A CRYSTAL CLEAR AND STILL PRESENT DANGER

It’s been a long time. My next post will address that issue. For now…       

In 2016 I published a short eBook warning of the extreme, existential threat posed by the candidacy of Donald Trump. Below are a few excerpts:

“As a Pathological Narcissist Donald Trump Is the Mushroom Cloud Candidate

“If you burn this book, read this chapter before you do…

“When asked by Chris Matthews and others how he could possibly consider using nuclear weapons in the Middle East and even in Europe, Trump replied several times with the same question: “Then why do we make them?”

“I’m sorry, but that answer alone disqualifies him from even a candidacy for President.

“Our only hope, the only hope for the world, is diplomacy, peace, and the mass destruction of all weapons of mass destruction.

“Every President since we created these abominations has worked to rid the world of them. Hillary has worked hard on this incredibly difficult issue with some success. Donald Trump doesn’t seem particularly poised to continue the work…

 “It is indescribably wrong that any human being should have uninterrupted access to a duffle bag which he or she has the absolute power to use to annihilate every living creature on the planet. 

“But imagine a narcissistic psychopath with this power. Imagine a man who admires another narcissistic psychopath with an equivalent nuclear arsenal who inevitably will, mutual admiration aside, challenge his alpha dog status.

“Imagine a man who can not brook criticism or challenge, who must win EVERY contest, who holds the position that more countries need nuclear weapons, who can imagine a scenario in which he would use nuclear weapons in Europe, who admires not only Putin but Mussolini and Saddam Hussein, who has shown arguably criminal instability through the primary and now general election campaigns, being followed by an aid who is bound by law and “honor” to hand the most dangerous person we have ever considered for President this bag at his whim.

“…Hillary said it best: “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.”

“If there is no other reason to put everything else aside and get out and vote, this is infinitely more than enough.”

“The Doomsday Clock currently reads three minutes to midnight. Under a President Trump, there is a terrifyingly dangerous chance that it will toll.”

Now, I’m not going to call myself Nostradamus, but I think, while Trump was still a candidate for President, I hit the nail on the head.

In a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, unavoidably entitled Peril, the authors paint a vivid picture of Mark Milley and others communicating and acting on a number of occasions in perhaps unprecedented ways to protect the world against not only random conventional war, but even potential nuclear holocaust.

The book makes it clear that many of the best and brightest in our military and government were frightened to death that we might be on the brink of a nuclear war. In fact, at one point Milley convened one of the most terrifying national security (read, world security) meetings in American history in which he laid out his protocols for a nuclear strike. The constitutionality of his orders are in question, but the need for them was without question. After laying out the orders he individually confronted every person in the room and asked each of them, to their face, “Got it?”

Their reply was not simply expected; it was demanded: “Yes, sir.”

Woodward and Costa write, “Milley considered it an oath.”

At the time, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Milley agreed with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that Trump was “crazy.”

In light of these revelations, a September 16 panel assembled on Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace which included retired General Barry McCaffrey discussed the current protocols for authorizing a nuclear strike. All agreed that Trump had been (and still is) completely out of control. They discussed the danger that he had posed while he was President and would pose were he to be reelected. Especially given the character of some of the current Republican wannabes, they also considered the possibility that in the future another psychopath could be elected President. They were unanimous in their conclusion that the nuclear launch protocols need to be reexamined.

General McCaffrey expressed his belief that, particularly in light of what we have seen from Trump, no President should have the absolute power, perhaps except in extreme cases, to order a nuclear strike.

“Nuclear weapons are a horrific tool, and they need to be more carefully controlled,” he stated.

This puppy would posit that a good first step in controlling the rogue use of nuclear weapons by a U.S. President might be to elect one who is not a criminally insane, pathologically narcissistic psychopath.

Or maybe not. Maybe we should just burn the world down. I don’t know. I’m just a puzzled puppy.

BY DEFINITION, CHAOS

In the not-too-distant past, people like Tucker Carlson, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and the Republican party in general were in the habit of using disingenuous rhetoric to cover their prevarications. They assumed that there wasn’t a critical mass of their audience stupid enough to swallow their lies straight up.

These days, they just open their mouths and vomit, because they know that their supporters will bend over and lick up whatever splashes onto the floor.

It took me a long time to actually accept this. I thought that there simply couldn’t be that many stupid people in the world. But the other day, the Boss was talking to someone we both know very well, an educated, intelligent individual who, in simpler times, was perceived as relatively sane and sensible.

After the conversation the Boss hung up the phone and just sat back in the chair shaking his head. Since the phone had been on speaker, I had heard the conversation. My muzzle was on the floor between my front paws.

“That’s the last time,” he said. “I can’t do it anymore. It’s just gotten worse and worse. It’s like he’s living on another planet. No. More than that – another dimension, where all the laws of space and time and nature and physics and reality are different. We’re both using English words, but his dictionary doesn’t match any of the ones on my shelf.”

“He says he’s entitled to his own opinion, but I told him not to his own facts. But he can’t see the difference anymore.”

“Where does he get his information?” I asked.

“He said he doesn’t watch Fox. He said he reads The Atlantic and the New York Times and so on. Of course he doesn’t. Last I knew, none of the publications he listed were associated with the Brothers Grimm. He even lies about where he gets his information.”

I understood what the Boss was saying. Once you accept the Big Lie and cast your lot with the Father of Lies, you’re all in. You don’t think anymore. You just open your mouth and vomit. You don’t notice the mess on the floor and it doesn’t smell bad to you. You don’t even see it or pay attention to it. You just keep saying what you think will work for you for the current nanosecond.

So I have finally come to the following depressing conclusion:

The civil war that is raging in this country right now isn’t about points of view or competing ideas. It’s about objective truth. It’s about reality. This war is metaphysical. It’s epistemological. And it’s existential. And we may have lost it already.

I don’t know. I’m just a puzzled puppy.

IN DEFENSE OF THE NEANDERTHALS

Recently, without naming names, President Biden referred to Greg Abbott, Tate Reeves, and other depraved and despicable Republicans as “Neanderthals.” On behalf of the Neanderthals, I object.

One can imagine a band of Neanderthals arguing or even fighting with another band over territory or resources. One can even imaging members of the same clan arguing or fighting over petty grievances or pecking orders within their own band.

What one would have trouble imagining is a band living in an area where food is available through hunting and gathering in sufficient quantities to feed all, but at the end of each day one member of the clan gorges himself on most of the food, sharing a few meaty bones with a handful of the most powerful men in the tribe while most of the others sit watching, wide-eyed with hunger, while the privileged eat. After the meal, instead of sharing what is left, the primate plutocrat hoards for himself what he has not eaten, putting aside a few bones to pay off his enforcers.

This italicized paragraph is a pitch perfect metaphor for the current political scheme that defines the agenda of the Republican party at all levels of our government, particularly the federal.

Exhibit One, enough to open and close this case beyond any reasonable doubt: The recent debate over the Covid relief package soon to be signed into law.

The following are the things the Democrats want for their fellow Americans but which the Republicans, in lock step, oppose:       

  • Assistance for people now unemployed through no fault of their own.
  • Aid to states and municipalities for essential services provided by police, firefighters, nurses, doctors, and so on, services which have been put at severe risk due to the pandemic.
  • Funds to help schools reopen safely.
  • Food for men, women, and children.
  • Places for people to live so that they will not become literally homeless, living in cars, in abandoned buildings, or on street corners.
  • After the Republicans previously strong-armed Congress into providing hundreds of billions of dollars of tax relief for the richest and least taxed among us, now, finally, the Democrats are legislating more reasonable tax credits for the low income families of America.
  • Help for parents who need but can’t afford child care services.
  • Help for people who can’t afford health care in the time of a pandemic.
  • Assistance for small businesses which are going bankrupt at record rates.
  • Funds to test, trace, and vaccinate our population before another 500,000 of our fellow Americans die.
  • Help for hospitals.
  • Cutting child poverty in half

For some reason, the Republicans aren’t interested in any of this.

Food for starving people? Nah.

Health care for sick people? Nah.

Giving doctors and nurses and hospitals the tools they need to defeat the pandemic? Nah.

Getting our children safely back to school? Nah.

Cutting child poverty in half? Nah.

This little puppy has seen some pretty bad things in the world out there, but somehow this particular poop pile seems almost impossible to believe, to accept. I am stunned by the greed, the selfishness, the heedlessness, and the cruelty. I have come to the only conclusion possible. These people just don’t give a shit.

The Republicans just want to take this and any other good things the Democrats try to do away from them so that President Biden and his party don’t succeed. It is the same thing that they were laser focused on during the Obama administration. In the meantime, the country they have pledged to preserve and defend and all of its people be damned.

For example, economists are now predicting, due to the Covid relief package, vaccine rollouts, etc., extremely strong economic growth for 2021. The Republicans do not want to see this. This alone explains much of their opposition to the bill. Once again McConnell and his co-conspirators are actively working to make America fail and to cause its people to suffer in order to prevent Democrats from getting any credit for anything.

It’s as simple as that. Believe what you see. If what’s stopping traffic in the road is an animal with a hard shell, a wrinkled neck, and an ugly head and it looks like a turtle, it’s a turtle. (And maybe its name is Mitch.)

Today, now, the feculent greed of the Republicans and their gluttonous donors is what controls every aspect of the federal government that cannot be clawed back for the people by the Democrats, most of whom are mindful of and on board with the oaths that they have taken.

There is no equivalency between the two parties anymore. One stands for decency, democracy, compassion, and the rule of law while the other actively promotes cruelty, authoritarianism, and greed.

We must live at the ballot box and in the ranks of the resistance for as long as it takes to create a nation that actively demonstrates a commitment to justice for all.

Or maybe we should just feed the greed. I don’t know. I’m just a puzzled puppy.