DONALD TRUMP: STUPID, GUILTY OR BOTH?

Aquarian Weekly
5/17/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

DONALD TRUMP: STUPID, GUILTY OR BOTH?

The firing of FBI Director James Comey confirms two things; the president of the United States is probably guilty and most definitely stupid.

There is no other explanation for this maneuver; its timing, its politics, it optics, its reflection of the current investigation into his campaign’s role in Russia’s meddling in our national electoral process, or the eventual handling of the announcement. Unless you’re guzzling the Trump Kool-Aid, no one can possibly offer a rationale for doing this, or at least doing this now, that doesn’t end with guilty, stupid or both.

Trump’s letter of dismissal to Comey told the whole tale. The president decided to include an aside about having been told personally by the man he was sacking that he was not directly under investigation…three times; a ham-fisted attempt to deflect the idea that this had nothing to do with being under investigation. By the way, that alone would be grounds to dismiss an FBI director. Whispering in the ear of the subject of an investigation that it ain’t really about him before its conclusion breaks so many laws it is hard to fathom.

Even more idiotic is Trump revealing a previous dinner engagement with Comey to NBC News the following day that included discussions on the director keeping his job. “I told him I’d think about it,” said Trump in the way a CEO dangles career survival as a bargaining chip. Later a NY Times report cited sources close to Comey that claimed the “thinking about it” came with a caveat of “loyalty”, to which Comey said he would provide the president only his “honesty”, something Trump obviously could not abide.

The second part of the letter frames several calls for Comey’s dismissal by members of the Justice Department, more pointedly, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. According to the voices that defended this move over the ensuing 24 hours, like the vice president, two press secretaries (can anyone find Sean Spicer?) and the usual host of spinners, it was Rosenstein’s strong recommendation that Comey be removed that sprang “the decisive president” into action, thus, in essence, laying the responsibility for it on someone else. However, in a spectacular twist of stupidity, the president pissed on all that and once gain told NBC News it had nothing to do with any recommendation. “I was going to fire Comey all the time,” Trump admitted, adding stuff about Comey being “a grandstander” and “a showboat”, which is like Metallica telling you that your band is too loud.

Joining the stupid/guilty party is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who also recommended Comey’s dismissal in print, despite having to recuse himself from anything connected to the Russian investigation after lying to congress about his own potential involvement.

And the reason given for the firing? (drum roll) Comey had destroyed the FBI’s morale and …wait for it…hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Cue laugh track.

Just last week, Trump, painfully unaware he is no longer in a campaign, stood in front of his cult following as they chanted “Lock her up!” and smiled. He repeatedly praised Comey for his “guts” in handling the Clinton email investigation for months and then when he became president not only allowed him to continue in the position, he never once mentioned removing him.

And then he did; just one coincidental day after the recently fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates spent hours presented damning evidence that either stupidity, guilt or both led to the firing of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for his illegal involvement with the Russians. You don’t have to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to sleuth this one.

…Comey said he would provide the president only his “honesty”, something Trump obviously could not abide.

Then, a day after the firing, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appeared before congress and completely refuted the White House claim that Comey committed any “atrocities” (their word) or what the president and his spinners referred to as a department “loss of confidence” in him. In fact, McCabe said Comey engendered “broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” adding, “The vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey.” In other words, for about the four-hundredth time since taking office, (voter fraud, fake news, wiretapped by Obama, ships heading to Korean Peninsula) Trump made it all up.

This is once again a solution looking for a reason.

Now, whether you choose to ignore the glaring evidence pointing toward guilt or explain it away with sub-mental theorizing about witch hunts, no one actually knows if Donald Trump or the dozen or so of his campaign staffers are actually guilty of anything beyond hubris and, well, stupidity, but one thing is for certain, through his erratic tweeting and haphazard reactions to all of it the president sure thinks he’s guilty of something.

First and foremost although he continues to call the investigation and the Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, confirmed by every level of U.S. intelligence community, a hoax, the president has spent an enormous amount of energy and time defending himself. And while mocking investigations against you is classic Al Capone stuff, Trump only echoes the idea that there is something worth mocking.

Secondly, the White House has done back-flips to get ahead of the story at every turn, hoping to thwart its momentum, from releasing bogus info to one of the lead congressional investigators to the aforementioned sacking of Sally Yates mere weeks after she warned the administration of its abysmal pick of a traitor as national security advisor.

And now in this final act of desperation, following his hollow “Mission Accomplished” moment in the White House rose garden hailing a healthcare bill that will certainly be hacked into unrecognizable pieces by a frightened senate and sent back to the House in a body bag, the president disappears for five days before emerging with this bungled firing of the person who holds the most delicate position to nail him.

What shouldn’t be lost in all this is that Comey was really shitty at this job, or at least performing the public face of it. His July 5, 2016 berating of a major party candidate after exonerating her of criminal activity as if she were a kindergarten student was not only unprofessional and idiotic but put the onus on future directors to not only present “just the facts, ma’am”, but add some kind of Supreme Court dissent to each decision. Then, unconscionably, he halted the democratic process of a national election by erroneously leading the American electorate to believe that the same investigation was re-opened on flimsy evidence that wasn’t really evidence.

And while I think Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump had little to nothing to do with Comey’s blatant overreach and clumsy communication, it does not clear him of being shitty.

Even so, this would have been a gutsy move by Trump in January or even February, but now? When Comey was currently requesting further resources to increase the investigation? When Trump had a meeting with Russian diplomats closed off to the media?

Yeah, stupid, guilty or both.

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THE TRUMP CENTURY MARK

Aquarian Weekly
5/3/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE TRUMP CENTURY MARK
Dissecting the Worst First 100 Days of a Presidency

Congratulations to Donald J. Trump. Not since 1933 when they started using this century metric to measure the length and breadth of a newly minted president have we seen more chaos, failure and mayhem in the first 100 days of an administration. This was his aim and now it is his greatest achievement. In other words, this is what the office looks like when it is held by a game show host. Not surprising, but certainly entertaining and exciting and full of the type of lunacy that brings a joy to my black heart and worthy of review.

It would take at least four of these columns to cover this properly. But all of it has to start with the fact that Donald Trump broke a speed record for urinating on the constitution, a pastime of nearly all of our presidents. The second he lifted his hand off the Bible, Trump was in violation of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 for failing to officially divest himself of his business holdings, which are numerous and international and a major conflict of several interests all at once. Then, before long he would replace his top advisor, an alt-right white supremacist web master, with his son-in-law and daughter, both of whom still represent these businesses and are now considered the most powerful people in the U.S government.

This, of course, would soon pale in comparison to how Trump got the gig, which was under investigation within weeks of his presidency when it was learned that the FBI had been officially examining his campaign since July for colluding with the Russian government to skew the outcome of the U.S election in his favor. We have learned, almost daily, that more people inside the campaign than not had either taken cash from or met with Russian officials under cover. Several are under indictment and one, the friggin’ National Security Advisor, General Michael “Lock Her Up” Flynn was sacked after 27 days and is most likely going to jail.

Don’t kid yourself; to be the first president to be investigated within the first 100 days by a bipartisan committee in both houses of congress and the highest law officials in the government is a goddamned spectacular feat. And when it looked as though it couldn’t get more sordid, the White House colluded with one of its lead investigators by secretly handing him erroneous information to back an unsubstantiated claim made by the president via Twitter that the former president illegally wire-tapped his private residence. When this ruse went belly up – several sources including his attorney general and the FBI director said no such thing occurred – he blamed one of the United States most trusted allies, the British Intelligence community.

Election tampering, colluding with a known enemy of the United States to queer an election, refusal to divest business ties and slander is a pretty daunting criminal record for about four months of governing; all of which has earned Trump the lowest approval ratings of any president in his first months in office. The lowest. Not the bottom five or one of the worst, the worst. Ever.

And for laughs, the president, who issued about two-dozen executive orders as if on a drunken binge (something he mocked the prior president for doing), ordered some kind of bizarre and wholly unconstitutional ban on Muslims from entering the country. When it was struck down in court in about five seconds of argument he issued a second one which was then immediately struck down in court. Both remain there and will do so until someone enterprising nut adds an amendment to our constitution making it legal for the government to discriminate on the basis of religion, which I am rooting for but has zero chance of happening.

In other words, this is what the office looks like when it is held by a game show host.

But crimes are not the only thing that has stamped this as the absolute worst 100 days in presidential history; save for William Henry Harrison, who summarily dropped dead on day 31.

There was the complete and utter collapse of a seven-year Republican promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Despite owning both houses and the executive branch, they twice failed to even vote on Trump Care, which was viewed by both parties and the majority of the American people as some kind of aborted half-assed band-aid on the existing law everyone apparently hates…except they really don’t. In fact, Donald Trump has turned out to be the law’s best advocate, as it has not only grown in popularity in polls but people have come out of the woodwork, ala the TEA Part uprising against it, to decry its doom, consequently spooking members of congress all over the place.

This turned what is usually a honeymoon period wherein the first legislative attempt is always (not sometimes) always achieved into a historically damaging crash and burn. All of it despite the entire Trump staff threatening members of congress (all Republican) with every known political black-ops in the ledger along with the kind of pathetic pleading that has people believing Donald Trump is actually some kind of decent negotiator.

Oh, the deals and winning we expected…oh, the losses we’ve seen.

Trump has also ignored staffing a majority of the state department and other key departments that still at the time of this writing have 2,000 vacancies. And his choices to run pretty significant government agencies have been downright hilarious. Just to name two (I’ll leave off Ben Carson, who begged Trump to not give him a job, because he was incapable of doing it) an EPA Director who tried to sue the EPA several times and the head of the Energy Department who vowed to shut down the department of energy when running for president, but couldn’t recall its name when declaring it. “Oops!” Oh, you know, the same guy said Trump was “a cancer on the Republican Party” during the primaries.

Trump wasted no time declaring war on the American press calling it “the enemy” or “fake news” whenever it pointed out his daily delusions, not the least of which was framing his three-million popular-vote loss in the general election as “massive voter fraud”. Let me stop for a moment and explain that the winner of the election screamed for weeks that the entire electoral process was fraudulent. Oh, and after saying he would have no time to golf once president, Trump has spent more time playing it and used up more tax payer money in the first four months on travel to do so than eight years of the previous president. He even held nuclear strategy sessions at his own non-classified golf resort called “The Winter White House”. This included the flipping of his already nebulous position on Syria in 24 hours and ordering a bombing raid on a whim over chocolate cake.

For more fun, he compared the U.S. intelligence community to Nazi Germany, joined the Pentagon in lying about Navy war ships speeding to the Korean Peninsula during a contentious week of saber-rattling with a lunatic, defended a talk show host who was eventually fired after millions in payouts for sexual harassment, while several cases against his own sexual harassment are pending. He settled on fraud charges against his bogus Trump University despite promising to fight and win the case and tweets incessantly that every massive protest against his wacky presidency (and there has been hundreds every weekend since his inauguration all over the nation) are funded by the Democratic Party.

He has taken completely opposite positions on issues he vehemently campaigned on like regarding Chinese manipulation of currency and the legitimacy of NATO, which he admitted in print he had no idea about, and reneged on everything listed under Trump’s Contract with America (still on his web site) guaranteed to be completed in his first 100 Days; Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act, End the Offshoring (tic) Act, American Energy and Infrastructure Act, School Choice and Education Opportunity Act, Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act, Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act, End Illegal Immigration Act, Restoring Community Safety Act, Restoring National Security Act, Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act.

And guess what, folks? Remember the infamous border wall? Mexico ain’t paying for it. Not now or in any fantasy con this guy is whipping up. And if there is a wall, highly doubtful at this or any juncture, you’re paying for it.

To be fair, he did appoint a candidate for the Supreme Court, which was confirmed by the Senate, even though they have blown up the entire rule structure for all time. There’s that.

“Politicians are idiots, they don’t know what they’re doing,” candidate Donald Trump said repeatedly on the campaign trail. Now he is president and proving this with tremendous alacrity.

By any standard or metric measuring for the past 80 years this has been one whiz bang, horrifyingly beautiful shit-circus of a presidency.

I cannot wait for the next 1,300.

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WHEN AN ARMADA IS NOT AN ARMADA

Aquarian Weekly
4/26/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

WHEN AN ARMADA IS NOT AN ARMADA
And Doomsday is Delayed For a Lark

We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. We have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this: he (North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un) is doing the wrong thing.
– President Donald Trump to the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, April 12, 2017

In the case of our super-mighty pre-emptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes.
Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper for North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party, April 20, 2017

Take a moment from your latest freak-out about something nonsensical and pay attention to the following paragraphs that detail one of the most dangerous and egregious fuck-ups our federal government has perpetuated on us since 9/11. Luckily this time thousands weren’t killed and buildings didn’t disappear in our greatest and richest city.

At the outset I must admit that after nearly 100 days, I am starting to get a handle on this President Trump thing. Rightly accused of lying his ass off nearly every time he opens his mouth is kind of missing a more pressing point. I think it is not so much lying as it is making stuff up that he thinks of on the spot with little to no actual factoids or tangible premise involved. It’s like talking to a four year-old about space men without the cute voice or some imaginative asides. Trump just plain makes stuff up. And this is nothing new. He has been doing this for decades and did so at an alarmingly hilarious rate when he presented himself for the job of President of the United States and then won the right to perform it. Now he has taken this art form or mentally damaged tick (you choose) to new levels.

I do not have the time or the inclination to recount the entirety of Trump’s craziness here – we shall “try” and review the obligatory First 100 Days metric next week. Right now we will concentrate on one spectacular doozey, then move onto something seriously flawed in our Democracy, which has nothing to do with Donald J. Trump.

Before the president employed his “make shit up on the spot” stylings to this monumental screw-up, let us go back to April 8 of this “foul year of Our Lord” 2017, when Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., the head of the military’s Pacific Command publicly announced the diversion of an aircraft carrier called the Carl Vinson, its wing of fighter jets and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers from a planned series of exercises and port calls in Australia to complete a new mission in the Western Pacific, more specifically the Sea of Japan, and far more essentially, the Korean Peninsula.

This was fairly important (okay, I will suspend sarcasm for a moment) fucking gigantically pertinent information for the American public and the world, mainly due to North Korea being run by a murderously wild-child monarch by the name of Kim Jong-un, who has recently upped his usual saber-rattling about launching nuclear missiles towards the United States because daddy didn’t love him.

Seeing how the current commander-in-chief, also riddled with daddy issues, is embroiled in several scandals and wants to appear like the tough-guy he “made up” during the campaign, it appeared from that announcement that conflict was nigh – and not just any conflict; nuclear war level conflagration or millions-die-in-an-instant kind of level.

Summarily, all the news outlets, even the real ones, reported this maneuver. And when asked about this in the ensuing days, the ninth, tenth, eleventh and especially April 12, the president, vice president, White House press secretary, defense secretary, the Pentagon, and the guy who played the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Easter Bunny (damn it, it is so hard to abandon sarcasm completely here) confirmed and even detailed a show of military force heading to what could easily be framed as a war zone, and has been since the Korean Conflict of the early 1950s “ended” without an official treaty.

..maybe if we are fixing to turn islands into cinder on our dime and maybe brace ourselves for retribution it might be okay to give us the head’s up?

The government and the press told us the United States was basically calling the bluff of a loon with nuclear weapons with its own barrel of severe weaponry over and over and over for eleven days.

Then it wasn’t happening.

It never happened.

Totally made up.

All of it.

Not one iota of this potential major, world-changing event happened or was happening.

We found out about all of this more or less on April 18.

Do I have to write What the Fuck? Or should I merely go with the more accepted acronym WTF? Or maybe I should just move this whole operation down to Australia and bid the rest of you suckers adieu.

Then, for the purposes of perspective, whatever the hell that is, we’ll fast forward to the fallout, which enjoyed the predictable political spin-doctoring acrobatics perfected by more worthy semi-truth tellers on military schemes from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama.

But I expect presidents and the Pentagon to lie. Part of it is strategic, some parts are to keep people alive, still other parts include a heavy rotation of “Can’t help it, man.” However, I am trying to figure out why we even have a press corps. Is it to show us funny cat videos; because I have YouTube for that. Is it to have six boxes of talking heads yelling about who sucks less, Democrats or Republicans? Is it to better position one’s self to sexually stalk fellow employees? I need something on this, because I would like to know how nearly two weeks go by with notions of nuclear holocaust dancing in our heads with no one in the government, the military or the national press knowing what the hell is going on with our war ships?

I know it’s too much to ask for competent chief executives or basic legislation or even anything approaching sane decorum, but maybe if we are fixing to turn islands into cinder on our dime and maybe brace ourselves for retribution it might be okay to give us the head’s up? Or if this is not too much to hope for, not make all of it up.

But then again…

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The Trump Doctrine

Aquarian Weekly
4/19/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE TRUMP DOCTRINE
Spoiler Alert: There Is None

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy. I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”
– President Donald Trump to the Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2017

When an unhinged simpleton is commander-in-chief of the most power and richest armed forces on the planet you get the week we just had.

Let’s review.

Under mounting evidence that key members of the 2016 Trump campaign committed high treason in colluding with the Russian government, a known and hostile adversary of the United States, to intervene on its behalf in this country’s previous presidential election, President Trump dispatched his heretofore missing-in-action Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Turkey to proclaim that “the longer-term status of President [Bashar] Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.” This sent neo-cons like Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain into the predictable tizzy, but it did echo the president’s oft repeated vow to be a different Republican and the new voice of “America First” to stay out of the civil wars of foreign nations with little to no lasting sovereign or fiscal interests to the U.S.

This was especially prevalent to matter of Syria, where not only had candidate Trump shrugged his shoulders about Assad, using the “We should have left Saddam Hussein in power because a tough dictator is far more stable than the mess that emerged in the vacuum after the failed maneuvers of the Bush Doctrine”, he doubled down with a constant and almost creepy defense and praise of Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin throughout 2016.

Citizen Trump famously tweeted his advice on this issue in 2012 to the former president, “We should stay the hell out of Syria, the “rebels” are just as bad as the current regime. (caps are his) “WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO.”

Then, with no warning beyond a four-minute aside by Tillerson prior to the arrival of the Chinese to Trump’s private residence in Mar a Largo, Florida, no discussion with congress, or any announcement to the American people, the president dramatically shifted his stance, more like violently spun the whole thing around with dizzying speed, bagging the very foundation of his campaign’s divergence from the usual “fix the planet” Republican mantra of the Bush Administration he unmercifully mocked for over a year by bombing an Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. Something Citizen Trump thought better of in 2013 when someone else had this gig, judging from his tweet tsunami on the subject: “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?” and “Obama needs Congressional approval. The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”

This was of course in response to the horrific photos and videos taken after Assad’s chemical weapons dump on Syrian civilians, many of them children, the week before. Trump had commented on how affected he was by them, which is noble and human and no one blames him. However, Trump no longer hosts a TV show and gets up at four am to angrily tweet about shit he knows little to nothing about. He owns this now, and by owning it, he owns America’s role in the greater construct of foreign affairs and relations. This is something, again, an unhinged simpleton is learning on the job, and this past week the very notion of a Trump Doctrine has been laid to waste.

During all of this, while consuming in his Louis XIV style meal and what he described to FOX News as “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen” with Chinese Presdient Xi Jinping at his aforementioned luxury accommodations a thousand miles or so from D.C., Trump gave the orders that upset several international apple-carts. First and foremost, American military personnel are working mostly under cover in the fight against ISIS (the only reason we are in the country in the first place) had to summarily evacuate missions, the Russian government, under heavy suspicion of meddling in the American election by congress and the FBI, has a reed-thin agreement on overt military action, especially from the air, as there are daily missions to ostensibly defeat ISIS as an ally, and finally pushing us head first in a civil war in which there are no allies or strategic end-game.

Beyond the president acting like a tough guy and playing with his boats in the bath, what exactly does any of this accomplish?

One is right to ask about the moral imperative for the United States to not sit idly by and watch children slaughtered by a mad man, but if this kind of thing, which has gone sideways now since 2001 in two other countries, and went mostly badly in Libya for the previous administration, (another maneuver derided by TV show Trump) then one might ask what “help” does bombing one airbase actually do to curtail Assad or his ability to wreak havoc on his people? And one also then has the right to ask what to do about Assad, to which Trump has offered no plan, except to punt any thought of removing him from power, which before Tillerson’s fancy speech in the final days of last month was the official stance of the U.S. It no longer is, or is it?

Then there is North Korea.

Trump gladly admitted this week in a lengthy interview with the Wall Street Journal he had no idea about Chinese/North Korean relations, its history, or how complicated all this “curbing” the lunatic, Kim Jong Un would be. Yet this didn’t stop him from blathering on about Un and North Korea being “in trouble” and sending what he described as an “armada”, actually the 97,000-ton USS Carl Vinson with an escort of a guided-missile cruiser and two destroyers, to the Korean peninsula heightening tensions there beyond anything seen since the early 1950s when this country was in a conflict there known as the Korean War.

Beyond the president acting like a tough guy and playing with his boats in the bath, what exactly does any of this accomplish? And let’s say there is an all-out war where thousands are killed and the North Korean situation is “taken care of”, who pays for the reconstruction and all that fun stuff that this president vowed to eliminate from the federal government’s responsibilities in lieu of American jobs ignored by fixing the world’s problems that all the stupid weak politicians prior to him got mired in?

Before the week ended apparently the Pentagon, which has unilateral approval from the White House without express consent from the president, unleashed the largest bomb since the atomic blasts in Japan over sixty years ago on ISIS tunnels at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And so I ask, and not rhetorically, what is the Trump Doctrine?

Bush Doctrine? Aggressive vengeance and nation-building.

Obama Doctrine? Diplomacy and stasis.

This has been replaced by seat-of-the-pants knee-jerk nonsense.

Let’s see how that works.

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GOVERNMENT ZERO

Aquarian Weekly
4/5/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

GOVERNMENT ZERO
What Transpires When People Who Hate Civics Run Things

Last week, after seven years and over 60 attempts to fashion legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the entirely Republican-controlled federal government failed to do so. Badly. Shamefully. Sadly. This was without question the most devastating political defeat a president has suffered within the first 100 days in office in my over half-century of citizenship and by far the silliest. It was damned fun and pretty exciting stuff, but what we’ll deal with here is what does all of this tell us about our present governing edict?

Answer: There is none.

And that’s the point.

That was the point of exploiting the TEA Party movement.

That is the point of Donald J. Trump, business-man-and-chief.

First off, when a major political party stands for less government or in some cases no government intervention or control over just about anything, and then that party gets into power, things get sticky. Not unlike the non-vote to authorize troop deployment in Syria in 2015, even after fear/war-mongering to beat many bands and being prompted by the last president, this non-vote tells a larger tale.

It is harder to put your name on a clusterfuck than merely calling it one.

As stated above, no less than 60 times Republicans in congress voted to repeal the ACA, knowing full well the then president, whose name has been attached to it as Obamacare, would veto it. No muss, no fuss. Those are merely protest votes. Period. Protesting is fun. Better yet, mocking it, calling it names and vowing to have better and more effective policies when you’re not entirely in charge is a piece of cake. I know. I do it all the time. So do you. It’s like coaching from your couch or the upper deck. It is loud and gives you a measure of joy, but it is more or less meaningless.

For instance, Trump said about four hundred times during his campaign that he would repeal and replace the ACA on his first day, which, of course, is insane, like almost everything the candidate said for 18 months and by the way continues to say as he deals with several policy failures and about two-dozen scandals now that he’s in office. Then he said it was more “complicated” than he imagined. Then he said he loved the “terrific” bill, and then not so much. Then he threatened and charmed the opposition, and when it looked like no one was buying his bilge, quickly distanced himself from it. Finally, in a hilarious turn-about in trust in the national media, called a reporter from the dreaded “fake-news” Washington Post to declare he was pulling the whole shebang due to lack of support.

This is the very definition of meaningless; like saying for over a year, “Who’s going to pay for the border wall….Mexico!” And then release a budget that has you and me paying billions for the damn thing; nary a pesos involved.

You see once promise-a-minute Donald Trump started spouting his wildly out of control and highly ill-informed unicornian nonsense about giving every American “better” and “cheaper” health care, a bomb went off in anti-government land. And since the speaker of the house has no principles and is merely a political hack trying to cobble together a tattered legacy from project shit-storm, he tried to make the thing work, despite the fact that eight-out-of-ten polled thought his bill sucked from every angle.

Trump said about four hundred times during his campaign that he would repeal and replace the ACA on his first day, which, of course, is insane, like almost everything the candidate said for 18 months.

Most importantly, and deliciously ironic, is the fact that the Freedom Caucus, a right-wing TEA Party produced gaggle of non-politicos, who could not govern itself out of the proverbial paper bag, and who only sit in these seats because of the abject horror that the original passing of the ACA engendered among the great unwashed, hated it. And no amount of fancy reality TV, New Yawk real estate, Negotiator and Chief blather about “Vote for this to make me look good even though I have no fucking clue what’s in it” was going to change that. These guys were sent to Washington to stop government, not participate in it. Some idiot on the radio probably thought this would change when a president with an R in front of his name pulled into town; which explains the idiot on the radio, but still amounted to failure.

Or maybe not?

If the point of governing, according to say, the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution or other things that apparently no longer matter, means debating and voting and all those noisy difficult, complicated things, then this is a horror show. But if it means just stopping anything from really getting done and stripping the people of the right to clean air and checks on corporate corruption and such, then this is a rousing success.

Because for the time being this is Government Zero, a less-is-more axiom that really prefers nothing. And we will find out if this experiment works. Maybe it does. But that won’t matter either, for the last variable in this equation is us.

Until the past few weeks more than half the American people did not like the ACA. Yet, almost seven out of ten polled loved what was in it. Then once congress and El Douche started pitching its dismantling, the law’s popularity shot up to over 60 percent.

Now you figure that out and get back to me.

And while you’re chewing on that, the House of Representatives, voted to eliminate ISP privacy rules, which means corporations can purchase your internet browsing history. The head of the EPA just lifted the ban on using pesticides on your fruits and vegetables. And if you’re Muslim, look out.

All this “stop government from doing anything” is up for debate, and has been for centuries, beginning with the “four accepted theories” for the origin and purpose of government; natural, divine, social compact, and force.

Blame the Greeks, specifically Aristotle and Plato, who theorized that humans are political beings by “nature” and could not survive without some form of government in place. Blame God or His questionable spokesman for prophesying that government is ordained from some aborted Ten Commandments template. Blame John Locke, who spent a lifetime trying to project the idea that government was purposely created by humans because they realized there was something missing to protect them and ensure their way of life. Then blame every empire that rose up from our thorny civilization for using conquest to impose government on fill-in-the-blank.

Now we can blame Donald Trump and the 115th Congress of the United States for our present stasis, which presents a fifth theory; Government Zero, in which government is in place to deny government’s origin and purpose.

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HEALTH CARE: HERE WE GO AGAIN

Aquarian Weekly
3/15/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

HEALTH CARE: HERE WE GO AGAIN
An Agitated Psalm to the Curse of Deja Vu

Somewhere in my sordid past I must have made a spate of grievous errors; terrible miscalculations in both vocation and idle interests. It is the only way to explain my obsession with politics, which started frighteningly early, before sex or drugs or even rock and roll. I have no idea what possessed me, perhaps television or the NY Post or Dick Nixon going down in flames. And then along the way, in a long stretch of misbegotten youth, I lost my mind and studied journalism, becoming focused on “covering” such things. Luckily, after several and varied odious pressers, I realized full-time journalism was the way of damnation. So I stumbled here; almost two decades ago now; all leading up to one morbid afternoon of watching the speaker of the house give a power-point presentation about some shit-addled falderal called “The American Health Care Act: Part Forty-Six – This Time Its Personal”, and thought to myself, what the fuck is the point of humanity, if it comes to this?

We have now reached the nectar of pure nihilism as an alternative to absorbing the information that comes daily from Washington DC. Even with a raving lunatic TV character in charge and the Republicans running everything in sight, we are presented with yet ANOTHER health care bill – to be bandied about with I am sure the type of hyperbolic frivolity that led to the last one, which tossed the country into the kind of cauldron that would force an Ayn Randian wonk like Paul Ryan to spend nearly forty agonizing minutes droning on about how it does this and that, and if not for its passing the streets will run red with our blood.

I am sure those who voted for Donald Trump were under the impression that somehow, beyond his entertaining nature and always bizarre ranting at all hours on the teen-scene Twitter machine, things would be radically different around here. But look, mama, they talkin’ health care laws agin!

So the party that slowly began to take over due to the outrage of one health care law is now presenting us with another, and their argument is that this steaming pile of shit is better than the other one because the other one is so horrifying it will sink the whole of the universe. Of course these same idiots told us about death camps and the sinking of the universe in 2010. The universe is still here and there is nary a death camp, although Ryan is now using his clicker to switch power-point slides revealing more details about his fucking giant government take-over of health care to replace the last fucking giant government take-over of health care.

Makes me long for Saturday morning tweets from The Donald accusing the previous president and the government he now runs of wire-tapping his fancy Fifth Avenue tower because Ed Meese’s towel boy needed radio ratings and made the whole thing up. Of course, unlike his Birther ruse, El Douche forgot he isn’t a reality TV dork any more, he’s the goddamn leader of the free world and has direct access to and power over the machine that supposedly “wiretapped” him, but instead spends seven days and counting trying to convince the great unwashed that he needs an investigation. And the great unwashed, fully accepting that his tax returns are still under double-secret probation audits and are forthcoming, are eating it up. All of this, of course, is another in a series of ham-fisted Manhattan Real Estate Style smokescreens to make us forget the White House is being run by the Kremlin.

Back to Paul Ryan, who is starting to look like that scene in Woody Allen’s Love & Death wherein he’s dancing away with the grim reaper, because, hell…why not? There is no fucking way on the Good Lord’s green earth there are enough votes in the senate for his turd and slowly the congressional “freedom caucus” that shut the government down to defund the last health care bill ain’t buying any of it; no matter how many kiss-ass dinners the president hosts for Ted Lyin’ Cruz.

But oh, wait, another one-party ramming of a bill is a-comin’, because despite no hearings on this puppy, there was a secret all-nighter within Republican committees to prepare this for a vote. Sound familiar? Switch Democrat for Republican and it’s 2010 all over again.

the party that slowly began to take over due to the outrage of one health care law is now presenting us with another, and their argument is that this steaming pile of shit is better than the other one

Still to come; the three little letters that will make everyone cringe: CBO. The Congressional Budget Office has yet to let us all know how much this boondoggle will cost, which is why supporters of this monstrosity are trying to dine-and-dash this fucker before Easter recess and the sweat begins to form on the foreheads of the weak. Meanwhile, no one on the right has the balls to just say, “Hey, guess what? Government run national health care cannot work here, because this is not Canada, it is a republic made up of states, and each one has a different mechanisms to administer this gigantic headache and this is why the last one has not worked out as planned, and if people have to die, well then, people are dying in the Middle East every day, shit we just killed over a dozen kids in Yemen two weeks ago.”

This is what Paul Ryan really thinks, but he is stuck in this hypocritical netherworld of repeating past mistakes, because the monosyllabic chief executive in the yellow hair-hat told everyone he had a fancy, beautiful, terrific gangbuster health plan where everyone is covered and its cheap and it washes your dog and gives you head and makes your car payments and tickles your grandma’s fancy and zippity-fucking-doo-da we all great again! And now he’s stuck standing in front of live cameras and pointing at a slide show telling everyone about ANOTHER HEALTH CARE BILL and we’re stuck, or check that, I’m stuck watching it.

Yeah, I made some grievous error somewhere along the line. But it ain’t nothin’ compared to whatever salt shaker this poor bastard Ryan knocked over.

May Allah have mercy on his tainted soul.

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MORE FUN WITH THE RUSSIAN THING

Aquarian Weekly
3/8/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

MORE FUN WITH THE RUSSIAN THING
Attorney General Commits Perjury In Expanding Cover-Up

“кто-то виноват”

It has now become a weekly thing for an official of this current administration to commit some kind of malfeasance and seemingly every other week for something to emerge that ties the president of the United States to Russian meddling in the 2016 American democratic process. And daily for someone in the “Alternative Facts” White House to call this avalanche of obfuscation “fake news”.

Mere hours after Donald Trump used his gratuitous address to congress to put on a dog & pony show for the masses, reports started to surface that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions had lied to the same government body in early January about speaking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. Making things more interesting is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation – the same one that re-opened the investigation on the Democratic candidate – knew about all these shenanigans in September. And to really throw some syrup on this stack, so did the then sitting Democratic president.

Of course, the argument goes, as a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Sessions would be on the schmoozing list of any suck-up ambassador. However, none of the other 28 such members, including its Chairman, Arizona Senator John McCain or for that matter Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was the VP of the opposing party, spoke to him. It should be noted that Sessions was a Trump supporter and an unofficial advisor to the campaign, meaning he was an untraceable liaison within the government working for a presidential candidate.

Yet, despite having two documented meetings with Kislyak; one in July (yeah, the same months when WikiLeaks released the hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee) and again in September, two months before Election Day, Sessions told congress he met no one in the Russian government. There are many names for this kind of thing, but the most accurate is perjury.

For your amusement, turns out this Kislyak’s resume reaches back to the 1980s during the Cold War and the Soviet Union, which makes this tastier since a “former” KGB Agent runs the country and for whom our president holds a school girl infatuation.

Now, to be fair, I am not in any way shape or form shocked or even dismayed an attorney general of the United States has committed high crimes. This is part of the job description, at least since the dawn of this republic. You could barely squeeze into Madison Square Garden the list of A’s G who make Sessions look like a choir boy. However, it is getting more than a little curious how many Trump supporters received sweet cabinet gigs who have a direct connection with high Russian officials during an election season that was clearly tainted by that nation’s government.

In other words, it is getting more and more difficult to believe that there was no collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government to fuck with the American Election in favor of his candidacy. This is not to say that it is a slam dunk like Weapons of Mass Destruction or anything, but there was far less evidence of an Obama Administration cover-up of the Benghazi disaster, yet the federal government conducted seven separate investigations to the tune of 6.8 million of our tax dollars on them.

It should also be noted that this space called for the 42nd president of United States to be led from Pennsylvania Avenue in shackles when he committed perjury about getting blow jobs. I would say we are in deeper waters here.

The attorney general did at least recuse himself from actually investigating this mess. Still Democrats and some Republicans are lining up to call for Sessions to step down from his post, which is stupid in both theory and practice, because as a private citizen he could hold this thing in the courts for years; one of the perks of Richard Nixon resigning when he did, thus allowing Gerald Ford to pardon him. It is best to let him defend himself from his post until he’s taken to prison.

As I write this another AP report is flashing that three weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump Jr. spoke at a private dinner in Paris organized by an obscure pro-Russia group that promotes Kremlin foreign policy initiatives and has since nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yikes.

it is getting more than a little curious how many Trump supporters received sweet cabinet gigs who have a direct connection with high Russian officials…

All of this apparently wasn’t enough for the Trump Follies (this guy has only been in office for less than two months), as once again former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, sacked for Russian ties during the summer, decided to go on the Today Show and guilt-stammer for 20 consecutive seconds before saying something that sounded like sentences connecting a coherent thought on the matter. And for some reason some enterprising agent booked a very strange man named Carter Page on the Trump Trashing Network, MSNBC.

Page is clearly insane and did a wonderful job displaying this for nearly a half hour of prime time when what was once the Trump Campaign foreign policy advisor and the founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital, a “consulting” firm specializing in the Russian and Central Asian oil and gas business, told the host he spoke to the very same Sergey Kislyak during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

My guess is these are sloppy side-surrogates stumbling around painting the president as some kind of victim of the press, the Oscars, Macy’s, Rosie O’Donnell, you name it; which gets us back to what appeared to political laymen as an utterly senseless address to congress by a president who is not asking it to declare war or presenting it with a massive roll-out of proposed legislation. But to those who have not lived in the NYC area these past four decades of Trump they are missing the bigger picture.

Rolling El Douche out there to look “presidential” and to gain favor of the Republican majority is a ploy; plain and simple. Rally the troops, so to speak, before the deluge. So was dragging into this nonsense the wife of slain Navy Seal William “Ryan” Owens as a sympathy prop. The botched raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen suggested by ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and rubber-stamped by Trump, despite reservations of the former president and several commanders, for whom the president saw fit to lay the blame, made it even more imperative to present a classic Manhattan-style public relations smokescreen. It also speaks volumes on how mass deflection serves this particular president.

Remember, it was this past October beneath a torrent of bad press and general outrage over an audio clip of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, the candidate pulled a similar stunt flaunting women that Bill Clinton allegedly abused. Hence, the bigger the blowback the better chance Trump has some mud on him. This is the rule we learned in the 1980s during his very ugly public attacks on his discarded ex-wives.

Whether all this show biz and the preemptive attacks on reporters that have uncovered this chaos as enemies of the people will keep the wolves at bay is anyone’s guess. But all of this sure as hell looks like the desperate actions of someone with something to hide.

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OUT LIKE FLYNN

Aquarian Weekly
2/22/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

OUT LIKE FLYNN
Or How To Go From Inauguration to Constitutional Crisis in 25 Days

This dawning of the Trump Experiment could have gone two ways (since we eliminated “business as usual” from the get); surprisingly efficient or horribly wrong. Less than a month in it is careening towards the latter.

A bumpy start tumbled into erratic (fabricated hissy fit on non-existent massive voter fraud) and embarrassing (insulting foreign leaders, alienating Mexico), then weird (some piece of grift theater called “alternative facts” and whatever you call that press conference this week), onto combative (blaming the media for everything; “Leaks are real, news is fake”), and then, of course, the really illegal (unconstitutional executive order on immigration ban) until finally we found ourselves dealing with the treasonous. When the National Security Advisor resigns amidst an egregious international scandal worthy of some cheap spy novel before the ass groove in the main chair at the Oval Office is comfy, we’ve got problems.

For the record, I whole-heartedly agree with the president’s defense that his administration is not in chaos, we’re more into the territory of outright mayhem now.

So what happened to the ousted General Michael Flynn?

Well, for one, he allegedly did a lot of talking to a foreign diplomat before he had the gig about that country’s sanctions that the then standing president of the United States implemented due to Russian interference in the 2016 American election. And when this little nugget was leaked, he lied to the vice president and anyone within the administration, which now includes fibbing to the FBI, which opens this puppy up to a felony. All of this would be considered merely a sack-able offense if it didn’t already reek with greater intrigue.

Lest we forget that there is more evidence that the Russian government and its despotic figurehead, Vladimir Putin fucked with our election to skew the results towards the current president than anything Hillary Clinton did with her emails. In fact, the president has spent months defending every untoward thing Putin has said and done. So what looked kind of fishy and downright illegal has blown up to this headline: “Trump Worked with Putin & Russian Government to Circumvent U.S. Election as a Bloodless Coup to Power”.

And with apologies to Oliver Stone and Glenn Beck, this ain’t crazed speculation by half-assed conspiracy geeks. This, thanks to these Flynn revelations, is now highly probable. There is a now pretty good chance the current president of the United States made deals with the Russian government to partner with them in every nefarious shenanigan it plans on enacting over the next four years in exchange for a little “help” during the campaign. This coupled with Trump’s defiant refusal to divest himself of his business interests now makes him officially a puppet of the Russian government or at the very least a compromised chief executive and likely an easy victim of blackmail.

Just to make this juicer, the president has ties to a $500 billion Exxon/Russian oil deal that is scuttled by the current sanctions, and it smells even worse when considering Trump’s secretary of state is a former Exxon CEO with, you guessed it, long-standing relations with the Russian government.

To Trump’s credit, this level of high crimes usually takes a president years to cobble together. This is a man who gets things done.

Of course, this pattern of a resigning Trump confident with a direct connection to a despotic foreign government began during the campaign, as his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort was eventually booted due to first predictable denial and then under the pressure of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a reluctant acceptance of reality; a rare trait for any official in and around this circus. Shortly after the election intelligence reports reviewed by both the president-elect and his predecessor revealed without question that the Russian government’s leaks of private emails within the Democratic National Committee were directly connected to favoring a Trump presidency.

Favorite coincident of the week: The day Trump went ballistic on the White House press corps for continually pointing out his habitual lying, Putin made a public decree to squash anymore media “fawning” over the American president.

In true El Douche idiom, the president is now diverting attention away from this steaming mess by stressing that the real crime is the illegal leaks that buried his national security advisor, which, of course, is hilarious considering for the final month of his campaign he cited numerous leaked emails to prove Hillary Clinton’s guilt on a number of fronts and famously begged the Russian government to keep on hacking their way to more Clinton revelations.

To Trump’s credit, this level of high crimes usually takes a president years to cobble together. This is a man who gets things done. In less than a month he has turned whatever is left of this government into a freak-show tent worthy of the main room at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City if that hadn’t gone belly-up.

Good news for Trump on two fronts. Flynn is a decorated general. Similarly, Oliver North was an entrenched lieutenant colonel, who kept Ronald Reagan out of prison. What you don’t want here is a disgruntled lawyer on your hands, ala John Dean. They tend to sing. A lawyer gets you a helicopter out of town. A tight-lipped military goon helps you get an airport in DC named after you. Second, and far more important, is the GOP runs the entire legislative branch, which would usually be stumbling all over itself to get in on this. But rest assured, one fantastic gift the Trump Experiment keeps giving us is revealing the spectacular hypocrisy of this dysfunctional congress, which spent four years over nine useless Benghazi “investigations”, but will never touch this.

The formally big-bad, morally impregnable House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz has already stated that he won’t even pursue an investigation into General Flynn, never mind the president, who knew about this atrocity since January 23 and did nothing about it until the Washington Post got involved. In fact, as late as this past weekend some mouth-breathing shit-stain named Stephen Miller, who doubtless grabbed a cool gig at the White House on the strength of photos he was going to post on the Internet last summer of Trump peeing on a German hooker, defended anything the president did as some kind of religious experience. I half expected him to start speaking in tongues instead of whatever monosyllabic falderal he rolled out for the networks.

Either way, this will buy us more time on the Trump train, which for my money is the most entertaining ride of a life-time.

Keep it coming.

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SORRY…NO “DO-OVERS”

Aquarian Weekly
2/8/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

SORRY…NO “DO-OVERS”

The President was very clear during the campaign whether it was economic security or national security that he has an agenda that he articulated very clearly to the American people and that it is his job to lay that vision out and that the people who he appoints and nominates…their job is to fulfill that and if they don’t like it then they shouldn’t take the job.
– Press Secretary Sean Spicer, White House Press Briefing; January 23, 1017

The above quote originally addressing the sacking of former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce the president’s mostly unconstitutional and highly controversial executive order temporarily barring refugees entry into the United States from seven terrorism-specific countries should be the general rule going forward. And every American must come to accept this. This goes for those with perhaps buyer’s remorse or maybe those who woke up in mid-January and realized that because they voted their conscience a crazy man is running the free world or whatever mass hysteria Donald Trump has and will ignite in this country over the next four years.

Spicer is right. The president was quite clear, in fact, loudly and passionately so, perhaps more so than any candidate before him, about what he planned on doing if he were to win the White House, which he did. And now he is going about his business. He told you he was going to be the bull in the china shop, so stop complaining.

There’s no “do-overs”, folks. Or as we used to say, “no give-backs” or “backsies”. Trump is president and it doesn’t matter what transpires from here on in beyond legal avenues, like with the Patriot and Affordable Care acts, parts of which were deemed unconstitutional or at least got their day in court. This is now temporarily the way of the U.S. of A., and it’s time to come to grips with it.

This goes for the new record Trump has achieved by being the first president to dip below 50 percent within a week of taking office since “approval ratings” were first gathered by George Gallup sometime during the Great Depression over 80 years ago. To further illustrate this dubiously spectacular achievement it took Barack Obama 936 days and George W. Bush 1,205 days to reach a majority disapproval rating. And this number ain’t going up anytime soon, it would seem.

But where do they find these people? Four months ago they could have prevented this, but over half the eligible populace failed to vote. So I assume a good portion would have likely been just as pissed at Hillary Clinton. But, then again, Trump has gone hog-wild on executive orders. He’s signed 19 in two weeks, which if extrapolated out over four years would be accumulate to a tick under two thousand by the end of his first term.

Remember when Republicans went nuts about Obama’s executive orders and called him a tyrant? And remember when Democrats defended each and every one of them? Just the opposite is happening now. I actually heard Speaker of the House Paul Ryan say the other day that everyone should take a deep breath and not over-react to Trump’s aforementioned “Muslim Ban”. Wasn’t he the guy who warned of “Death Panels” an hour after the ACA was passed?

Or course he was the same guy who, based on his principles, could not immediately endorse the candidate who would be president during the campaign. Principles? Yeah, he has principles like one and half a million people were at the inauguration and Trump was only speaking in metaphors when he said all the things he is now doing and for some reason people are having hissy fits over. Ryan is a shallow and unprincipled political hack, but he’s at least dealing with the fact that Trump is president and not some alternative-universe dreamed up by Kellyanne Conway’s hallucinogenic fever dreams.

Trump told you he was a maniac; “very clearly”.

We all understand that Trump was already the least popular president in half a century to be elected and the only one since tracking began to have as quick a disapproval rating; not to mention taking the worst beating in the popular vote for a successful campaign. We all knew this for the interminable 20 or so months this thing dragged on, and now there’s all this shock and grief?

Things we also knew: Trump is in Vladimir Putin’s back pocket, diplomacy is alien to him, he’s afraid of Steve Bannon, and he had no interest in divesting himself of any of his current business dealings; if you ask, he is under audit and cannot address it, even though this is a completely made up excuse.

According to Market Watch this morning the Wall St. crowd has now realized Trump was not fucking around about alienating our top two largest trade partners in China and Mexico by threatening penalty trade tariffs and using the force of the federal government to control the means of production by penalizing companies for building plants wherever they damn well please. In other words, socialism. In fact, this is the very definition of socialism, so if somehow Trump’s time-machine could take us back to 1988, when I dabbled in such trite and debunked political concepts, then I might be digging all this.

But as it is, I do far less drugs now and stopped living under the delusion that any government can do a damn thing about the unfair nature of life or cease progress or to make everything peachy keen for the feckless and frightened among us. You grow up, or you live in a spoiled rich-kid’s bubble and become president or sit at home clutching your lunch pail and wish for daddy to give you your factory back.

Regardless, I am not sure that after two weeks anyone could seriously render a verdict on someone they don’t already have figured out. And, again, I ask: What does it matter? Minds have already been made up. Votes have been cast. Shenanigans were afoot, and will be again in two years for the mid-terms. But none of this should be Donald Trump’s worry. He’s a busy man wondering what Meryl Streep thinks of him. Trump told you he was a maniac; “very clearly”. He is now president. He can maniac-it-up all he wants.
No “Do-Overs”.

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“ALTERNATIVE FACTS”

Aquarian Weekly
2/1/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

“ALTERNATIVE FACTS”
What The Trump Era Can Teach Us About Our National Illusions

When world-class political flack, Kellyanne Conway uttered the gorgeously provocative and spectacularly honest phrase “alternative facts” to defend some nonsense blathered by the White House press secretary at the behest of our paranoid new president on NBC’s Meet The Press, it conjured up the kind of joy in my soul that is rarely sparked. Only a true poet can take the magnificence of all-things and parse it down to a hymn to the human spirit. Conway is an artist. And artists are inspired by muses, and there is no greater muse to the delicately trained ears of this reporter than Donald J. Trump.02-01_af

And like Rosa Parks, whose seemingly trite refusal to move from her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus became the symbol of the burgeoning Civil Rights movement 61 years ago, the goofy defense of how many people showed up to Trump’s inauguration has become, thanks to Conway’s abstract reasoning, a teachable moment for our republic.

Now, firstly, one is right to ask; what exactly is an “alternative fact”?

Before, say, the Beatles, there was this thought that popular music had to be massaged through several layers; songwriters, performers, managers, public relations firms, record company geeks, etc. The Beatles changed all that by becoming all of these. Don’t fool yourself, this is what the mastery of the artist formally known as Citizen Trump, but in this space will forevermore carry the nickname El Douche, has done with the word “fact”. It is taking an absolute and transmogrifying it before our eyes; a science meet art meets steaming piles of crap principle that speaks volumes.

To wit: Prior to this historic appearance on an otherwise dull sixty-minute program originally founded on political discourse but slowly deteriorated over the years into a mind-numbing spin-cycle, a “fact” was “a piece of information presented as having objective reality” or “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Fact: The earth revolves around the sun.

Alternative Fact: The sun revolves around the earth.

Those unfamiliar with genius might call such a thing a “falsehood” or even a “lie” or at the very least the evidence of stupidity. This is wrong. These definitions miss the point of Trump and the United States of America. The concept of an “alternative fact” is not new, but somehow, through the creative machinations of a true mastermind, it has shed light on our national delusion that has and continues to forge ahead unbounded, and, miraculously, never gets called into serious question. Nay, it gets celebrated and passed on with pride.

Now, in politics you are expected a measure in truth-bending, but this is child’s play compared with the symphony of madness Trump wielded for over a year. There was one point in which I was unsure if Trump wasn’t some kind of Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton satire or maybe the entire thing was happening in his/our head like Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas or Scientology. (A man running a campaign for political office continuing to say he is not a politician is worthy of Lewis Carroll). However, Conway’s admission that we can now deny that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit by simply saying it does not puts on trial the very nature of our American tradition of “Alternative Facts”.

Here’s one that will get Conway wet; Columbus discovered America.

This is a monumental “alternative fact” that we not only celebrate but continue to teach in schools to our children, who one day may grow up to use phrases like “alternative facts” with a straight face on television, purportedly sober and not joking.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica (soon to be outlawed under the Alternative Fact Executive Order): “During four separate trips that started with the one in 1492, Columbus landed on various Caribbean islands that are now the Bahamas as well as the island later called Hispaniola. He also explored the Central and South American coasts.”

Or…Columbus never set foot on North American soil.

This is fact.

Alternative fact: Columbus discovered America.

Also included as bonus “alternative facts” is Columbus “discovering” anything, as there were indigenous peoples inhabiting these lands and the always amusing “proving that the earth was not flat”, which was first determined by a Greek philosopher named Pythagoras in the sixth century B.C. and corroborated many times thereafter.

I can hear Conway moaning now.

I know this makes me hot.

One of the epic “alternative facts” of recent times was the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, which was the grounding principle of getting the richest, most powerful nation in the world embroiled in a multi trillion-dollar desert war, costing thousands of American and Iraqi lives and dozens of other horrors.

Fact: Iraq had no WMDs.

Ah, but that ordeal pales in comparison to my lifetime’s greatest “alternative fact”, which is still not widely known. Chances are you are reading this for the first time, but please (unlike Conway, Trump or whatever is going on in the White House right now) check my research: North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against a U.S. destroyer on “routine patrol” in the Tonkin Gulf on Aug. 2, 1964 and North Vietnamese PT boats followed up with a “deliberate attack” on a pair of U.S. ships two days later.

What was known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which resulted in the egregious Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, providing President Lyndon Johnson unchecked aggressive powers over all of Southeast Asia, and as a result, unleashed the Viet Nam War, the most damaging useless conflagration this nation has ever endured. For fun and frolic, this later laid the foundation for the kind of powers granted to daddy and son George Bush to enact their highly questionable forays into Iraq.

If Kellyanne Conway is not cumming by now, I can’t imagine why.

Debunking other “Alternative Facts” include:

Pilgrims did not host the first Thanksgiving.

Paul Revere never declared “The British are coming” nor did he even make it to Concord.

There were really only twelve original colonies, not thirteen.

Teddy Roosevelt nor his half-assed Rough Riders ever stormed San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War.

Abner Doubleday did not invent baseball.

in politics you are expected a measure in truth-bending, but this is child’s play compared with the symphony of madness Trump wielded for over a year.

This barely scratches the surface of “alternative facts”. So, I ask, how can a country that lives comfortably with illusion be equipped to defend against the kind of bullshit it is fed from every corner from history books, politicians, the media, agenda-motivated bloggers, and the like? We are programmed to accept the “alternative fact” from our religious institutions, schools, and other myopic groups that aim to gather us in like a mindless flock to march lock-step into a mass hallucination.

This explains the popularity of television, which, in turn, gave us a Donald Trump.

Hey, when you’re forced to put your hand on your heart and pledge allegiance to your country, as if you are a potential insurrectionist, in the first grade, it tends to dull you to mind-games.

And so we thank Kellyanne Conway and El Douche for their continued harping on the pointless defense against fact like a nearly three-million shellacking in the popular vote is the result of dead people and illegal aliens and there were more people seeing the Trump inauguration than anything ever in recorded history or the Mexican government and not the American taxpayer will be paying for a border wall or the president did not brag about assaulting women, he loves them.

Their unyielding dedication to this time-honored craft has allowed us a short but meaningful stroll down bullshit lane, which, of course, will change nothing, as we will continue to swallow our “alternative facts” and hold parades on fantasy holidays, and, I guess, believe anything Trump tells us. But at least we will know we are full of shit, so then we can’t blame everything on the Chinese.

“Alternative Facts”: An American tradition since a slave owner wrote “All men are created equal.”

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