Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Extreme Vetting

The Trump administration will not end well.

Whether it ends in the formal repudiation of an illegitimate president, or in global catastrophe, remains to be seen.

It’s all I can do to write down the name of this fake. I try to avoid it. But that won’t make him go away, will it?

The question I cannot get out of my head is: how has this fiend evaded the extreme vetting he wants to impose on those who don’t deserve it?

Trump has no soul. I’m convinced of it. Not in a spiritual sense — although that is an open question — but in that he cares about nothing except himself, and power, and money.

He is artless. He is incapable of nuance. If it isn’t some gilded artifact he can put his name on, he finds it useless.

The proverbial sleeping giant has awoken. There were riots in cities across the country in the days immediately after the election, and of course, the numerous women’s marches around the world that dwarfed the inauguration crowds. Will it be enough?

It is proper to view diseased minds with great compassion. But not this one — not until it has been stripped of the power it wields but has not earned, and does not deserve.

This illegitimate president, this imminent threat to us all, represents a terrifying malignancy. He has made no effort to unify a terribly divided country, and has no desire to. He is attempting to silence and discredit his legions of critics. He is unilaterally imposing restrictive, and probably illegal, orders against specific groups. He claims the ends justify the means.

“There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter the country,” this pitiless ogre tweeted. “This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!”

Study the world? Pompous ass! That is precisely the point.

Perhaps Trump wants to create a constitutional crisis, and bring the whole thing tumbling down. Then he and his minions can consolidate their power.

It remains to be seen whether we have sufficient energy to counter the momentum of the Trump sickness. The foreseeable future scares the shit out of me. The unforeseeable scares me even more. Civil war is not out of the question.

This will not end well.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Have you broken your New Year's resolution yet? What's taking you so long?

Some people take New Year's resolutions seriously. That can be a good thing: start the new year with a vow to improve yourself, or correct some detrimental behavior.

Imagine: some guy at a crowded party on New Year's Eve. It's a few minutes before midnight. He goes into the bathroom and lights a smoke. Resolved: My last cigarette forever.

As he savors that glorious first puff, he flips on the overhead fan so as not to alert his non-smoking host. Then he crumples the empty pack of Winstons and lobs it deftly into a wastebasket. Sayonara.

Soon he's back in the living room with the other revelers. The clock strikes midnight, and on the gigantic Smart TV, the big ball falls in Times Square. He yells Happy New Year! along with everyone else, grabs a woman he does not know, and presses his smoky lips against hers.

Fifteen minutes later he's back in the bathroom, in the throes of his first nicotine fit. He sifts through the wastebasket: there mighta been one last smoke in there. But when he finds the package and uncrumples it, it is empty.

So he bums one from that woman he just kissed. The party's host admonishes them: if you must smoke, please step outside. They do. The woman has but one cigarette, for she too had thought of quitting, and only brought a few. She is willing to share it. It is a Winston, his brand. As they pass it back and forth, they fall in love.

Or something like that. It could be that a year later, they get married. Again it is New Year's Eve. They both still smoke, but this time, instead of resolving to quit, they resolve to love each other, til death do they part. Afterward they jet off on their honeymoon – to Winston-Salem, or Marlboro Country, or some other ironic destination.

Or something like that. It could be that both are ticking time bombs, with monstrously carcinogenic tobacco sediments in their lungs already spawning cancer. But this isn't an anti-smoking rant, so I'll leave that out.

I don't do resolutions, myself. No behavior will change because of a new calendar. Behaviors change because an individual wants to change. You want to quit smoking; you want to get off the couch and start working out. It doesn't matter whether it's December 31 or August 9. If you want to change for the better, there's no time like the present – if you'll pardon the cliché.