Tasting Dictatorship

Good Morning, America.

We're almost a week into the Trump regime. How are you liking it?

The new President is really going gangbusters and revealing just how much of a house of cards the Constitution and the American socio-political contract really is. There is literally nothing anyone can do about the Executive branch's excessive use of its powers. These are totally legal (or at least unregulated) powers of the President because of the failure of Congress (Legislative branch) to do its job of checking and balancing the President over the past 30 years or so. 9/11 really put the final nail in Democracy's coffin, when George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld exploited the orchestrated terrorist attack to basically grab power for the Executive branch by way of the Patriot Act and bullying. If Congress ever objected, they were "with the enemy" or not "supporting the troops." Remember those memes? Good.

Now the media is under attack, the logical next step in establishing a strong autocratic dictatorship in America. You have to give Trump credit for being diabolically genius in how he set up the "dishonest media," to be damned if they do/don't report the truth. He has spun it so that the media is between a rock and a hard place. If the mainstream corporate media does its job of investigating and exposing Trump's unconstitutional behavior, then they walk right into Trump's trap. He can just say the dishonest media are out to get him and the media's credibility is shot with the conservative/right wing half of the population. If the media backs off and doesn't do its job of speaking truth to power, then the progressive/liberal half of the public thinks they are weak. The media can't win no matter what they do. It's by design that public education has been dismantled over the same time period, because now people can't think critically and we live in a fabricated reality with, LITERALLY, "alternative facts." What?

Donald Trump is a Republican wet dream. Trump is doing everything Republicans have always wanted to do, but were ashamed to do (or they feared the negative public perception). Trump is like honey badger. He don't give a @#$%. So the Republicans are happy to let him take all the blame for annihilating the Constitution and American values, while professing that their hands are clean.

"Nope. Sorry," they'll say. "We can't do anything as long as Trump is using his legally granted powers [subtext: that we idiotically granted the Executive branch after 9/11]." They suck.

Don't let the Republicans off the hook. Trump is dictating the law as he sees fit without regard for...well...the law. That's dictatorship by definition. If Republicans don't stand up for American values, they are complicit. Boom.

There is an ember of hope that Americans can collectively rebel and reverse the damage Trump and the Republicans have caused, but the right wingers all have their dicks out and they are about to piss on it. Fortunately, it's difficult to piss when you have a power boner. So "we the people" best get moving pronto before it is too late.

Governance by Executive Order Has a Name...

DICTATORSHIP.

Good day.

*Note: Before the trolls start in with specious red herring counterarguments like, "You didn't complain when Obama signed executive orders..." Yes, I did [SOURCE]. So eff you. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Guess Which Muslim Country WAS NOT Affected by Trump's Travel Ban

Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Muslim countries* excludes an interesting one.

Here's a hint...the 9/11 hijackers came from there. Yeah, SAUDI ARABIA.

Just something to think about.

Also, Pakistan was exempted as well, the country that harbored Al Quaeda leader Osama bin Laden for 10 years.

It should be noted that this is just an observation. I am not afraid of terrorism, since it kills so few Americans compared with other things, including domestic gun violence, lightning strikes, and even brain-eating parasites [SOURCE].

*Note: The affected countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

How to Defeat Trump in One Easy Lesson

1. Every time you see someone doing something bad, stupid, or douchey, just say aloud to whoever is around, "They must be a Trump supporter."

If enough people do this, eventually it will enter the vernacular and become common convention, sowing the seeds of discontent. Collective public sentiment will turn against Trump amazingly fast because most people are not Trump supporters, just apathetic. And apathetic people follow popular conventions because that is easiest. So making this anti-Trump sentiment conventional can work wonders. The beauty of it is that you don't need to criticize Trump explicitly and risk a Twitter beef with him; you just make him guilty by implicit association with society's dumbasses and douchebags.

A corollary to this is anytime something bad happens in the world, say aloud to whoever is around, "Thanks Donald Trump."

Play with this idea a bit. It's quite versatile and conducive to improvisation. For example, say an aggressive BMW driver cuts you off in traffic. Instead of giving him the finger, just say, "Everybody hates a Trump supporter."

Doomsday Clock Moved to 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (and How That Compares to 1950)

The Atomic Scientists who manage the hypothetical Doomsday Clock have moved the time 30 seconds closer to midnight (aka, Doom = extinction of Homo sapiens). It is now at 2.5 minutes from Doom, reflecting global insecurity surrounding climate change and nuclear weapons, the closest it has come since the height of the Cold War in the 1950s.

Bummer, man. That's a bummer.

It is definitely time (pun intended) to move to Australia and read the book (or watch the film*), "On the Beach."



*Note: The original 1959 film starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner is superior to (and shorter than) the 2005 remake. Fun fact, when I was in Austalia with my family in 2014, we visited one of the film locations outside of Melbourne, a country pub called the Black Spur Inn, although I do not have hard proof this place was actually in the film.

Dude...You Won the Effing Election! Are You Insane?

Donald Trump won the presidential election by the rules of the game, getting the Electoral College votes needed to be president. But that just wasn't good enough for him. Nooooo. He can't stand the fact that he did not win the popular vote (because he isn't popular). So the pathological narcissist is launching a probe into election fraud he believes will show he actually won the popular vote. But that's not what will happen at all. If election fraud is discovered, no matter who it favored, the legitimacy of the whole election is questionable and nobody wins in that scenario. The vote has to be thrown out and new elections held. If that's not done, Trump's legitimacy is in question. But chances are very high that no election fraud will be uncovered, in which case taxpayer money is just wasted on a silly narcissistic probe.

If anyone in Congress has the ability or balls to shut this waste of time down, DO IT!

Fabricate a Reality Around This

Dear Right Wing Friends,

I have a clutch cargo request and I need it ASAP.

Fabricate me a functional reality around these facts:

Rick Perry once could not remember the name of the Department of Energy.

When he did, he called for eliminating it.

Then he thought the DOE was in charge of coal and oil policy (rather than nukes, its actual function).

Now he has been nominated for Secretary of Energy, heading the DOE, by Trump.

And...GO!

Leave your internally consistent reality proposals in the COMMENTS below.

Ciao!

Chelsea Manning's Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Whilst the corporate mainstream media are masturbating themselves raw over the pros and cons (depending on the organization's ideological bent) of President Obama's commutation of Wikileaker Chelsea Manning's 35 year prison sentence, they are completely missing an important angle, probably by design. If you are feeble of mind, reading any further in this post may cause extreme cognitive dissonance. You have been duly warned.

Chelsea Manning is a woman by preference, not birth. She was born male as one Bradley Manning. She was male when convicted for giving classified information to the press (if Wikileaks' regurgitation of unanalyzed raw data qualifies as "press"). She was male when sent to prison after receiving a 35 year sentence, the harshest sentence ever given for such a crime (due to the shark infested climate of popular and media sentiment at the time).

During her six years in prison to date, she changed her gender identification from male to female, receiving only minimal medical support from her captors. On the one hand it's pretty cool that the military allowed her to do so at all. However, she is now a woman incarcerated in a maximum security men's prison, and that's been traumatizing for her, according to media reports. The New Yorker reported that Manning attempted suicide while incarcerated and rather than receiving mental health care, was instead placed in solitary confinement. According to the New Yorker:

"She has at times been deprived of all clothing but a smock and subjected to the kind of petty humiliations that come too easily in a prison. Some of the treatment (although not all of it) was doubtless due to misjudgments about the best way to respond to Manning’s status as a transgender woman in a maximum-security men’s prison, rather than to bad will or hostility, but that simply raises the question of how her treatment might change in a different political climate."
[SOURCE]

So whatever President Obama's reasons for commuting Manning's sentence (and it appears that her acknowledgement of wrongdoing weighed heavily in the decision), it's the right thing to do on the Constitutional grounds of preventing cruel and unusual punishment. No matter what your beliefs on Manning's crime(s), you have to respect the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. If you abandon the Constitution, the "social contract" crumbles like a house of cards and America descends into anarchy.

The Constitution protects creepy peoples' right to own guns and hippy peoples' right to protest fascism. You don't have to like it, but respect it. Or don't...honey badger don't give a @#$%.

See also: BUSH COUNTING DOWN DAYS UNTIL HE IS NO LONGER WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY

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The Gym is Not the Place for Political Talk

The gym is no place for talking, much less talking about politics. I adhere to a staunch policy of minimal banter at the gym, with rare exceptions, like when I talked to the guy with Down's Syndrome because everyone was ignoring him.

The locker room at the gym is an absolute talk (and whistling*) free zone in my opinion. It's awkward enough having a bunch of guys standing around with their johnson's out. If I have ever heard you talk or whistle in a bathroom or locker room, there is a 100% chance that I have fantasized about you untimely death. Do not do this!

Anyway, outside the locker room at the gym, it's OK to talk, provided it is drama neutral, pertinent, and necessary. Politics talk violates all three of these criteria. Everyone should know this. However, the other day at the gym, a guy totally violated my earspace with his right wing political rhetoric. I had my headphones on because I was practicing my Duolingo language exercises on my tablet while I fat burned on the exercise bike, but still the guy's voice cut through. He was criticizing anti-Trump people (so basically almost everyone) for being, he thought, disrespectful to the Office of the President. He was pissed off that so many people were rejecting the legitimacy of Trump's win over Hillary Clinton, given the election hacking and mudslinging (not anything new, but the mainstream corporate media needs to pretend it is, for ratings), and there was something on the TV at the gym about people boycotting Inauguration Day.

"You don't have to like the guy...but you have to respect the Office," or something to this effect, the guy was saying to another hapless soul on the workout floor. This is classic hypocrisy, because you know full well that if Clinton had won the election, this guy would be singing a totally different tune, calling her illegitimate. It was awful. And sad. And pathetic.

This is why political chatter is forbidden at the gym, by unspoken convention. Everyone hates people who violate this convention, creating an awkward and uncomfortable, and frankly unhealthy, health club environment. The best option for everyone at the gym is simply to not talk. You should be exercising at an intensity that makes verbalization difficult anyway. If you have the ability to talk at the gym, you are doing it wrong. If you have to talk at the gym, avoid talk of politics or religion or any other divisive and uncomfortable topic.

*Note: Whistling is prohibited at ALL times EVERYWHERE. My female friends tell me that whistling among women, especially in restrooms and locker rooms, is unheard of and they think it's the strangest thing when I tell them some men do it a lot.


Donny, You're Outta Your Element!


I'm a Dudeist, and I can't help but note how appropos (even to the name) this quip from the Big Lebowski character, Walter Sobchek, is to our current political climate and buffoonish President-elect.

Donald Trump is, according to psychology, a stereotypical delusional narcissist and I think he is beginning to crack under the very real pressure of becoming the POTUS, a role that requires rational, sane, intelligent thinking, and a solid grounding in reality (not reality TV). His loopy reaction to criticism seems to be going into critical mass, and I predict a total nuclear meltdown very soon. He has been adversarial with the mainstream media* and he appears willfully ignorant of the law, particularly regarding ethics and conflict of interests, which means his is at high risk for breaking said laws, even if unwittingly. And the media will not be gentle with him when that happens.

Now there is no up side to this, because if Donald Trump implodes and is forced to resign, Mike Pence, who is a religious zealot (Christian Taliban), becomes the President. "You fascist!"

The only thing we can really hope for here is that when the shite hits the fan we get to see if the American socio-political infrastructure can handle the strain, or if it is just a house of cards that we've all been sort of loosely adhering to on the "honor system" this whole time. I still have a glimmer of hope for the former.

At this point, I will simply ask the Cosmos to please make everything turn out alright.


Donald Trump's Presidency Will Be Awesome For Me and You Won't Believe the Dumb Reason Why!

Donald Trump's presidency is going to eff things up for a lot of people, but I always try to look for the silver lining on things and it turns out there is a bright side for me.

Donald Trump says some amazingly stupid and ill informed things. Yet American society and the mainstream media now fully swallow, endorse, and embrace these stupid, dumb things that Trump says. That means we are entering a period of time in American history when saying stupid things is glorified and praised, which is great for me...and you may already have started to figure out why.

As a blogger, I try to say somewhat intelligent and informed things in my posts. But my job just got a lot easier, because now I can say super dumb things like, "Donald Trump's presidency will be awesome for me..." and that's totally legit in the new bizarro world of fabricated reality.

You think I am full of crap, but you are still reading this dumb post, aren't you? I WIN! Haha.

Not only that, but if you disagree with me, now I can just say you are wrong, corrupt, and/or ugly and your argument becomes totes null and void. I win again!

You gotta give Trump some credit for totally exploiting "the dumb." The fantasy world he lives in is FANTASTIC. He is dictator of the world, always right, and immune to criticism. I think that makes him...God?

This post is ludicrous. And unimpeachably AWESOME! Thanks Donald Trump!

Did you stop reading this post already?

WRONG! You are still reading it. Damn, Trumpism is amazing stuff. Powerful.

#hookedontrumpism

Nobody is Talking About This. Why?

Wow. Check this report out from the Young Turks.

https://youtu.be/k7BawNQtGnU

Why is no one talking about this?

America is in Big Trouble With Trump as President

Author's Note: This post contains opinions based on observations and speculation. These opinions may be incorrect, and for the long term survival of humanity, I hope to God they are.

I suppose Americans brought it on themselves, but America is in serious trouble under the looming Trump presidency (I'm not on Twitter, so I am fairly immune to any trolling the narcissistic President elect might do in response to this claim).

America literally has a constitutional crisis on its hands due to Trump's conflicts of interests and security breaches. I would not be surprised if he gets impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors" sooner rather than later, notwithstanding a corrupt legislative branch. It's really the only hope to save America, but unfortunately there is no significant political will nor sufficient public protest to ensure this.

The main threat is Trump's delusional narcissism, perhaps a product of his career living in a fabricated "reality" TV world. He has fabricated a false reality in his mind where he is an all knowing god-man who can do no wrong and grab p*ssies at will. Even his name is ironically appropos, because Donald Trump's beliefs "trump" facts and reality. He denies scientific evidence and credible intelligence threats that do not fit his beliefs. He has delusional conspiracy theories that anyone who disagrees with him is conspiring to undermine him.

Hopefully, that narcissism and disconnect with reality will be the Achilles Heel that undoes him. Trump's opponents really don't have to do much other than let Trump flail himself into hot water. In the meantime, Trump will be a huge threat to American prosperity and security. Don't take my word for it though...just watch the train wreck unfold.

I honestly hope I am wrong. I hope once Trump is inaugurated and starts doing the job of the most powerful man in the world, he rises above his own self interests and does good things. The chances of this are astronomically thin, but unfortunately hope is the only thing Americans have right now. The available evidence suggests Trump has all the makings of a malevolent tyrant.

As I said at the beginning, Americans collectively chose this for themselves at the voting booths and they need to accept the consequences, even if they acted erroneously on their negative emotions* rather than on reason and facts. The corporate mainstream media is largely to blame in fabricating a false reality for people, particularly its "fair and balanced" principle that villifies reality by giving equal weight and credence to uninformed opinions, but the dismantling of public education is also a major factor because it has reduced peoples' ability to think critically. Social media also propagates propaganda and focuses participants' thoughts on a very narrow set of defined "memes," reducing a person's ability to think outside those limited boundaries. That's one of the main reasons I disenfranchised social media from my life (it's also a waste of time).

Anyway, good luck, America. May God have mercy on your souls.

*Note: Any behavior based on the negative emotions of fear and hate (of gays, Muslims, Obamacare, immigrants, black people, government, or whatever) is unhealthy and unproductive. Only objective fact gathering and analysis should guide behavior on important matters. Behavior guided by negative emotions does not have to be anchored in reality, and when you ignore reality in favor of beliefs, no matter how irrational, you make bad behavioral choices (think about the anti-vaccine movement...an incorrect belief based on fear that resulted in very dangerous behavior). When the Executive Branch of the US government behaves irrationally, very bad things can happen, even before the checks and balances built into the Constitution can kick in. For example, Trump has sole authority to order the launch of nuclear missiles on anyone he perceives as a threat. There are currently no checks or balances on this Presidential power, notwithstanding my pleas to Congress to implement some prior to the inauguration. Legislators are not immune to nuclear fallout, even if they believe some irrational idea about how God will protect them. Reality waits for no man, woman, or gender neutral person.

So Glad I am Off Facebook

A torture video was live streamed on Facebook? Really? Glad I missed that.

We truly have reached the lowest stenchy bowels of humanity.

I hope [anti] social media is everything you hoped it would be.

Were I still on Facebook, I might have been too desensitized to realize how fucked up it is that 7.2 million people felt compelled to watch a fellow human get tortured.

I literally feel like my soul is cleaner since I disenfranchised social media from my life starting New Year's Day. I only made it my new year's resolution to take a hiatus from social media for a fortnight, but if no compelling case is found to reconnect with it at the end of the fast, I'm probably canceling my FB and Twitter accounts. It's not worth the wasted time, lost productivity, and sullied soul just to be able to alert a few "friends" that I have a show coming up, the only useful reason I had for signing on to social media in the first place.
People are adults.* If you want to know when and where and with whom I am performing, you can always check the calendar at www.cactusjoeonline.com.

*Note: Actually, I cannot back this up with any observable evidence.

Russian Hacks


But even if they did, so what? You think other countries haven't been trying to encourage favorable outcomes in US elections before? Of course they have. They are always going to act in their own best interests and use any channels necessary, preferably without getting caught. In fact, the US CIA has a sordid history of illegally meddling in the elections of other countries during the Cold War to disfavor candidates, usually Latin American socialists, they didn't like, even assassinating people. So it's pretty hypocritical of them to now decry Russia doing the same thing. Smarts a little bit, doesn't it CIA? You don't get to taste your own medicine too often. Is it bitter?


Plus, even if it were 100% proven that Russia illegally hacked the election, what is the solution? Nobody has the political will power to declare the election invalid and call for a new one. I don't think there's even a mechanism for that in the Constitution. The idea of fair elections is noble, but it's not the reality. There is all kinds of meddling in elections. Voter suppression through voter ID laws is a simple example of the political right using underhanded means to swing elections in their favor. The mainstream media bias their reporting on elections and candidates depending on the ideological bent of their viewer demographic. Now the media is hyping this Russian hacking story, because it sounds so sensational. It's nothing new. Russia just wasn't too subtle and might have left some evidence of their meddling. The only question is whether or not crimes were committed, but even there you have to go back to the hypocrisy of the American intelligence community, because they've also committed crimes to influence elections in other countries. That's what espionage basically is...hacking information to fuck over the perceived bad guys. Whether it's digital or analog hacking/spying is just splitting hairs. You don't get to say American hacking is somehow OK because, you know...it's Americans doing it. That kind of thinking leads to tyranny (and tyrants). Was this hacking really any different than old school espionage? You find the dossier. Steal it. And use it to harm your enemies.

The way I see it there are two options.

1. Get over it. Suffer Donald Trump's presidency (preferably for only 4 years) and repeat the whole ugly cycle again.

2. Fix it. If you really think the election was illegally hacked and illegitimate, call for new elections and void the old one, if there is a legitimate process in place for doing so. Has anyone quantified the extent of hacking and the influence it had? What's the metric? If you're not going to do the hard work to fix the issue, then shut up and refer to bullet #1.

Scooped on Search for Edward Abbey's Grave Book

My mom got me a great birthday present. It's a book called "Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave," by Sean Prentiss.

Edward Abbey was an environmentalist and writer of several books, most of them based in the desert southwest of the United States. When he died in 1989, several members of his friends and family buried him out in the desert, illegally, at an undisclosed location, per Abbey's instructions. No one else knows where the grave site is and the people that do have never exposed it.

I haven't read Abbey's books for some time, but I read a few of them years ago and at some point I hatched the idea to someday go out west in search of Edward Abbey's grave, and then write about it in a compelling way. I never thought anyone else would do that very thing, but Sean Prentiss sure did and bless his heart. He got the scoop on me, but in all honesty, I'm not sure if I ever would have followed through on my grand idea, old and jaded as I am, and with so many other irons in the fire. That being said, I am eager to read this book and see what Prentiss discovered. It's pretty clear from the first few pages that a primary thesis of the book is that it is the journey that matters far more than the desination. So I expect and hope the book will be a learning experience. Had I known Mr. Prentiss before he wrote this book, I might have volunteered to be his editorial assistant and traveling companion.

I have never lived in the desert southwest of the United States, but I do have a strong attraction to it, maybe in part from reading Abbey's colorful descriptions of that part of the world. I have visited Arizona and New Mexico, years ago, in what seems like a previous life to me now. My sister lives in Colorado, a place I feel compelled to someday reside, though current circumstances indicate it may be quite a while down the road. I've described what I like about Colorado in previous posts, but it pretty much comes down to the natural beauty, earthy people, and dry climate.