16
Feb 17

We’re stuck with Trump UNLESS…

“High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.”

But…nothing will come of this because Republicans in Congress are closing ranks around Trump, they’re defending him, they’re saying he didn’t know, they’re saying it was really nothing and so on. So Congress will do nothing real about it, whatever congressional Democrats may want. How about the Justice Department? Run by Jeff Sessions. Trump’s man. He will not investigate this connection to treason. The news will be spun, managed, inverted, or just ignored amongst Trump followers. So what will be done about it?

Probably nothing. The GOP’s handlers are happy with Donald J Trump. President Absurdity is giving corporate power and evangelicals and the gun lobby and the 1% everything they want. They are not going to impeach Santa Claus.

The only hope is to change Congress in the next Congressional election. Which will require more voter registration and voter empowerment and voter enthusiasm than has ever been seen before, in order to counteract voter suppression.


03
Feb 17

You Say You Find Yourself in an “Alternate Universe”?

It’s a fact that some physicists are investigating the idea of alternate time-lines, multiple universes, and so on, and doubtless are quietly experimenting with penetrating these cosmic options. Clearly some experiment somewhere nudged us into an alternate universe where Trump is President. The Absurdity becoming President of the USA–quite impossible in the universe I lived in last summer. (Could the scientist have been…Russian?)

I would like to offer myself and my family to be part of the crew, in the experiment that sends a group of people back into their proper, original universe. Me and my family volunteer to go. These boffins, as the British call scientists, have bungled, and they owe it to us. I call dibs, I was first to volunteer. Send me back to the real world. This one is the offspring of a perverse imagination. I reject it.


29
Jan 17

The Only Way to Get Rid of Trump Before Next Election

There are only two ways to get Trump out of the White House before the next election. (Only two ways I would advocate.) *One* is of course impeachment, which sadly won’t work unless we can overwhelmingly change congress in the next election and that’s unlikely. *Two* is a real possibility: He’s found to have broken an important law in an egregious fashion, something that can be definitively proven (claims of treason etc, are hard to prove in court; claims of fraud re the university, easy for him to wriggle out of). For example, it might be proven he literally raped a young girl–he has been accused of it by someone who was too frightened to pursue her lawsuit–or, perhaps we could prove in court he’s engaged in a serious malfeasance forbidden by the espionage act…Or he could be clearly proven to be guilty another major crime. It must be something definitively provable and clear-cut…

If you can expose that degree of evidence-supported criminality, and indict him (it’s hard to convict a sitting president but he can be indicted) then you can force Trump into resigning in return for a pardon; think of Richard Nixon. This threatens impeachment but would be a way of avoiding the actual long and doubtful process of impeachment…President Absurdity knows this and it’s why he’s rushing to replace the head of the CIA, so he can end their investigation of his pre-election relationship with Russia. However, he will of course set up his own version of the Department of Justice, which–unless he accidentally appoints someone with a conscience–will undermine any prosecution of him.

If you succeed, then you’ve got Pence. But I doubt Pence would be elected for the following term.


27
Jan 17

Voter Fraud Fantasy: Not just Trump’s Vanity…Also: CIA Appointee

Why Trump is harping on investigating voter fraud though he knows the claim of widespread voter fraud is a falsehood: it’s not just his vanity, it’s actually because his handlers, and the GOP far-right hardcore, are prepping to make national laws of the kind we’ve seen on a local level, making it harder for minorities and young people to vote, and easier to control the vote count. They are thinking ahead to congressional elections and the next Presidential election.

Why the Trump administration and Republicans are trying to rush through a new CIA appointee: because they want to stop the ongoing CIA investigation of links between Russia and Trump.


21
Jan 17

Will My Faith in America Return?

I used to have faith in America, as a whole. I too believed in the long arc of justice, of the trend in history toward general betterment, toward a functional liberality–a kind of orthogenesis of history, in a sense (orthogenesis: a theory that evolution follows a particular direction and is not merely sporadic and fortuitous.)

Faith in America fled from me on November 8, 2016. Even considering the usual poor voter turnout, gerrymandering and voter suppression, it should not have been possible for Trump to be elected. I believe that several factors weakened America, to the extent that the electorate now cannot be trusted; one important factor was the death of newspapers and decent TV news, the corrosion of real reportage; another was the acceptance of the dark side of the internet, eg fake news and twitchy superficiality: “I get my news from social media”; essentially, a succumbing to a mental laziness slopping like an endless mudslide down over the most simple capacity to parse real from unreal information. And a deciding factor was the opportunistic manipulation of that informational collapse by Trump, his crypto-racist alt-right following–and by Ayn-Rand-stupefied rightists.

I suppose some decent working class people voted for Trump because (they said) at least he was some kind of clear-cut change, and they hoped he was going to get them out of their economic doldrums and back into the American dream.

But what’s the left’s excuse for not voting *against* Trump? Many on the left, both Sanders hardcore and Stein voters, succumbed, in their stubborn, kneejerk emotionality, to a massive disinformation campaign launched against Hillary Clinton–a campaign originating, ironically, with right wing propaganda. They seemed to unconsciously desire a Trump victory, perhaps blindly hoping he would bring down the system by exposing its greed and criminality; or it may be that they simply hoped a Trump election would punish liberals who supported Obama, and who were willing to support Hillary Clinton. Unconsciously, it may well be that voting for Stein was a passive-aggressive punishing of those “not left enough”.

What condemns supporters of the unelectable Jill Stein most, to me, is that *they KNEW that Stein could not win.* Oh yes they definitely knew! But making a point, scoring us off, was worth anything Trump might do as President! It was worth risking a far more extreme climate change disaster; it was worth the early deaths of tens of thousands that will likely come over time after he signs the bill effectively repealing the ACA (“Obamacare”); it was worth the destruction of wild animal habitat that will increase the rate of extinction; it was worth the inexorable smothering of women’s rights, and gay rights; it was worth the multigenerational damage–and increasing corporatocracy–that will result from his appointment of radical-right Supreme Court Justices; it was worth the end of public schools; it was worth the end of environmental regulations; it was worth the severe weakening (at least) of Medicare and Social Security; it was worth permitting a racist, neo-fascist axis linking congress and the White House that will continue gerrymandering and restrict access to voting; it was worth the egregious diminishing of respect for America when illiterate, sexual harassing, Russian-puppet President Pussy Grabber takes over; it was worth a return to the use of torture; it was even worth risking World War III since Trump has asked why we can’t use nuclear weapons.

It was all worth it–because it gave them a nice warm bath of smug self righteousness to wallow in for a time. It gave them nothing else–it did not establish a meaningful precedent; it did not help the Green Party. Really, it just felt good, deliciously good, to punish those who disagreed with them.

Perhaps my faith in America will return in a few years. But I doubt it.


21
Jan 17

Transformative Meteorology

14 inches of snow fell on this little suburb in Vancouver Washington…When we lost power during the snowstorm, I went outside–whole area was blacked out entirely. But there was a suffused glow, kind of very soft purple, on everything, lighting the low clouds and houses. No shadows. Ambient light is there, faintly, all the time–except maybe in a deep cavern. It’s partly from “Airglow (also called nightglow) … a faint emission of light by a planetary atmosphere”–it shows up when there’s a great deal of snow over everything, the snow reflecting it back…It’s subtle, beautiful, but eerie.

You’ve probably noticed that when snow is falling, if you pick out a snowflake and try to follow it down, it seems to slow a little, because of the way you’re perceiving it, and then suddenly you see the general fall of snow more three-dimensionally. If you do it over and over, it makes time seem to lightly put on the brakes. At a time like that you may notice that each snowflake, in a lighted place, has a shadow. If you look at snow in the light, up close it seems iridescent; that’s from light going through billions of little prisms in ice crystals.

The sky was turquoise today, cloudless, sunny. I hired a scruffy but likable local kid–maybe 19–to clear the thick snow out of the driveway. After he did it I walked down the sloped driveway, and suddenly imitated a bumbler in an old comedy slipping on a banana. I went over backwards, and landed flat on my back. After I sat up, I saw there was a very attenuated, hard to see slick of ice remaining on the concrete. The snow had been melting, hiding its melt at the bottom. (My back is a bit achy but okay.) The snow coating the trees was melting at the top and that would start a cascade, more and more all the way to the bottom and there’d be a thin avalanche of snow under the trees, one every thirty seconds or so, up and down the street.

Snow has weight, as avalanche victims know; it’s quite amazing how heavy an accumulation of mere snowflakes can be: our magnolia tree collapsed. Fell over…The front yard tree I’d hung ornaments from for Christmas…


16
Jan 17

“YOU CAUSED THAT MAYHEM!”

Someone hand-wrote commentary all through a 3 day old newspaper I was looking at in a waiting room. The handwriting and certain hints make me picture an older lady, but one can’t know for sure. On an article about a woman who stabbed someone outside a bar, the commentator wrote “WHAT A CRAZY BITCH” with an arrow pointing to the picture of the accused. On an article about killer Dylan Roof was written: “EXECUTE THIS SCUM NOW” with a big arrow pointing at his picture; over an article about the Death Penalty in Washington state: “BRING ON THE DEATH PENALTY NOW AND START EXECUTING!” Over an article about Amazon plans to hire 100,000: “& ALL THE SHOPPING MALLS CLOSE THEN WHAT”. Over an article about a crazy guy who stabbed several people in his home: “& YOU CAN ROT IN JAIL” with an arrow pointing to his picture; over an article about a crazy lady who was fighting with sheriff’s deputies: “YOU BITCH ROT IN JAIL OR…WHEREVER! YOU CAUSED THAT MAYHEM!” Again, the helpful arrow. Over an article about a man accused of vehicular assault: “THIS SOB IS AT FAULT AND CAN ROT IN PRISON” with a helpful arrow pointing to a circled paragraph over which was: “GUILTY!” All the articles about violence were circled, along with a piece saying cigarette smoking costs the world one trillion annually (which makes mad at the cigarette companies too)…Amusing extremes, crazy person calling people crazy…and yet…

As I went on looking for these impromptu newspaper cliff notes, I started to find things like this: over a picture of Jeff Sessions the words “PISS ON HIM, RACIST LIAR”; and stuff about Trump “MAKE TRUMP PAY FOR THAT WALL” and on an article about the Wells Fargo scandal: “THEY SUCK”…and I started thinking, hey this lady, agrees with ME, she isn’t so crazy after all…And as far as I’m concerned they can execute Dylan Roof right away…

Anyway, perhaps what she’s doing is healthier than bringing YOU BITCH ROT IN HELL to social media…


06
Jan 17

Is the Internet an Engine of Information–or Destruction?

I’ve been inwardly debating, as many likely have since the election, as to whether the internet is a “win” for the world; whether it’s more positive than negative. What’s the net of the internet? What’s the ultimate sum of its value? Yes, I can think of many, many positives. For me, a great one is its value to science as an information sharing tool; its instantaneity helps spread scientific data, ideas, so that research is rocketing ahead. This is enormously helpful to medicine, of course–it will accelerate the arrival of treatments and cures. It’s hugely useful in all the sciences. . .Then there’s its social value. The Web helped Obama get elected President and yes that was a *good* thing–no President is ideal for everyone (if any President ever seems that they are, stop taking the government issued Soma). It’s useful in quickly exposing corruption; it’s useful on the street level for organizing resistance to oppression….The internet is useful to artists, to writers, at times. It’s useful to business. It’s useful to isolated people who need help, or just contact.

But the negatives are *powerful*. If anything, lies spread more easily than truths–since lies appeal to something in a way that is as primeval as internet porn’s appeal. Internet media is designed–almost instinctively, perhaps unconsciously–to exploit the set up of the human brain. Our reward wiring, our hormones. Fake news is more exciting, usually, than the contextual complexity of real news…People who are frustrated, scared, find it pleasurable to engage in the release of simple explanations, the outre but exciting explanations of conspiracy theory…or racism. Racist imagery can be addictive, for those people. It provides the embattled a reinforcement that stimulates internal pleasure, a pleasure released by the illusion of belonging. The internet can provide that over and over and over. It’s free drugs. The internet was supposed to bring us together; it seems to bring at least as much divisiveness as unity. Human beings are what they are– in any medium. Do not underestimate the bestiality and malleability of the human mind.

The internet has evolved (or devolved) into a mind control tool. And since social media itself massages our narcissism, social media is addictive–it can be good but one needs self control to indulge in it–and in order to avoid the hard work of going back to my novel, I’m spending too much time online. So…later on.


16
Dec 16

I have Laid a Cloak Over Your World

I have Laid a Cloak Over Your World

It snowed here, in southern Washington state, and I took this iphone pic of a small tree in our yard–of course it does not convey what a good camera, a good photographer would convey, the traceries of snow on the tree that bring its branchings into relief, that accentuate them. Undistinguished shrubs are wearing ermine, suddenly looking royal and distinctive. I’ve lived most of the last 30 years in California, and when I was a boy in Oregon it rarely snowed…The snow comes down in slanted whorls here…

The psychological effect on those of us raised with Christmas card imagery, the illusory cleansing effect, sets off an inward reverberation of cultural imprinting. Not unpleasant. Even without Christmas cards and Christmas movies, the transformation of the surface of the world, (usually without much damage, if any) impresses people. “Look!” Something says. “I have laid a cloak over your world, so that you feel mine.”


13
Dec 16

I Saw a Shoplifter Today Oh Boy

When I was in the Fred Meyer supermarket today, a big supermarket like Safeway, I saw a lady shoplifting. She was a middle aged black lady, and she had a shopping cart, a purse, and a big cloth bag of the sort people use when they don’t want to use the plastic or paper bags. But she was filling it up in the aisle with groceries,like instant noodles with cheese, and when she saw me turn the corner to enter the aisle she was in, she looked at me in something close to terror. The look on her face told me she was stealing.

I kept going, past her, and around the corner, but kept an eye on the area. I saw that she’d picked an aisle that was relatively near the exit. There was a path there that didn’t go through the cashier area, that skirted the customer service area. Only a couple people in the store *might* have seen her leaving–but they’d have seen the sort of bag that people use, for environmental reasons, as an alternative, and if they hadn’t watched her closely they’d have assumed she’d come from a cashier. I watched and saw her slip out the exit with the goods.

Of course I did not snitch on her. She might have children or grandchildren, or a sick husband, or, for that matter, herself, to feed. She didn’t seem like a shoplifter who was cheaping out, avoiding responsibility, who did it a lot–it was her look of near-terror, when I glanced at her, stuffing her bag, that told me that this was unusual, unpracticed, thus probably necessary.

I was interested mostly in her planning, her thoughtful logistics, her determination despite her fear. She may turn up in a short story sometime.