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

RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP'S STAFF

RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL STAFF IN THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION:

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.'

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/a-neuroscientist-explains-trump-has-a-mental-disorder-that-makes-him-a-dangerous-world-leader/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/bill-require-donald-trumps-white-071700844.html

http://ottawacitizen.com/storyline/egan-donald-j-trump-45th-president-mental-health-hazard

http://realtimepolitics.com/2017/02/09/oh-my-god-cbss-scott-pelley-just-said-what-nobody-dared-to-exposes-trumps-mental-issues-on-live-tv-video/

https://joe-burd.newsvine.com/_news/2011/04/30/6561229-donald-trump-exhibiting-discernable-clear-signs-of-clinical-mental-instability-scores-of-skeletons-in-his-closet-de-facto-disqualified-to-run-for-president

Sunday, January 22, 2017

OK Right Wingers - you OWN this guy!


Attention, Trump supporters and Alt-Right ideologues! 

You are fully responsible for the consequences of what you hoped for and have now helped bring to pass.

Due to your blindness, your ignorance, and your failure to uncover, or refusal to believe actual facts when shown the truth about this colossal con, our country as a nation is now saddled with a 'President', in name at least, whether the rest of us like it or not. It's 100% your doing and he's your guy, lock, stock and in all his unbelievably bloviating and revolting ridiculousness.

Why you can not recognize this is a mystery to me. Perhaps it was the relentless propaganda and the mega-millions of dollars spent by America's oligarchy to protect and promote their agenda. Whatever the reason, you bought into this cynical manipulator's shtick from day one and never once pulled back the wrapper to uncover the rottenness simmering and foaming underneath. Even when proved over and over to you, you have refused to believe facts, and somehow justified Donald Trump's lies and nonsense to yourselves. It truly baffles me. Presidential elections have no warranty and bad apples have to be endured unless they die, or are impeached. That said, any way we could rid ourselves of this person would be fine with me.

Elections do have consequences as will soon be all too evident to all, including to you. Never in the history of our country has such an internationally recognized fraud actually been elected to this high office, and he's YOUR GUY! YOUR VERY OWN GUY!

You and the Republican Party OWN this fraud! And, since he and the Republican Party now control both houses of Congress and the presidency, and will soon own the Supreme Court too, there can be no excuses. 

It's 100% your deal now and you own it! That makes YOU responsible.

You own this odious deal 100%, along with the other results of the November 2016 election, and the saner members of our society are going to make sure you, individually and as a group, are held fully responsible for the damage this person will do to our beloved nation and our people. We will neither forget, nor let you get away with it. You can count on that. Yes, you may well end up - sooner than later in fact - with 'buyer's remorse', and rue the day you ever supported Trump, but that will never excuse your part in creating this calamity. You will very likely try to disown your support for him too as so many of you did with Bush II.

But, the fact will always remain, he's YOUR BOY! 

He's ALL yours, along with all of his 'alternative facts'!

100%!

I did not think this could ever actually happen, and hoped until the last possible moment it would not. But, the United States now has a pussy-grabbing (whether its owner likes it or not) sex abusing, narcissistic, neofascist, racist, white supremacist, military disrespecting, draft dodging, tax evading, pathologically megalomaniacal, climate change denying, Russian loving, vendor stiffing, lying, treacherous, vindictive, fear-mongering, American job outsourcing, serial adulterer as its new president. I could go on and on, but there's a limit to how much time I am willing to put into listing all the faults and crimes this insidious person represents. He is by orders of magnitude, the most disgusting, unsuitable and disastrous individual to ever rise to such a position in our country.

And he belongs to YOU. And, ONLY to you! The rest of us want no part of him. Ever.

Remember that. The rest of us will not forget . . that he belongs ONLY TO YOU!

Hopefully, any remaining sanely responsible Republican leaders have a fallback plan devised amongst themselves to shortstop damages Trump might attempt to inflict on the country through his ineptitude, ignorance and tantrums.  I very hopefully believe they do. But if they do not or can not put our country's interests over 'party loyalty', the saner ones too will show themselves to be totally irresponsible and share fully in whatever blame coming as a result of this totally unsuitable man's election. He is ALL yours after all, in name, and the GOP as a brand now owns him.

One hope and a very good thing is that it will take only a handful of responsible Republicans to cooperate with Democrats to block Trumps's country-damaging insanity. I believe this is what we shall see. I surely do hope so. But whatever it is, it will not be pretty and it will be one wild ride for everyone.

I am so ashamed of all of you who helped elect this monster for your own sakes and especially on my country's behalf.

Buckle your seat belts Americans, our ride is only starting!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Cure For Trumpitis

*The problem with political  jokes is they get elected.
 *~Henry Cate,  VII~ 

Like a majority of people in the USA before this election,  I was convinced most voters in our country could easily see for themselves the appalling defects of Donald Trump - not that Hillary Clinton does not have a number of her own, even if nowhere close to Trump's train full. Prior to the election I was convinced the sheer weight of the evidence against Trump was so obvious and self-evident that our countrymen would reject this classless, clueless, boorish, sociopathic and pathological narcissistic bully out of hand. I sincerely believed all along he did not have the ghost of a chance in the end, even as he piled up win after win. 
Tragically, I was so very wrong. My previous faith in the intrinsic wisdom of our US body politic has been shaken to its roots, if not now uprooted entirely.
I am very discouraged to see so many of my fellow Americans buy into Donald Trump's hysteria and horse hooey - hook, line and sinker, teacups to topsails! Every sentence he spoke contained at least one superlative (huge! gigantic! greatest!) etc., ad nauseam. Most of his spoken sentences have his signature 'believe me!'. These hyperboles are the unmistakable signatures of your common ordinary, cynical conman and huckster.
The thousands of gerrymandered voting districts helped Trump too since Ms Clinton actually did win the popular vote overall by 2-1/2%.  Another thing to think about is that only roughly 50% of our country's voters actually went to the polls in this momentous election. More the shame for our country as a social construct!
Did you know that all citizens of voting age in Australia are REQUIRED BY LAW to vote in federal and state elections, and are subject to a fine if they do not?  21 other countries have similar laws. An enlightened and responsible way to ensure participation as a small price for being a member of one's society I think!
Furthermore, New Zealand allows voters to vote at ANY voting station in the entire country. New Zealand also, by the by, was the first nation in the world to introduce women's suffrage (1893).
But back to Trump. One huge factor in his success was the billions of dollars of totally free media publicity he got by virtue of his continuously outrageous behavior and statements. Donald Trump played the American corporate media like a well-tuned Stradivarius. The collective media, in their competition for clicks, viewers, readers and listeners could not get enough of it. In my opinion, in the media's clutching for profits above all else, most of them abandoned all pretense of being anything remotely resembling a responsible fourth estate. The media failed us entirely, not that their track record has been all that stellar in the past. But, this time it was beyond shameless, and very near treasonous in my view - a total abdication of even a pretense for citizen responsibility, And this is their primary argument for their existence for goodness sakes! I think media owns a major portion of blame for our current electoral debacle. There's no doubt about that in my mind. But, you shouldn't expect any acknowledgment or acceptance of responsibility by the media, since that's just not gonna happen! 
There is one important silver lining found in this debacle, however. This electoral horror will compel BOTH major political parties to reassess their attitude to the voter. Congress has gotten so far out of hand - both parties - that the individual members neither respect nor respond to the public they represent. Congressional approval is at an abysmal 10-12%. The typical politician's efforts are focused on getting elected or reelected, and the money which influences them does not come from voters at large. The constituency they almost exclusively represent these days is deep-pocketed corporate donors and their political 'Pacs'. These groups now own both the Senate and the House, especially since the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC which allows UNLIMITED donations by corporations and unions, and any sums to super PAC's. Just lay aside all your 'democratic' ideals since the proper term for today's political system in the US is 'plutocracy'.
The common citizen voter without unlimited money is almost completely ignored - until election time and then we are wooed cynically and shamelessly with political promises impossible to keep. We already see Trump walking back on his.
The only attention citizens usually get is being agitated to support or oppose legislation - mostly oppose. The NRA and anti-abortion groups jump quickly to mind, but there are many others. These are so-called 'hot-button' issues manipulated to agitate the various voting bases - guns, abortion, 'war-against-Christians', immigrants, Islamists, you name it. A more appropriate name for these so-called issues is 'red herrings'. The extremely well-paid shills pulling the agitating levers behind the scenes are very focused and smart in their efforts. (And it doesn't take a lot of effort to agitate evangelicals after all does it?)
The phenomenon of Mr. Trump's success is in his recognizing, and taking advantage of the massive citizen dissatisfaction with our elected 'leaders' which is rampant throughout the nation. People feel ignored and powerless, and now Trump steps into the ring as their 'straight-talking champion', who will 'fix things' and chase the rapscallions out of politics or make them behave. Our problem with this scenario is that Donald Trump is the biggest, baddest rascal of them all!
To a much lesser extent the same thing is seen on the Democratic side in Bernie Sanders - also a product of citizen voter rage and dissatisfaction. Both Trump and Bernie Sanders used citizen disaffection with our political system to people their political bases. The biggest difference is Mr. Trump had a much broader pool of low information voters to draw from. He knew it too, as proved by his statement about being able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York without losing a single vote.
After falling victim to this horrible case of 'Trumpitis' (for lack of a better term) on November 8, 2016, both national parties are now forced to reexamine themselves. The mood of voters is unmistakable. Voters are so disgusted with our current political chicanery they came out by the mega-thousands in opposition to the diseased, warped political system ours has morphed into. Unfortunately for the nation, the current treatment selected by our country's voters is akin to a mega-dose of cod liver oil or perhaps a full-blown, total hysterectomy for our country.
What this means, at least in the short run, is Congress is now forced to actually DO SOMETHING in order to protect their very hides. The GOP members in the majority are in a very uncomfortable place between the 'Devil and the deep blue sea' as the saying goes. They are terrified of a totally unpredictable Donald Trump, who is largely a Tea Party creation, and the somewhere between 55 and 70% rest of the country who pretty much agree he is a train wreck en route.
The GOP knows if they resist Trump's demands, the Tea Party's pickaxes and pitchforks will come out. Congressional GOP types understand the tar and feathers are already not far off now. But, the GOP has no one to blame but themselves, since they helped create and nurture the Tea Party crazies, thinking they could control them. The GOP's embrace of the Looney Tunes spectrum of Teahadists, evangelicals, gun nuts, anti-abortion nuts and all the other loose nuts has now come back home to mama in spades in the person of Donald Trump. And, does anyone really think these nuts are capable of running the country?  Give me a break already! 
We WILL see changes, although it is impossible, and very unsettling -  to predict what they will be. My gut feeling is, we will not see successful wholesale attacks on our progressive basics. There will be - already are - attacks on our basic social fabric. But a majority of people in our country will not stand still for wholesale change, and Congress knows it, no matter who occupies the White House. The only way they can pass onerous legislation is by doing it behind the scenes or by subterfuge. And we saw the backlash when they tried to sneak through doing away with the Congressional ethics group. We have enough concerned outside watchdogs keeping eyes on things to shortstop those efforts I feel, while all the rest of us need to provide them with cover and support.
The GOP politicians embracing Donald Trump thinking to save their hides are gutless twits who will end up owning the destruction he might sow. I never thought I would have anything good to say about Marco Rubio, but he deserves some respect for not standing in line to kiss Trump's ass like so many other frightened Republicans are now doing. All of us have an obligation to put our country ahead of 'party loyalty' and resist the destruction of the bedrock our country stands upon.
Two things will go a long way towards fixing our mess: Real campaign finance reform and term limits for all national politicians. We've recognized this for decades, but so far the plutocracy has always defeated those, but one day, one day . . .
We are living in interesting and momentous times indeed. My current thinking is well expressed in this opinion piece by Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post:





Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Last Three Little Pigs

Big, Bad Wolf
Once upon a time there were three little pigs. They were the Last Three Little Pigs of a kind. Before the Last Three Little Pigs, there had been many of their kind, but all except these last three had either been consumed by the Big Bad Wolf, or sent into exile by the mightiest of the Last Three Little Pigs. We shall hear more of this mighty little pig later, as you will see. Wolves of all kinds are very fond of consuming pigs for lunch, or for any meal of the day for that matter, The Big Bad Wolf living in the neighborhood with these particular Last Three Little Pigs was hungry, sure enough. Having consumed all the other little pigs in his region much earlier, this particular wolf, who we shall call "Donald" or, "The Donald" if you must, had by now worked up a raging and voracious new appetite. Donald was currently hot on the trail of the Last Three Little Pigs, and he thought he had them cornered in their houses. And for what it's worth, the main reason Donald had had such easy pickings with all the pigs he had earlier consumed, was the fact their houses had proven to be not in order, and too insubstantial to withstand Donald's pathologically insulting aggression.
Donald perceived no good reason the Last Three Little Pigs should be any different than the earlier ones. Maybe they had more substantial houses and better defenses, but in Donald's opinion, nothing would be able to withstand his abusive onslaught.  You see, even if Donald was not all that smart, Donald certainly had his momentum!  A fact which was astounding, even to Donald himself.
The first house Donald attacked belonged to a pig named Marco. And, although Marco was a very handsome guy for a pig, he was also a very, very lazy little pig, and liked to lay around and talk a lot. He didn't really like anything to do with work; he just wanted to show everyone how great he thought himself to be, and for them to fawn over him and brag on him. Work was for suckers in Marco's laissez-faire opinion.
So, when Donald, the Big Bad Wolf showed up at Marco's house, he saw how easy things were going to be. In the first place, the house was made out of pure field straw, and Donald already knew it had two overlapping and overdue mortgages on it besides. Marco's house fit the very definition of 'underwater financing'! Easy pickings for sure, and since Donald had a reputation of being a very rude and impolite Big Bad Wolf, he could sometimes use that character trait to his advantage. Now, Donald deceptively and very politely knocked on Marco's door.
"Who's there?" asked Marco from inside cautiously. He was always afraid the next knock on his door might be a bill collector or one of his in-laws who weren't all that fond of him either.
"Oh, it's just me, your friend Scott Walker from Milwaukee." lied The Donald.
Marco, the Pig
"Well, you ain't fooling me!" cried Marco looking through his peephole. "Scott Walker ain't no friend of mine, and besides, I can see you and I know your damned voice too. You're Donald, that stinking, rotten, Big Bad Wolf from New York City!"
Donald hadn't really expected to fool Marco, but he thought he would give the politeness a try, just in case. Ordinarily, politeness of any sort was repulsive to The Donald, figuring it as a weakness for losers.
"Well, be that as it may, let me in anyway." Donald demanded, in a pretty loud voice. Maybe simple imperiousness would work instead.
"Oh no, hell no, not by the hair on my chinny chin, chin!" answered Marco.
Donald could now see just pure, raw aggression was the way it had to be. "All right then Marco. This is on you silly boy. Since you won't let me in, I'm going to huff, and I'm going to puff, and I'm going to blow your goddamned straw house down around your Mexican ass."
"Cuban ass!" yelled Marco indignantly.
"Whatever." said Donald, and he commenced to huff and puff and blow with all his might, and Marco's house began to shake and blow away in tatters as Marco fled out the back door. He ran all the way to the second of the Last Three Little Pigs' houses and cried out to be let inside.
Texican Pig "Ted"
This second house happened to belong to Marco's sometimes friend Ted, who wasn't nearly as lazy as Marco, and his house was far more substantial than Marco's straw house since it was built of wood planks fastened to each other with steel nails. Ted had gleefully 'liberated' the planks from Rick Perry's ranch one dark night, and the nails were purchased with the money from the collection plates at the church where Ted's dad presided. The labor to build the house came from church volunteers after Ted and his dad had 'prayed over it' with the volunteers. Therefore and also, there was no mortgage on Ted's house and he owned it outright, free and clear.
"Hey, Ted! Let me in! Let me in!" screamed Marco. "The Big Bad Wolf's right on my ass!"
At first, Ted didn't hear him because he was in the game room watching and tsk, tsking over gay porn with the youth leader from his dad's church. It was only after Marco slammed a rock against the wall two or three times did Ted realize someone was at the door.
"What the hell do you want, Marco?" demanded Ted when he answered the door. "I'm busy goddammit and don't have time for any of your juvenile bullshit!"
A panicked Marco screamed, "Let me in right now, Ted! Donald, the Big Bad Wolf is breathing down my neck as we speak. He's already blown my house down!"
"Do tell?" said an unimpressed Ted as he turned to close the door in Marco's face, but he was a bit too slow and the hyper-panicked Marco had already pushed past him to get inside.
"I gonna need a glass of water right now!" said Marco. Anxiety and panic always gave Marco a very dry mouth.  That right there definitely was a personal curse, for sure.
"Get it your own damned self." said Ted, resigning himself to Marco's presence. Ted figured one more to watch and tsk, tsk over gay porn, why not?
He locked the door just a few seconds ahead of Donald's loud knock came. 
"Open the goddamned door!" Donald commanded.
"Who the hell is it?" asked Ted, although he already knew.
"It's The Donald you twit! Now let me in!"
"Well, I don't think so, Donald. Not after all those despicable things you said about me, my daddy and my wife." Ted responded. "And, I'll stay pissed about that too unless and until I decide it's not politically expedient."
Donald's Lapdog
"Listen, you imbecilic idiot! I never said a damned thing that wasn't true. Now, open the damned door or I'll turn you into another lapdog like Chris Christie. Hell, it might be nice to have a matched pair of lapdogs at that."
"I already told you to go screw yourself, Donald. Now, why don't you just go ahead and do it!" said Ted. "And, leave me to hell alone!"
"You don't know who you're messing with Ted." said Donald. "I never forget an insult and always, always get even. Now open the goddamned door or I'm going to huff, and I'm going to puff, and I'm going to blow your goddamned termite-ridden house down around your Mexican ass!"
"It's Cuban! Cuban! Dammit, Donald, don't you ever listen? How many times do I have to tell you, you jerk?  And, no damned way am I letting you in, not by the hair on my chinny chin, chin!" replied Ted. "No damned way!"
At that, Donald commenced to huff and puff and blow with all his might, and Ted's house began to shake and blow away into scattered planks as Marco and Ted - and don't forget the youth leader - all fled out the back door. They ran all the way to the third of the Last Three Little Pigs' houses and cried out to be let inside.
They really, really didn't want to be at this particular house but had no other choice as they hammered on the door of their last and only hope for salvation.
A Wise & Canny Old Broad!
"Who's there?" asked Hillary, who had just gotten off the telephone with her Wall Street brokers. There were a few million she needed to put to work somewhere.
"It's Ted and Marco - and don't forget our youth leader!" hollered Ted.
"Do I know you bozos?" she asked. "The only ones I know by those names are discredited, passé politicians.  And, I'm sorry, I just don't know about your youth leader." 
"Oh, Christ, Hillary," wailed Marco. "Don't you remember how kind and nice I've always been to you? About how I welcomed you in the Senate and all?"
"Since when?" said Hillary. "Listen, you infant, I was out of my Senate office two years before your wee little candy ass ever even got to the Senate Sonny Boy. Besides, I hear you aren't ever there anyway.  Why don't you go weeping and whining to your boy Donald?"
"Because he's the goddamned Big Bad Wolf himself!" screamed Ted over Marco's shoulder. "He's making a hard run at us and that's why we're here. He's already consumed all the other pigs in our bunch and your place is the only place left for us. Let us in for the love of God, Hillary. We'll play nice, honest! You know you can count on us."
"Yeah right," said this alpha brood sow. "like you played nice with all those sneaky lies and dirty tricks you've been throwing at everyone for months? Seems like to me your dogma just got run over by your karma. Ah, but what the hell, come on in anyway. I try to maintain a pretty big tent you know."
Ted and Marco both thankfully scampered inside just as The Donald appeared at the end of the driveway. 
"Get off my property!" ordered Hillary as Donald ran towards the door. "I've got more than enough miscreants and malcontents inside already to suit me."
She slammed the door so fast Donald's face smacked into it, causing his combover to cascade over his eyes, temporarily blinding him.
"Open the door!" screamed Donald as he flipped the combover back on top of his head. "And, I mean right damned now!"
Speaking through the automated speaker installed in the door, Hillary said, "Now see here Donald, ordinarily I would tell you to go screw yourself, but I realize so many are telling you that these days, the words no longer have any meaning for you. It's just the same old words you hear all the time. In fact, I can imagine you hear that so often the words actually provide comfort for you these days."
"And, since I have no desire to provide you comfort, I'll just say, 'Get the hell off my porch!' And, if you don't, I'm gonna sic Jesus on you." 
"Sic Jesus on me?" shouted Donald incredulously. "What the hell do you mean? Don't you know I'm the only goddamned Christian around here?"
"Jesus is my Doberman-Rottweiler mix." said Hillary maliciously.
The Donald very prudently left at that point, but not for long. He called the local sheriff, who, as a result, now considered himself to be a particular friend of Donald's. The Donald filed an official complaint by telephone about being threatened with Hillary's dog. The sheriff saw to it the animal control people came out to seize the dog that very day, and he went out and had a very serious talk with Hillary himself. He was sorely tempted, but never got any excuse to use his taser or sidearm on her though. That was a huge disappointment for him personally, but oh well, what can you do, especially when there are witnesses and they all have cell phone cameras these days?
Within thirty minutes after the sheriff left, Donald was back beating on Hillary's, the third little pig's door. "OK, Hillary. Enough of this bullshit now. I'm the winner, so let me in!" he said.
"Oh, hell no, you haven't won a damned thing yet." Hillary informed him through the door's speaker. "You're a loser, a bonafide idiot, and a great danger to others around you too, and if I have anything to do about it, I'm gonna see to it you get the humiliation you deserve!"
"And, I'm damned sure not gonna let you in here at all. Nosiree Bob, not by any of the hairs on my chinny, chin chin!" 
"So, go screw yourself!"
Donald screamed," OK Now! Open the door right now or I'm going to huff, and I'm going to puff, and I'm going to blow your goddamned house down around your deplorable ass!"
"Deplorable ass?" chortled Hillary. "I love it! Bring it on!"
Hillary, the third little pig wasn't worried. She had seen to it her house was designed and built by the very same people who did bank vaults, structures she was very, very familiar with. Her house was made of solid brick, with 3/4" solid stainless-steel tie-rods anchored back to cinder block inside walls. The cinder blocks themselves were filled with high-density cement, sealed on both sides with six layers of coal tar pitch intermeshed with titanium diamond-mesh.  The house was storm proof, hurricane proof, flood proof, bomb proof, and for damned sure, it was Donald proof! Hell, she could afford it, why not? She could make enough money to build three houses just like this one with a single speech on Wall Street.
"I said go screw yourself Donald!" she said again. "Even if it will be a comfort to you!"
So Donald commenced to huff and puff and blow with all his might. Nothing happened, not even a single roof shingle lifted or flapped due to his manly (as, so he believed) blast of hot air. He re-doubled his efforts then and huffed and puffed until his face changed from orange to bright red, and all the bleach ran out of his combover and down his face. Nothing, nothing! To add insult to injury, Donald was soon compelled to call for an emergency oxygen breathing apparatus just so he could get home that day.
But Donald wasn't done, nosiree, not The Donald! The Donald was going to have his way no matter what! That was a tradition he certainly did not intend to abandon now.
Donald schemed, he planned, and he called in consultants, all of whom he eventually fired, and he even had a session with a mystic just for giggles, which he sorely needed. Still nothing. Until at last, The Donald realized that the third little pig actually did have one small vulnerability he could exploit. The chimney for Christ's sakes! Why hadn't he thought of it earlier? No matter, it was a done deal for sure now, and vengeance would surely be sweeter than any honey!
Donald, the Big Bad Wolf, got busy. First, he hired the guy with the black ops personal security outfit to help plan the operation which they code-named "Bang, Bang, The Wicked Witch is Dead!"  Donald loved that little touch, so sweet to his ears. Mr. Prince also offered to do the job himself - for an appropriate fee of course - but The Donald declined, even though money was not the concern - he had never planned to pay the bastard anyway. They had Chris Christy fly the right sort of ladder in on Donald's personal jet. This was a real thrill for Christy since he had never, ever been the sole passenger on a big jet airplane before. Two seats yes, plenty of times, and of course he had once been in total control of a major metropolitan bridge, but never an entire huuge jet airplane! 

On the darkest night of the month, The Donald began his mission. Surreptitiously, he approached the back side of the third little pig's house and set his ladder in place. He climbed atop the house and closely inspected the chimney. After making sure the chimney was large enough for his copious frame (Donald preferred the term "man-sized" himself, in spite of his other physical shortcomings). After ascertaining there was no heat or smoke arising from the chimney, he began his descent down it. There was a wonderful anticipatory glee in his heart as he imagined the end results of this great occasion. Donald was personally going to enjoy every second of this payback mission, and life was going to be good again! Hell, life was going to be GREAT Again!
But Hillary, that third little pig, was a wise, canny, shifty, battle-scarred and wary old shellback of a broad indeed. She knew exactly who The Donald was because he telegraphed it far and wide with everything he said or did. She knew exactly what to expect from such a pathological narcissist, who could always be counted upon to be ruled completely by his irresistible Big Bad Wolf urges, just as you can always count on night becoming day and vice versa. You see, that third little pig had been around a block or two. Or three, or four, or however many you want to name. Hillary had the chops, and she damned well knew how to use them!
Hillary, with the help of her guests Marco and Ted - and let's not forget that youth leader - therefore was very well prepared. She had laid very abundant fire material in the bottom of her huuge fireplace, atop which she placed an old-fashioned 80-gallon black iron pot filled with pre-warmed water - she would need a great big one for this ugly, unpleasant beast. And the precise moment The Donald's feet sensed the warmed water, Hillary lit the fire, the fuel for which was already soaked with plenty of accelerant, and she then fired up her big draft fans to fan the flames. Mercifully for The Donald, his ordeal was relatively brief but seemed pleasingly painful enough to him to satisfy all the witnesses. 
The Last Three Little pigs - and let's not forget the youth leader - all agreed among themselves afterward, that once all the crap had been boiled out of The Donald, they were able to send the remains to the undertaker in a shoebox - which they very happily did.