Excellent article here for those of us faced with loved ones and friends who appear to be living in an alternate universe (especially if they’re lost in Trumpland): Gaslighting

Nothing much to add to this except that I’m currently wondering if we are all being gaslighted over the huge, really huge outrage regarding Trump’s “hot mike” remarks about sexually assaulting women.

Not that the remarks weren’t awful, but where was the gargantuan outrage when…oh, where do I start?  At the moment Trump went up the down escalator?  He said something about Mexicans being rapists, etc., that day.  Yes, he did.  A lot of his supporters are saying he was misquoted or it was taken out of context, which has become their go-to excuse every time Trump says something that people get upset about (lately there’s a new wrinkle: they just claim he never said any such thing at all even though he did so live on TV — gaslighting at its finest!).  Or else they whine something about “political correctness” oppressing them — and then, when  Trump threatens to sue someone who offended him, and/or his followers threaten violence toward anyone who is offended by Trump, it leaves us in the strange situation that Trump and his minions can say whatever they want, but the rest of us can’t.  It’s the new political correctness, I guess, Trump-style.  Welcome the bold new world, where everything is upside-down.

Back to the subject, darlings, I heard that escalator speech.  That’s what he said:  “Mexicans are rapists…”  In spite of the continued attempts at editing the collective memory of that event, the fact remains that that’s what he said.  No gaslighting allowed.

There was outrage at the remark, but it certainly didn’t stop his campaign.  Since then there has been a new outrage almost every week, sometimes every day.  So what’s different about this one?  Why is this any worse than the other 300 or so outrages?

What I really can’t get through my head is the Republican gasps at his misogynous comments.  They’re upset about something he said about womenReally?

(At this point I really must interject with Mitt Romney’s tone-deaf remark, “these are our wives, our daughters..”  Fine if you’re talking to an audience of all men, or of women like the late Phyllis Shufly or whatever her name was, and all men; stupid if you’re talking on the subject of women to everybody, because everybody includes women, who make up more than half the population.  Dummy, go back and read your binders of women or something.)

The party’s entire platform places women in danger in various ways, and Republican lawmakers across the nation continue to find new and improved ways of raising the danger level.  That’s an established fact.  So if they are going to play the outrage card to the hilt this time, over some misogynous remarks Trump made 10 years ago, (and has attempted to excuse by claiming that he’d heard far worse from Bill Clinton during golf outings), there has to be an underlying reason that has nothing to do with women.

Some have guessed that the Koch brothers are attempting to get Trump out of the way before election day so they can have their boy Pence in the oval office.  Sounds plausible.  Or maybe someone in the GOP finally recognized the very real danger of Trump’s Russian entanglements (the news of which came and went in about a week, without any effect whatsoever) and decided this was a good an excuse as any to try to force him out of the race.

Whatever the cause of the outrage, you can bet it has nothing much to do with Trump’s attitude toward women.  Any claim to the contrary is just gaslighting, and I, for one, am getting damned sick and tired of it.

10/8/16 evening update:
it appears I’m on to something with my Pence guess: writing Pence’s name in

The Republicans are stuck with Trump; there’ll be no forcing him out over a (for the Republicans, fake) woman issue.  All they have left is the futile gesture of writing Pence’s name in.  Of course they would never consider voting for an actual woman as a viable alternative to Trump.  Never.  Which proves my point about Republican outrage over this particular issue.

So now I see the future clearly: he’ll just hang around and in a few days issue some fresh outrage, and all this woman bullshit will be forgotten — not just by him but by the rest of the Republicans.  And if anyone dares bring this up in the future…well, you know, he didn’t say that.

Clueless in New York

As if anyone needed any more proof that Donald Trump has no idea what he is talking about, there was last night’s debate — which also proved that we in the audience have no idea what he’s talking about.  What he presents is a blank slate on which his supporters chalk their fondest wishes, nothing more.

I’m sure he’s claiming he won the debate.  But he also said he lost it because his mike was defective.  Maybe the mike was adding sniffling noises to his gibberish, I don’t know.

As for those sniffling noises, Twitter is ablaze with arguments over whether the cause was illness, allergy, cocaine, or Adderall.  We will never know for sure, because we will never be sure of anything about Trump

All I know for sure is that he’s gotten as far as he has by regurgitating everything that was wrong during the Bush years as if Obama created those problems (he didn’t) and hasn’t corrected anything (he has).   And Trump’s true believers lap up this nonsense.  They get two things out of this: a paper hero, and a continuing excuse to hide from the truth.

And oh yes: he’s white and Obama isn’t.

What Trump gets out of it?  His name in lights, millions skimmed off his campaign coffers into his own companies, and possible Russian backing (they own him, after all) for his further business entanglements (you can’t call them deals) and maybe even in the Oval Office, should he get there.  Oh, and then there’s Deutsche bank.  And all the other stuff.

Let’s just say that it all looks like a huge scheme to bail Trump out of financial hot water, which he is almost certainly in, and keep his name in lights and keep him living in the manner to which he is accustomed.  (One right-wing fanzine site even posted a photo essay explaining why Trump could not live in the icky old White House…it’s not posh enough for him.)

What’s left out of the scheme?  Service and governance, two things Trump knows nothing about.

And no, they are not the same as “business.”  A lot of his supporters fend off criticism by claiming he’s a successful businessman.  See the paragraphs above; he is not.  As a further example, one bank estimated his worth at MINUS $250,000,000.  Even if that’s not true, the jerk’s a definite walking debt-bomb and is clearly looking to make some sort of “deal” by capturing the White House, to get his ass out of the fire.

Even if he were a business whiz, as the current governor of Illinois (a multi-millionaire businessman) is finding out, business and government are two different subjects entirely, involving two different skill sets.  Rauner is quickly becoming famous for stalemate and inaction simply because he is so confounded by that.  (He’s an asshole, too, but…)

Trump appears to have an aptitude for nothing but flim-flam.  He’s known to other billionaires as an empty silver spoon and a swindler.

He’s never even come close to holding public office, and he has no idea at all of what the word “service” means.  In the past 16 months I heard a lot from the right wing about how supposedly unqualified Hillary Clinton is for the Presidency.  Odd that I’m hearing it not at all since Trump got the nomination.  It’s as if the charge was ridiculous to begin with (and it was), and considering what the Republicans have now, no one dares mention it anymore.

Which is to say that Trump is not only patently unqualified, but clueless.  He would have done far better in some other country with “Prince” before his name, but maybe not even then.  Even princes seem to have more demanded of them than he has ever had.  All he knows how to do is maintain his lifestyle, no matter what the cost.

Personally, I do not want to be part of that cost.  I trust not many others do, either.


Of Bullies and Bullying

Just read that none other than Newt Gingrich is suggesting that Republicans need to take time out to learn about their own country.  I was amazed; I thought that was unusually insightful of him.

Then I read another article that quoted another Republican pundit making guesses as to what the Republicans need to do to get back on radar (um…they didn’t lose by much, so I would suggest they never went off the radar, but anyway…).  His answer: make a few of the right noises about Hispanics and marijuana, and continue to blame Obama for everything.

Nothing about shutting the fuck up about gay marriage.  Nothing about zippering Republican mouths when it comes to subjects like rape and women’s rights.

Nothing about fixing the economy.

This, I gather, is from the same sort of person who, as CEO of a company that employs a lot of low-wage labor, vows to cut back on job creation because of being “forced” to pay .15 extra per worker (update: per pizza) for health insurance.

Yes, this is all from the same type of individual.  These individuals are bullies.

I have no doubt that all the answers Republicans have and will come up with to address their current unpopularity will be either inadequate or just plain wrong, because that is the hallmark of bullies: they have no clue.  Like my ex-friend, who is one of them, they were all convinced that might makes right; the election was in their pockets (by virtue of their pocketbooks), Romney would be elected and all would be white with America.  But they did not get their way and now they’re having a fit.  When they’re not having a fit, they’re trying to make sense of it all, but the conclusions they come to do not make sense because they haven’t any sense to base their conclusions on.  Further, they have built an entire news network to reassure them that all their wonky beliefs and conclusions are so correct as to be written in the Bible.  Kind of like the kids’ story The Emperor’s New Clothes.

It’s all Wonderland, Republican style.

That’s why I was so astounded by what Gingrich said.  Sometimes I think he’s a bully with perhaps half a lick of emotional intelligence, which is what bullies lack, and is what is needed to understand what’s going on in the U.S. right now.  But then I look at his history and I think, nah.

I’m going to drag the emerging generals-in-bed scandal into this because it’s another thing with hallmarks of the bully all over it…as in, it does not make sense in any light except a Republican attempt to create a scandal.  It’s a Fox-News fodder type of thing.  I mean, who the hell else gives a crap about what a general does in bed but a Republican trying to control something?

I’ll betcha that’s what it will turn out to be in the end, with a few unintended Republican scalps hanging all over it because, again, they did not see it coming.

This is what happens when you deal with life from the safety and unreality of bully-land, where everything goes your way or else: you get surprised a lot.  And sometimes, you really don’t like the surprises.

P.S. Here’s an ode to the blinkered Republican: Put Another Log on the Fire

Just some post-election musing

I’ve been silent for a long time because I really, really didn’t know what to expect on election day.  As it was, things turned out better than I thought they would, even if they are still not nearly as good as they might be.  The House is still in wingnut hands.  That is not a good thing.

A good thing is I am left to imagine how I would have felt this morning to wake up to the news that a new administration was coming into Washington.  As I said previously, the Romney creature is nothing more than a handsome cloud of nebulous gasses.  I was no closer to understanding  or trusting him on election day than I was the day he declared his candidacy.  In fact, in-between, the cloud had gotten even more dense.

All I can imagine now is that his presidency would have been much like George W. Bush’s.  That is enough to make me shudder in horror.

I have questions as to why the election was so close, but those are based on numerous reports of vote fraud — the vast majority of which seemed to be on the Republican side.  I do have a strong feeling that Karl Rove’s weird freak-out on Fox (you will note that this was printed in Time‘s ENTERTAINMENT SECTION) was because he was convinced in advance of the results in Ohio, probably before anyone even voted, because someone in Prince Romney’s family had bought the voting machines in that state.  Didn’t something similar work very well for George W. in Florida (and Ohio)?

I won’t discuss the rest of it now as few of the stories have been verified and there were only 3 actual arrests that I heard of.  I don’t want to set off a big wingnut assault on this blog.  Oh hell…there will probably be one anyway, because I’ve said unkind things about Prince Romney.  Goodness knows their precious freedom of speech is violated every time someone like me speaks his or her mind, along with their gun rights, their God, their family, and several major quasi-biblical laws which aren’t actually in the Bible at all.

But what came to light with Rove’s freak-out, and also the wig-out of the fluffy coif-king Trump (calling for a revolution, no less — and I ask, by whom and for what?), and sadly also the meltdown of a person who had become a friend of mine in spite of the fact that I was aware that he was friends with one of the biggest-name wingnut radio screamers, as well as several other red flags…well what came to light was that these people had built a fantasy reality with their money and expected the rest of us to abide by it.  And when we didn’t (at least we didn’t in the cases of the Presidency and the Senate), they couldn’t handle it.

No, I am not laying all the blame solely on these three people.  I am aware that there is a deep level of ignorance and racism that exists in so many people in this country that appealing to it very nearly cost the the rest of us the election and very possibly the future of the U.S.  But the rest of us didn’t do the appealing; it is this type of person (the racist with resources) that has been appealing to the fears of the ignorant, and attempting to build a reality around them — a reality in which they, the wingnut elite, were and are the only true voices of the American people.  I lay the majority of the blame on exactly this type of person.  And it is on these people that I will be focusing my spotlight in the months to come.

It is worth mentioning that at one point my ex-friend was lamenting the fact that Prince Romney is a Mormon, and because of that my ex-friend couldn’t possibly vote for him, being an evangelical.  But later on, the ex must have felt desperate, having no other choice.  That was when he turned on me and blubbered and blustered all over my FB wall that the liberals had already lost this election and we weren’t going to change matters by posting jokes about Romney’s “binder” remark on FB.

Leave aside the fact that the ex is a male and I am not.  Leave aside the fact that I was deeply insulted by Prince Romney’s remark and that was the point of my re-posting a joke that was circulating on FB.  No.  None of that mattered.  All that mattered to the ex was that he and his ilk had bought this election with a guarantee that their scheme would work, and snerk, snerk, you little inconsequential creatures, you’ll just have to get used to it.

But it didn’t work.

All the pro-rape teabaggers, I am told, are gone from Congress (I have yet to verify this; certainly Bachmann is still there and goodness knows she’s one of the craziest of the crazy).  Unfortunately, as I said, the House is still controlled by the Republicans, but apparently it is not as extreme a group as it was.  And Romney isn’t president.  Clearly something went terribly awry with the right-wing elite’s purchase.

It’s going to be entertaining to watch them feed on each other.  But I can’t help thinking that perhaps we should feed on them a little.

As I said, I’ll be turning a spotlight on some of this crap in coming months.  Stay tuned.

11/9/12 update: the feeding frenzy has begun: Politics and More Politics.  They apparently don’t recognize that the party’s over, and that it likely won’t be so easy to play the race card after Obama is gone from office in 4 years.  With that element taken out of the game, everything else is going to be much, much harder (unless, of course, the Democrats nominate a woman candidate for president in 2016 — then they can appeal to the misogynists).


Imagine living in such a blinkered world that you have no idea what’s going on right in front of your face.  Okay, so you answered, “yeah, all you need to do is look at the nearest Republican.”  Smartass 🙂

It’s true.  But it still is astounding, isn’t it?

Just think of the recent Republican miscalculations: the Tea Party, Palin, Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, the economy, the environment, the right-wing assessment of the 99%ers, etc.

The teabagger movement, such as it is/was, can be counted as a backfire big enough to launch someone into space.  At its height, it was being touted as “concerned citizens getting involved,” and “patriots,” and blah, blah, blah.  Even with all the gun-toting, threats, and misspellings, no one in the mainline media had many bad things to say about them.  Even when it became apparent that the group was largely composed of astroturf, it didn’t seem to bother anyone enough to comment on it much.  The worst criticism was coming from comedians and bloggers.

At its height, the movement was tiny.  This was another thing that got distorted without much comment.

And then, like any corporate-bred fad, it started to fade.  But this fact was ignored.  The teabaggers were still considered so influential that a Republican Presidential candidate debate was held in the Tea Party’s name.

And somewhere in the middle of all of this, the 99%ers started occupying Wall Street and other financial centers across the country.  Instantly there was a stark contrast that went largely ignored: the contrast between a “created” movement that simply existed to give the impression of massive hatred of Obama, and a natural-born protest movement born of years of economic outrages.

The reaction from the mainline media and the Faux News clowns?  OUTRAGE!  Hippies!  Communists!  Divisive!  Violent!  Losers without jobs who want a handout! Never mind that some 70% of the 99%ers are employed!

Which brings me to my next point: the economy.  Wow.  That was and is beyond a giant miscalculation.  But still, 3 years into the biggest economic failure in modern history, Republicans are still touting the very failed policies that landed us where we are now, and no bankers have gone to jail even though, as I’ve heard it, their outrages continue to the extent that  the U.S. taxpayer could end up paying for bank failures in Europe any day now.  That’s not paying for European WELFARE, mind you, it’s paying for their failing banks, which our banks have been bailing out, and now via some loophole are about to transfer the liability for that to US…meaning you and me.

So let’s look back 30 years, to the Reagan administration (with which most of this current crisis began), and ask, “how the hell was this supposed to work?”  And we will conclude that it didn’t and hasn’t and won’t.

Okay, so here we go:

Start by demonizing the unions.  Then erode the middle class.  Label the wealthy “job creators” and then reduce their taxes so they can “create more jobs.”  Demonize women, blacks, hispanics, and Muslims.  Jews are problematic, so we’ll loudly worship Israel at the same time we quietly hope all the Jews “go home.”  (This is a HUGE dilemma for right-wingers, who are actually quite anti-Semitic, and it is something that they are currently trying to project onto the 99%ers — thankfully without much luck so far.  Projection is a big thing with the right wing; whatever they accuse others of, you can be positive they themselves are guilty of.)

Meantime, ship millions of factory jobs to other countries.  Then demand that everything from janitorial work to CEO requires a college degree — or two or three — and then charge up to hundreds to thousands of dollars for each degree. Never forgive the gigantic loans most students have to have to get through school.  Then declare the degrees aren’t good enough and/or Americans are too expensive to hire (never mind that the biggest expense with most U.S. employees is HEALTH CARE COVERAGE which could be eliminated by that awful SOCIALIZED MEDICINE), and ship as many of the rest of the jobs overseas as we can, and to whatever extent is possible, hire immigrants at subsistence wages  to do what’s left.  Tell Americans that these immigrants are “Doing jobs (you) don’t want to do.”  Make it harder and harder to apply for a job, let alone get one.  Label those without jobs “losers” and condone efforts to keep them out of the job market, even as the government takes away their benefits.  Oh yes…meantime, exponentially increase the cost of housing wildly beyond inflation, even as you populate the builders’ payrolls with low-paid immigrants who are non-union.  Saddle homeowners with huge mortgages, then take away their jobs IF they have jobs.  Then foreclose on homes and call their former owners “losers.”

And oh yes…deregulate.  Promote the myth that regulation is a job killer.

While we’re at it, why don’t we talk about abortion to the exclusion of everything else?  Never mention the word “regulation” even as you are touting policies that would make women’s reproductive organs the most regulated things in the U.S.

Okay, tell me…how was this supposed to work?  And yet yesterday I read in the Chicago Sun-Times — in two columns, no less — that all this crap is still a good idea and we only need to keep making the same mistakes to make them work.  One even said that deregulation is the answer.  I mean, really.

I once heard a saying: if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same result.  And so it may be with the Republicans.  Right now they are rolling on bloated ambition born of their “success” in 2010.  But it’s another miscalculation, because what happened in 2010 was much like what happened in 1994.  I suppose it is only delusions of grandeur that are keeping the Republicans from seeing this.

So I say to them, go ahead, continue your war on women, your war on the middle class, your war on the environment.  Just keep thinking you have the majority on your side when in fact your support amounts to a fraction of a percentage of a minority. Dismiss the 99% out in the streets as hooligans and don’t think for a minute about what their collective  name actually means, or even a second about the set of circumstances that brought them there.

Great.  The more miscalculations, the better.  It may be the way to finally get rid of you all.

P.S. — Watch Old Fart’s take on abortion.  It’s priceless:

The Sandwich Cookie Syndrome

Herman Cain.  Michele Bachmann.  (and even) Sarah Palin.

What do they have in common?  They’re all sandwich cookies.  I’d say the brand name but I don’t want some giant corporate conglomerate on my ass.  They aren’t worth the trouble.  Suffice it to say that the most popular sandwich cookie through the years has had vanilla frosting on the inside and chocolate cookies on the outside.  Other such cookies have different outsides and insides, but usually (not always), the basic scheme is the same: the outside is very different from the inside.

Many years ago I started to notice what I am now calling the Sandwich Cookie Syndrome.  No surprise that the first raging example to come to light was Phyllis Schlafly, that good old-fashioned white-bread “lady lawyer” who just HATES anything smacking of women’s rights, leave alone the fact that without women’s rights, she’d never have entered college let alone law school.

The primary symptom of the Sandwich Cookie Syndrome is that you label everything, but when the labels become inconvenient, then you put “oh, but s/he’s a GOOD *label*,” and the shortcoming of having a bad label is instantly overcome.

To put it simply, if you hate blacks, you support the “good” black Herman Cain.  If you hate women, you support things like Bachmann and Palin — “good” misogynous women.

And how are they “good?”  Well that’s easy.  They just take the conservative view on everything — the more extreme, the better.  Never mind the ironies, conflicts, cruelties, untruths, and outright lies; if you are “good,” they are forgiven because your presence is very comforting to the blinkered set.  Doubt it?  Then explain Cain, who seems to be too thick to accept any truth, Palin, to whom the truth is merely a vague inconvenience, and Bachmann, who is a complete stranger to the truth.  And that’s not even touching the issue of Stupid, which is equally present in all three of them.  But none of this seems to bother conservatives much — at least, not now.

Sandwich cookie-ism an easy ticket for the fame-hungry.  That is, it is an easy ticket until election day.  Then they find out the truth: a black is still black, and a woman is still a woman, and conservatives want neither for President.

And so in the end you are left with media pundits — you know, sorta like Sarah Palin *wink*.

New Heights of Irony

I was just about to comment on Rick Perry getting trounced at last night’s CNN-hosted Tea Party debacle (which I hadn’t seen, but considering the coverage of it, felt like I had), when this was pointed out on my Facebook feed via Americans Against the Tea Party:

‎”Well, I’m offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn’t have a choice.” – Michelle Bachmann on Rick Perry’s mandated HPV vaccinations.

Choice.  Well, ain’t that just the height of irony.

For that matter, I’m offended too, Ms. Bachmann.