Sunday, December 31, 2017

Liars Are Gonna Lie - Especially Donald J. Trump

There are several sorts of Liars.

First is the Unconscious Liar. This is the person who unconsciously lies, either to spare themselves embarrassment or loss of pride on some little inconsequential bit of information or the other, or the person who tells small lies in order to spare someone else's feelings. These kinds of liars are sometimes unaware that their untruthfulness even comes out of their mouths. When they know, they usually feel somewhat guilty about it. Most everyone at one time or another either is or has been this sort of liar, where a small deception 'helps' rather than 'hurts'. I think we learn this mostly harmless trait in early childhood.

There is the Swindle Liar. This is the person who is deliberately trying to con or trick someone else out of something, usually money or something of value. These people will literally tell you anything to gain their way. Many used car salespeople and other high-pressure salespeople are this kind of liar. They usually think nothing or lying to their wives or husbands about their illicit affairs either. A Swindle Liar often schemes and constructs elaborate scenarios and 'facts' to 'validate' the lies they tell others.

There is the Narcissistic Liar. This is the person who lies to others in order to elevate or validate themselves to others. The pitiable part about Narcissistic Liars is they convince themselves to the point they literally believe their own lies. They almost never admit to 'alternative facts' even in the face of overpowering contrary information.

When I was in high school, a classmate was an extreme example of this kind of liar. He was absolutely compelled to tell lies to varnish his name. (Does this strongly remind you of anyone?) Actually, it was his notoriety, since everyone knew he was so full of BS about himself. Whenever he launched into some long, convoluted tale about his personal heroism, or other fatuous claims, the listener would sarcastically say, 'Yes, Jim' (Jim was not his real name). I remember at graduation when the principal called out names to receive diplomas, he called 'Jim Xxxx, the author of all those 'Yes Jim' stories.' Those in the audience tittered since it was a very small town and everyone knew about Jim.  Our current president reminds me so very, very much of Jim Xxxx!

Donald J. Trump has been described as a 'malignant narcissist'.  (Look it up - you will be appalled at how well this term fits the man and the other traits associated with this diagnosis!)

There is also the Habitual Liar. This is the person who lies so much it does not matter to them whether they tell the truth, or tell an outright and demonstrably, proven lie. The truth simply does not register with these people. Their 'truth' is only the lies they tell. When caught in a lie it does not bother them in the slightest. They just simply shrug it off with a duplicitous smile, often accompanied by a small joke. Their attitude seems to be, "well, everybody does it, so that's why I do."  Perversely, Habitual Liars often lie when the truth would actually serve them better. They seem constrained to lie as much as possible. The only time they tell the truth is when they are compelled to under penalty of law or other serious costs to themselves. Even then, they will attempt to hide the truth as much as possible.

I am firmly and personally convinced our current president, namely Donald John Trump, is all of the above, except possibly, probably the Unconscious Liar. There does not seem to be a kind, caring or sensitive molecule in this person's being. He is totally tone death to all but himself.

Of course, I am not the only one who believes this. Columnist Bill Moyers seems to hold a similar opinion:

What mystifies me, however, is why Mr. Trump has so many 'followers' who believe everything coming out of his mouth, or in his tweets. Mr. Moyers has thoughts on that too. To that, I would add, that Trump's followers believe what they want to believe. It is a corollary to his claim that he "could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York, and shoot someone and not lose a single vote!" I believe on that point Mr. Trump tells the absolute, unbridled truth. No matter the sordid fact about Trump that is uncovered and validated, his followers simply ignore it. He has convinced them it is 'Fake News', and they will argue you into the ground in the face of proven fact! Like Trump, the facts simply do not register with them either. It is also proof of the claim that if you tell a lie often enough, plenty of people will end up believing it.

What bothers me though, is that our news media do not consistently call him or his spokespersons out on outright lies. They often allow them to simply ignore a question or answer another, a sometimes completely unrelated question to help the liar to obfuscate the truth. 

Pulitzer prize-winning 'Politifact' has published some interesting charts on Trump's 'truthfulness'. You will note that 84% of what Donald Trump says qualifies as either an outright lie ('Pants-On-Fire'), mostly false, or only half-true.  I consider this to utterly unacceptable in any leader of any advanced nation, let alone the United States of America.

Screenshots of Politico's charts appear below:

Monday, December 25, 2017

An Open Christmas Letter to President Donald J. Trump

An Open Christmas Letter to President Donald J. Trump

December 25, 2017
To:  President Donald J. Trump
C/o, The White House
In an Upside-down, Alternative Universe

Dear Donald -

May I call you Donald? 

I deduce already that you must inevitably receive millions, nay perhaps even billions, of irate, hateful and disrespectful letters, tweets, emails and other unpleasant messages each and every day, including, maybe especially, on the weekends. Even if those messages are so very richly deserved, and in the flavor of the holiday season, I want to be the one to choose today to write a letter of thanks to you.

So, how are you doing anyway? I'm guessing you're having a stressful time right now what with all the craziness associated with your presidency. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think that part will change very much for you in the near future, at least not for the better. So, I wanted to get this letter to you while there is yet time.

I realize even though you are a ‘Christian of Political Convenience’, Christmas is the ‘reason for the season’ as Christians are so fond of incessantly and insistently pointing out. So, in the spirit of our traditional holiday season of 'good will' - even if there does not seem to be much goodwill going around these days - I'm now writing this letter of thanks to you.

Let me say up front, that I know you cannot help being the person you are. Like everyone else, you are merely a product of your DNA,  your heritage, and your life experiences heretofore. Because I know that, and pity you, I will now lay all my own rude criticisms completely aside. There are plenty of others already pointing out your many faults, ad infinitum, and with no need of input from me. Today others may do all the railing against your malignant personality as they wish, but I will not.

Therefore mine is a simple message of thanks. I decided I have to be thankful for you being the person you are, deep down. After all, I don't have to like you to be thankful for you, do I? Here are my reasons for thanks:

First, you have exposed for all the world to see, and as no person has ever done so completely before, the deep, ugly and pervasive currents of hate, racism, and misogyny running through about 30% of our country's population, your 'base'. I thank you for defining and exposing that ugliness;

Secondly, you have single-handedly shown a bright spotlight on the malignant hypocrisy running through such a large percentage of the so-called 'evangelical' movement. Not all mind you, for there are still some left who are truly 'Christian in Deed' too, but they sure seem to be in the minority when it comes to politics. We can now fully appreciate the emptiness of the primary evangelical 'message', and the hollowness of their 'faith'. We can see their readiness, even eagerness to overlook so many heinously unchristian characteristics in a person so long as they might agree with certain narrow-minded notions they hold. This I have always strongly felt, but never before seen so richly proven as by you. Never before have the scales so dropped from my eyes as now, and I thank you for that;

Thirdly, the results of your words and deeds since being sworn into office have completely validated and identified for the nation and the world, who today's Republican Party actually is. Sadly, the Party of Lincoln has conspicuously proven to be now completely and totally dead. Not one single vestige of it is left, and only the post-mortem and burial remain. Yes, the GOP still breathes as a political entity in name, but it assuredly is no longer the Party of Lincoln. I thank you for so richly proving that.

Next, I wish to thank you for bringing the poisonous vipers of white racism and nationalism, and the sick perversion of the so-called 'militias' and other right-wing crazies, out of their rat warrens, gutters, trailer parks and even in mansions for all the world to see. We always knew they lurked there in certain dark places, but had no real idea who they actually were, or how many they are. Now we have a much clearer picture and how huge a threat they are to the nation and the world. Knowing this, we can now work in earnest to heal this threat. I thank you for being the root cause and catalyst for bringing so many of these vermin out into the light of day;

Next, I wish to thank you for bringing all the corporate demi-gods and wealthy oligarchs out of their boardrooms and mansions to support you and your so-called 'tax cuts'. Yes, there are sure plenty of tax cuts for the already wealthy, but all at the expense of public debt, public health, education, and eventually, to everyone not already wealthy, not to mention our children and grandchildren. What kind of con game is that anyway, where everyone is promised a tax cut, but only the already rich get to keep theirs? I suppose this only proves the real 'Golden Rule': "Them that has the gold, rule".  We knew this already, but never has it been so solidly and soundly proven before. I thank you for proving that;

Next, I wish to thank you for exposing the threat of treasonous Americans who worked so assiduously with Russians and others to undermine our democracy, and now even threaten the survival of our very nation. This is a clear, alarming and very present danger no one in the general public had even suspected. We now realize some - too many - Americans we admired and respected, were actually traitors to the nation which nurtured, supported and blessed them with opportunities. We know that in the name of greed, they sold out their souls and the nation which made their success possible in the first place. Had it not been for the example you yourself set, we might never have known this. I thank you for that.

Next, I wish to thank you for clarifying for everyone to see, how little our national institutions and laws are prepared for dealing with idiocy and depravity in the Oval Office. I mean no personal disrespect in saying this, and merely want to point out a fact of life. It is a fact and had not you, or another person of your type and caliber not somehow gained the office of the most powerful person in the land, we might have continued going our merry way in ignorance of that danger. Now that we know, perhaps we can now do something to ameliorate and block such a circumstance in the future. I sincerely do hope so, and if we don't, then it is our fault, not yours! The Founding Fathers certainly never imagined such a thing, and If not for you, we might never have realized the danger. I thank you for that.

I could go on, but there is a limit for anything - which I cling to as hope for the future. When I told my wife I planned to write a letter of thanks to you, she got angry with me. Poor thing, she absolutely hates you, with a passion I never imagined for her. If she had her way, she would have you drawn and quartered tomorrow if not sooner, and tells me almost every day "I hope that bastard Donald Trump dies today!"

But not me. I confess I don't hate you per se, just the result of your 'being' as it were, and I certainly do hope to see your time in the Oval Office cut short, but not through death. I want you to live a long, long time. I want you to be around to witness the damage and destruction your time of idiocy and depravity in the Oval Office has wreaked on our nation. I want you to be around for a long, long time to witness your name and reputation dragged through the mud by at least one future generation and feel the shame that is being and will be heaped onto your name forevermore. I am surely glad I am not you.

And, I will always be very, very thankful for that!



Citizen of The United States

Friday, August 25, 2017

Don't Underestimate Trump Supporters!

Don't underestimate Trump Supporters!

I am as bothered by the current Trump chaos as anyone. Like many people, I  am tempted to lump all his supporters into the ‘low-info, stupid voter’ category, who I am now calling ‘Trumplings’. It's evident that Trumplings actually are uneducated boobs who bought into Trump's con, and his ‘Make America Great Again’ scam. It’s just so hard to believe that anyone with a modicum of intelligence could actually believe any word from, or support such a monster as Donald Trump. While it's  true that many Trumplings are moronic fools, I believe it's a huge mistake to classify all Trump Supporters are stupid or unintelligent. 

Notice I have separated Trump people into two categories, i.e., “Trumplings” and “Trump Supporters”.

I think many Trump Supporters are smart and intelligent people, and thereby dangerous. The problem is, so many, most, of these are warped and perverted individuals in their thought processes and suffering from a pitiable dearth of character and ethics, not to mention personal sensitivity. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an example of the sort of person I am thinking about here. Ted Cruz is another.

Ted Nugent on the other hand, would qualify as a high profile Trumpling, a dumb-assed, low-info, (and narcissistic!) moron. Mike Huckabee and Paul Lepage, current governor of Maine are two more. These are the types Trump himself was referring to when he claimed he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in NYC and his ‘supporters’ would not care. The pitiful part of that statement is that it is literally true for these types of his enablers!

I believe it's a result of an inexorable propagandizing of their very souls, rendering them completely incapable of considering other viewpoints. I also think they are almost always culturally predisposed for this to happen. Think ‘White Nationalism’ and 'fervent religiosity' as two facets of this type.

A great many Trumplings seem to be of the Christian evangelical persuasion, which to me, marks them as victims of a life-long subjugation of personality to the evilness of a perverted religion in a very similar way as radical Muslimism affects its adherents. And history proves that the Christian version can be every bit as dangerous if left unrestrained. Obviously, not all Christians are Trumplings, but many of evangelical types appear to be. For some reason, many Catholics seem to be as well. I say this as a lifelong agnostic, having no religious persuasion, except perhaps ‘anti-religions’.

I am very struck by the eerily similar way that today’s US radical right-wing so closely mirrors the German and Italian Fascists of the 1920’s, ‘30’s and 40’s. Many of those folks were educated, intellectual, and very effective people with the regrettable flaw of possessing evil souls, if I might use that word. There has always been a sort of right-wing Fascist mentality throughout recorded history, and conservatism has always been its close first cousin. These are the folks who cling to the past, and who can easily be motivated by fear, particularly fear of change, and fear of those unlike themselves. All it takes to get them excited and aroused is some rabble-rouser like Trump (or Hitler) who cultivates and nurses their fears. Fervent nationalism, religion, and racism are very often the first go-to catalysts for fear used by rabble-rousers.

Now deceased columnist, intellectual and conservative icon William F. Buckley perhaps described conservatism most succinctly:

“A conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’ “

The more I read, the more I see the world throughout history has had a roughly equal complement of Yin/Yang types, conservatism versus liberality. There seems to be a roughly obvious balance today, though the pendulum does tend to swing back and forth over time.

Nazi Fascists of the past had plenty of the stupid, sheep-like followers too, who bought into the Hitler’s mythical scam of ‘The Fatherland’ and ‘Lebensraum’, and not at all unlike how Trump’s ‘America First’, 'Make America Great Again', and ‘Build That Wall!’ slogans motivate his own obscene hoards today.

My point is, I believe it's a grave mistake to lump today’s American Fascists into an ‘all-dumb-as-rocks’ category. Many Trump Supporters are intelligent, well-educated people with plenty of energy, patience, and pragmatism - a dangerous mix for any group when they have an agenda, which our own Fascists today surely do. It is very dangerous to underestimate groups like these. The world has already made that mistake once which almost sent civilization back to the Dark Ages. (Twice, if you count the Visigoth barbarians' defeat of the Roman Empire - which actually DID result in a Dark Age!)

Steve Bannon is a good example of the type I mean. I believe Trump himself, is merely a Hitler wannabe, without the cleverness or intellect required. He doesn’t seem to have one-quarter the smarts Adolph Hitler had, thank goodness. Yes, he may be able to read, even read well, but he doesn’t bother. He probably has a good, basic raw intelligence too, but he appears to be too lazy and bored to develop that into any meaningful intellectual power, which is likely a good thing for us all.

In my view, the saving grace of our current national political chaos, of which Trump is but the figurehead, is that it will ultimately be self-regulating, and will very likely result in much needed political change for the better.

That is certainly my hope!

"Side With The Truth Tellers"
  Sir Harold Evans

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Trump Nation and Taxes

"Tax reform" is in the news. The GOP has promised to do that. Golly gee, wonder where that is going? With the GOP now solidly in charge all around, any halfway sentient person already knows, except for Trump supporters of course.

Almost no one likes paying taxes, although you might think by all rights they should. For most people, and corporations too for that matter, the more income or profits you have, the higher the tax rate is and should be. So, all in all, the more you make, the more you would keep, even after a higher tax rate - and the happier you ought to be, right?

But, that's not how it works in reality. The more money people - or corporations - make, the more inclined they seem to be to use tax avoidance scenarios. 

For individuals, unless they are in that top 5% category, the kinds who use tax shelters and offshore banks, there is a limit to how much taxation you can avoid without going to jail. Small businesses are generally in the same category. But, for big corporations it is an entirely different story,  These guys operate under an entirely different set of actions. Same rules, yes, but most assuredly a more imaginative, and sometimes even borderline (and over!) criminal way of utilizing them.

Not all big corporations do so, lest I be accused of being anti-capitalist. (Actually, I do sometimes flirt with being anti-capitalist, be that's a subject for another story). Some big companies do stand right up to pay their fair share, honestly and completely with no cute cheating. But a majority of the bigger companies DO NOT. And, the bigger and more multi-national they are, the more likely they are to be creative in avoiding taxes.

Here's a chart with the trajectory of US corporate tax rates over the years. The takeaway is, starting from a high of 58.8% in the late 'sixties (during the Richard Nixon administration!), there has been a more or less steady decline ever since to 35% beginning in 1993, and where it now stands today. Historically, you must go back to BEFORE WWII to find a lower rate!
Corporations, and their hand-maidens in Congress like to point to this chart showing, among other things how the US is among the highest corporate taxing nations in the world.  And, I'd like to point out right here that both major political parties have their hands in this evil pudding. It's not just a GOP thing, although now with Mr. Trump in office - and bloviating about his 'tax reform' plan the GOP is determined to reduce the official rate even more!

Ah, but there's also a multi-trillion dollar catch. The chart above is merely the official, US Department of Revenue rate. This chart accompanied always by all the GOP venting over 'high taxes' is a prime example of what I call a 'Graphics Lie". The rate actually PAID by corporations - called the 'Effective Rate' - is altogether different, and is but a very pale shadow of the official rate. The Effective Rate for corporations for recent tax years in the US is an aggregate 12 percent or so. In 2011 - the latest year I can find - the Effective Rate was 12.2% - the lowest since World War One! The current international average is over 16 percent.

The tax rate for an individual in the US is 15% for income between $9276 and $37650 for crissakes! For a 'head of household it's 15% for income between $13251 and 50,400! Something smells very rotten in Denmark if you ask me!

Here's a chart over the period since WWII, with the actual Effective Rate., i.e., "Reality":
Overall, corporations today pay just 9% of US Federal Revenue, down from over 30% in the 'fifties!

Below is just one example from down under. There are hundreds more for anyone interested in finding out more. I, myself am just simply too disgusted - and mostly naive too I know, to root them out. Taxation is a tedious, dry and dusty subject after all, truly loved only by the devious, the OCD and the anally-retentive I'm guessing:

Rupert Murdock's News Corp has one cute little trick it employs to avoid paying taxes in Australia (I'm sure they are creative in avoiding taxes everywhere else too):  The gist of it is they loan money to themselves from a foreign subsidiary at an exorbitant interest rate (at twice the industry average), then deduct the interest. The truth is, they loan money to themselves at high interest, deduct the interest as an 'expense', and meanwhile pay the 'interest' to themselves on the other end. I'm sure the 'subsidiary' does the exact same thing in reverse too, to avoid taxes on their end. It's a win-win-win-win as far as you like for Murdock and the News Corp.

Multi-nationals spend big bucks employing tax lawyers to find loopholes to avoid taxation. The thing to remember, however, the loopholes would not be there in the first place without the legislation.

And, here is where the story becomes truly appalling. Now that corporations are defined as 'people' in the US, and there is no limit to their political contributions (read, 'bribes to legislators'), it is party time in corporate boardrooms. Corporations are now in the position to buy any legislative favors their itty-bitty little hearts desire - and they are doing so with wild abandon. Thus, now corporations are completely free to vote with their money, and all their shareholders are too. This is what amounts to de facto double-voting in the interests of corporations. Am I right?

So, if corporations are 'people', why aren't they paying taxes like people you ask?

Here's a chart which will put that in perspective for you. This chart shows what percentage of US taxes corporations pay, and what individual income tax payers pay. FAIR WARNING! This one just might blow your mind:
It's pretty damned obvious that corporations have turned out to be pretty damned special as people isn't it? And, that is the nut, kernal, and gist of this story.

There's a long list of big corporations who paid no taxes at all, with some getting billions back in tax 'subsidies'. Here are just a few out of the hundreds:

Try to keep these things in mind the next time you spend your hard-won dollars. Also remember, that corporations are heavily into propagandizing these days. They are free to spend as much as they like - those expenses are tax deductions for corporations after all - to influence public opinion in their favor, while the individual may not. No tax deductions for you or me for such silly things!

The sad fact is that the US is now a true oligarchy in all but name. And if Herr Trump has his way, our nation just could get officially renamed as "The Trump Nation of and for Trump and Other Companies".  Then, maybe Trump will feel himself on an equal footing with Putin/Russia Inc.

But, I doubt it. Donald J. Trump is an unsatisfiable megalomaniac. Too much is never enough for that man!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017



A: Presidential staff are once again reminded that the President is always RIGHT, no matter what, or when presented with so-called 'facts' to the contrary. The President has access to information which staff does not, and always understands his own truth when staff may not necessarily be so advantaged;

B:  Consequently, ALL statements the President makes must be regarded as 'true', notwithstanding alternative facts to the contrary. All staff are required to support the President's statements especially and particularly when or if presented with, or contradicted by indisputable alternative facts;

C:  Staff shall not contradict the President in any forum, public or private, even if supporting the President gives the appearance that staff are demonstrably and totally dishonest. Staff are reminded that loyalty to the President supersedes ALL ELSE;

D:  The ONLY member of President Donald J. Trump's staff of relevance is Donald J. Trump himself. ALL others must defer to his decisions no matter the urgency of any situation, and his decision must apply no matter what;

E:  Ivanka Trump should be considered to be the eyes, ears and brain of President Trump, and primary decision maker in his absence. Ivanka Trump, even though considered by others to be 'without portfolio', is President Trump's defacto 'Chief of Staff' and is to be deferred to in all situations or decisions in the absence of President Trump. Only President Trump is entitled to question, contradict or reverse decisions made by Ivanka Trump;

F:  All male members of President Trump's staff positions must surrender their testicles upon accepting an appointment to the President's staff. One member of the President's staff is exempted from this requirement, that being Jared Kushner, who is expected to produce more heirs to the Trump bloodline. In return for his current position, Kushner has agreed that all his future progeny will be given the surname of 'Trump';

G: All female members (including Ivanka Trump) of President Trump's staff positions WITHOUT EXCEPTION, must formally sign in agreement and before a notary, to defend and to hold harmless the President against defamation or lawsuits in any form, including any and all accusations of such things as so-called 'pussy grabbing' by the President, even when the accuser is herself, her friends, acquaintances, or minor children. Female staff are reminded that President Trump's default position invariably is to contest any and all actions brought against him, his companies or enterprises and reserves to himself the right to utilize any defenses, methods, or points of attacks and retribution to destroy opponents, whether fair, legal or not;

H:  There are not now, nor will there ever be in the future, any known transgender or homosexual members of President Trump's staff. Any staff later exposed who should have been classified in either category will be terminated immediately and dealt with appropriately. No exceptions!

I:  President Trump's staff must always remember that mainstream media is THE ENEMY. The only news providers to be regarded as reliable are Breitbart, Infowars, and marginally to a lesser degree, Fox News. ALL others should be avoided, especially when they present a version of the truth or 'facts' at odds with the President's statements or actions. All staff are cautioned the above named Breitbart and Infowars should ALSO be avoided when they present facts contrary to presidential truth;

J: Only the President may tweet, unless given specific permission by the President.  The President at his discretion may at any time appoint an official presidential twitterer, who will be assigned the official title of 'Twitterer for Whitehouse Activity and Thinking'. President Trump has named Kellyanne Conway as the first official Whitehouse TWAT;

K:  The President's position is that the Office of the President of the United States of America is an extension of Donald J. Trump's business enterprises and activities. As such, the governance of the country must assume secondary importance in the order of priorities for the activities of the President Trump's staff. Staff are expected to place the furtherance of profits for any and all Donald J. Trump's enterprises as your first priority. Whenever there is the opportunity to increase profits for any of Donald J. Trump's companies coincidental with running the country, that opportunity must take precedence. The fact that may financially disadvantage the country must be of no consequence to staff and must not be considered. NO EXCEPTIONS!

L:  Previously ordered and stated, but being reiterated here: The President expects complete confidentiality and will accept nothing less from his staff:

'What happens in President Trump's White House STAYS in the White House!' NO EXCEPTIONS!

This above is an entirely invented work of satire, based on the realities of our current presidential administration.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Smelly Old Goat Amongst a Herd of Complacent Sheep

So, a while back I went to see my cardiologist.  I'm in my mid-seventies now, so that's no surprise. I'm on my third pacer now, an 'ICD' model which is supposed to give me a good solid jolt of electricity if my heart should suddenly stop. They say it's like being kicked in the chest by a mule and you would never forget it, and that if it ever happens you will always dread another jolt. A little concerning yes, but I figure, why worry? I rationalize it will be time enough to worry after that first jolt, if that ever happens. Besides, I am not a worrier by nature and prefer to look on the bright side, the cup half full if you will. I am from the school which contends worrying is worse than the happening, is very counter-productive and is far more responsible for much illness and consternation in and of itself.
Worrying never fixed anything anyway, so why indulge? It is sad waste of usable brain power in my opinion.
But that's not to say I don't think about things sometimes. Thinking is not exactly worrying, is it? Or if it is, maybe it's a form of 'sorta worrying'. And my 'thinking about things sorta worrying' usually comes in the middle of the night in a dream which wakes me up. Maybe that is merely my subconscious taking over the worrying responsibilities for me? And when that happens I'm usually pissed, not because my sleep is interrupted, although that is part of it and I am sometimes unable to go back to sleep, but that the subject of my dream is something which angers me.
Like last night, or rather 4:30 AM this morning. I woke up pissed, thinking about something which happened concerning my cardiologist the last time I went to see him. 
Most of my medical care these days comes through the Veterans Administration The VA installed my heart pacers. They monitor me closely and my ICD even has some sort of internal radio signaling component which wirelessly communicates with a unit at my bedside which then sends periodic reports to a monitoring facility in San Francisco.
My ICD is 'interrogated' roughly every six months on a visit to VA hospital where they hook me up to some very expensive looking computerized machines with flashing lights which beep and whir and click. Somehow magnetically, they can also adjust and calibrate my ICD implant to fine tune it. Once they apparently turned a dial the wrong way, and I kind of 'died' in the exam room. In my head things rapidly went yellow, then grey, then black and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. When I regained consciousness with colors in my head coming back in reverse order, the doctor and nurse were all in a panic jumping up and down and calling my name. They apologized very profusely and said they had done something wrong which caused it. I think at that moment it came to me just how dependent I am on my implanted ICD. On the other hand, if that's what dying is all about, it's no big deal. You just quietly 'go away'.
And, like I said, I ain't gonna worry about it.
But, back to my cardiologist. The Veterans Administration, despite whatever negative press you may have heard about it, provides the best medical care I have ever experienced. It is high quality, kind, compassionate, and many of the caregivers are veterans themselves so they can relate on a very personal level with their patients. The VA's care is better by far in my opinion than any 'civilian' hospital care I have ever experienced, including a fairly recent emergency hospitalization for pneumonia. I will go out of my way to avoid dealing with medical care outside the VA system these days. However, the VA advises consulting with outside specialists like cardiologists as backups and for having a reliable double check nearby.
So, since moving to this part of the country I have used a cardiologist who I see about every six months. He's a nice guy and my only rub was his office staff. Each time I went for a visit they wanted me to fill out their paperwork all over again. I did so once, but the second time they asked I balked. I got a little outraged right in their waiting room and refused to fill their forms out anew. I told them they already had all my info, nothing had changed and I saw no good reason to do their several pages all over again, and in fact, was not going to do so. I think more to keep me quiet and from disturbing their other patients they quickly saw things my way and dropped their insistence on their redundant nonsense. Whenever I went back to see them after that, they simply asked me to take a seat to wait to be called, although I did notice other patients, patiently filling out their own forms. I suppose there's a damned good reason we are called 'patients'?
So good, right? Well yes, as long as that lasted.  On a more recent visit, the cardiologist told me that I would not need to drive the twenty or so miles to his office as he was opening a new visitation clinic about two miles from my home at the local hospital in my little town. An appointment was duly made and when the time came, I happily headed over to our local hospital keep it. As soon as I checked in, I was handed a sheaf of paperwork to complete. I handed it right back and told the clerk they already had it on file. Not only did my cardiologist have all my information, the local hospital did as well since I had been treated there too fairly recently. Nothing had changed.
"I'm sorry Sir, but that's the hospital policy." was the reply. "I am only doing what they tell me and my boss says we have to have the paperwork filled out each time."
And of course, I understand the clerk's position. She's only doing as she was told. But it was just too much for me. I told her I was not faulting her personally, but that I had my own personal policy too, and that was not to keep completing stupidly redundant paperwork over and over again just because some officious bureaucrat decided it. I told the clerk to be sure not to send me a bill, but there was a good possibility I would be sending them one myself. I have not sent a bill yet, although I still might.
At that point, I walked out, in effect firing my cardiologist.
Anyway, that's what woke me at 4:30 AM in my dream this morning and is the reason I am writing this little story. I suppose I must just be a smelly old goat living amongst a herd of sweet-smelling quiet and complacent sheep but I'm totally OK with that. I ain't all that happy with all those sheep anyway, after they helped elect this insane goddamned megalomaniacal fool we have pretending to be president these days.
And incidentally, I'm also now looking for another cardiologist.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

is Donald Trump Diabolically Clever or, Just Plain Nuts?

I'm finding I'm not the only one who believes our current not-so-beloved new president Donald Trump very likely has serious mental issues. In my view, there are only three possible explanations for his bizarre behaviors both during the election process and after he's taken office, to wit:

1.  Donald Trump is clinically and pathologically nuts;

(Clinical definition of 'megalomania'): meg·a·lo·ma·ni·a (meg'ă-lō-mā'nē-ă),
1. A type of delusion in which the afflicted person considers himself or herself possessed of greatness. He/she believes him/herself to be Christ, God, Napoleon, anyone famous, or everyone and everything, including a lawyer, physician, clergyman, merchant, prince, or super athlete in all sports.
2. Morbid verbalized overevaluation of oneself or of some aspect of oneself.
[megalo- + G. mania, frenzy]

2.   Donald Trump is a diabolically clever plant put in play by the Democratic Party to deliberately destroy the credibility and future prospects of the Republican Party;

3.   Donald Trump is a "Manchurian Candidate" promoted by some other country such as Russia to damage the USA.

Of these three possibilities, and based on Trump's bizarre behaviors to date, I am coming around to believing #1 is by far the most likely.

The links below are to the opinions of others who agree, and who are far more qualified than me to make such assessments. Fasten your seatbelt folks. I believe we may be in for a wild and crazy ride on a huge and powerful bus being driven by an angry and megalomaniacally crazy madman!

And what is most disturbing to me, is our nation appears to have an extremely poor political structure in place to deal with such an emergency - especially as divided as we now are by our obscene partisan political party system. Whatever bizarre idea Trump has, the majority of GOP politicians fall over each other getting in place to back him. As Trump might say, 'Sad, very sad.'