The real problem with Trump’s rhetoric

It has taken me forever to try to figure out why Trump’s hyperbolic bluster, outright lies, and paranoiac screeching has any effectiveness at all – and it’s not simply that the media find it fascinating.

 

The fact is, Trump is saying exactly what his core followers would say in the same situation.  They would want to order people about; they would want to threaten and bully; they want to belittle people noticeably different from themselves.  They want to “grab her by the pussy;” they want to laugh at the disabled; they want to threaten nuclear war.  They want to gloat over perceived enemies after every little victory, and to blame others for every failure.

 

The key to understanding Trump’s behavior since entering the White House is that he is always playing to these core followers.  He has nothing to say to Merkel; it is more important to his followers that he say something about her.  By now he must know that bullying doesn’t work with Congress – even his Republicans; but that doesn’t matter, it’s the appearance of bullying that delights his core following.  He mocks the press because they have not fallen in line and glamorized him as he thinks they ought to – and that thrills his core following, who believe him glamorous as they could never be.

 

The real problem with Trump’s rhetoric is – Trump’s voters (or at least what I am calling his core followers, his true believers).  They represent about a third of the electorate, and they have no contact with any reality science can study, any logic one might wish to use in argument, and evidence not promised in conspiracy theories that will never be brought out in public (because of course non-existent; but that doesn’t matter to them, because they ‘believe’ in it, that’s all the validation they need).

 

That’s the problem.  A third of the electorate unreachable by any reasonable discourse or fact or evidence.  A personality cult verging on a religion.

 

It has been often said, without an informed an electorate, democracy is unsustainable.  Well, America is at least a third underwater now; and unfortunately, they’re the ones who elected the captain of the boat.

Political discourse, 2016: tonight’s debate

(Due to conflicting schedules, tonight’s town-hall debate between presidential aspirants Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was actually pre-recorded this morning. Here are some select highlights from the transcript:)

Moderator: The first question is from Mary Voter, addressed to Mrs. Clinton.

Voter: Madame Secretary, how would you address the growing number of children getting raised in poverty in areas of the United States?

Clinton: I have a twelve point program to bring to Congress that provides funds to those areas that would put into place health care clinics and educational support –

Trump: Wrong! I have children, I hgave a lot of children, there are probably a lot of children I don’t know I have, you know, because my Vietnam was a series of beds and I barely got out alive, let me tell you, no STDs –

Mod.: Mr. Trump, please wait for a question addressed to you before interjecting your personal affairs! Now, here’s one from Joe Dimswitch, of Bakersfield California.

Dimswitch: Hey Donald! Love ya, baby! What suggestions you got for a guy on the make in a singles’ bar?

Trump: Here’s an instance of my huge support! I have large numbers of followers like you, and they’re all on the make. Look, just go up to the good-lookers and rub your dick against them. Don’t forget, flash a lot of money at ’em –

Dimswitch: I don’t got a lot of money, I lost my job –

Trump: Then go away, you’re a loser – get him outta here.

Mod.: Another question for you, Mr. Trump, from Marvin Electorate, concerning foreign policy.

Electorate: Mr. Trump what strategy do you have in mind that would include possible use of nuclear weapons in Iraq?

Trump: Strategy? I don’t need no stinking strategy! What are you, a plant? Clinton put you up to this? Is this debate rigged? Let’s talk about my huge support, by bulging manhood, my big brain. You can see from my head-size, right? Big brain, very big.

Clinton: May I address this, because I believe the threat of use of nuclear weapons actually increases the danger in the mid-east –

Trump: Shut up you cow! the risk of you cheating on your husband threatens a big reality TV show in the near future, you know, like Hulk Hogan?

Mod.: Candidates, please, let’s confine our discussion to the issues at hand.

Trump: My dick doesn’t issue anything, like I said, no STDs, okay.

Mod.: Miss Angela Branlass, you wish to ask Mrs. Clinton about her position on women’s issues?

Brainlass: Hillary, do you prefer being on top or doggy-style? And look at this big hunk’o’man beside you, don’t you just want to grab his crotch and give it a squeeze?

Clinton: Miss Branlass, the issues that confront this society –

Trump: See, women want it, too, what can I tell you? Branlass? Great ass, but you could lose a few pounds around the middle. Are those tits real?

Branlass: They are!

Trump: Come around later and I’ll play with ’em a little.

Clinton: Can we please discuss the policy issues this election is really all about?!

Trump: Hillary, chill, bitch, this is a man’s world, learn to live with it. If I were Bill, I’d sleep around, too. Hey, I’m not Bill, but I still sleep around. I even slept with you, Hillary.

Clinton: You did not!

Trump: I never said I did, where’d you get that from? Some immigrant drug-dealer or your Muslim terrorist friends?

Mod.: Mr. Trump! Please, we have a question from James Blacklivesmatter, from Chicago, Illinois.

Blacklivesmatter: This for both candidates, concerning the fraught race relations currently prevailing in the United –

Trump: “Prevailing, prevailing,” oh listen to the fancy talk from the black guy! You go to school for that son? In my administration, don’t worry, we’ll get rid of public schools , replace them all with public prisons. Law and order will make you feel more secure behind bars.

Clinton: I don’t think we can wave away the concerns of African Americans with easy slogans about law and order!

Trump: Wrong! We can do this by getting more white women for the bros! That’s your plan, but that ain’t happening, Crooked Hillary, all the white women are for me! You, too! (Reaches over to grab Clinton’s breast.) Hey, real, no silicon, I’m impressed! (Clinton whacks Trump’s head with the microphone; a hollow ring sounds, but otherwise there’s no reaction.) Women all love that, they love the booby snatch. I’ve done it with Ivanka hundreds of times, she loves a good feel –

Mod.: If we cannot get back to the issues, we may have to close this debate early; Mr. Bob Blowall, you have a question for Mr. Trump?

Blowall: I’m gay, but I love the Donald! Hey can you flash it once for the fellas?

Trump: Sure. (Unzips, pulls out penis.) You can take it in your mouth, but for a couple grand –

Blowall: You mean you’d pay me a couple grand to blow you?

Trump: No, you pay me. My whole idea in life is to get other people to pay me what they want me to pay them. That’s smart, that’s why I’m huge.

Clinton (looking down at Trump’s penis): No, not so huge.

Blowall: Yeah, that’s actually kinda disappointing….

Trump: Well, at least I have a dick!

Clinton (unzips, pulls out 12 inch clitoris): Gag on this, loudmouth!

(It should be noted that by this point, the debate will go off-air; plans are to broadcast a marathon of “Leave It To Beaver” re-runs instead.)

Problems with Utilitarianism

Reading about Utilitarianism recently, I first asked myself what I knew about it. It is now recognizably a form of moral realism, positing a standard of moral conduct separable from personal experience or belief – the greatest good for the greatest number. It’s been many decades since I’ve read Bentham, but I seemed to recall there was at least a suggestion, at the beginning of Utilitarianism, that its basic principles were already implicit in actual practice, and that Utilitarianism merely promised clarification and perfection by application of ‘scientific’ methodology. If so, then originally Utilitarianism would not be a moral realism but a scientistic justification for, and institutionalization of, existing practices. However, such a Utilitarianism would be unsustainable due to objections from any number of positions taken by those who felt the then current practices somehow disenfranchised them, or injured them, or oppressed them. (Malthus’ argument that the poor should be allowed to die off is this kind of Utilitarianism, and one can imagine the poor and their advocates not being too happy with it.) If I were remembering the matter aright, it should be clear why Utilitarianism would mutate into a claim of a ‘good’ as an identifiable value separate from what any one individual or group would wish it to be.

In America, most political arguments are in fact Utilitarian in one sense or another – and really can’t be otherwise. A politician is always arguing that he or she represents the most important interests of the greater number of the electorate – how could they not?

My general point is that it’s easy to see why understanding Utilitarianism might be somewhat difficult for some (including myself). I don’t say that to defend it, but because I find it somewhat confused, with a checkered history, even though politically inevitable in a diverse population with democratic aspirations.

I was never very impressed with the philosophy of Utilitarianism, so I didn’t keep up with it much. Kant’s deontology may be just as wrong, but it is far more interesting, because it raises the question of just how far we can extend rationality into the realm of morals before we bump into the fundamental problem of any moral realism, (or meta-ethical analysis, for that matter), cultural differences.

At any rate, reviewing some background material today, I find that I was wrong about Bentham (he was in fact attempting reformation of existing practices), but right about the essentially confused nature of Utilitarianism. Higher level utilitarian arguments can be convincing (and the crude utilitarianism we find in politics can be persuasive); but the ground is very shaky.

Here is an interpretation of Bentham‘s general premise, from The SEP: “We are to promote pleasure and act to reduce pain. When called upon to make a moral decision one measures an action’s value with respect to pleasure and pain according to the following: intensity (how strong the pleasure or pain is), duration (how long it lasts), certainty (how likely the pleasure or pain is to be the result of the action), proximity (how close the sensation will be to performance of the action), fecundity (how likely it is to lead to further pleasures or pains), purity (how much intermixture there is with the other sensation). One also considers extent — the number of people affected by the action.” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/utilitarianism-history/)

Assuming “we are to promote” – that is, we are obligated to promote – “pleasure and act to produce pain,” is committing ourselves to a standard separable from any particular instance of pleasure and pain. And this makes absolutely no sense. The First Noble Truth of Buddhism, that life is suffering, was derived – and remains derivable – from personal experience. (And if one hasn’t experienced it, then the way of the Buddha offers no solution.) But apparently Bentham distrusted experience as a guide, since it tends to generate morals based on personal prejudice; so where is this obligation to promote happiness coming from?

Secondly, Benthem is suggesting a calculus of pleasure and pain, when such are without any essential measure. Psychologists have tried for years to provide such measurement, with success limited to purely physical stimulation. But how much pain is experienced by a parent upon the loss of a child? How much pleasure in a wedding ceremony? What kind of pleasure do I feel when I learn a hated enemy is dead, such that I can measure it? What kind of sorrow and anger am I feeling in support of the African American community’s response to the alarming number of police shootings of unarmed men and women? On what scale should I rate it?

So, how generalizable is this presumed promotion of pleasure and pain? The last paragraph of my previous comment raises the inevitable cultural problem – pleasure and pain are not reducible to physical sensations, but, indeed, physical sensations are frequently responses to social events. But different cultures realize socialization in many different ways. Recently, I’ve read someone remarking that god hates homosexuals. While I have heard Protestant ministers make this claim, but Catholic clergy have ever followed the principle ‘hate the sin, but love the sinner,’ presuming this to be true of god. We know the ancient Greeks and Romans were quite tolerant of homosexuality; and the cultures of ancient India and Japan had ornate rules for ‘proper’ satisfaction of homosexual desires.

The SEP article quotes Bentham’s rejection of laws against homosexuality as an unnecessary impingement of personal sentiment on the general welfare thus:

“The circumstances from which this antipathy may have taken its rise may be worth enquiring to…. One is the physical antipathy to the offence…. The act is to the highest degree odious and disgusting, that is, not to the man who does it, for he does it only because it gives him pleasure, but to one who thinks [?] of it. Be it so, but what is that to him?”

One can sympathize with Bentham and still see that he has somewhat missed the point. People often feel greater security and greater pleasure in socialization when they have a sense that the culture they live in is homogeneous enough that they share values with the greater number of their fellow community members. The cultural differences concerning homosexuality indicate much wider cultural assumptions about the shared values of the differing communities – and not just about homosexuality, but about to what degree individual behavior may vary from community norms, about the appropriate means of tolerating such variance, about the ground and harshness of sanction concerning unacceptable variance. Once we begin studying cultural difference along such general lines, we begin to see in the details just how different cultures can get. Utilitarianism soon stands revealed as a set of assumptions and arguments within a *given* culture, and can no longer be universalized on a founding principle to which we all agree.

Beyond Bentham we come to the classical Utilitarian identification of ‘pleasure’ with ‘happiness,’ and this is not sustainable. It is a torture of reason to suggest that ascetics must be feeling some physical pleasure in their denial of physical pleasure; yet they may certainly be very happy. And yes, they may be feeling a psychological pleasure, but this may yet not be the source of their happiness, so much as their self-identification with their ascetic ideal, to which their psychological pleasure is mere response.

Which of course raises the apparently long-recognized critique of Utilitarianism’s insistence that ‘happiness’ is the ultimate goal of our moral decisions (whether we wish to admit it or not) – namely that it is simply not at all clear that all moral or ethical choices do in some sense, and ought to, move in the direction of increasing happiness. It is demonstrable that many ethical decisions we make do not lead to the greater happiness of one’s self or one’s community. My loss of faith did not bring happiness to me nor to the Catholic community in which I was raised. Commitment to civil rights in the 1960s meant recognizing that years of contention and further reformation and occasional strife would follow, as efforts to redress discrimination and increase acceptance of all races as fellow humans would need to continue indefinitely.

As I’ve noted before, where general ethics within a diverse community are concerned, I tend to think eclectically. There are some issues I would argue along deontological lines, others I think are better address with achieving personal virtuousness (virtue ethics); on other issues I can be a ruthlessly legalistic pragmatist or Hobbsean contract theorist; so of course there are issues I wouldn’t hesitate to address on Utilitarian grounds, especially in political matters.

But as a complete normative theory of ethical behavior, Utilitarianism still seems confused – and, frankly, an artifact of a given culture at a given time, which has largely passed into history.

A problem with eugenics

According to Wikipedia, “Eugenics (/juːˈdʒɛnɪks/; from Greek εὐγενής eugenes “well-born” from εὖ eu, “good, well” and γένος genos, “race, stock, kin”) is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.” *

 

Here’s the problem with eugenics: it is built on an assumption that is grounded a presumption, concerning the values of the researchers involved.

The assumption is that the human species needs to be improved genetically; but this is grounded on the presumption that such improvement can be determined according to values upon which we should all agree. In fact of course, all such values are culturally bound – completely and inextricably. Thus the ‘improvment’ offered will always imply hopes and prejudices of a given group within a given culture. There is no way to realize eugenics that is not inherently ethno-centric or ethno-phobic.

I’m sure some here hope that eugenics can be used to discover and eliminate genetic predispositions to religious belief; but surely, a religious eugenicist has every right to hope that such can be done to eliminate predispositions toward atheism. After all, technology plays no favorites.

Further, the very assumption that the human species needs to be improved in this matter is itself highly questionable, since it implies the de-valuation of the species just as it is – it implies that there is something wrong about being human, that humans are inherently flawed – a residue of Abrahamic ‘fallen man’ mythology.

As an illuminating side-topic, consider: practioners of ‘bio-criminology’ (which I would argue is a pseudo-science) target genetic study of criminal populations that are overwhelmingly African in descent. They seem to hope that genetics will reveal genetic disposition to ‘violent’ behavior, such as, say, mugging. And the argument for targeting more African Americans than European Americans would be, that there just are more African Americans incarcerated for such behavior. The argument is clearly flawed since it completely disregards sociological knowledge about the conditions with which African Americans must deal in various communities in which crime rates are fairly high.

But consider: The practices of vulture capitalists playing the stock market, or collapsing viable companies into bankruptcy have clearly devasted far more lives than all the muggers in America. Yet there is never any suggestion from ‘bio-criminologists’ that geneticists should find the genes responsible for predispostions toward greed and callousness, dishonesty on the stock exchange or ruthless exploitation of employees. And there never will be, because white collar criminals contribute to college funds, establish foundations that offer grants, hire bio-criminologists into right-wing think tanks, etc.

Personally, I won’t consider any arguments for eugenics until I get a promise that we will target the behaviors of the real criminals in this society – like the ones who work on Wall Street.

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* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

As we read through the Wiki article, we find that there is a recent trend among some geneticists to use the term ‘eugenics’ to apply to any effort to use genetics to address ertain health conditions, such as inheritable diseases like Huntingtons, or to provide parents with the opportunity to decide whether to abort a fetus with such diseases. This is just a mistake. First, no one opposed to classical eugenics has ever argued that we shouldn’t use genetics to address ill health conditions or diseases – because we can do this without attempting to improve the species genetically, which is the ultimate goal of eugenics. Secondly, ressurrecting the term eugenics for what is pretty standard genetics, seems to bury history, or at least confuse our understanding of it. Third, the choice of whether to have a child or not given potential for heritable diseases, has long been available through understanding family histories – and it has not dissuaded a large number of people from having children despite family histories of such illnesses, because the choice to have a child or not is rarely restricted by purely rational consideration. Perhaps it should be, but it’s not. For such restrictions to have a large enough impact on the population to affect genetic improvement of it, they would have to be impelled from outside the family, perhaps by law, and then we would find ourselves directly in the arguments concerning classical eugenics, like the one I make above.

Finally, there’s the question of whther we really want to use genetics to improve the species at all, since it’s quite possible that naturally occuring reproduction actually contributes to the survival of the species, since we don’t know what environmental challenges the species will face in the future, and what may appear to be a weakness now, may prove to be a strength in another era.

I would say, let’s stop calling any serious genetics a form of eugenics, and let’s stop pretending that we are wise enouve to direct the course of human evolution.

The election’s over; what now?

Among the many gaffes, groundless accusations, false flags, insults and general whining these past couple weeks, Donald Trump assured his followers that he couldn’t possibly lose in Pennsylvania unless the election were rigged.   Let’s stop and consider the logic of that.  Trump was not relying on any polls (indeed he has taken to deny they matter).  He was not referring to a tsunami of letters to the editor of various news organizations, or some set of petitions.  His reference point seems to be entirely his own ‘gut,’ his confidence that everyone recognizes him as the ‘smartest guy in the room,’ who so many people love and admire.

Actually, my suspicion is that his true reference point is simply and only the applause he hears from fans at rallies.  If true, that tells us a lot about the man, first of all that he really doesn’t get the difference between fans applauding and an electorate voting.  But I think it is becoming more and more obvious that this is exactly the case.

But the logic of his assertion that he can only lose if the election’s rigged, extends beyond the rallies.  Basically, what he’s saying is, that since it s so obvious that he’s so smart, and would do such wonderful things, and is so beloved for this – the election is now immaterial.  Indeed, if Trump’s gut were a true measure of reality, then we shouldn’t hold the election at all.  Hillary should simply throw in the towel, and the House of Representatives appoint him to office.

The irony is that Trump is making his gut known on this matter at exactly the moment when it is now possible to admit that the next President of the United States will be Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is some not so nice things for a progressive – or even a liberal.  She does lie, she is dishonest, she is conniving and manipulative.  She’s also a neocon on foreign policy, and a neo-liberal on economics.  The judge she appoints to the Supreme Court will steadfast moderates – meaning that while the train-wreck that was the Roberts court is now over, it’s legacy will not be undone by any major reversals.  On top of that, she has now a small constituency of anti-Trump Republicans that she will have to accommodate after election.  In short, Clinton’s offers to become the most conservative Democratic administration since Woodrow Wilson.

However there is one thing Clinton is not, that Trump now obviously is – She is not mentally ill.

Call it sociopathy, or narcissism or delusions of grandeur or some other out-of-touch egomania, what you will.  Donald Trump has not the slightest clue as to the nature of the political process, the nature of government, what it means to be a political leader of the most powerful nation in a very complicated world order that is untethering at the seams in response to years of finance-capital-elite driven globalization.  (In fact, by some reports, he wouldn’t even know what to do in day to day administrative tasks, and is not entirely enthusiastic about becoming President for that reason.)

However – the good news is, that the election is all but over.  Whatever the final numbers prove, this is why Donald Trump has lost the election:

Demographics:  Besides loyal Democrats, Trump has alienated the majority of each of the following voting blocks:

African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, non-Muslim Americans from pre-dominantly Muslim nations, Mormons, Jews, Americans with disabilities, LGBT Americans, atheist Americans, scientists, veterans, parents of veterans, attractive women, not so attractive women, mothers, women who menstruate (I think that’s quite a number), Republican women, Republican moderates, Republican politicians struggling to retain their seats in the next congress, Republicans concerned for national security, Republican business people, the college educated (left and right), Americans who don’t like Putin, Americans who like babies – and the list goes on.  Trump has failed to alienate angry uneducated white men, but recent polls indicate that he’s no longer doing so well among them.  (And yes, he has alienated the Christian Right, but then hired Mike Pence for VP to make amends.)

But, that’s not all.  Trump has utterly failed to understand the post-nomination campaign process.  He has no ground game, few storefronts with door-to-door campaigners, few liasons with local Republican politicians.  (It’s not even clear he understands why that’s needed.)  He expected the RNC to fund his campaign, when part of the responsibility of the Presidential nominee is to raise funds for the Party.  He has isolated himself from the national press, failing to realize that he is expected, in part, to speak through them, especially were he to become the President.

It clear now that Trump has no strategy.  His pet boy Manafort may be able to guide him to battleground states, but in as lop-sided an election as this, he can’t just ignore previously safe ‘Red’ states – even Arizona, probably the most right-wing Republican state in the West, and one suffering severe tensions between dominant Anglos and a Mexican American underclass, is now in play.

But Trump’s biggest problem, of course, is his own mouth.  He can’t stop it.  That’s why he is clearly pathological.  He sounds like a robot when he reads a written speech, but when he goes off-text, he’s an uncontrollable, foam-at-the-mouth ranter, and self-promoter.  Even if his people could get him to reign it in, it’s probably too late.

The next big moment of the campaign season is the arrival of the Presidential debates.  My guess right now is that Trump will probably make it through one or two before he blows up.  After which he will ‘double-down’ on the narrative that the ‘system is so rigged against me, they won’t let me win,’ because by that time it will be obvious even to him that he has already effectively lost the election.

So the discussion progressives and liberals now need to begin is, what are we do during the Clinton administration – how do we further progressive causes and somehow begin winning seats in Congress and in State capitols?    That’s a long game to play; but otherwise we may have more nightmares like 2016 further down the road.

Trump (almost) in the news

Because Donald Trump had such a terrible time in the news this week, certain stories concerning him were relegated to the back pages.  Only here, where truthiness is next to godlessness, will you find the Trump news that really mattered this week:

donald-trump-hair

TRUMP ADMITS IT: “I SUCK HORSE DONG.”

FN: Somewhere on a ranch in Kentucky, 8/2/16, 5pm EST: Attending an orgy sponsored by Sexy Evangelical Ministries, Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, admitted that he had a fetish for fellating equestrian male organs of generation. “They’re huge! My mouth is huge! We made the deal!” he proclaimed, explaining why he would not be directly participating in the orgy, as his services were needed in the barn. He sent his wife Melania as representative instead – at a $3,000 per partner fee.

UPDATE 5am: Orgy organizers report that, as the orgy at last wound down, Melania’s performance had raised $9,000 for the Trump campaign, while an exhausted candidate was last seen running over a hill attempting to escape an estimated 50 stallions wanting more.

This has been a Fakes News report: fair, unbiased, and free of fact.

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TRUMP ADOPTED, MAY HAVE MURDERED REAL MOM

FN: Butthole, Pennsylvania, 8/3/16, 2pm: At a press conference earlier today, an emotional Donald J. Trump, Republican candidate for President, announced that he had recently discovered that he had been adopted. He also confessed that this discovery was made by New Jersey police investigating his alleged murder of his birth mother, Illyanka Stinkoff, an illegal immigrant from Russia, who was employed as Trump’s maid when, it is said, he flew into a rage at her remarking his small hands. Witnesses say he then stabbed her multiple times with a pen-knife, the only knife small enough for him to grasp properly. It is further alleged that Chris Christy, governor of Virginia at the time, helped secret the body to an as yet undisclosed dumpster.

Trump was boastful of his adoption by the elder Trumps. “I mean, how could you blame them? One look at me, even as a baby, y’know, you can tell how smart, how articulated, how strong I’ve become.” As to his birth mother, he expressed disappointment: “Look, she was a loser. She couldn’t make money so she sold me. Am I for sale? For sure! But my price is well above rubies – I know, I own a jewelry store in Canarsie! Alright it went bankrupt – but not because of the rubies!” Without denying guilt in his mother’s murder, Trump further noted: “Most of us get an urge to commit the mom-death thing, we all know that. I mean especially if she’s Mexican or Muslim, who’s to blame for that? The Mom of course! Didn’t she have a choice to abort? Coat-hangers are everywhere!” Trump also reminded the handful of reporters he’d allowed in the room that his supporters knew he was the “best friend” of a lot of women everywhere, and would not care much whether he had murdered one or not. “They want America great again and only me can do that!”

Later, at the Butthole White Supremacist Club for a photo-op, Trump announced he would sue the Police Department of Atlantic City for even suggesting that he may have committed the crime, adding, “Look, I’m not adopted, I never said I was. I don’t know who this maid was, I never met her.” He then went on with a brief speech declaring that, unlike many “liberal demagogues like Mitt Romney,” he had no prejudice against White Supremacists and would fight discriminatory practices against them, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

This has been a Fakes News report: fair, unbiased, and free of fact.

——

TRUMP EATS DOG FECES AT KENNEL CONVENTION

FN: Shittus, New Jersey, 8/4/16, 3pm: Attending the convention of the American Puppy Mill Kennel Owners, Donald J. Trump, Republican candidate for President, told supporters that he was inspired by the plight of encaged canines to offer a new line of snack sausage, made from “recycled dog food.” After they eat it, it comes out no worse for wear.” He bent behind a defecating Great Dane , scooped the source material for his new product and took a bite. “Hey, can’t tell the difference between this and a taco, anyway!” He then pointed out that since dogs poop freely, expenses for production of the new snack would be relatively low. “Except of course for my start-up fee and royalties. But don’t worry, sales will be so huge, this wouldn’t be missed.” Concerning rumors that Trump was in negotiations with Vladimir Putin over possible Russian manufacture of the new snack, Trump shouted, “Now that’s a vicious charge, as I have never even spoken with Putin, and I told Vlad that myself! Besides, if any peoples know how to eat dog doo its Russians. It’s healthier than caviar!”

This has been a Fakes News report: fair, unbiased, and free of fact.

——

TRUMP WHIPS REPUBLICANS INTO LINE

FN: Bleeding Sore, Wyoming, 8/5/16, Darkest Hour of the Night: At a major gathering of Republican Party leaders, Donald J. Trump, candidate for the presidency, assured his followers that the Party was never more united than in supporting his campaign. “Even that puny little four-eyed mole Paul Ryan likes me. And Mitch McConnell? That sad fat bag of dung? He’s behind me 110%! I know, because I threatened to support him in his next run for office, and he buckled like the lilly-livered pig he is! Republicans all love me! Even those who say, ‘nah, I’ll never back Trump,’ they’re just lying so they can get re-elected, I understand that – I understand everything! When the people sweep me into office, there’ll be hell to pay for all involved! But you’ll still be able to buy my book, written by that corrupt ghost-writer I’m suing, at 50% mark-up. Autographed copies, signed by the professional Trump-impersonator I’ve hired at minimum wage, will cost an additional thousand bucks.” He then produced a whip and began flailing the hides off the Republican leaders, admonishing them: “Say it loud! We love Trump, we love Trump!” Soon the depurate wailing of the Party elite could be heard through the night: “Oh please god, stop! We love -ow, agony! – We love Trump, We yieeeeee, nooo! – We love Trump!” But as dawn approached, the wretched squealing slowly faded into groans as the dying gave up their last gasp of air…. Trump is scheduled to address the Society for Suicidal Masochists later today.

This has been a Fakes News report: fair, unbiased, and free of fact.

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TRUMP DECLARES VICTORY, SAYS “ELECTION NO LONGER NEEDED”

FN: Not Washington DC, Washington, 8/6/16, 1pm: Republican candidate for president, Donald J. Trump held a press conference in an office he had especially built for the occasion. “Look around you, gentlemen – and you girls too, if you’re not having PMS. The shape of the office – it’s huge, it’s white, but most importantly – it’s oval – that’s right, it’s my Oval Office! I am now the President of the United States. We all know the people love me – even the towel-heads, the darkies, the kikes, the spics, the chinks – they all love me – Everybody loves me, we all know that. So I think it’s fair to say that an election in November would be a waste of time. I am hereby declaring myself the winner! We don’t need all the legal rigmarole with the courts to get this deal done! All we need is for lyin’ Hillary to throw in the towel. So I’m going to make her a deal – a hundred million? maybe two hundred? And a hotel chain under her name – the Hillary Hiltons! We can get this done, we really can!” At this point, the conference was interrupted when the contractor hired to build the office, undocumented alien Juan Vortex, politely asked for his wages. Trump exploded in what can only be called a rage: “You raping, drug-peddling, murdering Muslim! Get outta here before I have Manafort punch you down.” Turning to the reporters in his audience, he went on, “See what I gotta deal with! The ingratitude! And after I had given him the privilege to work for me. People need to remember who’s boss around here.”

The Clinton campaign refused comment, although an anonymous insider admitted that Clinton remarked that she wouldn’t sleep in any hotel with her name on it.

This has been a Fakes News report: fair, unbiased, and free of fact.


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Two clowns, no choice, big circus – US politics

In the land of the free and the brave and the General Motors, this is an election year, and that usually brings out the worst in me. As readers of this web log know, I always try to maintain an even temperament, even when I am trashing various religious beliefs, which I usually do on rational grounds, since I have no wish to attack people for their misguided passions, as long as these don’t threaten lives or the general welfare. But I have been known to slip and lash out when I felt truly offended by irrational behavior. Since American elections have evolved historically into irrational displays of spectacular ‘infomercial’ performances with little relation to what people actually live through and need to deal with, it’s hard to keep from diving into the melee, rather like giving into the temptation to jump into the mosh-pit at a hard-core punk show.

With the Republicans providing us with a Fascist reality-TV clown for a presidential candidate, this should be a perfect year for gleefully unleashing all the rant one’s reasonable soul can muster. And there are many who are amusingly engaged in such.

However, his opponent is a neoliberal economist with neocon foreign policy convictions. I find I cannot in good conscience vote for either of them. A choice between Mussolini and Dick Cheney’s female mirror image is not a choice worth contemplating. Unfortunately, here it is. Of course I hope that, in the final moment, the reasonably sane insider Clinton wins the election rather than a possibly deranged narcissistic buffoon with bad hair. But after all, it might be entertaining to watch America self-destruct for a couple of years, before Trump’s inevitable impeachment on grounds of corruption, bribery, conflict-of-interest, and cronyism. But I’m not really so committed to the electoral process that I want to lift the finger necessary to push a button in the ballot booth.

So my gut feeling is, rather than lash out ranting, I want to utter a groan. So this is what American politics has devolved to – choosing between a right-wing Christian fundamentalist feminist versus a farther right-wing openly racist clown. Have the American people become so dumbed down? – Well, haven’t the people of Britain just voted their way into narrow-minded ethnophobic isolation? This century is on course to the ascendancy of China, simply because the Western peoples can’t give up their neolithic fantasies of nationalistic tribalism.

Nonetheless, I love to write, and I need subject matter to write about. I suppose some people might be interested in my contemplating my hemorrhoids – there’s a lot to be learned from the feeling of something like a hot knife digging at one’s anus. But the truth is that, after two years operating this web log, I feel spiritually exhausted. For the time being, I’ve said what I had to say. Yet, the desire to write continues to nag at me, rather like a similar temptation to get up and go to work – not so much for the money, but because I can’t think of anything better to do.

So, I am going to re-group and, for a time anyway, go ahead to blow my nose in the general direction of the American electorate, its institutionalized ‘parties,’ its circus election – in short, politics. At least it will help me blow off some steam, and thus avoid annoying other bloggers with trolling comments like ‘You forgot the comma after the first clause!’ or, ‘you blathering bigot, how dare you question the right of transgender women to be sexually involved with lesbians?!’ or, ‘prefer Frege to Heidegger? you’re not worthy to suck Hegel’s dialectic, you slave!’

How much better, and how safer, to engage in such virulence on my own web log – to slander Trump and Clinton – to imagine fantasies where in they engage in group sex with various Party officials, while plotting the rape of America – although I guess it couldn’t be called a rape, since the American public seems willing to up-end and spread their buttocks for a good buggering. After all, the American people don’t really want peace and security, the want to hear the promise of peace and security. They’re not interested in tolerance, they want to be left alone. They can’t adjust to a world where America isn’t the bully with the big stick, they intend to go down fighting – and take the world down with them, if necessary.

The American people are afraid, insecure, somewhat paranoiac – and they have every right to be. Because they willfully supported one government after another playing to (and at least partially satisfying) their greed, their callous disinterest in the rights, status, and living conditions of others; their longings to be exceptional. Now it is coming time to pay the piper, and they don’t understand why, and they don’t know how.

So, as the American empire begins to sink slowly under the horizon of the past – into the dust-bin of history, it’s time to – lighten up and enjoy the show!

Five more months of empty rhetoric, lies, useless pundit commentary, pointless polls, grandly staged conventions and speeches, stupid street theatrics and stupider responses by supposed ‘officials’ of one party or another or of the government itself – you gotta love the charade! It’s like a 24/7 marathon broadcast of the Marx Bros.’ “Duck Soup.”

Finance Minister: I want to take up the tax.
Groucho: He’s right, you’ve got to take up the tacks before you take up the carpet.

So, if everyone else is going to act stupid for the next five months, well, I guess I might as well, too. I’m an American, goddamit, and I’ve a right not to know anything about anything, and carry a gun. As long as I don’t shoot myself in the foot, I can shoot my mouth off about anything I please.

I don’t know what they have to say, it makes no difference anyway, whatever it is, I’m against it. – Groucho, “Horsefeathers”