Posts tagged ‘chaos’

Attention Deficit Disorder

Okay, I get it that I am almost 72 and may be behind the times, but sometimes there may just be a grain of wisdom in age.  This blog is about Trump and our fixation on him, but it starts with kids and mobile devices.  Let’s face it, everywhere you go kids (anyone under 35) have their noses stuck in their mobile device and it is not just them.

Texting while driving goes on continuously.  Just watch some erratic driver on the freeway and then pass them to get safely away and as you pass you see them holding their phone.  Walk down a city street and dodge all the people focused on their phone instead of where they are going.  Hell, who can shop at the grocery store without running into people with a phone glued to their ear. Being in the moment does not exist. Incessant video games, addicted to the ding announcing a new email, and movies that are one giant adrenaline rush (fight/crash/chase/flying etc.) where dialogue died.  Or said another way, have we hook ourselves on constant stimulation where the last rush has to be topped by the next one?

Enter the age of President DFF. First, just the act of electing him was a leap off a cliff.  There was no surprise that he is ignorant, racist, nativist, and xenophobic during the campaign.  But there was a justified unrest in the country, but it did not justify leaping off a cliff.  There were difficult problems and the choices were not good (except for Bernie), but we leapt anyway.  Chaos ensured as predicted.  Now some tried (and some are still trying) to claim this is shrewd calculated chaos, but we know the man is deranged.  This is just chaos for chaos’s sake.

We are now bombarded with bombastic tweets at about the twelve-year-old level.  Diplomacy by tweeting.  We have to see and hear him every day.  It is like a three-ring circus with his craziness, the investigation into his affairs, and Republicans trying to normalize this.  There are so many balls in the air, it is dizzying.

Insult Pakistan, North Korea, and try to tear down the one thing that is keeping Iran from getting nukes.  Withdraw from the world stage and let the Chinese run the Pacific Rim.  Appoint heads of major Departments who are dismantling government as we know it.  Pack the courts with Right wing ideologues.  Push a Tax Cut that will bankrupt the country, decimate agencies by pushing out the professionals, and play nice-nice with dictators.  Lie continually and no one cares.

And now we have the Bannon-Trump food fight at again the level of 12-year-olds.  No wait!  I defame 12-year-olds.  The Wolfe book raises an interesting prospect that Trump is suffering from dementia.  It is feeding the 24-7 news cycle like throwing chum into a school of sharks.  And maybe we are getting addicted to it.  Maybe we need the constant stimulation and soap opera.  Ever notice the soap operas that occur in the work place are usually created because the work is so hum-drum?

What happens if we return to sanity? Let’s just say for a moment that we actually had a sane president.  I remember one just before this one, but many Americans were frothing with hate because he was black.  So let’s just say, and no offense women, but those frothing at Obama also froth at women, we get a nice rational white guy who starts to really solve our problems.  And assume we get rid of the crazies in Congress (Republicans). The news would have nothing to discuss but actual policy.  Snore.  Where is the fire?  Where is the over heated rhetoric we are all used to?  Where are the outrageous claims.  Well, we will still have Fox News, but what are they going to do for 24/7, focus on car chases, close up shots of crash scenes? If it bleeds, it leads?

That’s my fear.  We are becoming so addicted to constant stimulation that the next person running for president should also be able to juggle four chain saws while he tweets.  Is that the new normal?  Think about it.

Afterword:  If you think this is far fetched, think about how the mainstream press covered the Donald 24/7 because he was so entertaining, failing to fact check him and normalizing him.  When he was elected, for a short moment they understood their culpability, but then quickly move along to the next 3-alarm fire.  Think about how we got into the Iraq war as again the mainstream press was chasing the sensational news about WMD being feed to them by Darth Vader, oh, I mean Dick Cheney, failing again to really fact check this stuff, and how many dead later.  Fact checking is boring.

Chaos and Incompetence

Putting lipstick on the pig won’t help and I believe the media has finally figured out these are not normal times.  On display for over 77 minutes was an arrogant, ignorant, and classless man who spouted self-centered nonsense.  “I inherited a mess”.  Actually only one of your own making, and comparing it to what Obama inherited in 2009 this looks like a tea party.  “The leaks are true and the news is fake.” Simply makes no sense.  If the leaks are true then so is news about them.  “This administration is running like a fine tuned machine.”  Really?  Chaos from the get go on the travel ban, ICE becoming the Gestapo of America, your National Security Advisor lying to the FBI and being fired, your campaign being investigated for Russian ties, and your new choice for National Security Advisor saying no thank you?

He attacked reporters asking hard questions that needed to be answered, lied about a meeting with Representative Elijah Cummings, called the minority leader in the Senate a light weight, and asked a black reporter if she could schedule a meeting with the Black Caucus, you know, all black people know each other, and generally made a fool of himself with a version of reality that could best be described as fantasy land.  Oh, and he can’t get things done because he can’t get the nitwits and absolute jokes he nominated for Cabinet positions confirmed because the Democrats want to expose their incompetence.  Had he nominate competent reliable Republicans instead of this horror show, he would probably have a Cabinet by now.

So we are getting what Red States and Middle America wanted with a “business man” running the country and you have just tasted a slice so far.  Oh, and on that cutting regulations thing, he is removing regulations that kept coal companies from polluting rivers and streams and is allowing those deemed mentally handicapped by the Social Security administration access to guns.  Oh how business will thrive!  Ignorance is bliss as they say, and I wonder if the rubes that voted for Cheeto-Head are still in bliss.  I wonder how long until they actually recognize their mistake.  The most amazing thing is the blame game.  Obama and the Democrats are the problem!  Except they are long gone and have no power.  No you have to face reality and you cannot make up alternate facts because you are now in charge and the world doesn’t actually work on alternate facts.  Enjoy your choice.

Meanwhile in House Republican Land, there was Paul Ryan giving the world the Econ 101 lecture on how if health insurance were just let loose to operate in the free market, costs would go down and the market place would solve all problems.  It is laughable.  There is no such thing as a free market, Americans don’t make choices on medical care costs on a rational basis, and studies have shown that when people have to pay more for their care (high deductibles), they under treat themselves, and when they really get sick, the costs soar.  The market place does not work for older people who are all pre-existing conditions.  But Red America, keep buying this pabulum. Soon the only healthy people will be the rich ones which is what the Republicans want anyway.  The Darwin effect will cancel out all the rubes.

Meanwhile in Red America the rubes loved it and are shouting, “More snake oil! Yeah, You the man!”  Well just another week in Republican controlled America where things are running like a fine tuned machine.

Chaos

Do you feel like a ricocheting bullet? How about a squash ball bouncing off different walls?  In a moving car careening from side to side of the highway?  That is how I feel watching the news coverage of Donald Trump’s machinations.  Today I read where he had fired from the transition team the son of his security advisor for pushing the Fake news story about Hillary and child trafficking.  Does that mean he will now fire Bannon?  Wait, cancel the orders of Air Force 1 because it costs too much!  Compared to what?  What goes into Air Force 1 that goes into no other airplane?  Maybe it cost too much and maybe it doesn’t but shooting from the hip will cause ricochets.

Now he is meeting with Al Gore.  What that tells you is we have an extremely ignorant man who needs badly to get educated on so many issues, and if he does, and it takes like his reading of fake news, what then?  Then he nominates Ben Carson, the Pyramids were gain silo’s and you learn how to be a homosexual in prison, as the Secretary of Health and Human Sources.  The blind leading the blind.  Then he is going to tack tariffs on anyone who is going to take jobs overseas and his own Republicans revolt.  Just as an aside, I wonder if that kind of policy would cost more jobs because corporations just might relocate overseas, or expedite automation that reduces workers.

Oh, it gets better.  He saves 800 jobs at Carrier, but does not mention the 1200 that were not saved.  If you lost more than half your men in a battle and on top of it you paid a $7m ransom to fight the fight, would you consider that a win. No guarantee that next year they won’t be gone or replaced by automation.  Oh, and he is going to lower corporate taxes to make sure they stay home, except the big boys already pay nothing and for those who do, who makes up the short fall in tax revenue.  Oh, I know, supply side economics will make up the difference just like it always has.

Wait! Wait! Wait!  Japan is investing in America and is going to create jobs.  Hmm.  The deal maker has made a deal, but we know no details and we do know most of the money comes from Saudi Arabia, our best buds when it comes to human rights.  Oh, and would that be foreigners buying America?  Meanwhile he is going to save the coal industry, but loves wind power/solar?  Huh?  Oh, and the coal industry lost jobs mainly through automation, and coal is no longer cost effective.

Oh those damn facts.  They just get in the way of all the nonsense.  Take repealing Obamacare.  Yeah get rid of that thing, except don’t get rid of all the good stuff (that we never admitted was good) and we have no idea how to keep it and pay for it.  And I am not even going to get into the conflicts of interest on he and his family, but isn’t nice now that we don’t have just a President, but a royal family. But wait!  He is a businessman and he will run government like a business!  Oh be careful what you wish for!

Think about that business thing for a minute.  Business has been shipping jobs overseas because they only care about their bottom line, not the people who work for them.  Okay, this is going to be hard now, but try to transfer that knowledge to government which is supposed to be about the people.  If Medicare costs money, how can we offload that, oh, and don’t forget Social Security, on the private sector?  If we turn this country and most of the goods and services that government provides over to the profit motive, just remember, profit is more important that people.  We will quite literally become the country for the rich.  The French monarchy will have nothing on us, except they finally beheaded the monarchy.  Well that would be fun.

So turn off the news, it is ping-pong derby day, where once again they try to pretend all this is normal when the country is going the drain.  How oh how did we get here?

Republicans Really do Hate Democracy

Well apparently in Texas if you have a religious objection, you don’t have to follow the law.  Do you get that this is insurrection against the power and authority of the federal government and our Constitution?  Get out your Confederate flag because that is exactly what it symbolized before when it was brought out to fight integration. We have an implied contract in America defined by our Constitution, which says majority rules and we will follow the majorities dictates unless the judicary through judicial review, strikes down that law as not being Constitutional.  We all agree to adhere to the system. It is the implicit contract of democracy. But not in Texas and not in other states that are pushing “religious freedom” laws.

Look, what if the President decided that according to the Pope he had a moral obligation to save the planet and decided to tell the EPA to ignore the courts ruling on his ability to regulate coal plants?  What if a white supremist whose religion tells him interracial marriages are wrong, refuses to honor their marriage as part of his government function?  The rule of law would be subject to religious law and our government would cease to exist. And of course chaos would result because whose religious beliefs trumps whose?

But conservatives did not get their way in the Supreme Court.  So they reject the Supreme Court’s authority.  Interesting that they do not object to say the Citizens United or Hobby-Lobby decision, but then the court has no authority only if it disagrees with them.  It is amazing that those who supposedly so revere our Constitution and freedom could so dishonor it by not recognizing their responsibilities in a democracy.  Or maybe they don’t honor it at all and their definition of freedom is the freedom to force their will on the rest of us.  Democracy is fine as long as you all vote the way I want you to.

Think about voter suppression laws aimed not at securing the vote from voter fraud (because it basically doesn’t exist), but disenfranchising  people who generally would vote against them.  Think about the use of the filibuster in the first six years of the Obama Administration (most ever used) to block any action by a duly elected Democratic executive and legislature.  Think about the House reverting to the Republican control and then their refusual to consider bills that would pass if voted on.  The base of Republican party is not interested in democracy.  They are interested only in their own policies and losing is not an option.  Compromise is not an option.  If we haven’t learned that lesson by now, well sadly we will never learn it.

We are entering a time when the Ted Cruzes and Mike Huckabees of the world lie about religious freedom (your minister will be forced to perform wedding ceremonies) or knowingly misrepresent polices (death panels) to ralley their ignorant base.  Bobby Jindal tells us this is the darkest day in our history (legalization of gay marriage). Scott Walker says there should be a Constitutional Amendment of gay marriage. How can that happen if 36 states have already approved it? Ted Cruz tells us America doesn’t except this (only his evangelical base doesn’t accept it). It must be okay to lie because it is for a righteous cause.  It is no coincidence that these new Republican clowns (the presidental candidates) are Christian with a capital C.  They want to use government to force the rest of us to abide by their religious beliefs, whether it is abortion, contraception, or gay rights.  

But the worse thing of all is that their faith-based way of thinking denies logic and reason.  Climate change in their minds does not exist while reality is all around them. It would upset the status quo and change who are the winners and losers in the economy. They believe in an economic philosophy that continues to transfer money and power to the few, because they don’t believe the many should have a voice and don’t deserve a fair share because they are lazy.  They are the “others” who have proved by their poorness that they are undeserving.  Never forget Romney’s 47% comment.  It was a rare moment or real honesty.

I don’t know how much evidence we need to recognize the obvious.  The Republicans have become what they pretend to hate.  They want to take back their government so they can force their failed ideas down our throats using government as a tool of oppression.  No the government is not coming to take your guns, just your right to choose freely in open elections, or whether to carry a child, or who you can marry.  Welcome to the Republicans of 2016.  Elect them and kiss your ass goodbye.

David Brooks Makes My Point About Republicans

In David’s latest op-ed piece he exposed what I think is at the base of all conservative psyche, fear of chaos and loss of control. In his op-ed, Freedom Loses One, he says:

The big thinkers down through the ages warned us this was going to have downsides. Alexis de Tocqueville and Emile Durkheim thought that if people are left perfectly free to pursue their individual desires, they will discover their desires are unlimited and unquenchable. They’ll turn inward and become self-absorbed. Society will become atomized. You’ll end up with more loneliness and less community.

Other big thinkers believed that if people are left perfectly free to follow their desires, their baser ones will end up dominating their nobler ones. For these writers, the goal in life is not primarily to be free but to be good. Being virtuous often means thwarting your inclinations, obeying a power outside yourself. It means maintaining a balance between liberty and restraint, restricting freedom for the sake of an ordered existence.

This latter thought is obviously where David resides in his thinking. Now of course there is an element of truth to this, but in conservatives who are basically fearful to begin with, their ultimate fear that controls their whole being is that without control and restraint, we will all run amok and chaos will ensue (“The results are as predicted. A decaying social fabric, especially among the less fortunate. Decline in marriage. More children raised in unsteady homes. Higher debt levels as people spend to satisfy their cravings.”).

Without the control of paternalistic discipline, religion, the traditional family structure, or other forms of limiting structures (like the market place), things will spiral out of control in a conservative’s brain. In a conservatives mind, when government interferes with these control mechanisms (usually to level the playing field, but sometimes to unintended consequences) the natural order of things is disrupted and those who don’t deserve get rewarded. Taxes are just one example where the government is taking justly deserved rewards and redistributing them to the unworthy.

What I find interesting about this op-ed piece is that David is arguing that gays are going against this natural inclination for more freedom in limiting their freedom in the good of marriage. Now I never looked at marriage as limiting my choices, but as an opportunity to go through life with the one person you choose to go through life with, but that is a whole other issue. What is interesting is that he sees gay’s choice for marriage as an aberration to our natural tendencies and I see it as refuting his whole basic assumption about people naturally wanting to run amok.

Oh and one more thought for David: He seems to think that we have to choose between freedom or the good. Maybe what gays are telling him is that they need freedom in order to choose the good. But that would be anathema to conservative thinking and the need for control. One might ask how there can be good in people if they don’t have the freedom to chose the good instead of it being forced upon us. It is that age old question of how can you be virtuous if you have never been tempted.

Delusional – Afghanistan

Here is a story headline in the NYT this morning:  Attack at Kabul Hotel Deflates Security Hopes in Afghanistan.  Really?  You had security hopes?  This is no different than Vietnam in that the government cannot and never will stand on its own two feet.  In a Daily Beast article this morning by Peter Beinart,  Kabus Bombing’s Political Fallout, he quoted a local car dealer, Nazir Amini, caught in Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel bombing as saying, “If they give the security responsibilities to the current government at 10:00 a.m., the government will collapse around 12 noon. They cannot live without foreigners.”

But I think what is more honest and direct were his indictments of President Obama and our government’s failure to face the reality of Afghanistan.  And here the parallels with Vietnam are so true:

“…Obama did imply that his administration’s surge has so weakened the Taliban that they’ll trade their weapons for negotiations and eventually join the current government, thus allowing the U.S. to leave an Afghanistan headed towards peace. That’s what Mr. Amini was disputing. There’s an honest way to advocate for withdrawal from Afghanistan and a dishonest way. The dishonest way is to suggest that we’ll leave behind a government that can secure the country and a political process than can end the war. The honest way is to acknowledge that the Afghanistan we leave behind will be a chaotic, ugly place where the Taliban rules large swaths of the country, and much of what we have built may be washed away.”

We can never win there and it really does not make any difference.  It is the lesson we should have learned from Vietnam, but we did not and our hubris will continue the suffering and emptying of our treasury because we can’t face reality.