Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest One of All?

donnie fish

My working theory on this guy is that he is incapable of seeing himself the way others see him, unless they see him as he sees himself. This is a common pathology in people I have seen in my professional life, people who’s endemic narcissism is further pathologized by their addictions. Unless what some people are saying about his use of Adderall is true, Donnie doesn’t use alcohol and other drugs, but he has all the attributes of what is called a “dry drunk” in AA-speak — restless, irritable and discontent (see post “The Mad King”).

If you pay attention, which I admit is hard to do, you’ll see that no matter who he is talking to, he tends to deliver a stump speech. I was particularly struck by this in transcripts of his conversations with Bob Woodward, who has written books about every President since Nixon. Woodward is asking questions about specific actions Donnie has taken, and he responds with “we are winning in China, etc etc etc etc etc etc.”  When he speaks at rallies, where the audience is predisposed to want his stump-speech message and who have joined his cult of personality, the reflection back on him is exactly how he sees himself. When the reflection is different — “that’s ill-advised,” “that’s not what you said last week,” “a lot of people don’t just dislike you, they despise you” — he cannot process this because it doesn’t fit with his own self-perception. Thus, “fake news.” I think he really believes it is fake.

This is where much of the country has not gotten yet. They see complexity when the problem is very simple. Classical tragedies in theater and literature revolve around a main character having a “tragic flaw.” Donnie’s is slowly being exposed, but it is so fundamentally pathological that we have a hard time comprehending it.

My primary hope is that he is not impeached because that just makes Pence the GOP candidate in 2020, and Pence is just Trump without all the disgusting personal attributes. He is a religious zealot who, you will notice, has created a public space that allows himself to distance himself from Donnie and create a cult of righteousness, not of personality, because he seems to have no personality.  The election of Donnie in 2016 was a perfect storm that only justified everything he has ever thought about himself.  He has made no effort to expand his appeal beyond the cult, and the next time around, the cult will not be enough to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by a thread. If everything else stays exactly the same, he loses. Nominate Donnie, and we can finally get this over with and spend a decade repairing the damage he has done.

 

© Joseph Galligan 2019

The Mad King: Earlier Post Redux

1/9/19: Some time ago, I posted this:

Here are a series of words that frequently appear in stories about Donnie 45: angry, anger, rage, fury, frustrated, discontented, alienated, isolated, lash out, explode, rant, fume, blame, offend, offensive, dismiss, belittle, attack, assault, undermine, blindside, withdrawn, desperate, complain, rail against, rancor and peeved. There are more, but it’s too disheartening to scan articles looking for them. Lost in all this “fake news” stuff is the fact that someone hired to write about something first observes something and then looks for a word to describe what he/she sees, not the other way around. The words they choose are among those above.  They don’t use the same words they used writing about Obama because they never saw the behavior that the words above describe. 

These words are appearing with even more frequency. Yesterday, it was reported that the “stormed out of” a meeting about: decreasing inspections of food, increasing lack of security at airports, farmers unable to buy seed and fuel, national parks fucked over by some of the citizens they were designed to serve and other problems caused by his petulant (a word I would like to see used more often) demand for a wall. Apparently, some people are OK with the president being pissed off all the time because they are pissed off all the time. Some other people seem to find his whole act (and it is an act) funny. Enjoy it while you can, folks, because your boy is cray cray, and some day those who know this (Republican Senators) are going to have to admit it just to save their own jobs.

© Joseph Galligan 2019

From A Work in Progress Called “Diabolus Ex Machina: A Fable.”

I am hoping this short novel/long novella shows up on Amazon fairly soon. It is set 8-10 years in the future.

While Ferguson slept for the next 18 hours, life churned on in Portland. In the morning, students all across town stood waiting for buses, and nearly all of the children were staring off at different angles into the same electro-space, through the glasses that displayed virtual reality programs, vidstreams and other commnet effluvia in their field of vision. Most neither focused on nor heard the traffic as it went by.  An application on their glasses (a few were stuck with handheld smart devices) tracked the progress of their various school buses and alerted them to when their particular bus was within 60 seconds of their respective bus stops. At that point the waiting children turned their heads as one in the direction of the soon-to-arrive bus, as if guided by a choreographic magical hand.

Some of their parents drove/rode in autonomous electronic cars connected via an uplink to a server farm that plotted an optimal course and processed information gleaned from the sensors on the autonomous cars and downloaded back to the cars’ central processing units nearly instantaneously, but not quite, hence the occasional collision of autonomous cars and bridge abutments.  The cars’ occupants watched high-resolution displays on the dashboards that fed them information about: the latest movements of the Americana Movement in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas … the investigation of an assassination attempt on President Dalton-Smith, who had handily defeated President (former Speaker of the House) McConnley earlier in the year … ratings for the droning head-bashing of the Krieger Network founded by Ronald Krieger after he resigned as President in his second term and took Vice President Quince with him and Speaker McConnley ascended to the presidency    the bitter battle between France and Germany over who owns Alsace … the rise of the the Soviet Islamic State in the Middle East … the privatization of six West African countries … what to do about the 100 percent increase in car-pedestrian accidents in Greater Portland involving teenagers… the latest price hike on self-administered Narcan Plus to reverse the opioid overdoses that continued to grow despite tremendous national hand-wringing and profit-taking… the latest interest rate on CRIAs (consolidated retirement income accounts), a fairly recent product offered by banks in which people pooled their money into one account and, theoretically, shared proceeds from the invested funds equally … news about Caitlyn Jenner, who even at her advanced age was lobbying to enter the upcoming Summer Olympics heptathalon and try to become the first person to win a gold medal as a male and a female … the latest trends in smart shoes and nano-fiber shirts … formation of the newest Interpersonal Communication Platform (IPC) company, which had come to replace what was formerly known as “social media” … the pending move of the Portland Trailblazers to Reno, Nevada … the renewed suggestion by many neurologists that players on the 12 teams remaining in the National Football League should wear minimal padding and bicycle-type helmets without face masks so as to prevent head injuries … and audio versions of the comments sections of Oregon Totally Live in which anonymous people with meta-ironic avatars issued increasingly virulent comments about the comments of other commenters commenting on the opinions of other commenters about the content of a news posting whose subject had long since been lost to the memory of the commenters.

The autonomous electric cars whirred along in the designated left lanes of I-5, I-84 and connecting highways (205, 405, 217, 26, etc.) while those with vehicles powered by engines that required the drivers to manipulate pedals to make the cars/trucks accelerate and stop sat and fumed in stop-and-go traffic in the other lanes. Most of them relied on old Bluetooth technology to send GPS route suggestions and traffic alerts from their smart devices to the after-market vidstream screens mounted on their dashboards just to the right of the steering wheels. Efforts to create a second designated lane for cars with two or more occupants had failed miserably due to difficult enforcement conditions (increasingly realistic mannequins) and the fact that a large percentage of this lane’s users were UGo drivers, which was deemed to be government sponsorship of a profit-making enterprise and thus abandoned one year after it went into effect. UGo (formed from the leftover pieces of Uber and Lyft) was increasingly under the regulation of the Oregon Traffic Safety Organization (one of 50 splinters from the now-broken National Traffic Safety Commission), which was dominated by representatives from sparsely populated central and eastern Oregon, where people resented the fact that elites in the Willamette Valley could get a ride by activating an application on a smart device and simply wait for a ride to arrive. Things like the Oregon Traffic Safety Organization were on President Dalton-Smith’s radar, but the devastation she inherited and doing something to fix it was an onerous task, particularly when people were trying to kill her.

Most houses in upscale sections of Portland had sixth-generation wifi that connected HVAC systems, refrigerators, stoves, lights, security systems, water heaters, air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, baby cams, device-recharging systems, timers, smoke detectors, televisions, music players and the computing base stations that replaced the old desktop and laptop computers. One could look in on the baby, tell the refrigerator to make ice, make sure no one was lurking outside the house and plot the predicted course of one’s portfolio over the next 48 hours all while waiting in line for brunch on Sunday, a Portland tradition that evolved when reserving a place in line to get into a restaurant for brunch emerged and “line sitting” became the new side-job money-maker. AppleSoft Inc., creator of the operating system that made “the commnet of things” possible, had recently issued a patch after thousands of such systems installed, on their own, “self-coding security enhancements” and locked out customers not only from their smart devices but from their houses as well.

One trend, interactive chips implanted just above one’s right thumb for those too lazy to swipe a card or punch in a code, had died completely out when it became clear that it was a lot easier for a thief to just knock you down and extract the chip with one quick cut from a sharp knife than it was to steal your smart device or hack into the software running your computing base station.

[Ferguson] had no Transglobal credit card, no bank card or in fact any card that scanned by a certain machine automatically connected to all the other machines tracking his likes/dislikes, bank accounts, spending habits, perversions, inversions, history of melancholia, family of origin, dietary needs, medical misadventures, level of education, certifications, licenses, dispensations from units of government, marital status or lack thereof and location anywhere at any possible intersection of latitude and longitude anywhere in the world.

© Joseph Galligan 2019

Well, That’s What They Would Have Said to Me if They Actually Wanted to Talk to Me

www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-pence-trump-border-wall-lie_us_5c34972de4b05d4e96bc6926

 

So seeing a clip on TV turns into an actual conversation.  Thinking about what he might have said to someone turns into an actual phone call. This reminds me that there are things in my drug-and-alcohol-fueled past that I believe actually happened, but in the cold light of sobriety realize are things I thought should have happened, things that actually happened but not that way or that I simply had dreams about.

As bad as all that is/was, at least I wasn’t President of the United States while it was happening.

© Joseph Galligan 2019

As I Was Saying …

http://www.salon.com/2019/01/07/the-one-reason-trump-refuses-to-reopen-the-federal-government-he-doesnt-want-to-look-like-a-loser/

Early calls to presidents of Mexico and Australia — that will make me look bad. On and on to The Wall and the shutdown he said on camera he is proud to own and now blames on Democrats. Because of the existential blind spot Donnie’s “base” has, it will take him being gone and historians looking back to make it clear that running for President and, through a completely unexpected and perfect-storm series of events, being elected President, that this was never about more than his own self-engrandizement and brand-building. The savvy Republicans in Congress knew this from the get-go, but they were willing to put up with his oafish, criminal nature and the incompetent toadies he installed in his Cabinet to get what they wanted. History will not judge them well. A smart historian will see that And Ryan is an anagram of Ayn Rand.

© Joseph Galligan 2019

New name for old stuff

So I renamed this blog site. A “Wharf Rat” is a clean and sober devotee of the Grateful Dead. As I told someone once, “It was all about the music after all.”  The sinking ship is the ship of fools sung about in the GD song of the same name, which implores you to “don’t lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools.”

May the four winds blow you safely home.

Oh, and flying is getting problematic …

WaPo 1/4/18: Millions face delayed tax refunds, cuts to food stamps as White House scrambles to deal with shutdown’s consequences

In an earlier post I defined a Republican member of Congress as someone who so wants conservative Supreme Court justices and tax cuts that they are willing to destroy a country in order to get conservative Supreme Court justices and tax cuts. Their ignoble leader in the White House apparently is willing to destroy a country in order to get minimal funding for a border wall, the lack of which will not threaten the nation’s security but will make him look bad. That is ALL he cares about. TSA people can’t afford to go to work. Don’t care. People can’t eat. Don’t care. People are shitting (literally) all over national parks. Don’t care. People won’t get tax refunds as expected. Don’t care. I said there would be a wall, and if there is no wall, then I look bad.

If you find this completely insane, you are not alone. But if you think this insanity will move Donnie’s “base” off its adulation of him, you are wrong. They see something in him that you don’t see. This disparity is not political, it’s existential. A political perfect storm brought Donnie into the White House on a wave of existential chaos. The political goal is to get Donnie outta there; the existential one is to give the base reasons to feel less shitty about their existence. When I figure out what that is, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

© Joseph Galligan 2019