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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2007, 03:49 PM
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Trump's gridlock with Congress: Short term blessing, long term concern?

So Donald Trump's second attempt to repeal and replace the ACA looks to have about as much promise in succeeding as the first. The budget resolution bypassed a large deal of Trump's desired draconian cuts to government agencies. And "the Wall" remains a mere figment of Trump's sad, ever faltering not-so-beautiful mind.

And all of this failure with a Republican controlled Congress, no less.

So this is all a good thing, yes?

The short answer is, yes, it's a good thing. It's always a good thing to see those who want to dismantle functions of government denied like a blocked shot right under the basket.

However, I can't help but consider the unique situation we're in right now, and the type of person who is in charge. And I see what is currently a blessing potentially morphing into a concern if the situation turns dire.

Donald Trump is not a normal person. That's an understatement to say the least. He does not think like a normal person, like a normal politician, like a normal human being. As we saw yesterday, he has demonstrated no deep knowledge of history nor any desire to learn about history. He publicly blamed the Constitution for the inability to get more of his agenda passed. So he has no deep seated respect for the Constitution, except talking about his views on the Second Amendment to get him brownie points in front of NRA conventions.

We already know that he has little respect for the courts, especially when they dare to challenge his desired course of action. We first saw that manifest itself during the campaign when we saw his comments about Judge Curiel, the judge on the Trump University lawsuit. Later as President, he attacked the judges rejecting the implementation of his travel ban, calling them "so-called judges". Sure, he appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, but it was a task I believe he probably delegated to others in the administration (my guess it was Mike Pence). He only really bothered to brag about Gorsuch when it became clear it was his only real notable accomplishment of his first 100 days.

To Trump, courts are typically hindrances and annoyances (unless in the instances where he decides to use the power of the lawsuit to his own advantage...then, they are okay, but strictly for that purpose.)

But what happens when the other branch of government also becomes a stumbling block to his agenda? Will he just take it, and decry the entire process as unfair, in which case he'll just moan and complain? Right now, that's more or less where we're at in terms of his relationship with the legislative branch.

Or will the man who openly admires autocratic strongmen both past and present take his animosity towards the other branches of government to another level not yet seen in this country?

Right now, we still have at least the workings of a Constitutional series of checks and balances (even if all the branches are controlled either by Republicans or Republican appointees). It's an easy thing to take for granted because it's always been like that for the past 241 years in this country. Even at our worst, we've never had a President with the temperament or inclination to want to upset those checks and balances.

Until now.

And, no, he can't just waltz in and abolish the other two coequal branches of government. I strongly believe neither the American people or elected representatives of both parties would stand for that in the here and now. Impeachment would be swift, nearly unanimous and bipartisan.

But that's not considering the situation of Trump acting in a crisis situation. A major war (with North Korea? Sure, why not?) Another 9-11 scaled terrorist attack. Massive civil insurrections. Something like that. It doesn't have to be created artificially, although it could be. (Let's not forget that most historians think that the Reichstag fire was actually set by a German dissident and not the Nazis themselves, but it didn't stop Hitler from exploiting the incident for all it was worth.)

If we're suddenly thrown into crisis mode, all bets are off with Trump (especially if he continues to keep company with the likes of Steve Bannon). A crisis could give Trump the impeditive to actually act on his urges as opposed to doing what he does now, which is just bitching and moaning over Twitter. I'm not convinced that his authoritarian desires are simply a puffery act. I'm not convinced of that at all.

He's demonstrated he has little respect for the judicial branch. And what we see right now, while undoubtedly welcome, could show that he has little admiration for the workings of the legislative branch, too.

Let's not let our guard down. We're still in quite the perilous situation with this Madman in charge.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue May 2, 2017, 11:41 AM (0 replies)

"The hackers were paid by the Trump organisation, but were under the control of Vladimir Putin[ ]"

The December memo alleged that four Trump representatives travelled to Prague in August or September in 2016 for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers”, about how to pay hackers secretly for penetrating Democratic party computer systems and “contingency plans for covering up operations”.

Between March and September, the December memo alleges, the hackers used botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs and steal data online from Democratic party leadership. Two of the hackers had been “recruited under duress by the FSB” the memo said. The hackers were paid by the Trump organisation, but were under the control of Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration.


If that's true, and intelligence confirms this....holy balls.

And it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

Why do I think that tidbit--and the possibility that it was confirmed--is what caused all the grim faces from the Senate Intelligence Committee after their FBI briefings a couple of months ago?

That's major, major, major stuff.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Fri Apr 28, 2017, 03:25 PM (138 replies)

So you see the guy across the street viciously beating his wife.

Because you think time is of the essence, rather than just calling police, you decide you need to confront the guy yourself.

But before you go, you decide to call the guy's best friend (who you yourself are in debt to).

The guy's best friend calls the guy, and he runs out of the house before you get there.

And when you get to the guy's house, instead of checking on the wife, you just decide to kick over the guy's trash cans by the curb. To send a message.

And the next day you see the guy beating his wife again.

But it's okay. You don't need to do anything else.

Because you showed you were strong and decisive.

And that you sent a message.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon Apr 10, 2017, 10:35 AM (39 replies)


Title card: POLICE DEPARTMENT, 9:12 AM


(Interior: Interview room. A woman, MARY ADAMS, sits at the table. She is the housekeeper of DANIEL TUTTLE, a man suspected by police of hacking another man to death with a three foot machete. Interviewing ADAMS is DETECTIVE DEVIN NUNES and the CAPTAIN.)

DETECTIVE NUNES: So you're telling me that you witnessed Mr. Tuttle bury the murder weapon in his back yard, just to the right of the big oak tree?

MARY ADAMS: Yes. Absolutely. I know what saw.

CAPTAIN (to DETECTIVE NUNES): This is great stuff. I think we've got this guy just where we want him. Now we just have to carefully make sure all our ducks are in a row, cross our Ts and dot our Is, and then make our move.

DETECTIVE NUNES: Gotcha, Captain.

Title Card: TUTTLE RESIDENCE, 9:47 am


(Exterior: DETECTIVE NUNES, alone, approaches DANIEL TUTTLE's front door and knocks on it. TUTTLE opens, wearing a robe with a cigarette in his mouth.)

DANIEL TUTTLE: Can I help you?

DETECTIVE NUNES (flashing badge): Detective Nunes, Homicide. I just want to tell you that your housekeeper has informed us that she witnessed you burying the murder weapon right over there in your backyard, just to the right of that oak tree....(pointing).....right, right over there. That tree. Riiiiiight under there.

DANIEL TUTTLE: So....you have a search warrant or something?


DANIEL TUTTLE: Well, are you here to arrest me?


DANIEL TUTTLE: I always knew Mary was no good. I feel....somewhat vindicated.

DETECTIVE NUNES: Well....see ya! (Walks away, whistling)

Title card: POLICE DEPARTMENT, 10:05 AM


(Interior: The CAPTAIN's office. The CAPTAIN sits at his desk, and DETECTIVE NUNES enters the office.)

DETECTIVE NUNES: So I went ahead and told Tuttle about where we know the murder weapon was buried.

CAPTAIN: You did what?

DETECTIVE NUNES: Yeah, just figured I'd give him a heads up on everything that's going on.


DETECTIVE NUNES (surprised): Wait, should I not have done that?


DETECTIVE NUNES: Oh, oh well. Sorry. My bad. Oops!


DETECTIVE NUNES: Anywho, I'm starving, so I'm going to call it a day and grab myself a bite to eat. Catch you tomorrow!

CAPTAIN: Ahh......

(Fade to Black)

Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Mar 23, 2017, 02:54 PM (2 replies)

Regarding the tea leaf reading of Diane Feinstein's body language after the Comey meeting yesterday.

Have you ever been in a situation in your life where you have a suspicion that something bad has gone on, that all signs and evidence point to something bad having gone on, but before you receive definitive proof of that bad thing, it's still just theoretical and out there in the ether?

And then you finally receive proof positive confirmation that what you've suspected all along is in fact the truth, and it just slams you like a huge blow? Even though you've been proven right, because of what has just been proven right is such a downer, instead of wanting to gloat, you just feel absolutely dejected because it proves the worst in people? That you'd rather be proven wrong because the truth is so much worse of a reflection of people?

I honestly think the Senators in that meeting received proof positive confirmation that the person who is the sitting President of the United States colluded with a foreign power in order to influence the US presidential election. And that is horrible and that is unprecedented in this country's history because it weakens us. Our national sovereignty and independence was compromised to the core.

There's no reason for Diane Feinstein to be smiling or feel smug about that. There's no reason for any of us to smile or feel smug about that. It's the truth, the utterly depressing truth.

When the US House committee began to vote to start impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon following Watergate, some of the members voting had tears in their eyes as they voted yes. The tears were not for Richard Nixon. The tears were due to the gravity of the situation and the sobering truth and undertaking they were being called to carry.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Mar 16, 2017, 09:59 AM (178 replies)

The inherent flaw in the "Trump will bring on the progressive revolution!" argument:

The argument that Trump winning is a good thing because it will only serve to inspire true liberals to rally and bring about a progressive revolution--basically what is being championed by people like Susan Sarandon--is an ultimately flawed one. Even if it is well-intentioned, I don't see it succeeding.

Why is it so flawed? Because of who Donald Trump is. The reasons that Donald Trump is so loathsome and so offensive and so odious is not merely a matter of partisan politics or ideology. Rather, it's the inherent nature of the man--his narcissism, his megalomania, his vindictiveness, his impulsive anger, and yet his paradoxical incompetence or outright refusal to delve in deeper to various issues in order to come up with solutions on his own. All of these attributes are not merely the markings of a bad conservative or a bad Republican. Instead, they're simply markings of a bad human being and leader, period. Democrats would be just as ill served to have Donald Trump as their leader just as much as Republicans.

Donald Trump is such a horrifically flawed leader and human being that he pretty much makes anyone else a more attractive alternative.


Right now, America and even Democrats would be willing to suffer through four years of President Mike Pence if it means Donald Trump implodes in flames and crashes and burns.

Right now, George W. Bush--a man who lead the country into an unnecessary and destabilizing war and who oversaw an economic collapse--is viewed as a more palatable alternative than Donald Trump. George W. Bush. Yes, really. George W. Bush. That's astonishing yet sadly the truth, that George W. Bush, who merely eight years ago we all thought was the true bottom of the barrel when it came to US Presidents, is no longer the standard bearer for terrible leadership. And yet, it's pretty much a sad reality. Even as terrible as George W. Bush was, Donald Trump is indeed worse and a greater threat to our long-term stability as a country.

So if the overall effect of the Trump Presidency is to grab America by the neck and hold it there until it cries "Uncle!", whatever follows next--sparing possibly a President George Zimmerman--would be viewed by the public as a better option. And it wouldn't necessarily be Bernie Sanders who comes to our rescue. Or even Hillary Clinton. It could be someone like Mike Pence, who could still impose a lot of long term damage to the country minus the inherently dangerous Mutually Assured Destruction element that Donald Trump has brought us.

Those on the hard, hard left--as admirably principled as they may be--fail to see the forest through the trees in the situation. Not everyone shares their worldview, even if maybe they ought to. Not everyone will be rushing to have Donald Trump replaced by a progressive, ideologically pure icon of the left. There are a lot of people who will settle for anything to avoid the seemingly certain death Donald Trump will bring to this country.

That is why it was a foolish, short-sighted mistake to think that we'd rather deliver the country to the clutches of Donald Trump then have another four years of moderate, left of center leadership in the form of Hillary Clinton. Yes, the entire country will soon be screaming to be saved from Donald Trump. We're already starting to get that sense already. But not everyone will be calling for a true-blue progressive revolution, even if they ought to be doing so. So while there's a chance that type of revolution would come around, I wouldn't necessarily keep your hopes up that it will.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Feb 16, 2017, 10:32 AM (19 replies)

**EXCLUSIVE** White House releases transcript of telephone call between Flynn and Russian ambassador

Note: On December 29, 2016, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn spoke with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. The conversation took place shortly after President Obama had ordered additional sanctions on the Russian Federation over what they believe was Russia's interference in the U.S. political process. In light of recent events and accusations surrounding the administration, President Trump, and General Flynn, the White House has made the decision to release the entire transcript of the conversation between General Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak so that the media (FAKE NEWS!) is not able to distort the events that actually took place and falsely libel former or current members of the Trump Administration. The conversation, in full:

(Dial tone, followed by three rings and a pick up)

Sergei Kislyak (SK), Russian Ambassador to the United States: Hello?

Michael Flynn (MF): Hello, I'd like to place an order to go. I'll take one extra large, half cheese, half pepperoni--

SK: Who is this?

MF: A large sausage, some stuffed cheesy bread--

SK: Who is this?

MF: A medium veggie lovers, just because, you know there's just always going to be someone who asks for that--

SK: Who is this that is speaking?

MF: This is Michael Flynn. This is Domino's pizza, right?

SK: No, this is not pizza place. This is Sergei Kislyak, Russian ambassador.

MF: Oh. Oh, I'm sorry.

SK: It okay. Don't worry. I get this wrong number a lot. People call up, ask for pizza, it be very annoying. I think there is one number different.

MF: You know, the same thing happens to me? Except for me, it's Wendy's. People call up and keep asking for Wendy's. Which doesn't even make sense, because Wendy's doesn't even deliver, so why would anyone be calling them?

SK: You right, you right, it makes no sense at all.

(Five second silent period)

MF: So....

SK: Yeah....

MF: Hey, did you see Moana?

SK: Actually, yes, I did. I take grandchild. Lovely film. I love, who he called?

MF: The Rock.

SK: Yes! The Rock.

MF: Do you smell...

SK/MF (together): ...what The Rock is cooking!

(Laughter, followed by another five second silent period)

SK: Say, Michael, while I have you on the phone--

MF: Yes?

SK: Well, I like to talk to you about san-

MF: The San Francisco 49ers? Bad, bad season for them. Looks like Chip Kelly's out the door. Maybe the same for Kapernick. But hey, if they draft well enough--

SK: No, I really like to talk about san-

MF: Sangria wine? Great for parties. Made some for our family Christmas get together this year. The key is to get good juicing oranges. Valencias, not navels--

SK: No, no, no, no wine. I mean san--

MF: Santa Claus? What did Santa Claus bring this year? Well, I'll just say that somebody got themselves a new X-Box........

SK: Sanctions! I talk about new sanctions President Obama put on Russia today!

MF: Whoa, whoa! Hold on there, partner. I've got to be very clear here. Donald Trump's not the president yet. So whatever decisions President Obama makes are his, and I can't comment on them, nor can I make any promises right now on whether or not we'll be able to lift them once we get to office. You understand that doing that right now would be highly inappropriate and probably illegal, right?

SK: Yes, yes, certainly. Don't worry about it. Besides, I'm sure my boss will probably just throw out weird statement like, "It okay. I no expel US diplomats in retaliation."

MF: Of course, and then my guy would be like, "Great move on delay by Putin. I always knew he was very smart!"

SK: He probably Tweet it!

(More laughter, followed by another five second silent period)

MF: You know who I should probably mention that I'm having this conversation with? Mike Pence.

SK: Mike Pence? He man everyone ignore at Republican convention, right?

MF: Yeah, but he's just a swell guy. Just a really great guy. And of course I should always mention everything I do to him so that he has his input. I mean, since he's going to be Vice President and all.

SK: Yes, yes. Of course. But you know?

MF: What?

SK: It the holidays right now. He relax, he on vacation. You tell him now, chances are he forget. Very annoying.

MF: Hmm, you might be right. So you're saying maybe I should wait a little bit?

SK: Just little bit. Maybe.....maybe wait until Valentine's Day. You know, say it with chocolates.

MF: That's not a bad idea.

SK: Or maybe even Easter, or Fourth of July, or Labor Day....Oh, I know!

MF: What?

SK: You tell him on one-year anniversary of today! December 29, 2017! You take him to dinner, look in his eye, and say, "Mike Pence, you very special to me. I love to tell you everything. Like one year ago today I talk to Russian ambassador."

MF: Oh, that's perfect. Sergei, you are an absolute genius!

SK: Oh, stop! I just....know people.

MF: It's going to be a blast working with you.

SK: But you no worry about this upcoming year. US and Russia, Putin and Trump, they going to be great friends. We no mention at all how Trump owe so, so much money to Russia businessmen. Nor we mention time he pay for prostitute to pee on bed.

MF: Well, thanks, that's very good to know.

SK: And we certainly no mention about time when Trump in Moscow and Russian mafia take him and force him to be hit man for them and kill those four people.

MF: Well, yeah, that just goes without saying.

SK: Well, I better let you go now. Sounds like you have pizza you want to eat.

MF: Yeah, yeah, you're probably right.

SK: Oh, wait, Michael. One more thing.

MF: Yes.

SK: Sangria recipe. You must give it to me, okay?

MF: Oh, of course. You won't regret it, trust me.

SK: We all have it together one day. You, me, Donald, Vlad. Don't forget to invite Rex. He love drinking with Vlad. They do shots, crazy stuff happen, lots of people die. Very much fun. You never forget it.

MF: Sounds like a plan. Talk to you soon, Sergei.

SK: Da svidahnia, Michael.

(Phone disconnects, end of call.)
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Feb 14, 2017, 12:41 PM (10 replies)

You guys are getting it all wrong. It's actually called the Bowling Greens Massacre.

The Bowling Greens was the name of an extremely successful bowling team from Mason City, Iowa comprised of four brothers: Earl Green, Bob Green, Phil Green and Billy Green. Together, they formed a seemingly unstoppable powerhouse in the North Central Iowa Summer Bowling League that won six consecutive league championships from 1949 through 1954.

However, what happened on the fateful evening of June 27, 1955 would shake the close-knit bowling community of Cerro Gordo County forever.

It was a tragedy of unmistakable proportions. The four brothers were scheduled to compete in the famed Shibboleth Open that night. All four men planned to arrive at the Mason City Lanes separately an hour before the tournament was slated to begin. Yet for reasons that challenge the faith in the almighty of many, God choose to pick all four men off one by one in most cruel of fashions.

It was Phil Green who was the first victim. While driving his milk delivery truck, a cat ran out in front of him. As his widow would attest, her husband was an avid animal lover who could not stand to see any creature in peril. He quickly swerved his truck to avoid the creature, but was unable to avoid the stately oak tree that would greet the front of his truck. Police announced Phil dead at the scene.

Next to go was Billy Green. A highly superstitious man, Billy had bowled seven consecutive games over 250, which he attributed to the fact that he had neglected to shave on the first day of his lucky streak. As such, Billy had developed quite a finely coifed beard during the time. However, as he refused to be beholden to slovenliness, he insisted that the beard remained neatly trimmed with a pair of scissors he kept by his sink. After taking a shower before preparing to head off to the lanes, Billy walked towards the mirror and grabbed his scissors. What he forgot was the discarded remnants of his bar of Lifebuoy directly below him. Maneuvering to trim his beard, he inadvertently stepped on the soap on the floor. He lost his footing, and the scissors in his hand were rammed directly into his throat. Undoubtedly his last moments bleeding out were most painful and he likely cursed the facial hair that up to this point had given him so much good fortune.

Unlike their brothers Phil and Billy, Bob Green and Earl Green both made it to the Mason City Lanes that evening, but they would not escape the night's fate. Earl arrived first, and not seeing any of his brothers at the time, proceeded to start a practice round of his own to hone his game. While clutching a can of Heileman's Old Style in his right hand, on the sixth frame he approached the ball return to take his lucky ball that he had nicknamed Marsha. As luck would have it though, while shampooing the rug, the alley's maintenance man had ripped a seam in the carpet that morning right below the ball return. Unlike Billy's fatal fall, Earl's stumble over the shorn rug was quite mild. But it was enough to send his Old Style flying toward the ball return, soaking the mechanism. Not one for expertise on electronic machinery, Earl didn't see the harm in reaching for Marsha as the suds bubbled and fizzed on the return. What awaited him was a shock, quite literally a deadly one that was powerful enough to stop his heart. People around him called for help and rushed to his side, but it would not turn out well.

In a cruel twist of fate, Bob Green arrived at the Mason City Lanes on the opposite eastern side of the building, as opposed to the western side he usually came in. As such, he missed the legion of paramedics wheeling his brother Earl out the door on the western side in preparation for what would be an ultimately futile ride to the hospital. Not seeing his brothers there, and being rather hungry at that, Bob proceeded over to the lane's concession stand and ordered himself his regular choice of a hotdog with fries. Unbeknownst to Bob, however, that week the lane had ceased its orders from its regular hot dog supplier, Walter and Sons Family Farms, and had instead gone with the more economic option in Stenson's Pork and Meat. Stenson's had a notorious reputation of trying to lower the overhead by cutting quality control, and in what would blossom to a statewide pandemic, it released upon the unsuspecting public dozens of trichinosis laden frankfurthers. Bob was naturally unaware of this fact, and finished the dog and the fries in good order. What first he suspected as nothing but a routine visit to the lane's lavatory ultimately manifested itself into something way more horrid. Guests at the lane standing outside the door were horrified by the sound of Bob's projectile vomiting echoing against the tiled walls. Eventually, the lane's manager mustered the bravery to burst through the restroom door, only to find Bob splayed on the floor, completely unresponsive and covered in his own half-digested stomach contents.

By the scheduled 8:00 pm start time of the 1955 Shiboletth Open, none of the Bowling Greens remained alive on this earth.

The community was rocked to its core. The remaining North Central Iowa Summer Bowling League season was cancelled, and the pall of the death of the Bowling Greens refusing to leave, it officially disbanded the following year. The entire city was awash in mourning, unable to comprehend the unspeakable tragedy that had befallen four of its proudest citizens. Perhaps a silver lining to the story might be found in the fact that a local doo wop band, Frankie Ford and the Kickers, penned a memorial anthem entitled "The Ballad of the Bowling Greens", which rose to the top of the charts in the Midwest and provided the group with notable but brief time in the spotlight before internal squabbling befell the band.

Officially, the deaths of all four of the Bowling Greens were ruled accidents--cruel, horrific and freakish but entirely explainable accidents. Some of the Bowling Greens contemporaries in the league, however, still subscribe to a much more nefarious theory. It is their heartfelt belief that what is known today as the Bowling Greens Massacre was not merely a series of horribly unfortunate events, but rather in fact premeditated foul play by the Bowling Greens' most heated rival, the Simpson Strikes. The Bowling Greens had defeated the Simpson Strikes by a mere two points in the 1954 league championship, and the Simpson Strikes emphatically protested that the Bowling Greens had incurred numerous technical violations during the tournament. The league--which the Simpson Strikes believed to be heavily influenced by the luster the Bowling Greens had provided over the years--refused to overturn the results, and many claimed that John Simpson (the team's senior member) had vowed revenge against the Bowling Greens at all costs.

To this day, rumors swirl that it was John's cat set loose upon Phil Green's truck; that he had placed the soap under Billy Green's sink; that he had paid off the lane's maintenance man to rip a hole underneath Earl Green's ball return; and that he had convinced the lane's management to switch to the poisoned Stenson's hot dog that Bob Green consumed.

But all that remains merely as rumors, rumors spread and possible exaggerated down through the generations, and authorities have repeatedly denied that the death of the Bowling Greens was nothing other than a terrible twist of fate. But whether it be merely a horrible cascade of entirely coincidental carnage, or cold hearted murder most devious, many in North Central Iowa to this very day shudder at the mere mention of the phrase that has come to memorialize the unspeakable tragedy: The Bowling Greens Massacre.

Now, why would Kellyanne Conway be talking about this? To be honest.....I have no fucking clue.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Fri Feb 3, 2017, 05:45 PM (13 replies)

I feel violated. We should all feel violated.

On the National Day of Patriotic Devotion, also known as the day in which Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, also known as last Friday, I chose not to watch any of the festivities. I chose to look at the day without a respect of what was going on in Washington, focusing only on how the sun rose in the east and set in the west, just like any other day I've lived in my thirty-something years on God's green earth.

Instead, on that particular day, I took my kids to the local fair, where they rode rides and saw farm animals and played games. I did all I could to keep the specter of what was going on out of my mind. I was only briefly reminded of things while passing by a television in a fair booth keeping track of festivities. (The odd, jarring sight of the titushky anarchists setting a limousine on fire during the motorcade parade briefly had me thinking a major breaking story had just occurred, but a check on my phone confirmed nothing particularly abnormal had actually taken place.) But watching my kids riding the swing ride, holding their little stuffed animals they had won at the booth, smiling and laughing--it managed to take me out of the greater, darker shadow and into my own little peaceful moment, if only for a bit.

But reality came a'callin, and eventually I knew I had to slowly ease myself into the undeniably unfortunate situation where we all find ourselves. I watched some of the footage of the marches on Saturday, where my mother and my sisters had traveled to participate. I forced myself to view the Madman's self-serving and utterly bizarre "speech" before the CIA. Eventually, for posterity's sake I decided I needed to see the Inaugural Address that I had boycotted watching live and which my father and many here at DU had labeled extremely dark and disturbing. First, I just read the text, but last night I mustered up the fortitude to actually watch footage online as the Madman's stilted, insincere delivery can't be fully replicated by printed words alone. Understandably disgusted, I then immediately watched President Obama's 2009 inaugural address to cleanse my soiled palate.

And so, here we are now. This is not some work of alternate historical fiction. This is real.

So how do I feel? One word: Violated.

I feel we as a country have been violated from both within, as well as from beyond.

We saw the rise of a man without true accomplishment and completely devoid of morals and civility rise to the highest level of power in our land. We saw a man display truly contemptible behavior to the point of absurdity--mocking a reporter with a disability, defrauding thousands with a phony "university", bragging about his desire to assault women. He is the stuff that fictional villains are made of. We were told time after time after time to give him a chance, that he's capable of changing, that he will change, that the office will change him. We forget that this Madman has already lived 70 years on this earth without any desire to reform himself or act to the appropriate standards that most of us take for granted. We forget that not less than three years ago he was on Twitter bragging about his "fucked up" "haters and losers", and that he continued to use phrases like those after he was a candidate, after he was a major party nominee, after he was a President-elect, up to virtually the day he was inaugurated. I'm generally an optimist when it comes to people's human nature, but this is an extreme case. People like him don't get better after years of perfecting their anti-perfect image.

And yet this is what won the day for him back in November. (Albeit thanks in part to a constitutional technicality known as the electoral college, and I'll continue to take slight comfort in the de facto--but not de jure outcome of the popular vote.) Too many of us took the legitimate cynicisms and criticisms of longstanding institutions like politics and media and like fools threw their hands to a far, far worse monster. And now this creature has taken ahold of us and releasing its grasp will be no easy task.

But that's only half of the violation we have endured. Over the past decade, we watched overseas what happens when a person takes charge of a nation who has no tolerance for democracy, dissent or autonomy of other nations. We saw what happens with power without morality. Somehow we deluded ourselves into thinking the likes of Vladimir Putin was the problem of others and not of us. And yet three years ago I watched my family's homeland descend to chaos and uncertainty thanks to his subtle hand. We should have been alarmed that a man running for president had recently openly opined on Twitter that he desired Putin to be his "new best friend." But most of us shook that off as an amusing triviality and not as a threat to our national security. Yet here we are today, and the evidence continues to mountain that our collective national mindset in the events running up to the election was stealthily manipulated in a masterful Russian mindfreak, with the only beneficiaries in the end being the Madman and Vladimir Putin.

So yes, we were indeed violated, both from within and from outside. And we the people are victims, whether we recognize it or not. Perception of victimhood these days is a funny thing though. Too often it gets conflated with being weak, or even worse, being whiny and needlessly self-pitying. But there's no shame in to admitting you have been a victim of another's bad actions. In fact, recognizing and admitting to that fact properly transfers back the culpability to the person who should be held to account. So while we have been violated, we should not shrink from admitting that we were victims to a dasdardly deed. It does not make us weaker. Quite the opposite is true.

Every victim has a breaking point. That is a fact that both the Madman and Vladimir Putin will inevitably have to face.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Jan 24, 2017, 12:20 PM (7 replies)

The untold abject horror of the turn of events at today's press conference.

The soon to be President of the United States very literally shouts down a reporter from a news organization that--while not in any way perfect--has been a legitimate source of news for nearly four decades, refuses to even allow him to ask him a question, and he proceeds to brand said news organization in front of his peers as being "fake news."

He then immediately turns to another reporter of a news organization that has existed for less than 10 years, that serves as a popular destination for members of the alt-right and white supremacists, that contains stories with absurdly provocative racist, sexist and bigoted headlines such as "BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY", "THE SOLUTION TO ONLINE 'HARASSMENT' IS SIMPLE: WOMEN SHOULD LOG OFF", "HOIST IT HIGH AND PROUD: THE CONFEDERATE FLAG PROCLAIMS A GLORIOUS HERITAGE" and "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS PROTECTS MUSLIM RAPE CULTURE", who very recently ran a documentably false story about Muslims supposedly burning down a church in Germany which was immediately debunked by German authorities, an organization that until recently was run by his soon to be senior policy advisor, and gladly takes that organization's reporter's question, which was........

"With all the problems that we've seen throughout the media during the course of this election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?"

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've officially arrived at the Dystopia. I hope you've enjoyed your trip.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Wed Jan 11, 2017, 04:34 PM (58 replies)
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