Trump Times Entry 39 – Rationalization

Rationalization

December 17, 2016meashomer2

Finally, thirty-nine days after the Republicans collaborated with the Russians to sway the election, Obama has joined the party. In his last press conference, the president lame-duck, publicly rationalized White House inactivity regarding Russian hack disclosure. “The information was out there,” Obama recited. He suggested that using the intelligence community alone to release the information was the right thing to do. He didn’t want the White House to get involved in the public discussion because of the election. In short, he again just wanted to play fair.

What an asshole. He’s so insecure; wants so much to be accepted by people who hate him that he couldn’t speak-up himself as the Russian’s were fixing the election. An actual president would have shouted this out at every opportunity. Press conference whenever any new detail was uncovered, leaks to the press matching up any Wiki leak would have been helpful.

The president further stated he held his tongue to prevent casting doubt on the integrity of the election. So, he didn’t publicly raise real issues about the integrity of the election because he didn’t want to cast doubt on the integrity of the election. At this point I can’t tell who’s talking – Obama or Trump.

He finished up the segment with an empty promise of retaliation. I doubt Putin is concerned – his boy Trump is taking over soon. Once that occurs, any sanctions (the likely retaliation) will be lifted. Obama would serve best by shutting up and gracefully fading into the historical obscurity he so richly deserves.

The rest of us have a real fight on our hands – cleaning up the mess Obama helped create. The republic will stand despite his weakness.

We shall heal our wounds, collect our dead and continue fighting. Mao Zedong
(Hell, if they can play with Putin, I can quote Mao.)

That’s all I got today. Take care of yourselves and each other,
osv

Trump Times Entry 38 – Obama Vows Retaliatory – blah, blah, blah

Warning: Bit of a Rant

December 16, 2016inthought2

Starting on this thirty-eighth day, to provide a richer more varied experience, the Trumps Times will feature Rant Fridays. While on most days I’ll try to offer thoughtfully considered observations and commentary, on Fridays I’m not even going to try. We all deserve the occasional rant; we’ve been listening to the alt-right-neo-human-doo-doo-heads rant for years. So, what the hell libtards, let’s rant.

This rant is counterintuitive in that it’s pointed inward. You may find it offensive – that’s why it’s called a rant…

Obama Vows Retaliatory – blah, blah, blah

Reading today’s headline, “Obama vows retaliatory action against Russia for election hacking” made me nearly as sick as reading the Trump cabinet list. Really? Our lame duck president, now at the bitter end of his tenure, announced his intent to retaliate? I’m no military genius, but I don’t think that’s how payback works. You don’t announce intentions to retaliate – you retaliate.

No, the public statement was purely political, just trying to play fair with the Russians – using words when actions are more appropriate.

But then what did I expect? Obama knew about the Russian hacking back before the election. He had confirmation from all the intelligence agencies. His, typically Obama, response was to quietly ask the Republicans permission to publicly address the issue. The Republicans, of course, said no. So, the Obama administration complied their wishes.

Hell, he didn’t even use the time-honored “leak it to the press” option. Instead, Obama allowed the Republicans to hold an advantage and was complicit in withholding relevant information from the public. But, least he didn’t appear partisan.

The desire to play fairly with opponents has been an overriding principle in the Obama administration. A principle that’s backfired again and again. Fair-play is great on the athletic field, but it’s just weakness in the political arena. The Republicans know it.

Frankly, I suspect electing Obama rather than Clinton in 2008 may have been a mistake on par with electing Trump in 2016. True, Barack did accomplish some important things, but his soft approach with the crazy conservatives allowed them to rebuild. His tolerance of their playground-insult tactics encouraged the fringe to flourish.

I suspect alt-bullying would have been less effective on a Clinton administration. Because she would have fought back – as dirty as necessary. After all, wasn’t dirty politics one of the objections to Hillary. From here dirty-fighting sounds like a skill we could have used over the last eight years.

But we elected the nice guy. He played fair. So, we lost.

The republic stands on the shoulders of those willing to do what’s necessary, regardless of how it looks.

That’s all I got today. Take care of yourselves and each other,
osv

Our angry little poem for today is called Passive Risk Aggressive

Passive Risk Aggressive

When your crappy insurance
stops paying
That’s when everyone
else starts

***

And now, a related video from a new series – Fantasy Press Conferences, Answers we should have heard.  The angry poem appears, briefly, in this video.

Birthers and the Kobayashi Maru

I work with a Chinese gentleman, Sam, who’s English is a little weak.  He speaks well enough to be generally understood, but the subtle nuance of our native tongue frustrates him.  He’s a good guy trying to understand America – a stranger in a strange land.

The other day Sam approached me, wrote a short word on the scratchpad I keep on my desk and asked me what it meant.  The word was ‘birther’.  As I blinked at the question he said he tried to look it up in the dictionary, but found nothing and when he Googled it the results didn’t make any sense.

I squirmed for a moment (I try to avoid politics at work) then offered, “The word is a noun; I guess a proper noun – the name of a thing.  You won’t always find proper nouns in the dictionary.  And this is a pretty new word, probably just a couple years old.  I think the Internet block here at work probably keeps any controversial sites from your search results.  So, looking on the Internet from here won’t tell you much.”

Since I hadn’t answered his question he just stared at me and pointed to the scratchpad – “Birther,” he repeated in a thick Chinese accent.  Sam doesn’t like it much when I dance around issues – so I stopped dancing.

“Birthers are a group of people who believe Barack Obama should not be president because, they think, he was not born in the United States,” I finally replied.

Sam stared at me for a long moment, and then looked at the scratchpad with his new English word.  Suddenly, he stood straight up and, in perfect English, said “Oh, racist,” then went back to his desk.

I don’t know why I was surprised by Sam’s translation.  After all, demanding the first African-American president to ‘show his papers’ does appear, well, racist.  But, I think there actually may be more to it than good, old fashion, KKK style hate.  I think there is a political strategy behind this juvenile game.  I believe the Republicans are attempting to offer the president (and anyone else they disagree with) a Kobayashi Maru.

For those who are not Star Trek nerds the Kobayashi Maru is an unwinnable scenario, a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.  In the fantasy of Star Trek is was used as a test of character; in our real world it is used by schoolyard bullies and Republicans to corner people and keep conversations off relevant topics.

Similar to the way a ten year old child bully might pin down an eight year old and, and while holding a hand full of dirt, asks, “Do you want to eat this or are you gay?”  the right wing adult bullies attempt to pin down the president and repeatedly ask, “Weren’t you really born in Kenya and didn’t you become president through a criminal conspiracy?”  In either case no answer is really expected.  In either case any answer is wrong.  In both cases the interrogative is actually declarative.  In case one, the child bully is really declaring the smaller weaker child gay (a child/idiot’s insult).  In case two, the political bully is really declaring the president a Kenyan criminal – without actually saying it.

While this technique, in our current context is racist, in a broader more general context it is childish and cowardly.  But cowardly childishness has become the currency of the American right wing, so there is no surprise.

It is of little wonder that when Donald “Comb-Over” Trump was confronted with the newly released Obama birth certificate, his immediate reaction was to demand to see the president’s high school  and college transcripts.  Donald has questions about whether the president should have been allowed into Harvard.  What a surprise!

And let’s not forget about Republican Colorado Governor Tom Tancredo suggesting that, “Obama withheld his birth certificate to make republicans look nuts.”  Wow, classic Kobayashi Maru – regardless of what Obama says, he’s wrong.

Well ladies and gentlemen of the Republican Party (and Tea Baggers too) I have a Kobayashi Maru question for you:

Are you all racists or just stupid?

(Don’t take offense, after all, its just a question.)

Buyer Beware

I just picked up my monthly supply of allergy meds.  For the last two years I have been handing seventy dollars over to Walgreens every month and they have provided prescription generic Allegra – 180 milligrams of antihistamine bliss.  The price seems high for generic, but what can one do?  Pay up or sneeze, wheeze and swell.

Imagine my surprise when, while standing in line to pay my monthly tribute to the Walgreens drug cartel, I noticed, way across the store, a display of brand name Allegra.  I reluctantly got out of line to see how much they were charging for the real stuff. Twenty-four dollars! How could that be – almost one third of my cost?

I grabbed a bottle and took it to the pharmacy and asked the guy behind the counter a few questions.

“Is there any difference between the generic you’ve been selling me and this stuff on display?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Then why should I buy the prescription generic you have for me?” I questioned.

“You shouldn’t,” he remarked.

“But, you would have sold me the generic for seventy dollars, when the same thing was available, brand name, for twenty four?”

“Yup,” he said – now smiling, “Buyer beware.”

No shit – buyer beware.

What a concept, what a notion – buyer beware.  One of basic truths here in the good old USA – the ultimate responsibility for a transaction is pushed to the buyer.  It’s okay for the vendor to do whatever it takes to make the sale.  It’s okay to sell shitty overpriced products.  Misrepresenting what is being sold is just a persuasion tactic.  After all, everyone’s got to make a living.

It’s really up to the customer to figure out what is medicine and what is snake-oil.   We have one hell of a system.

And you know, we don’t just buy physical things.  Ideas, philosophies and stories are among the less tangible things we buy.  But the notion still applies.

For instance, if a guy runs for public office – let’s say president of the USA.  That guy can try to sell a set of ideas like getting us out of two quagmire wars, closing down illegal detention centers like Guantanamo Bay and bringing long overdue change to national government.  And, perhaps, we will buy and elect that guy.

But, after years in office, if he has not ended the wars, if he has not closed down Guantanamo, if the only real change we see is the color of the guy in charge.  Well,  it’s just another case of buyer beware.

Yup, one hell of a system.

fgj