The Curmudgeon Returns

I have been called a curmudgeon. I accept that. But more than one person has said that when I am talking they close their eyes, and they can hear George Carlin. This is a compliment of the highest order, but there is nonetheless a price to pay for first noticing how wrong/misguided/fucked up/venal/chaotic/self-serving/distasteful/sick/distorted something is and second pointing it out in the presence of people who could do something about it but are unlikely to do so or in the presence of those who don’t have the power/influence to do anything about it even if they would like to. The price is a gnawing sense of doom that makes it hard to enjoy the little victories the human race manages to eke out once in awhile in spite of itself.

A number of these situations have been piling up in my head due to persistent health issues that have resulted in me spending way too much time alone with my thoughts. I need to make a curmudgeon mind dump. It is seriously wrong/misguided/fucked up/venal/chaotic/self-serving/distasteful/sick/distorted that:

  1. … in one of the debates, Hillary Clinton pointed out that Donnie had paid like zero income tax, and he said he was just taking advantage of the law and that while Hillary was a Senator, she should have done something about it. I never heard one media person bring that up as a bizarre blame-shifting stunt. As if one Senator could change tax policy. A Republican majority in the Senate could do that, and it did, which is why most of those Republicans overlooked the fact that Donnie was basically a disgusting human being who on top of being disgusting couldn’t learn anything but despite all that as President would allow them to kill Obamacare (nope) and slash corporate taxes (yup). Having added to massive budget deficits through these tax cuts they will say that we need to downsize Social Security and Medicare in order to reduce budget deficits, a problem they created themselves. This is much like the old saw about the guy who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that he’s an orphan.
  2. … in another debate, Donnie talked about how we should launch “a sneak attack” on Mosul, I believe it was. If I were planning a sneak attack on someone/something I would not talk about it in a debate broadcast around the world. Commentary on this from the mainstream media or even from the far left media? Nope. They needed to stop at things like this and go no further. Everything else is just noise until you come to terms with a public declaration of a sneak attack. That is how he keeps getting away with it. He knows the crazy thing he says next will distract from the crazy thing he said yesterday.  And anyway, how do you “sneak up on” a city in the middle of a desert?
  3. … Paul Ryan is willing to sacrifice the environment, the health care system and funding of pubic services in order to make a point. I drove through Janesville, Wisconsin, the center of his district, a couple of years ago. I think that ironworker running in his district could do more for old beat-to-shit Janesville than Ryan’s Ayn Rand (an anagram for And Ryan) worldview ever did.
  4. … the single-issue, hand-wringing left wingers continue to leave macro-level issues to someone else so they can feel better about themselves in their own little corner of the world. Many of them failed to comprehend Donnie as a real threat, and they  never even thought a Scott Pruitt was possible.  Ralph Nader was far more responsible for George W. Bush in 2000 than Jill Stein was for Donnie in 2016, but Nader himself pointed out that after the 2000 election he tried to get the Green Party organized at the local level and found no interest. The idea is I get to vote for someone who can’t win in order to feel better about myself and thus help foist a disaster upon the rest of the country. My candidate for the first person to be put on a spaceship leaving for Mars? Jill Stein.
  5. … the elite mainstream media are constantly struggling to catch up with Donnie’s insanity (see #2) because they don’t understand his game. Two people who do understand his game are Stormy Daniels and LaVar Ball. A porn actress (read: has sex on camera for thousands to see and doesn’t see anything wrong with that and thus in her own way is one the most honest people in the public eye these days) and a nightmare sports parent (read: interferes with traditional mechanisms related to the transition from “amateur” to professional sports through bizarre egomania and doesn’t see anything wrong with that).  These two are just like Donnie in many ways and will go beyond conventional “norms,” sometimes way beyond, which is what Donnie counts on as his way to confuse people and leave them uncertain about what he might do next and thus fear him.  In his mind, the more you fear him, the more you respect him.  These two have brought Donnie to a standstill. The opinion writers for the New York Times and Washington Post haven’t done that. Actually, it is likely they don’t want to bring Donnie to a standstill because their high-minded, source-driven response to Donnie’s manic drivel is easy money, thus making their not understanding his game moot.
  6. …  the incidence of black lung disease has risen to historical levels. “It’s not that we’re discovering a new disease,” [study author] tells NPR. “We’re seeing a resurgence of a disease that should have been eradicated.” A coal-mine owner who went to prison for miner deaths is still running for Senate in West Virginia despite losing in GOP primary. “Trump Digs Coal” the signs said. If Dante were writing The Inferno today, the people who are manipulating coal miners and their families would be upside down in that frozen lake. I would like to see coal miners put to work putting the earth back together instead of tearing it apart and creating places where people could have cheap nature-based vacations/recreation from which local communities would benefit.
  7. … a number of paranoid fantasies run through American culture, the primary one being that if I accept some kind of regulation of firearms (such as no semiautomatic rifles in the hands of civilians) then I am opening the floodgates to a government/new world order takeover of society, and I need my AR-15 to battle them when/if this happens because they have AR-15s. First of all, let’s say the new world order actually is coming to take your weapons away, but not only do they have AR-15s, the have F-15s. That is, fighter jets that can vaporize you and your semiautomatic rifle(s) and all its ammunition.  Second, suppose there is some concrete desire by the federal government to hypothetically limit you to one handgun and one long gun per household. Many of you have far more guns than that. How is the government going to go about getting the excess away from you? Trust you to bring them down to the local police station? When you take a nation that is a.) awash in deadly weapons, one that b.) shuttles responsibility for mentally ill people from public and private agencies to pharmaceutical companies to insurance companies and back again and c.) one that is full of disaffected youth due to smart phones creating an alternative but ever-shifting reality, you get one school shooting per week. The reason nothing changes is because one group says it’s the guns alone and another says it’s the mental illness alone and another says it’s the distorted-reality disaffection alone when in fact it’s all three. The only people making any sense and any kind of progress on the fact that the contributions of b.) and c.) are less dire if you don’t have a.) are, in the mode of Stormy Daniels and LaVar Ball, children.  They may fade away and secure no real change, but they are closer to it than the adults  in the U.S. have been since the mid-1990s, when they banned possession of assault weapons.  The adults persist in living under the tyranny of the minority. The children call bullshit on that.
  8. … the company that is urging me as some kind of caring public service to see if my name or information is on the dark web is the very company — Experian — that is responsible for my shit being on the dark web in the first place. I can see how they should make good on this, but they should do it in the context of “we seriously fucked up and here is how we are trying to  make it right” rather than the context of some public service announcement because well, you know, Experian cares about you.
  9. … everyone seems to forget that Donnie has no ideology, no philosophy, no code of conduct, no allegiance to any political tradition. The constant tweeting about Mueller investigation has nothing to do with foreign policy or any policy for that matter. It has to do with a possible taint on his election victory; as if something other than his grandness contributed to what in fact was a perfect storm made possible only by quirks in the Electoral College system and the nomination of a woman that a lot of women in the country hated. Notice that he is saying nothing about the fact the people he hired (terrible managers make bad hires)– Flynn, Manafort, Cohen– are being indicted or soon will be. He is not responsible for their crimes, and he throws them way under the bus. And why is he so warped out about the fact that we don’t have a wall on the Mexican border? Because he made a big deal out of that in the campaign and the lack of said wall makes him look bad, not lack of said wall compromises the security of the United States as he claims (more people of Mexican origin are leaving the U.S. than coming in, for instance). Look at the transcripts of calls to prime minister of Australia and president of Mexico in January 2017. It’s all about Donnie looking bad.
  10. … we as a country continue to accept the transparent PR ploy of giving a name to something that is the opposite of what it really is. Sweetwater portable toilets, for instance.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, for instance. The Harley Davidson workers in Kansas City see it as the No Jobs Act, as in getting shit on in a Sweetwater portable toilet. Etc. and ad infinitum .

© Joseph Galligan 2018

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