The Closer You Look, The Weirder….

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Hellbenders Fighting In My Back Yard

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Grant Township Photo shamelessly pilfered from The Indiana Gazette, my favorite small town newspaper. Gazette

There is a nice article right now in Rolling Stone on a historic and heroic struggle that is happening just a few miles up the road from me. A while back, a big corporation came to a tiny little community and said, “we’re going to dump all our pollution here.” A lot of the good country folks who live there said “No, please.” The giant corporation said. “Shut up. We’re a corporation. We have human rights and we’ll do as we please!”

So the people went to the state and the Department of Environmental Protection agency said, “What we protect is the rights of corporations to use the environment as they see fit.” And so the people said, “Okay, we’ll do it ourselves.” So the corporations sued them and, to add insult to injury, the government sued them and still this group of renegade rural folks is standing strong, like real Americans, conscientious, committed, and courageous. The people of Grant Township Pennsylvania, and the East Run Hellbenders Society should have songs written and movies made about them. And maybe they will, in the end.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-a-small-town-is-standing-up-to-fracking-w482577

You’ll be hearing more about this. In the meantime, if you don’t know what a hellbender is, behold its awesomeness.

 

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Ugh, They Did It Again…

Ugh, they did it again. I was away from here more than I was here the past few months, and things look–and work–a little differently. Ugh.

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
I see they did it again
They made us believe we know how it works
Oh baby
It might seem like whining
But it doesn’t mean I’m not serious
‘Cause to lose my bearings
That is just so typically me
Oh baby, baby
Damn, they did it again
I played with posting, I’m lost in the game
Oh baby, baby
Oops, I didn’t mean to delete
Couldn’t find the save draft tab
I’m not that ignorant
You see my problem is this…
I just couldn’t find
Oh wait there it is, now where did it go
I cry, watching the words
Can’t you see I just miss the straight-forward days
With all the buttons right there
It’s just so typically W.P.
Oh baby, oh
Oops, they did it again
I played with your heart, got lost in the game
Oh baby, baby
Oops, you think I’m in love
That I’m…
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Let The Memes Flow…

donald-trump4

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Flapper On A Pole, Not Dancing

Part of sliding back into the blog is resusitating the whimsical elements of Old Road Apples to, you know, balance out the bitching and ranting. Favorite photos…this one is widely dispersed on the interwebs, but I stole it from  http://imgfave.com/view/2428432

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Hunter Smooshed By Elephant

Briefly, some big game hunters were out of a stroll in scenic Zimbabwe, undoubtedly scouting for rare and endangered animals they could blow holes through. For sport. They riled up a group of elephants, who took exception to the interruption–and almost certainly has some qualms about big game hunters because elephants are smart, they remember faces and scents pretty much forever, and they certainly know what a white guy with a “boomstick” means. The elephants charged, shots were fired, and Theunis Botha, a prominent professional hunter and guide who is credited for developing a hunting technique in which packs of dogs are used to run down leopards, was pancaked beneath the body of the wounded elephant as it fell.

Awwwwww.

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I know I shouldn’t take pleasure in the death of another human, and I don’t. I do, however, appreciate the concept of karma and the sweet, smoky scent of irony on a warm summer day.  In general, like most rural Westsylvanians, I don’t give hunting a second thought. My dad did hunted a bit. My grandfather hunted pragmatically, not for trophies but to fill the freezer. That’s how it has been here forever.

Trophy hunting is a whole damn different thing. Wealthy people traveling around the world, venturing out from posh enclaves and led to optimal positions to squirt out a few rounds at exotic creatures. When the kill is over, lackeys take the skins and heads, usually discarding the meat, to be shipped home for the great valiant hunter to hang on the wall.

The argument is made that big game hunting supports local economies by filling lodges, hiring guides, and employing a platoon of service employees who carry and load the weapons, for example, drive the vehicles, pour the cocktails, as well as perform the butchering and preparing of skin and head.

Along with this comes the reasoning that by allowing a percentage of rare and endangered animals to be shot and killed revenue can be generated to support conservation, which is sort of like arguing that school districts should invite rich foreigners to hunt a certain number of teachers and use the fees to balance school budgets. Well, maybe if it was my tenth grade algebra teacher?

I might be tempted to think better of big game hunters if they were pushed out of the back of a land rover in the middle of the savanna with a knife, six feet of nylon cord, and a compass and left to fend for themselves, but what passes as “hunting” in this context is really just “killing.” The guides know where the animals are, kills are virtually guaranteed (staff will make sure the target dies if the hunter misses or only manages to wound it–no one goes home empty handed!).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/22/veteran-big-game-hunter-dies-after-elephant-felled-by-gunfire-collapses-on-him/?utm_term=.c82cce09965a

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On United Airlines, Customer-Beating, and One Particularly Self-Righteous Pilot’s Wife

Update: I wrote this a while ago, when the first flurry of outrage was still rippling across the electronic netherworld, but never really liked where it ended up, so it was abandoned to the “drafts” bin. Might as well spend it now–it’s not going to get any more relevant than it already isn’t. Or perhaps not. Shockingly, in the intervening weeks we’ve seen incident after incident on major airlines and their affiliates of Airline Employees Gone Bad. I don’t know if these people are so arrogant that they don’t care, or so put-upon that they just crack, but the continued parade of abuse, and the total lack of self-awareness that goes with it, is mind blowing. Do the perpetrators not see the bobbing cell phones recording every minute from the very moment voices are raised, or do they just not care? The same thing goes for police officers caught on film–increasingly on their own and their partners’ body cameras–abusing and occasionally killing citizens. I just don’t get it.

So, what drags Junk Chuck out of his novel hole and back to the blog? Why, it is you, Dear Reader. It has always been you. You and, this time, United Airlines, the Chicago Airport Police (not real police, but they’ve got dreams), and their apologists, especially one particularly self-righteous, alleged wife-of-a-pilot who wasted few words (seriously, she used a lot of them) in lecturing you, me, and the rest of the poor, unwashed masses on why United was right–and, gods-damned it–entitled to beat a stubborn geriatric no-goodnik passenger senseless for daring–daring, I say–to question the corporate sovereignty of the friendly skies.

Don’t you love a good rant? All those italics and breathless syntax! Exhilarating.

So, by now I expect anyone taking the time to read this knows the story. United fills up all the seats on a plane, decides it needs to deadhead a crew to the destination airport, and sends a lackey onto the plane to first beg, then bribe, then threaten with force and ultimately beat senseless and drag an already seated, fully-paid customer off the plane. Google it. Pick your source. The situation is such a mess, so poorly handled, so egregiously arrogant and disrespectful, that a reasonable person couldn’t possibly imagine it happening in real life. And yet….

It happened. And the internet exploded. In a way, this was a fascinating experience for me–I hadn’t slept well, and was up very very early, just as the story was beginning to spread on Twitter, on my news aggregator, on Facebook. I got to see the numbers surge from trickle to flood, deriving a grim, unwholesome satisfaction from watching the shared outrage grow. As the moments passed, I thought what I always think when video of heavy-handed authorities skull-cracking and jack-booting: it is 2017, everyone has a phone, and every phone has a camera–how do you think this is going to turn out?

The answer is that these people don’t stop to think. It never occurs to them. Drunk with power, heavy with authority, outraged by the mere hint of resistance or disrespect, they do not question their right to assert themselves. What really struck me in this situation at United was the utter coolness of the perpetrators–this was no jowly redneck spitting and cursing at a motorist who gave him what feels like “attitude.” This was calmly considered violence, ruthlessly and coldly delivered as the cameras rolled and the other passengers shouted in protest. The guys with badges did what they did because they have been conditioned to feel that it is their privilege and responsibility to do so. I believe the other customers were fortunate that none of the many who spoke out were not punched in the face for their concern.

I thought about posting when this happened, but resisted until the Pilot’s Wife blog drew my attention. At first I pumped out a paragraph on a friend’s Facebook page, after she posted a link, but my friends don’t deserve that, and who reads any long comments on Facebook, anyway?  And like that, here we are. I’ve attached the entire post below, just in case “Angela” gets religion and deletes her post–she’s already closed comments, and as cowardly as that is, after reading a few I can see why. She’s not really getting the love.

So I guess, in Angela’s universe, that everyone had it wrong and the guy with the busted nose, broken teeth, and concussion should apologize for inconveniencing United, it’s employees, the tone-deaf management that continued to deny responsibility and victim-blame long after anyone (except Angela, it seems) remained on their side. He scared people with his getting beaten. He created a security crisis by getting knocked unconscious. In fact, I’m pretty sure that his passive resistance endangered the entire concept of inalienable rights, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the while causing the very foundation of western society to tremble. The earth shook when he said no, and god Itself hiccupped. Or was that a burp?

Of course the guy could have been more graceful, but human beings get tired and frustrated, and sometimes they shout out in horror and pain when taking their licks. And occasionally, they take umbrage to getting trod upon, especially by “the man.”  I know that stubborn feeling and I expect you do too: face heating to a full flush, throat constricting, tunnel vision, helplessness in conflict–whether through true vulnerability by by the sheer frustration of holding to societal norms in the face of unreasonable aggression. For me, it is often the latter, the necessity of restraint, of not punching the source of the insult, or petty tyranny, square in the face. The older I get, the more I want to fight. To resist. When people are dehumanized, this is what happens–United treated this person as cargo, nothing more, and while a lot of the blame probably goes on the airline gate staff whom I expect are tired with always being stuck dealing with this sort of thing, the “we pulled names out of a hat and you lost” approach, after they’d seated the plane and folks had stowed their carry-ons, just begged for trouble.

Making seated customers get off the plane? It is outrageous. Imagine standing in line at a movie theater, buying your popcorn, and settling into your seat only to have an usher approach and say, “We need to have seats for some of our employees to watch this movie, and we’ve chosen you to leave. So, get out.” I know what I would have said, if I’d been that doctor, a verb followed by the word “you.” Or “off,” I’m not particular.

I sympathize with the customer one hundred percent. United lost this argument the moment this wasn’t dealt with at the gate–the only option beyond that was to shovel money at customers until someone snatched it. As for the writer of article, and the doe-eyed cows who complain that the victim should have given in and meekly surrendered his seat: His bought and paid for that seat. That he was sitting in.

What have we become, that the civilized response to arbitrary expressions of corporate or government power is meek capitulation? I am shamed by the Americans who condemned this man, but energized by the chorus of voices, including many of those people on the plane who spoke up at the time and whose outrage was essential in getting this story told.

We live in a nation where corporations have equal and, in many cases, greater rights and and privileges than citizens and the communities in which we live. Just miles from where I live, two small communities are being sued by a large petroleum corporation and also by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection after passing a local law that bans the dangerous practice of injecting chemical-laden waste into abandoned natural gas wells. At risk is the groundwater for the entire region. The corporation has won the latest round of litigation, as it has determined that corporations have the right to do things and the people–We The People–have “no legal standing” to resist.

Think that through for a moment. A company can get a permit at the state or federal level to endanger your drinking water, and neither you nor your legally elected officials have the right to say no. There is only the State and The Corporation. Humans don’t exist. You don’t exist. Adding insult to injury is the so-called DEP, which is suing these tiny rural communities for daring to make their own local rules. They protect nothing but corporate rights

If it seems like a stretch to compare the two situations, consider the underlying principle: individuals assaulted–whether by fist or injection well–and then suppressed for resisting. There is a long line of connections here–cages and fences that restrict protestors in the streets, politicians like out child king Trump who encourage aggressive response to dissent, citizens arrested on their own land for protesting trespassing private corporations which, enabled by corrupt eminent domain proceedings, fragment private property for corporate gain, Native Americans put at risk then pounded into submission, in the 21st century, because the white town up the road said no, black kids gunned down in the street for running away.

I’m not an insurrectionist, but at least in this context I appreciate the concerns and grievances of the Teabaggers and even Douchebag Extremists like the deeply misguided tax-cheating Bundy family and their Sagebrush Rebellion predecessors. They’re wrong on the why, but they’ve got a sense of the what.

I long for the unlikely day that simple people, whether they’re just customers trying to get what they pay for, or black kids just trying to get by, or Cowboys just wanting to be Cowboys, or Coal Miners looking for jobs, and everybody else sees that we’ve got more in common with each other than the corporations that see us as little more than dolphins caught in their driftnets, the super-wealthy who profit from them, the managers who sell their souls in service to those profits, or the politicians who enable and sustain them.

 

 

I Know You’re Mad at United but… (Thoughts from a Pilot Wife About Flight 3411)

If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that there are always two sides to every story.

On April 9th, a very unfortunate incident played out on United Flight 3411, the video of which has since gone viral causing a mass social media uprising with an ‘off-with-their-heads’ mentality. I mean, across the board. Fire ’em all and let the gods sort it out later.

Look, I get it. When I first saw the video I was appalled too. To say that it was inflammatory would be putting it mildly. But it was also a situation that was escalated far beyond the boundaries of necessity.

If a federal law enforcement officer asks me to exit a plane, no matter how royally pissed off I am, I’m going to do it and then seek other means of legal reimbursement. True story.

Knowing what I know about airport security, I’m certainly not going to run back into a secured, federally restricted area at an airport flailing my arms and screaming like a banshee…because, you know, that just happens to be breaking a major federal Homeland Security law.

But that’s just me. Obviously.

The moment I made that particular ill-advised choice, I would become an immediate and imminent threat to the aircraft’s security. That’s kind of a big deal. I mean, come on, I once actually had to remove my infant son’s socks because they mimicked little baby sneakers. These guys mean business.

I didn’t like it. I thought it was just plain stupid, honestly. But instead of pitching a massive fit, refusing to comply, and bolting through the TSA checkpoint like an out-of-control toddler, I did the big girl thing–sucked it up, removed the offensive socks, and went on with my happy life, sans being tackled and dragged through the airport in handcuffs by a bunch of big men with guns.

Because if you choose to take advantage of the services the airport provides, you play by their rules.

I know you’re all out there screaming that the ‘rules’ are unfair, but I am a pilot wife. I remember 9/11. Do you? I want my husband, the father of my children, to come home. I want you to get homeThat law exists to protect my husband. And your wife. And your grandmother. And your child. And you. I, for one, am glad for the law.

I’m not here to dispute the facts of 3411 with you. I am not interested in getting into an argument of opinion with anyone. We’re all entitled to our own. I’m not arguing that what happened wasn’t completely terrible–it was, on multiple levels. But I am suggesting that the general public take another look at the situation, ask a few more questions, gather a few more facts, and then create a less hostile and more intellectually wrought opinion about what happened.

Because the media is giving you just enough information to keep you enraged–enough to keep their ratings up.

Things to consider:

1) “You can’t just kick a paying customer off the plane!” Psssst! It’s in the fine print. They can, indeed, do just that. And it’s not an airline specific rule, it’s a commercial aviation rule. Every ticket you purchase comes with a plethora of fine print–you know, the stuff we just click ‘next’ on without actually reading what we are agreeing to. Yeah, that. Well, it’s in there, and you checked the ‘I agree’ box when you purchased your ticket. You can read about it and oh-so-much-more here. Kind of makes you want to read all those tiny words on your next phone update before you click ‘I agree’, huh? You should. United did not break any law, and he agreed to the policy and possibility of involuntary bump when he bought his ticket. And so do you.

2) “Kicking a paying customer off an airplane!? I’m taking my business to Southwest!” Ummmm, okay. But just be sure you understand that every major airline, Southwest included, has a similar policy for involuntary bumping in a ‘must ride’ scenario. Don’t believe me? It’s called the contract of carriage. If you’re really bored, you can read Southwest’s here. Or Delta’s here. Believe me, it’s in there.  This could have been any airline. In fact, it happens all the time. Most people just don’t wrestle the feds in the aisle.

3: “So what’s this ‘must ride’ nonsense anyway? They shouldn’t bump a paying customer for a free employee ride!” I’m afraid you’re going to have to take this up with the federal government, not United. And it’s actually pretty important to you as an airline traveler anyway. They were not ‘freeloading home’. That’s called non-rev and they have to wait in line behind your checkbook and often don’t make it home to their families if flights are booked (believe me, I know). No, this was a must fly, a positive space situation. In layman terms, it means that a crew must be flown to an airport to man a flight in order to avoid cancellation of said flight due to crew unavailability. This is a federal DOT regulation, not an airline one. The airlines are required to do so to avoid disruption of air traffic. In other words, if there are no willing volunteers and they need seats to get a crew somewhere to avoid disruption of aviation flow, they can, will, must by federal regulation bump people for the better good of the 1000’s. Why? Because one cancelled flight has a serious domino affect in the delicate, complicated world of connections and aviation law.

4: “It’s the airline’s fault for not planning better!” You obviously have no clue about the complexities of aviation travel and should do some research. There are about a million and one things that can cause a crew shortage including but not limited to weather, maintenance, weather, connecting fight delays, weather, FAA timeout regs, and did I mention weather? I wish I could control Mother Nature because I would be one filthy rich person. But I can’t. And neither can United. So they inconvenience one, or four, to keep hundreds on track. Do the math. And of course, if we were on the other end of this thing, we’d be tirading and blowing up the internet because United didn’t bump a passenger to make sure our flight didn’t get cancelled and left hundreds stranded. Damned if you do; damned if you don’t. We’re a fickle crowd, we social media folks.

5: They shouldn’t have picked the minority Chinese doctor! It’s racist.” That’s just silly. Though federal regulation demands they involuntarily bump to prevent interruption of flights when necessary, each airline does have the leniency to determine how they choose the bumped passengers. They did not play spin the bottle or walk down the aisle looking for the Asian guy. Use your heads, people! There is a computerized algorithm that takes into account price of ticket, how long ago it was purchased, whether or not they can get the passenger to their destination in a timely manner, etc. It wasn’t an ‘Asian thing.’ Stop, people. Just stop.

6: “United should go under for assaulting that passenger! Fire the entire crew!” Read the facts. United neeeever touched the passenger. In fact, by all witness accounts, the United flight crew remained calm and pleasant throughout the entire event, never laying hands on the passenger. They followed protocol as required by law. Once law enforcement became involved (also as required by federal protocol), United stepped out of the decision-making process. They had nothing to do with the rest. The passenger was forcibly removed by federal aviation security (the disturbing clip that everyone is talking about) after running back into the secured area after being escorted out once. Once he did that, like it or not, they (law enforcement) were under full discretion of the law to apply necessary force to remove the threat. I’m not saying it’s pretty, but the only one who actually broke a law was the passenger. There’s a reason for these laws–it’s called 9/11. We can’t have it both ways. But by all means, let’s berate and punish an entire flight crew–in fact thousands of pilots, FA’s, gate attendents, ground crew, etc.–because it makes us all feel a little better.

7: “You piece of **it!” I get that the passengers were upset, angry, maybe even confused. I get that you are too. After all, media is tossing you out chunks of bloody meat like you’re a pack of starving wolves. But I’m seriously disgusted that the poor must ride crew that had to take those seats after the unfortunate mess that unraveled were verbally abused and threatened. Can you imagine the very uncomfortable position they were in? Then they were demeaned, belittled, threatened. Along with many others all over the internet and airports today. They were and are men and women doing their jobs to feed their families. Just. Like. You.  They didn’t have a choice. They didn’t ask for this. They didn’t assault anyone. They are not a corporation; they are individuals who need a job. They are my friends and maybe even my husband. There’s a very fine line between what you despise and becoming what you despise. Many of the comments and actions I have seen perpetrated against United employees cross it. Don’t become what you hate.

Like I said, I know you’re mad at United, but there’s much more to the story than hits the media fan.

I truly hope that this gives you something to chew on and gives you a smidgen more insight into the complexities of aviation. I’m not making excuses. I think there were bad decisions made on both sides. However, I am saying there are always two sides to every story. Make sure you consider them both.

Tailwinds.

***A correction to the previous article. Mr. Dao was indeed Vietnamese and not Chinese.  That quote was verbatim from a comment off the internet. I apology profusely for the confusion.

Angelia (A Pilot Wife)

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Blame Trump? Blame Me.

I’m a big fan of the WordPress community and the creativity this outlet and the people here wring out of me–quickly written, spontaneously conceived and sloppily edited. There’s something about wise-assed rants I don’t bother to edit or even proofread that is liberating. I mean what I say, except when it is clear that I don’t, but saying it here is like whooping on a roller coaster.

Where the hell have I been, then, during a historical time of political insanity? Earlier explanations of my hit or miss–mostly miss, to be honest–have blamed the time taken to generate salable content, but the more I introspect the more I realize that I’ve allowed that fucker, Trump, to bully me out of here. I’m a political junkie. As self destructive as the habit is, I can’t help follow the news, processing every outrage. Too many of my days begin with perusing the news, wondering what the bastard has done now, and delving into the stories of the day despite the corrosive cumulative effect on my soul.

I’ve been telling myself its’ a willful thing, not wanting to slog through politics, but the truth is that I’ve been using my sagging mood as an excuse. I’ve not only stopped fighting (here, at least) but allowed the discouragement to avoid recreational creativity and cathartic bitching and moaning at the very moment I not only need it most, but which is more heavily laden with potential inspiration than any time in my adult life.

So that’s on me. I need to do better. Call me out on it if I don’t.

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Don’t Count On Impeachments Before They’re Hatched.

The Interwebs are crackling with excitement over the possibility that finally, after an interminably frustrating 4 months in office (who thought he’d even last this long?) something might possibly stick to the, er, gold plated Teflon-coated skin of our embarrassment-in-chief. The word “impeachment,” along with “Russia,” and “Traitor” is trending, and Trump apologists are hunkered down and hiding, at least for the immediate future–Charlie Rose reports that no less than 20 Republican politicians have declined interview invitations. Twenty. This could be unprecedented, begging the question: have twenty politicians ever refused to talk on the same day before?

I remain unimpressed. I just watched a video on CNN of Paul Ryan, jabbering about how we know nothing yet, that he has to gather evidence, especially given the lengths that people have gone to in order to undermine The President. He wants to convey objectivity without breaking loyalty, and I suppose if I was a Trump supporter I’d appreciate his effort, but I’m well past the point where I give the President the benefit of a doubt. Trump has been managing his presidency like a performance art parody of a multi-cam comedy about a bungling President and his goofy staff. Think: dystopian photo-negative reimagining of that old Michael J. Fox television classic, Spin City. (Richard Kind character equated to Sean “Spicey” Spicer is perfection.) It would be hilarious, if only this was a real TV show, not the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the history of mankind.

Trump has lied on top of lies, generally refusing to recant on even the most obvious untruths. He lies for no great reason, with a conviction that suggests a pathological pattern of behavior, and he lies on grand stages about serious events. He lashes out at enemies, provokes allies, and slanders strangers, often as a calculated distraction from his own gaffes and outrages, but sometimes just for sport. Despite this behavior he is defended by those in his adopted party (most of his life, Trump voted Democrat, undoubtedly as a networking advantage in heavily Democratic New York City) not as dishonest and repugnant, but as a colorful maverick.

It is going to take a hell of a lot more than a little treason and a lot of bold lies to even consider articles of impeachment, must less dislodging this should-be Pariah from the White House. Fox News is pretty much calling fired FBI directed James Comey a liar, and the Teabaggers are circling the wagons, wrapped up in sticking it to “the man” in spite of the fact that few presidents have embodied the concept of “the man” more ably that pussy-grabbing, deal-breaking, bankruptcy-making Donald Trump.

The regressive core of the Republican party has refused to condemn Trump for childish and destructive conduct for plenty of reasons. Plenty of cowards fear him–not him exactly, although his impulsive vindictiveness certainly keeps some on edge. Rather, they fear the angry, desperate mob Trump whipped up with his phony promises and hollow nationalism, and which he still wields like a cudgel. Others are content to let him ride roughshod as long as he tears down and dismantles every component of government he can get his tiny little hands on. Some people just want to watch the world burn. Others sit back and watch Trump do it for them, like a wind-up monkey. They don’t care about international relations, or the welfare of the people, or anything outside of their ideological contempt for all things regulatory or administrative. And finally, you have the two types of opportunists. There is the Paul Ryan model, who believe in nothing beyond personal advancement. Remember how Ryan and his ilk loathed Trump until he won the primary, at which point they loved him? Beside them are the practical cowards, like Vice President Mike Pence, men and women who are smart and competent enough to see Trump for what he really is, but who are more than willing to ally with him if it means politically leveraging advantage for their own, narrow pet causes. For Pence, it is tearing down the boundary between Church and State, a particularly onerous trade shared by most evangelical theocratists, faith-healers, closeted hypocrites and snake-oil sellers of the Christian entertainment industry.,all of whom look blindly past Trumps gutter-crawl through marriage after marriage, his greed and idolatry, his coveting and his gluttony. I can’t say that Trump has murdered, but he seems to have the rest of the commandments and motal sins checked off like a movie serial killers “to do” list. And the christian activists couldn’t care less.

Of course, in order to actually impeach Trump, we would need to see enough Republicans willing to put the welfare of the nation and it’s people–including all the lazy poor and devious immigrants (or children of immigrants)–above whatever stake they have in the Trump administration, knowing that by convicting they will at the same time be admitting to their own culpability in enabling their President and his banana republic management of the nation. And even then, in the unlikely event that the house impeaches, and the senate does not acquit, we end up with Pence as President, with Ryan skulking in the shadows, at which point we’re forced to consider: what is preferable, an idiot child-king or a polished politician, when the overwhelming platform won’t change all that much. In many ways, Trump’s arrogant incompetence is a check and balance, revealing what might, under a more capable politician, have been hidden in shadows while at the same time stirring up a storm of angry resistance. I want Trump gone as much or more than the next guy, but I’m awfully wary of what comes next.

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Trump, Autocracy, and Racist Lackeys

How many degrees of separation can we find between the Trump Administration and real live steaming-shit Nazi scum? Just one, it turns out, and you’ve seen him on TV.

160327103842-donald-trump-melania-trump-tweet-stephen-miller-sotu-00000000-large-169.jpgIn a series of interviews and public statements eerily reminiscent of those old shouting-Hitler ragefests from Nazi Pep Rallys in the 1930s, Donald Trump’s “Senior” Advisor Stephen Miller lost his shit and declared, among many things, that “…the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned!” But don’t take it from me, check out this cut from last Sunday’s appearance on Meet The Press and stick around to the end to catch the horrified responses from conservative television personalities Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

“Oh my god.” They both say.

Chilling, right? I was shocked at first, but then I stared to do some digging, and it turns out that Miller was college buddies at Duke University with a guy named Richard Spencer, who you might recognize from this video…

If not, then surely this rings a delightful little bell….

It turns out that Miller supported Spencer, who also happens to be married to a notorious Russian propagandist,  in his early work, laying the groundwork for the uncloseted white supremacist organization the National Policy Institute,  who believe stuff like this:
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I know. I mean, holy shit, right?  And yeah, I have a download of this entire speech in case you think I’m cherry picking.
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Is anyone surprised?  Trump’s guru, Miller’s mentor, and Breitbart mastermind Steve Bannon, is a like-minded NPI true believer. And Miller formerly worked for unapologetic racist and new Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions.

Welcome to the New America.

 

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