Nightmare in America

A quick glance at tonight’s headlines prove that our world has gone nuts!

  • Trump takes credit for ending nonexistent violent crime wave

  • Taylor Swift endorses Democrat, enrages Nazis; “Aryan goddess” no more

  • Melania Trump doesn’t really care what U think about her offensive African safari outfit

  • Trump trolls women again, this time over Kavanaugh vote

  • Coal Is Killing the Planet. Trump Loves It

  • Trump Gives Dictators the Green Light

  • Trump uses swearing-in ceremony to apologize to Kavanaugh

Think back two or three years, if you can, to a saner time.  Would any of these stories have seemed ‘normal’ back then?  The ‘president’ of the United States making up a crime wave so he can take credit for fixing a problem that never happened, and then trolling women and applauding the death of the planet and apologizing to a man who deserves no apology?  Can you imagine Michelle Obama offending an entire race of people and thumbing her nose at her critics?  Can you imagine Michelle Obama wearing a coat that said “I don’t really care, do U?” to visit immigrant children who had been taken from their parents for no reason, and were being kept in cages?  The world is going nuts and the Nazis are offended because some young singer endorses a democrat????  Seriously???

No, don’t bother pinching yourself … I have tried that, and every morning when I wake up, I’ve hoped to find this was all a bad, bad nightmare, but the results are always the same, and after nearly two years, I’ve concluded that unless my name is Rip Van Winkle, this is the new ‘real world’.  It is not, as Aldous Huxley envisioned, a Brave New World, but simply a crazy new world, and one that is applauded by some who were apparently bored with sanity, for Trump’s approval ratings have been on the rise for a week and are as high as they have been since the first month he was in office.

What’s to love, you ask?  Well, apparently some growing portion of this nation has decided that they want a ‘leader’ who …

  • Screams and rages instead of engaging in normal speech
  • Treats women as second-class citizens and sex objects without apology
  • Commends white supremacist hate groups
  • Lies, and covers those lies with more lies
  • Ignores real crises and addresses imaginary ones
  • Verbally assaults allies while pandering to enemies
  • Cheats hardworking people, as well as the U.S. government he is the head of
  • Is a bigot and a bully

And I could go on, but you get the picture.  It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago we had a President and First Lady who were dignified, intelligent, kind and cared about the people of this nation, isn’t it?  But some people must have found that too boring, too mundane … or perhaps just too black.  And so, each morning we wake and find ourselves somewhere between the Land of Oz and Dystopia.

The many faces of Donald Trump:

I have read a number of articles today that say Trump’s rants against Dr. Christine Ford, his unsubstantiated conspiracy claims against democrats, and his rants against women in general last week are actually helping the republican candidates running in the mid-terms.  Say WHAT???  Donald Trump … the so-called president of the United States, a nation of some 320 million people … stands on a stage and mocks a woman who is the victim of sexual assault … proudly parades an an alcoholic sexual predator and leads him to the Supreme Court … rants and rages against any and all women simply for being women … and this is HELPING the GOP candidates?  People … somebody has got their heads screwed on backward!  Somebody … lots of somebodies, apparently, have traded their bloomin’ brains for a box of flippin’ Cracker Jacks!

When Trump first took office, and for a while beyond that, I believed that he would be removed from office before he could do lasting damage.  I foresaw impeachment in the cards (remind me to get a new deck of cards!) and thought his ‘executive orders’ could easily enough be reversed by the next president, probably before the end of 2017.  Whew!  I was wrong, wrong, and wrong.  Here we are nearly at the end of 2018 and he has dug in deep.  What I hadn’t foreseen was that the members of Congress who were supposed to be overseeing him, would instead say “Yessir, Mr. Trump, sir … how far you want me to bend over … how high you want me to jump, sir, Mr. Trump, sir.”  Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Chuck Grassley … every morning they get on their knees and lick Donald Trump’s filthy dirty boots, and this nation will never be the same, for they have handed him the keys to the kingdom and he has shat all over it.

Meanwhile, we wake every morning with trepidation, wondering what new horrors await us, and we find our ways to cope with life in the Era of Trump.  Some drink too much, some take drugs, some beat their wives or children, some cry a lot, while some of us internalize and simply hope each night when we go to bed that we won’t awaken in the morning, for we know by now that the nightmare is here to stay.  This is the legacy of Donald Trump, folks.

 

And So It Begins …

The headline caught my eye immediately …

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

Needless to say, the headline alone made creepy music begin to play in my head and shades of 1984 ran through my mind. Red flags flew up and alarm bells sounded. Funny how two years ago I would have thought nothing of this headline.

The event at which three scientists were scheduled to speak is the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence, Rhode Island, and is hosted by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. The conference is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England and a key to the region’s tourism and fishing industries. The three scientists who have been barred from speaking at the conference helped research and write the 400-page report on the state of the bay. Among the findings are that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish in and around the estuary.

Much of the conference was to revolve around climate change.  Instead of the three scientists presenting the results of their scientific research, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, is scheduled to speak.  You will remember that Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier who, as Oklahoma attorney general, actually sued the very agency he now leads more than a dozen times.

The three scientists, Autumn Oczkowski, Rose Martin, and Emily Shumchenia, were to speak on an afternoon panel entitled “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change.” Given Mr. Pruitt’s and Mr. Trump’s views on climate change, and their unwillingness to accept responsibility for reducing carbon emissions in order to slow the effects on the environment, this stifling of data, or open discussion should come as no surprise.

EPA spokesman, John Konkus said that the three scientists would be allowed to attend the program, but not the morning news conference.  Perhaps Mr. Pruitt fears the scientists might comment. No surprise, but very disturbing.  We The People are not to be allowed access to facts, only to the ‘alternative facts’ that Trump & Co decide upon.  1984. Newspeak.

Since August, all EPA grant requests have gone through Mr. Konkus’ office for review. Konkus served on Trump’s campaign before he was appointed deputy associate administrator in the EPA’s Office of Public Affairs. At the time, agency officials said they were ensuring agency funding is in line with “Mr. Pruitt’s priorities”.  And we all know what those are … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the EPA’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Mr. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program. Eliminate.  Think on that one for a minute.

The EPA has removed most mentions of the words “climate change” from its website. Pruitt has declined to link carbon dioxide emissions to global warming, and in an interview with Time magazine last week said he intended to assemble a team of independent experts to challenge established climate science because, Mr. Pruitt asserted, it has not yet been subject to “a robust, meaningful debate.”  Nor is it likely to be under the “leadership” of Mr. Pruitt.

In other environmental news, the EPA is loosening regulations on toxic chemicals that may affect the quality and toxicity of drinking water, among other things that pose a threat to the health of people and the planet as a whole.  And Trump’s proposed budget includes funding for drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The refuge is an untouched region of Alaskan wilderness, supporting the habitat of caribou, wolves, polar bears and hundreds of species of migratory birds. I will have more about these topics in a future post.

I think we all anticipated these moves and more, but to wake up one morning and see in bold print that blatant censorship of real information is happening is sobering, to say the least. Censorship. The withholding of information robs us of the ability to decide for ourselves what to believe or disbelieve.  Trump & Co would have us believe only what they tell us to believe.  They would turn us into sheeple who have no need to think, for we are told all that we need to know by the likes of Trump, Pruitt, Sessions and the rest.  We The People will not stand for it, for I still have faith in our independent spirit.  I sincerely hope that the three scientists who were barred from speaking will speak out in other venues, will help the public understand the results of their research in spite of Big Brother.

Alternative facts … a lie by any other name is still a lie.

Gun Sales Down … Alcohol Sales UP???

It is one thing to say that Trump & Co. are driving us crazy, affecting our health, promoting violence and racism, etc., but I posed to Google a specific question:  have liquor sales increased since Trump was elected?  And I got my answer and much, much more.  So, I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at what other changes the idiot-in-chief and his cast of looney toons has wrought.

  • gun-idiot-1Ironically, gun sales were down 17% during Trump’s first two months in office. One main reason is that the lunkheads no longer fear that President Obama will be ‘coming for their guns’.  Of course, he never was, but try telling that to a lunkhead.  The exception to the decline in gun sales is among women and minorities, two groups who have cause to feel more vulnerable in the ‘age of Trump’.

  • Contrary to Trump’s rants about the ‘failing media’, and specifically the ‘failing New York Times‘, the media over all, including the Times, are having a very good year. At the Times, subscriptions have increased 8.1% since January.  Other media outlets, including television and print, have increased viewership/readership averaging between 8% – 21%.  Failing???  I don’t think so …

  • The sale of bomb shelters has increased 500% – 700% here in the U.S., and in Japan, one company received more orders in the month of April than it typically receives in an entire year. Remember the Cold War ….

  • This one had me scratching my head at first … the sale of poster boards and markers has increased exponentially, to the point that there is now actually a shortage, as supply struggles to keep up with demand, and many have resorted to using cardboard boxes and old bed sheets. The reason?  Protest signs!

  • 1984

    First edition cover

    The sale of dystopian novels, beginning with George Orwell’s 1984, which became the #1 best-selling book on Amazon the week of the inauguration, has increased dramatically. Others that have seen increases in sales include Animal Farm also by Orwell, It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Does this give us some idea about what we are thinking these days?  Actually, I recently re-read two of these myself – Brave New World and 1984.  It is said that Trump is not a big reader. He hasn’t read any presidential biographies, asks for long reports to be boiled down to a few short pages, and frequently “gets bored and likes to watch TV.” Says something, don’t you think?


  • As to my original question about alcohol sales being up, the answer is a bit murky. One study shows that sales of beer, wine & liquor have increased some 18% since January, but … there is no consensus about the reason.  Some believe it is euphoria among the lunkheads, others say it is angst among those of us who are not lunkheads, and still others claim it is due to an anticipation of both tax cuts (on the wealthy, who are usually a bunch of alkies anyway) and proposed de-regulation on the industry, such as expanding the hours and venues that alcohol may be served.  Personally, I believe it is the angst of the times, and some agree with me, judging by these tweets:
    • @kristenhowerton: Remember the Freshman 15? I’m on my way to gaining a Trump 15. Stress eating, drinking to cope with each new executive order … it’s real.
    • @wordlust: Me: Wow, Trump’s four years were worse than I could’ve imagined. Reality: It’s been one week. Me: Hello, grain alcohol.
    • @erinspencer93: Million dollar idea for a monthly subscription service: Trump Survival Box. Delivery of alcohol, chocolate & zanax. Subscription lasts 4 yrs

Oh yes, there was one more interesting thing.  Swiss watchmakers are gearing up for increased U.S. sales.  They anticipate that the tax cuts (again, for the wealthy) will cause a spike in their sales.  Makes sense … see, the wealthy haven’t yet figured out that a $30 watch keeps time just as well as a $75,000 watch.  Yes, folks, I could pay all my bills and take care of my family for two years for what a single Rolex watch costs.  Hedonistic lifestyles of the disgustingly wealthy.  Call me a socialist, for I basically am, but there is rich, and there is humane … rarely do the two happen in the same person, though there are exceptions like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The one on the left sells for $124,000 — the one on the right, a mere $75,000.  I’d rather buy books.