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Noise!

I was awakened this Saturday morning by noises coming from our kitchen, noises like a dishwasher being emptied by a woman disturbed. Somewhat fearful that my sleeping in might be the occasion, I tossed on my white terrycloth robe, the one that makes me look like a polar bear cub, and tip-toed into her view. She was in a rage, even tears swelling in her eyes. Through those tears her endearing greeting assured me that I was not the problem.

She had turned on MSNBC to hear again that the Vindman brothers had been fired by POTUS, our Criminal in Chief and that the Mob Boss had recalled Ambassador Sondland.

For many of us living out here in fly-over country, tear-stained rage is about our only response. Yes, we could contribute to one of the endless solicitations for money to elect a replacement for POTUS or to fund a cause that will bring sanity back to our country, but we’ve already given to our senior-pension-Social-Security limits. Any suggestions for the likes of us?

Trump is a very sophisticated sociopath-politician. He has no capacity for empathy, knows only his own stunted adolescent desires and is an expert at gaining followers from among half of our neighbors who somehow feel themselves threatened by the other half of us. Shades of  Heinrich Himmler and Josef Goebbles!

When I wrote that paragraph on a scrap of paper after breakfast, she said, “Post that, just reading it gives me a way to articulate my rage.”  OK, I’ve published it. Now what? Do we just wait around for a 21st century version of the Reichstag Fire? Can we expect soon to see people who have been adjudged to have opposed POTUS wearing emoji patches on their clothing identifying them as enemies of the State?

The man in the White House is either a deliberate criminal or a very high-functioning, mentally ill individual. Either way, I came into this world under FDR and I sure as hell do not want to go out under DJT!

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The Fault Dear Brutus

When Shakespeare has Cassius say “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”, Cassius wanted to prevent Julius Caesar from becoming the Roman monarch. Monarchy has already been asserted in the USA and the fault is not in our fate but in ourselves.

As if it were not sufficiently ironic that a State-sponsored prayer-breakfast is held in a country founded upon principles of separation of Church and State, the President in that event mocks and defies the very fundamentals of religious tradition. As the pundits on ‘Morning Joe’ opined this morning, when half of our neighbors support this President, the soul of our nation is at risk.

I am afraid, dear Brutus, that the answer is not to attempt a revival of religion across the nation to recover that soul. It is a perversion of religion that has brought us to this moral miasma. The evangelicalism of the 18th century colonies has been perverted from a ‘nature’s God’ equalitarianism to what at the time of the Revolution was a British-loyalist insistence upon oligarchical authoritarianism that predominated from establishment Anglican pulpits. Today’s evangelicalism has lost almost all touch with the teachings of the Jesus whom they pretend to follow. After a bit over two-hundred years Desenters have lost the war.

What needs to be recovered is not a recovery of faith but a renewal of the philosophical bases of American republicanism.

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A Sucker Born Every Minute

Wikipedia says:

“Barnum’s biographer Arthur H. Saxon tried to track down when Barnum had uttered this phrase but was unable to verify it. According to Saxon, “There’s no contemporary account of it, or even any suggestion that the word ‘sucker’ was used in the derogatory sense in his day. Barnum was just not the type to disparage his patrons.”[1]

Photo of P. T. Barnum by Charles Eisenmann

Some sources claim that it is most likely from famous con-man Joseph (“Paper Collar Joe”) Bessimer,[2] and other sources say that it was actually uttered by David Hannum in reference to Barnum’s part in the Cardiff Giant hoax.[citation needed] Hannum was exhibiting the “original” giant and had unsuccessfully sued Barnum for exhibiting a copy and claiming that it was the original. Crowds continued to pay to see Barnum’s exhibit, even after both it and the original had been proven to be fakes.

Another source credits late 1860s Chicago saloon owner Michael Cassius McDonald as the originator of the aphorism. According to the book Gem of the Prairie: Chicago Underworld (1940) by Herbert Asbury, McDonald was equipping his gambling house known as The Store when his partner expressed concern over the large number of roulette wheels and faro tables being installed and their ability to get enough players. McDonald then allegedly said, “Don’t worry about that, there’s a sucker born every minute.”

Well, it is a useful phrase no matter its author. I thought of it this morning as “Morning Joe” carried news clips of the crowd streaming into another Trump Rally. Among those interviewed, most were proud of having had their suspicions confirmed by “Q” and “Q-Anon.”

The level of ignorance among the American populace seems to be growing like a raging brain cancer. Truth is probably otherwise. In all likelihood, ignorance is not more prevalent than ever but there may be a couple of contemporary reasons for it to seem so. We live longer now than we did decades ago. Suckers live longer too, so it may seem that they’ve increased. Social media and the Internet can now draw larger crowds than a Barnum ‘barker’ could assemble patrons to see the Bearded Lady.

So it is probably same crowd flocking to be fascinated by a similar fake attraction. But they certain do look like my neighbors.

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The Old Lamplighter of …

Sammy Kaye, with vocal by Billy Williams, had the most popular version of the song about the time I was in the first grade in 1946.

By the 60s, The Browns made it a country pop hit.

The song is a sentimental stroll along memory lane as we observe the Lamplighters turning on the gas-powered streetlamps at dusk and extinguishing them when the sun came up.

“Gaslighting” is not about sentimental journeys. It is about vicious plots to destroy. It comes from a movie in which a husband maliciously turns the gas lamps off and on while trying to convince his wife that she is crazy for thinking she sees the lights flicker. He wants her institutionalized and out of the way.

Gaslighting is telling you that you are delusional for believing what you plainly see.

In the current Congressional hearing, phase one in the Trump impeachment, the Republicans have developed group gaslighting to a theatrical art. The President’s high crime( high as in above and more serious than codified law) of using diplomatic conversation for personal political dirty tricks did not really happen, those gaslighters insist. You are delusional to even think so.

And if their gaslighting cameos do not convince you, those congresscritters are rehearsed with lines labeled ‘whatabout,’ with which they want to get your attention to turn stage-left (OK, stage-right) to focus on some supposed distraction.

The only thing missing from the Republican burlesque cabaret is scantily clad women and Barr on stage singing Mack the Knife.  It is song and dance, but it is not entertaining.

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Quid pro quo

I recently exchanged a riding mower for $500. There was nothing wrong with the transaction, except maybe I let it go for a bit less than it was worth. I didn’t need the mower any more so I had something to trade for something. Something for something. This for that. If I were into Latin I could say ‘quid pro quo.’  It is the simplest three word description for a transaction. You have something I want and I’ll give you something you want for it.

There is no question that a businessman become U.S. President does not understand that concept. If perhaps, you do not agree that any businessman would know the meaning of the phrase and the process it describes, can you possibly doubt that a U.S. President who understands all negotiations as transactions could not know what he is doing in a ‘something for something’ conversation.

President A: It is my hope and expectation that we can obtain more of your military equipment.

President B: Uhum, and I have a favor to ask. Could you expedite an investigation in your country of one of my political opponents?

What could possibly be simpler to understand? Something for something. This for that.

On July 26, 1920, H. L. Mencken wrote in the Baltimore Evening Sun: “As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents more and more closely the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, an the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

That ‘great and glorious day’ has arrived! Mencken’s wit has been appreciated for a long time but it has taken nearly a hundred years for his clairvoyance to be proved. Can a ‘complete narcissistic moron’ be impeached? I hope so.

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Shift Happens!

No, I have not erred in titling this post. I have not misspelled the first word. Yes, that other phrase is often appropriate, but what I want to say is a kind of counter response to that other phrase.

It is now 4PM on August 26, 2019. Fifty-seven years ago, within the past thirty minutes, Jane’s pastor asked us to plight our troth and spoke the words that announced us husband and wife. Nineteen thousand eight hundred and five days, plus the leap days in the leap years, we have been married. That is nearly five hundred thousand, nearly half a million, hours!

I am not the boy, nor is she the girl who answered those questions and spoke those promises. We have changed. She no longer appears to be the wasp-waisted nymph, nor do I appear the trim, flat-topped lad of 1962.

We have changed. Who can identify the metamorphoses? Neither of us can. We have each noticed the differences. We have even welcomed most of those new selves our partner has become. And those we’d rather not have had to greet, we have accepted or just ignored.

Perhaps that is a part of the secret to a long and happy marriage. We have both, with little more than a nod, pledged that troth over and over again in a kind of serial monogamy.

I am glad to have experienced what the Buddha identified. Nothing remains the same. Shift happens.

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World’s Newest Cartographer

New countries are usually created by their inhabitants or by some political process involving treaties and boundaries. This week though, the lines on international maps have been re-aligned by a Tweet. The Tweetie-Bird who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia has designated three new political boundaries.

The city of Cincinnati, once the main hog slaughtering and beer brewing municipality in the State of Ohio, is now The Principality of Cincinnati. The W.H.O. (White House Occupant) by his own royal declaration has identified this shit-hole of a country as the place to which Rep. Amanda Pressley should return.

Now I have lived in Cincinnati, across the way from the Over-the-Rhine, in the Northside, on Chase Avenue. Two of our sons, Steven and Sean, were born in Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati before it became the more recently designated shit-hole Principality. Granted Cincinnati has had its flirtations with odd politicians (Jerry Springer was once mayor and while in that office wrote a check to a prostitute to cover her services; yes that Jerry Springer), but by and large, run-of-the-mill Republicans have dominated politics to bring it to its shitty state. When I last drove through on I-71, we passed through no border point; it was still a city on the north bank of a river. I did not have to show my Passport to cross the Ohio River into Kentucky. Hmmm, Kentucky the home ground of the jowly visage that could one day face you on, say, a Two-Dollar Bill.

I’ve never lived in Detroit, but everyone knows that it has seen better days, as has Flint. But a shit-hole “Le Etat du Nord-Detroit,” I don’t think so. I don’t even think Canada would take it on as one of its Provinces. It remains in the State of Michigan and needs all the help it can get. Perhaps Rep. Tlaib might want, someday to go home, but it will not be back to another country.

And finally AOC’s home country, the newly designated Trumphate of Bronx-Queens. If the WHO (no, not the World Health Organization, Bronx and Queens probably have their own Health Departments as Burroughs) could borrow enough from Deutsche Bank to buy up all the real estate and put in a couple of successful casinos he does not bankrupt, they might function independently as Sovereign. But Amazon isn’t so far allowed to create a sovereign currency, so I doubt the Trumphate can either. Meanwhile AOC is back where she came from.

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The Wheels on the Bus Go . . .

Dear Madam Secretary Devos,

Bless your Dutch Capitalist heart, the President has thrown you under the bus, countering your intention to defund Special Olympics. He is going to fund it because he cares for … no, he cares not a whit for developmentally disabled kids and adults. He cares only and always for his name and his BRAND. Your thoughtless decision to leave the Special Olympics out of your budget was very bad optics for Trump and his BRAND. So under the bus you go!

I cannot imagine that you were, in any way, surprised. He is simply following the business model of your pyramid sales scheme AmWay, that cared not a whit for all those franchise buyers. You readily threw them under the bus and came out of it criminally wealthy. Few have succeeded like you and your family since the days of Charlie Ponzi. You should have known to glance up to see what the guy at the next level above you was up to. As our Liar-in-Chief said, “My people” are going to fund Special Olympics. Guess you are no longer one of ‘my people.’

I’d say I’m sorry that you got flim-flammed but I cannot find it in me to have any pity for you and your kind. Whatever happens to diminish your reputation, all I can imagine is that ‘it couldn’t have happened to a better person.’

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Nixon Was A Petty Criminal

Yes, Tricky Dick was personally involved in a break-in to the opposition political party’s office. His Republican contemporaries persuaded him to resign as President of the USA, because his Petty Criminal involvement really amounted to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” bar of impeachment language.

Compared to Trump’s self-interested actions,  Trump’s daily lies, Trump’s continued alignment with Putin, Nixon was someone whose crime was the equivalent of spitting on the sidewalk or urinating in an alley.

Is it really a a violation of national security to have oral sex with an intern? OK, the cigar thing was more than an embarrassment, but no one really thought Clinton had violated the Nation by his sexual addictions and crude behavior.

But Trump?? Who can even begin to imagine that Trump is not guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors? ” Of course, Trump’s base does not think so. That surprises no one. Trump’s base is as base as is humanly possible.

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Only the most deluded believe this!

Both sides of Republican and Democratic legislators agree on an agreement that will keep the government open, and both have compromised to reach this agreement. Still though, our President, OK, your President, does not find such compromise acceptable.

What can one discern from this? Only that Trump is interested ONLY in his self-serving proposition. Of course, the Freedom Caucus does not agree with the compromise, that merely means that the compromise is what is in the best interest of the country. Mitch and Nancy KNOW what works in our country!

Only the most deluded agree with our Liar in Chief, Donald J. Trump!!

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