I’m Back — With The News

Wanna know how fast our planet is spinning these days?  Check this out!  I stepped away from cyberspace for 5 weeks to write fiction, and by the time I got back – OMG!  Tons of stuff had happened.  Here’s just a sample.

As of Wednesday, there was a spike in unemployment in America when all the political cartoonists, comedians, late night talk show hosts and Alec Baldwin suddenly had nothing to do.

And the brand-new President Biden has a big task ahead of him – fixing the divisions in America.  Meanwhile, Vice President Harris’ job is a little simpler – just wake up every morning and say, “How ya feeling, Joe?”

In other political news, about a week ago, the entire Dutch government resigned.  Yep, you read that right!  Basically, Dutch PM Mark Rutte stood up before God and everybody and said, “Sorry, folks!  We screwed things up, and honestly, we don’t deserve to run the show anymore, so we’re all going to quit.”  Wow!  Some cynics are suggesting this was just a PR move, but think about it!  If this idea catches on, there’s going to be a lot of unemployed politicos in the near future. 

Even though it hasn’t made the news recently, the girls of Belarus are still beating the protest drums in Minsk, and self-proclaimed bad guy President Lukashenko is still beating them up when they do.  But the International Ice Hockey Federation has cancelled a tournament that was supposed to take place there this summer.  That should bring the bastard to his knees!

And speaking of sports, apparently, NBA used-to-be Charles Barkley is convinced that professional athletes should be first in line for the Covid-19 vaccine.  His reasoning is that they pay a lot more taxes than the rest of us do.  I like Sir Charles, but I think he’s kinda lost the plot here.  Given a choice between my doctor and Neal Pionk, a 25-year-old kid from Omaha who plays defence in the NHL, I’m going with Dr. Kathy — every time.

Danish bankers have shot themselves in the foot by offering 20 year home mortgages at 0% interest.  Does that even make any sense?  Meanwhile, money lenders all over the world are saying WTF?  This is the kinda thing that could put local loan sharks out of business permanently.  Oh well, just another casualty of Covid-19, I guess!

Some guy climbed a skyscraper in Hong Kong.  No big deal, right?  Except this guy was in a wheelchair.  I’m all for “be all you can be,” but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone (wheelchair or no) would challenge gravity to a duel over a busy street of unforgiving concrete. (Personally, I hold the banister when I go down stairs.)

And finally:

It was 100 years ago last week that magician PT Selbit first performed the trick of “sawing a woman in half,” and illusionists all over the world celebrated this milestone event.  Actually, I’m totally surprised this one got past the kiddies at Cancel Culture.  After all, it’s got all the elements they love to hate.  First of all, taking a bucksaw to a woman’s torso is definitely inappropriate.  Secondly, this is another example of women doing all the work and men getting all the credit.  Finally, and probably most egregious, magic is fun, and we all know how those grim-faced buggers down at Cancel Culture hate fun.  Call me a little kid, but I still think magic is cool!

Trump — The Reality

donaldIt’s been a week since the American people elected Donald Trump president of the United States, and The Apocalypse hasn’t shown up yet.  Yes, there have been some “Not My President” protests (as part of that “orderly transition of power” we’ve all heard so much about) but, honestly, if Trump is even half the Antichrist the protesters say he is … well … I doubt very much if smashing windows in Portland is gonna dissuade the boy from his satanic purpose.  So, maybe it’s time to talk a little reality here.

(Full Disclosure — I’m not a Trump fan, and I wouldn’t have voted for him.)

Myth — Donald was elected by stupid white men who got pissed off when they finally realized that the media and other college-educated people were making fun of them.
Reality — Nothing could be further from the truth.  White men have known for years that the mainstream media and their urban elite demographic believe “middle class white male” is synonymous with knuckle-dragging Neanderthal Hillbilly.  God, we’re not that stupid!

Myth — Calling Donald Trump stupid, evil, a racist, a fascist, a misogynist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic and anti-intellectual should have convinced voters that he is unfit to be president.
Reality — Every Republican candidate since Eisenhower has been called all those names — and worse.  They don’t mean anything anymore.  These days, a sexist is someone who attempts to hold the door for a pregnant woman and a misogynist is someone who doesn’t.  Or maybe it’s the other way around?  The truth is, nobody knows, and nobody cares.  Hell, there are academics out there who claim Abraham Lincoln was a racist!  Go figure!

Myth — “It’s my turn” is a legitimate reason to be elected President.
Reality — Unfortunately, the centuries-of-oppression argument doesn’t  always work in the real world.  Yes, it’s too bad your religion, gender, ethnic origin, sexual affiliation, etc., etc. had it rough back in 1640, but everybody else’s did, too.  The thing is you weren’t a very good Secretary of State — uh — three years ago, and glass ceiling or not, that counts.

Myth — Rich celebrities are experts on economics, health, transportation, foreign affairs, trade and the environment.  Plus, they have wise political insights.
Reality — I’m not the only person on this planet who’s tired of getting told how politically ignorant I am by a multi-millionaire who has two or three houses, a gardener, a cook and a maid, flies First Class, doesn’t make her own bed, hasn’t shopped for groceries in ten years and just got out of rehab.

Myth — Politically Correct does not stifle communication and must be part of every honest dialogue.
Reality — If you believe that, I’m thinkin’ you got the President you deserve.

Why the Republicans Lost

Now that the 48 hour news cycle is over and the shrill voices of victory and defeat have shut the hell up (almost) it’s safe to take an adult look at what happened last Tuesday.  How did Barack Obama snatch victory from the jaws of Mitt Romney’s defeat?  Partisan politics aside, President Obama was not only beatable, he should have been beaten.  The Obama administration’s accomplishments can be counted on one hand: it “got” Bin Laden.  One the other hand, you need more hands.  After four years of Obamanomics, the economy is still staggering around as if it’s been pistol-whipped.  Despite a gabillion dollar taxpayer-financed smackdown, unemployment remains standing, smirking defiantly at nearly 8%.   Yet, even as consumers are losing their ability to pay, prices are increasing.  Gas, for example, is up 75% in some places.  American debt is over 16 trillion dollars — an unfathomable amount that could have financed the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Reason and both World Wars.  Plus, that debt is increasing faster than even the government bean counters can count — over 3.8 billion dollars – per day.  Half the country doesn’t want Obamacare, there are more illegal aliens in America than regular ones, there’s been a fatal Al Qaeda attack that’s getting covered up, Iran is about to go nuclear, Syria is not responding to Hillary’s harsh words and on and on and on.  I’m going to stop here because it looks like I’m ragging on the guy.  I’m not; these are just the un-spun facts.  Looking at them objectively, there’s no way Barack Obama should still be president: they threw Hoover, Carter and Bush (41) out for less.  Yet there he is — back in the Oval Office — and you’ve got to wonder why?

The answer’s quite simple, really.  The Republicans look like idiots.  What started out as a serious campaign about policy and ideas disintegrated as if it’d been hit by the Death Star – and it was all self-induced.  You know you’re in trouble when the biggest name brand guy at your national convention is talking to a chair!  From there, everything just went downhill so fast even Lance Armstrong couldn’t have caught it — and he was taking elephant hormones.  For the next nine weeks (aside from the one brief, shining moment of the first presidential debate) Republicans played “Where’s Waldo?” with their credibility — and lost.

It is very difficult to carry on a reasonable discussion — even with people who want to listen — when you’re busy justifying, excusing and, finally, apologizing for “God’s infinite plan for legitimate rape” or some other such nonsense.  Under these circumstances, it’s impossible to elaborate on anything more than a face plant.  And that happened twice!  All the people blaming Romney for the Republican loss should take at look at Akin, Mourdock and a few others before they pass judgement.  Where did they find those guys?  Hanging out back in 1951?

Then there’s Donald Trump, the gasbag with hair.  Right in the middle of everything, this guy goes snarling Daddy Warbucks, waving a check for 5 mil in the air, and talking to the President of the United States as if he were some hotel maitre d’.  First of all, Donald, what makes you think Barack Obama is going to be swayed by five million dollars when, as president, he can pick up the telephone and give any charity he likes ten times that much – or more  – and he doesn’t even have to dial the number?  Secondly, give it a rest; even if the guy weren’t an American, it’s too late now.  You’re a day late and several million dollars short!  The only thing Trump accomplished with his comic book theatrics was to join Fox News in making everyone who is even slightly further right wing than Winnie the Pooh look like a moron.

Furthermore, Americans are a live-and-let-live kind of people.  They value their independence.  They fought a revolution over it.  It’s written in their constitution.  How Republicans, of all people, forgot this is mind boggling.  Yet, straight out of the gate, they start telling everybody that the road to hell is paved with abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana.  From that moment on, it was the Democrats versus the “I’m-Your-Dad” party and nobody in the GOP did anything to tarnish that image.  Even if the Republicans aren’t the party of old white men, you’d never know it.

Despite what the pundits are telling us, the 2012 election was not a rout.  In fact, it was relatively close.  The Republicans fell a few hundred thousand strategically placed votes short of sending Romney and Ryan to the White House.  The reason they lost is not, heaven forbid, they weren’t conservative enough (if that’s possible) nor that they were too conservative.  There are plenty of fiscally conservative voters in America.  The problem is Republicans have become the mirror image of the lockstep, politically correct fascists they so love to hate.  For every strident liberal attitude, there is an equal and opposite Republican reaction.  And that’s all the average voter thinks they have to offer.

It’s time for the Republican Party to quit experimenting with social engineering.  That day is over.  They need to stop relying on the worn out “thou shalt not” social agenda of the religious right for their party platform.  They need to end their dependence on the “remember when” Tea Party for their political punch.  And they need to listen to people like Christie, Walker, Huntsman, Graham, Rubio and, yes, even Jeb Bush — to hear there are new ideas out there — new and better ways to do business.  They need to offer America new solutions that don’t involve telling Americans what they can and cannot do.  They need to do all this because you can’t govern if you can’t get elected and you can’t get elected if you’re quagmired in social controversy.

It’s either give up the social agenda or resign yourself to go soul-searching every four years for a long time.