)

Rep. John Lewis was, of course, spot-on correct when he made that statement to Chuck Todd on MSNBC a week ago (seems like a year at least; why is that?) a mere seven days before the inauguration. Lewis also said he would not be in attendance for the event, a position that infuriated Trump even as it raised the spirits of others. The only quibble I have with Lewis’s statement is a simple one: to my mind, Trump’s “presidency” is not rendered illegitimate solely because of Russian interference in the election.

“Legitimate” is defined as conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., [and] based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning.”

I cannot, even in my most generous mood, see how ANY of that definition can be applied to that which is about to happen to the highest elective office in this country. In my seventy-four-plus years on this planet, presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Poppy Bush, Clinton, Dubsy Bush, and Obama have occupied the head chair in the Oval Office. Two of them — FDR and Obama — have been among the greatest Presidents the country has ever had, and while Ike, JFK, and Carter stood tall as they grandly overshadowed the marginal and/or less than marginal others, the dude that will ascend to that chair somewhere around noon EST today stands out as that pinhole of dimmest light which may well prove to be the herald of our nation’s darkest hour. How did that happen? As William Wordsworth put it a couple of hundred years ago,

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Where is it now indeed. We have, just  now, “elected” as “president,” a man who is clearly the LEAST qualified for that office in at least the last 85 years, and likely the most unqualified person ever in the country’s 240 year history. As of today, we have a president who . . .

  1. Is a certifiable Narcissistic Egomaniac,
  2. a bigot,
  3. a misogynist,
  4. a xenophobe,
  5. and a chronic liar.
  6. He has zero political experience, also offers no clue that he’s ever read even a word of the Constitution (or that he even COULD read a word of the Constitution).
  7. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, and “won” the election solely via the obsolete but Constitutionally-defined Electoral College. His popular vote defeat was the largest in history, and yet he claims to have won the election in a landslide.
  8. He attributed Clinton’s 3 million winning vote margin to massive voter fraud.
  9. He has spoken out loud that NATO is obsolete and that he has no interest in the Eurpoean Union. Small wonder that Europe is probably about as worried as we are in re Trump’s “election” to the most powerful governing position in the world.
  10. Trump is a climate change denier and has indicated that he’ll work to nullify the Paris Agreement, also to increase coal and other fossil fuel production in the US.
  11. A major contingent of the Republican Party (including Trump, I presume) believes that all Federal Public Lands should be turned over to the states so they can be made useful; Trump has offered no indication that he will support protection of National Forests, National Parks, Monuments, Refuges, Wilderness, or any other category of Public Land.
  12. Trump has often spoken of his admiration for Putin, and has either denied or minimized the fact that Russian cyber-hackers worked diligently to influence the US election in 2016 with the goal of swinging enough voters to elect Trump — apparently because Putin thinks he can manipulate Trump, something he couldn’t manage with Obama and knew wouldn’t happen with Hillary Clinton.
  13. Intelligence has revealed that Putin may indeed have the means at hand to essentially force Trump to do what Putin asks, via alleged hotel camera videos of Trump interacting with Russian Prostitutes; Trump, of course, denies everything.
  14. Since Trump’s election, White Supremacists/Nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups have dramatically increased their anti-Jewish/Black/Latino/Muslim activities; hate crimes have increased nation wide.
  15. Trump has said he will halt all Muslim immigration, and will also . . .
  16. Move to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants from Latin America and, presumably, anywhere else.
  17. He has even included DACA people, i.e. young folks who were brought into this country by undocumented parents when they were children, even infants, and who have grown up as Americans.
  18. Trump has refused to divest his business interests, and is very likely to be violating the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution at the very moment his swearing-in is complete.
  19. He has also refused to open his finances and financial arrangements, including via his tax returns, for examination (does he have strong financial ties to Russia? He doesn’t want anyone to know, apparently, so a best guess would be YES he does).
  20. He is threatening every American-owned company that has products manufactured overseas or outside of the US in this hemisphere that there will be a heavy tariff imposed on their products unless they manufacture them in the US and not overseas. That will apply, apparently, to every company other than his own various facilities in China, Turkey, Mexico, and various other places.
  21. When Trump’s proposed tax cuts and budgeting proposals are merged, the calculations result in a ten trillion dollar add-on to the National Debt; “conservatism” defined.
  22. He has vowed to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare. Right. Look for 20-30 million folks with no health care at all if Trump and fellow wingnuts get their way.

Can anyone make the argument that Trump is, indeed, a “Legitimate” president? Does he/will he ever conform to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning? Clearly no. I do, therefore and hereby, declare Donald J. Trump to be this nation’s first totally ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT! whose sole purpose remains his own self-glorification, no matter the cost to others — including the nation as a whole, even the entire of the planet. He, Donald J. Trump, is, in his mind, ALL THAT MATTERS! PERIOD! — all of which brings to the forefront, once again, FDR’s description of “December 7th, 1941: A date which will live in infamy,” now become “January 20th, 2017: A Date which . . . etc.”

In closing, I’m inserting a poem I wrote and posted here last summer after the Republican Convention, after Trump’s nomination. It’s a sonnet, an acrostic quatorzain, intended to define the essence of Trump the nominee, his persona. To bring it up to date I only had to change two words: in the title, ‘Persona’ to ‘Presidency,’ and in the body, ‘nominee’ to ‘President.’ It appears to have worked. 🙂

Donald J Trump and His Egomaniacal Presidency
(via an Acrostic Fourteener Quatorzain)

Democracy allows a boundless breadth of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a President who deems to
Never claim to own the vicious speech he hopes will be bought
And sold as memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learn’ed view,
Lengthy rhetoric from speaker thus afflicted reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose thought appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they are themselves dismissed by soft and passioned dreams.
Misogyny as well appeals to minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life — with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are disappeared — or sold.

One has to wonder, I suppose, if the theses and conclusions implied in the sonnet will still be valid after, say, a full four-year term of a Trump presidency. My best guess is HELL YES they’ll still be valid! That’s assuming, of course, that the country can survive four years with a Narcissistic, Egomaniacal, Bigoted, Misogynistic, Xenophobic and Illegitimate nutcase at its helm. I, for one, have my doubts, but time will surely tell; it always does.

Footnote: Here are a couple of links that provide a few revealing details from both sides of the Trump-Putin topic:

Paul Krugman: With All Due Disrespect

Vladimir Putin defends Donald Trump, says critics trying to “undermine the legitimacy” of the president-elect

******

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

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OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday Jan. 19 2017; Inaugur(anticip)ation

Featured

The difference between Despair
And Fear — is like the One
Between the instant of a Wreck
And when the Wreck has been
(Emily Dickinson)

******

Tomorrow, January 20 2017, is the day Donald J. Trump is to be inaugurated as POTUS #45. I’ll not be there. Not in person. Not on the TV, radio, or in any other possible way. I side with the (hopefully) tens of millions who prefer something creative to anything destructive. The bottom line: Trump is a genuinely illegitimate president-select. Period. (More on that tomorrow).

Today I have nothing to say. There are no words. But there are Visuals! Here are some I’ve collected over the last couple of years, visuals that pretty much summarize this nation’s self-imposed electoral consequence.

Without further ado:

schlong

trump-dumb

the-donny-llama-e

The Donny Llama

putin-trump-horse

trumps-gop-elephant

trump-can-grab-my

trump-chins

obama-trump-nukes

trump-the-nation-cover

trump-mencken

And Finally:

potus

There. Drumpfian “Fair and Balanced” summary complete.

******

“What Trump proposes is [American] Geopolitical Suicide.
Make no mistake: you should be very worried right now.”
(Daniel Nexon, Professor at Georgetown University)

******

2017’s Pending Inauguration  OPEN THREAD — Have at it!

The Watering Hole; Jan. 12/13 2017; National Monuments: Voices of the Vanished Ones, Preserved

VOICES in The Wind

Though modern ears seem deaf to primal song,
Ideas seek – and probe – subconscious minds.
Where spirits walk, old muted voices long
To search – as dust now gathered by the winds –
And speak in silence, whispering to those souls
Their sacred manifests of unsung dreams.
Then Suffrage of the land – through Gray Wolf’s howls
And breath of noiseless Deer – expresses themes
As surely as the murmur of the trees
Announces wind and wingéd life, in kind.
And silently as Eagle rides the breeze,
These messages – the Sum of Life – remind:
Man’s aimless, modern Din shall ne’er transcend
The Wild – and Ancient – Voices – in the Wind.

That was my summation, a decade or more ago, after having spent thirty years exploring the “out there” country of Arizona, including frequent visits to secluded national monuments that protected both historical sites and ‘special’ landscapes. And while I’ve never visited the latest pair of Obama-designated National Monuments — Gold Butte in Nevada and Bears Ears in S.E. Utah — I do totally and completely understand the grand value of each and every Antiquity Act designee that’s “out there” today. My hope is that we as a nation don’t stop here, but that we find every last square inch of land in need of absolute preservation, and then DO IT! And to hell with each and every wingnut that protests or tries to halt/overturn preservation whether past, present, or future.

Today’s Voices, a quick sample:

“I am designating two new national monuments in the desert landscapes of southeastern Utah and southern Nevada to protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes. Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.”
(President Barack Obama; December 28, 2016)

“We have always looked to Bears Ears as a place of refuge. The rocks,
the winds, the land — they are living, breathing things that deserve
timely and lasting protection.”
(Russell Begaye; President, Navajo Nation)

“Obama’s decision to create the national monuments means that the area,
that contains some Native American artifacts, will be protected
from energy drilling in the future.”
(Nikita Vladimirov, The Hill)

“It’s just terribly arrogant, he unilaterally — he is taking 1.35 million acres,
that’s more land than there is in the entire state of Delaware,
and re-designating it as a national monument.”
(Rep Jason Chafetz, R-Utah)

“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand.”
(Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah)

“. . . the president’s midnight proclamation cherry picked provisions of the
Public Lands Initiative and disregarded the economic development and
multi-use provisions necessary for a balanced compromise.”
(Jason Chafetz, R-Utah)

“We look forward to working with President-elect Trump to follow through on
his commitment to repeal midnight regulations.
(Rep Jason Chafetz, R-Utah)

“By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect
those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit.”
(Sean Reyes, State Atty. Gen., R-Utah)

“President Obama is a courageous man. I could not be more grateful to him and
his team for working with me to make this happen, and for everything he has
done to protect public lands in Nevada. By designating Gold Butte a
national monument, President Obama has shown once again why he
is one of the greatest environmental presidents in American history.”
(Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada)

“Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that
future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these
scenic and historic landscapes.”
(President Barack Obama)

******

Obama perfectly summed up the undercurrent intentions of the 1906 Antiquities Act which, in spite of today’s Fascist (Tea Party) rejection of same, serves as the major tool to enable preservation of “scenic and historic landscapes” by Presidential decree and NOT via far-more-difficult-to-secure Congressional action. Today’s Republicans see absolutely zero benefit in preserving anything other than their own power and position. Landscapes? If they’re that good, there’s gotta be money in NOT preserving them. Historic sites? Ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of Injun crapola, and we beat them red skinned worthless bums 150 years ago. Who cares about shit they done way back when?

In the last 8 years, President Obama has preserved, via the Antiquities Act, more than 550 million acres in 29 newly-designated National Monuments, more than any President has ever done: an impressive statistic. For those of us who cherish the ‘voices’ offered by the wind, by the vanished ones, Obama’s accomplishment stands tall and far above the sacrifices demanded by (political/commercial) gluttonous greed.

Following are a handful of photos I’ve taken over the years, visual descriptions of the centerpieces in nine of Arizona’s eighteen (the most in any one state) National Monuments. The first seven are of historic or ancient ruins, followed by a composite from a National Heritage Site in a National Forest, and finally a pair of Monumental ‘historic (volcanic) landscapes.’ Taken together, they vividly spell out — at least in my mind — the grand purpose behind the 1906 Antiquities Act, AND the fantastic consequences thereof. Continue reading

The Weekend Watering Hole, Saturday, January 7th-8th, 2017: Russian Roulette

Here’s some of the most recent articles about the U.S. intelligence agencies’ report on the Russian influence in Trump’s election.

First, here’s a PDF of the report itself.

Next we have relevant articles from yesterday’s Washington Post and the New York Times.

And then a couple of articles on Trump’s post-intelligence-briefing statements, one from the NY Times, and one from this morning’s Raw Story. Apparently Trump took time from his preoccupation with Arnold and The Apprentice to tweet a few idiocies while avoiding the ‘yuge’ Russian elephant in his room.

What will it take for Trump, his minions, and the GOP to finally admit that the chambers in the Russian Roulette revolver aren’t all empty?

This is our Open Thread – join in with whatever you want to talk about.

The Watering Hole; Jan. 5&6, 2017; “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie . . .”

“Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.”
(Honore de Balzac)

******

The bifurcation of the United States is now complete. The AFM (American Fascist Movement, aka the GOP, the Far Right) has, finally, taken over the ‘defining’ substance of the country via its majority control of the House, Senate, White House, and presumably quite soon, the Supreme Court, all alongside the political control of some 32 states. When, on January 20th, the new Precedent (sorry, couldn’t help it) named Donald J. Trump is inaugurated and officially becomes POTUS, the final demise of America will begin in earnest. The goals of the AFM-GOP are fairly straight forward; they intend to address a number of cash and power redistribution projects. Here’s their shortlist:

  1. Repeal Obamacare;
  2. Cut Social Security;
  3. Privatize Medicare;
  4. Drastically reduce Medicaid;
  5. Repeal Roe v. Wade;
  6. Defund Planned Parenthood;
  7. Disallow female Reproductive Rights;
  8. Deport undocumented immigrants;
  9. Overturn Obama’s immigration Executive Orders, including DACA;
  10. Build a border wall;
  11. Dismantle the EPA;
  12. Halt all Carbon-reducing efforts;
  13. Increase coal, oil, and natural gas production;
  14. Pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement;
  15. Open all Public Lands to fossil fuel/mining exploration and production;
  16. Potentially work to hand over all Federal Lands to the respective States;
  17. Tax reform: reduce  rates for corporate and top individual brackets, screw all the common folk;
  18. Abolish Net Neutrality (so cable companies can finally make a buck or two);
  19. Increase “defense” spending;
  20. Restart the nuclear arms race;
  21. Stop worrying about budget deficits;
  22. Blame the entire of the National Debt on Democrats, Obama mostly;
  23. Find places to start new wars;
  24. Universalize voter suppression and “ihre papiere, bitte” laws;
  25. Dismantle Public Education, pay for privatization with tax dollars;
  26. Rid colleges and universities of all those commie professors;
  27. Diminish NATO and the EU;
  28. Explore national merger with Russia.*

*(Not sure if number 28 is on any docket outside the Trump admin., but felt it worth a mention).

In short, (thanks to voter suppression, along with our clearly obsolete Electoral College) it’s a minority of voters that has enabled “All Of The Above.” Stated another way, the death of what once was a nation “of the people” is on the verge of total revision, with the fresh goal of a Feudal-style Fascist Oligarchy lying in wait just over the next horizon. The process should not take all that long to complete, now that the Extreme Right has essentially garnered full control of the government.

The presumed overall consequence — the bottom line — is a simple one: IF the AFM-GOP succeeds in the imposition of its Fascist agenda, the odds are very good that any return to Rooseveltian-style government where the PEOPLE come first, not the money-power enclave, will be gone for at least a generation or two, possibly forever. Remember: when government devolves into Fascism, the sole purpose of the blended money-power government is to disable and destroy each and every program designed to support and enable The People’s pursuit of a comfortable and productive life, and hand it off, instead, to the bums in their imaginary gleaming castles on the hill (sotospeak).

The process will begin on the afternoon of January 20, 2017, immediately following the swearing in of this nation’s 45th POTUS, Donald J. Trump.

potus

Resistance must begin immediately. I, for one, will not attend, watch, or even acknowledge this particular inauguration. I will, instead, spend my time exploring and supporting alternatives, aka virtually any potentially viable project that has even the slightest chance of ridding the nation of its Fascist element, aka the Republican Party . . . and all its works and all its ways. Apparently I’m not alone in this ‘dream,’ at least according to the following link’s stated goal:

Does impeachment begin now? The case for building the end of Trump’s presidency before it even starts

Hoping intelligent people across the land will consider and act appropriately upon all viable options, and in the process never forget the ancient but still accurate admonition of Plato:

The punishment for those who are too intelligent to engage in
politics is that they shall be governed by idiots.

Touche.

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OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 29/30, 2016; “Make America Great Hate Again”

Since November 8, 2016 and the “unpresidented” (s)election of Donald J. Trump as “precedent” of the United States, the probable consequences are rapidly clarifying, as evidenced in the following (tiny) handful of links:

‘We can march through town carrying high-powered rifles’: Neo-Nazi plans march against Montana Jews

Hate Groups Promise Revolt If Trump Abandons White Supremacy

Tracking the explosion of hate in Trump’s America

It appears that even though Trump’s inauguration is still 3 weeks away, he has already succeeded in enhancing amongst his followers the (irrational but traditional) Fascistic dreams of Power and Hate. And sadly, those same irrationalities are currently spreading through Europe — Brexit in England, Far Right Nationalism emerging in Poland, Hungary, France, Austria, Germany — altogether reminiscent of the Fascist tyrannies of just a few generations ago.

As England’s Prince Charles recently stated,

I’ve seen the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930’s.

“I was born in 1948 just after World War II in which my parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. That nearly 70 years later we are seeing such evil persecution is beyond belief. We owe it to the people who have suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.”

And today, as we set ourselves up “to repeat the horrors of the past,” we watch as anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-Islam, and white Nationalism (neo-Nazism) rapidly reassert themselves both at home and abroad, thanks in no small part to the American election of November 8, 2016. It’s worth noting that said election was, curiously, influenced by Russian cyber interference — likely motivated by Putin’s desire to see the world abandon freedom and democracy and select, instead, Fascism as its ruling authority. And who better than Trump — a politically inept egomaniacal narcissist — to help that movement along?

Russian analyst Nina Khrushcheva (great grand-daughter of Nikita Khruschev) recently noted that Trump is playing “right into Putin’s hands.” She further stated,

“I was just in Moscow and the Russians are saying ‘Look at those fools, look at their their democracy. How could America lecture us on any development, institutions, human rights, democracy, rhetoric when they just elected Donald Trump. He’s such a fool. He’s such a bully. That’s what America deserves and we’re going to take advantage of it.’ And that’s how Russians feel about it, and now it’s taking shape with letters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with their exchange on potential nuclear armament and whatnot.”

In short, with the election of Donald J. Trump, the United States has ceded any global advantage it might ever have had to the re-emergent right wing fervor aka Fascism. We fought and defeated it in the past, but now have finally succumbed, thanks to the devolution of the Republican Party from one of democratic principle to its embrace of neo-fascism, and to the election of a narcissistic egomaniac — Donald J. Trump — who knows virtually nothing of anything other than his own ego (and how to grab women by the p***y, of course).

In short, we are on the edge of a major dilemma. Our current situation brings to mind an essay written more than three years ago, one that was first posted on October 17, 2013, well before anyone had even the vaguest notion that Donald Trump would ever become a candidate for the presidency, much less win an Electoral College “victory.” But he did, and in so doing has magnified immensely the quandary America came face-to-face with, in 2012: the American Fascist Movement, aka the (Republican) Tea Party.

So here, in celebration of 2016’s final passing is, courtesy of said essay, both a three-year rear-view-mirror look back, coupled with what is now virtually guaranteed to be a look forward as well; reprinted in full.

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The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 22/23 2016; “Precedent” Elect Trump: A Potentially “Unpresidented” Disaster

“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest –
and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,
it’s not your fault.”
(Donald J. Trump Verified account
@realDonaldTrump)

One might easily describe the above quote as being “unpresidented” — coming, as it did, from the current “Precedent” Elect of the United States.

******

In four weeks — on Friday January 20 2017 — the occupancy of the White House will be radically changed, as will the tenor of the country. The President will no longer be an educated and highly intelligent Moderate Liberal Progressive; it will be, instead, an Unintelligent and Egomaniacal Narcissist, a Pathological Liar who cares nothing about anything in the world other than the admiration he manages to garner for himself from others, from those of low intelligence to those viewed as rich and/or powerful, from any corner of the earth and anywhere in between. The sad reality remains, however, that Donald J. Trump is little more than a uniquely unqualified stooge of corporate and political interests, both local and global, a thesis supported by his selections of his Cabinet chairs and advisory staff.

There is but one bottom line to all of this: we do not know just how severe will be the consequences of this, our greatest political blunder in at least the last 100 years. The only thing that we can be assured of is that those consequences will be nasty, possibly even fatal, to our Democratic Republic unless we the people can somehow find the means of curtailing the process, quickly, in each and every instance. Anything short of that and our collective regret will be the equivalent of that once famous “shot heard round the world” redirected, this time, at ourselves.

Over just the last few days, numerous articles on numerous websites have turned up, each and all of which speak to and describe what are perceived to be various consequences of the upcoming Donald J. Trump “presidency.” The essays include detailed discussions of reasons why we find ourselves embedded in our dilemma, plus a handful of suggestions of means to alleviate said dilemma. Below, in no particular order, are a number of links that each discuss varying aspects of the overall question: Why/how Trump? I’ve selected and included a quoted portion of each link to help tweak imaginations, quotes which, taken together, paint a rather dismal picture of America’s new homemade dilemma. Continue reading