The Good Virus

It’s the global pandemic you’ve no doubt heard about. For me and millions of others in most of 2020 thus far, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has necessitated keeping “proper” social distance from most other people. Sadly, social distancing is one of the few counters we’ve had to the virus since its emergence and subsequent spread nearly everywhere. It’s only one of the problems that’s been nothing but exacerbated by our president here in the United States, Donald J. Trump.

George Floyd mural outside Cup Foods

How bad Donald Trump is for the United States (and the world at large) simply cannot be overstated. From the beginning, there have been his apologists, the people inside and outside of government who would like to explain his presense, speech, and actions as mere differences of political opinion. Many of these same people would also like to portray any counters to his abuses as only driven by some sort of irrational, blind hatred of the man himself. It ought to be obvious by now that neither of these arguments holds any water at all. It ought to be, but isn’t. While he and the country continuously reap the whirlwind of horrible leadership, there currently is an unbelievable percentage of Americans that still cling to his distorted MAGA vision. Or, if not to that, to their “justifications,” their “reasons.” Trump is simultaneously a symptom and a cause of national strife.

And here in the United States, today, is another symptom staring us in the face: the systemic racism that has led to the death of another black man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. No, it’s not just a few bad apples down at the Police Department. It is an us vesus them, increasingly militaristic culture that pervades police departments all over the country. Further, policing in the U.S.A. didn’t just appear out of nowhere: it’s a racist history that has delivered us here to the present day.

Floyd’s unjust death has already resonated throughout the world. There’s been a demand for change and justice everywhere. There’s been social distance, yet distance has collapsed amidst protest in the streets. Has the desire for justice gone viral? We can only hope.

Trump Broke Democracy

One of the rationales many people had for electing Donald Trump as POTUS was that he was a “disrupter” who would “shake up the system.” Mission accomplished; the presidency of Donald Trump has been a wild ride. Or, more accurately, a broken ride at a more-or-less abandoned theme park out on the edge of town. The park is apparently open, but the rides aren’t really staffed and the safety bars can’t be lowered.

Unfortunately, shaking up a system is far too easy when you don’t understand how it’s supposed to work. Once, people might bang on the side of their TV sets if the picture got wobbly. You don’t see that anymore. This, however, is figuratively the “troubleshooting” technique of Donald J. Trump: just break things further. Added to this is
Trump’s unshakable belief that other people, laws, rules, (or norms of any kind), only exist to benefit him personally. The rest is window dressing. Fortunately for Donald Trump, there’s a whole political party dedicated to window dressing.

No more. Donald Trump must go.

Happy 2018, But Not For Donald Trump

Twilight Zone with Donald Trump

Just like the headline says, Happy 2018. It’s now been nearly a year since Donald Trump entered the White House. By Trump’s own design, each day, then each week, of his administration has featured mind-blowing, (and too numerous to list), antics, lies, and plain old bullshit. Trump believes — just like anyone with good reality show TV experience — that these antics are absolutely necessary to try and “get over” with 30-something percent of the American People. It’s all made worse by the fact that Donald J. Trump knows he absolutely guilty of everything.

Of course he denies it, but he knows he’s guilty of Russian collusion and almost every other charge directed his way, and it’s eating away at him. Trump is a haunted man, but unlike on the old Perry Mason TV show, he’s not going to just suddenly confess everything in court. (Notice how the trombones sometimes enter when whoever-it-is confesses?)

Some mental health care experts have offered that maybe President Donald J. Trump is losing it. Of course he is. He’s in one of the most uniquely ridiculous situations a citizen of the United States could possibly find themselves in: Unintentional Presidency of the United States. Trump is completely out of his depth. Daily, he tries to deal with subjects beyond his grasp while simultaneously possessing an ego which self-labels “stable genius.” This, dear friends, is where bluff and bluster meet their limits. Or is it?

Sure, you could write this plot into a movie and some people would believe it. Some people would, which is how he got elected in the first place.

Fear, Loathing, & Donald Trump

Happy 2017! Why no updates recently? I, for one, deflect blame to the election of one Donald J. Trump to hold the office of President of the United States. Is it an “unmitigated disaster?” Why yes. Yes it is.

Our election process — which obviously goes on far too long to the tune of extremely questionable substance — has pooped out this result. There have been plenty of postmortems, some of them quite thoughtful, as to why it all happened, but the reality is the causes are various. Yes, the electoral college is outdated. Yes, plenty of people were stricken from the swing state voter rolls in key areas that gave Donald J. Trump the advantage. Yes, many people feel the government is out-of-touch and doesn’t listen to ordinary Americans. Yes, these voters — some of them — can be fooled all of the time. Yes, the Russians hacked. And yes, most voters wanted Hillary Clinton to be president, accurately identifying Donald Trump as a freak show, or possibly more charitably as a guy primarily interested in advancing a personal brand that somehow persists despite years of personal shenanigans.

Sometime before day one of his campaign, Donald J. Trump decided to put R after his name. After descending a golden escalator, he started in with his ridiculous demonization of Mexico and Mexicans, and talk of building a great, great wall. God knows that was only the beginning. Throughout the primaries, 16 other GOP candidates resisted, but it was no use. The Trump crazy train was leaving the station, and the “establishment” Republicans had to get on board.

During the years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the Grand Old Party mostly decided to obstruct, and what little muscle they had for actually governing completely atrophied. Worse, the Republicans, who work in the U.S. government, generally don’t approve of the U.S. government doing anything for the general welfare of the people except, you know, military things, and trying to control women’s reproductive systems. Otherwise, everything really ought to be privatized: Social Security, the VA, Medicare, Medicaid, the Post Office . . .

“Obamacare,” aka The Affordable Care Act (really, health insurance reform), is an example of something the Republicans think the government has no business doing. The ACA has been a Republican punching bag for years now, and numerous times Republicans wasted time trying to repeal it even when they knew it wasn’t really possible. Now, it’s possible, and it will mean pulling the rug out from under some 30 million Americans who are covered by its benefits. The ACA is no perfect law, but if the USA insists on using the Health Insurance model of providing access to health care, many of the law’s assumptions are necessary. Sadly, the ACA still can’t stop insurance companies from taking unfair advantage of the fact that they are, in fact, healthcare gatekeepers whose real objective is not healthcare at all.

“Repeal and Replace” of Obamacare became a Republican slogan, but most of the replacement ideas are in reality unserious or inadequate: health care savings accounts (Yes, maybe you can save up for that gall bladder surgery), vouchers, and selling insurance across state lines. Recently, the Republicans have adopted the “patient-centered care” slogan, something that clearly confuses access to health care with that care’s actual execution. Make no mistake: Republicans have no good idea what to replace Obamacare with, even though Trump would like both The House and the Senate to do so immediately.

On yeah, Trump! It’s really hard to describe how much of a train wreck the guy really is, but part of it is described here anyway. Every day from the time that post was written, The Donald found new ways to smear himself with glory: he changed positions often, displayed bigotry, lied constantly, and used his favorite 5th grader rhetorical device with abandon:

“I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever hits me bounces off and sticks to you.”

Now he’s been elected to be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.