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the anarchic story stump

January 12, 2018

As the Fire and Fury, uh, fury recedes, I thank Michael Wolff for keeping Trump’s finger off the nonexistent nuclear button for nearly a week.  I think we might have gotten an extra few days out of it if Wolff wasn’t such a sleaze.  It doesn’t help that he looks and sounds like Mike Myers’ Doctor Evil.

We have bigger fish for The Donny to lie about, anyway.  Shitholegate, e.g.  I love how it’s “s***hole” on CNN during the day, then “shithole” from Erin Burnett on.  I’m not surprised at the extent of the backlash, but the intensity of it is off the charts.  I’ve never seen so many pundits, including presidential historians, so enraged.  Phil Mudd was apoplectic, proudly declaring himself a shitholer because of his immigrant ancestors.  I don’t think we have the technology to measure the depth of anger here.

But I wanted to start the new year on a more positive note, so here goes.

On the road that connects the 60 or so souls who comprise our community, there is this:

On the left side of the road, there is this:

No one will claim setting it up, and I don’t think anyone cares who did.  It is an anarchic story stump.  Anyone is welcome to add to or rearrange it.

And that includes you.  Here are the characters.  Please tell me a story.



Here’s your opening scene.  Enjoy.


just like then, but 50 years later

December 29, 2017

So in a few hours we’ll be starting the 50th anniversary of 1968.  Let’s review: the seizing of the USS Pueblo by North Korea.  The Tet Offensive.  Laugh-In, 2001, Hair and 60 Minutes premiere.  The My Lai Massacre.  Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy assassinated.  The Civil Rights Act.  Pope Paul VI condemns birth control.  Chicago police bust protestors’ skulls at the Democratic National Convention.  Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a Black Power salute on the medal podium at the Mexico City Olympics.  Led Zeppelin performs live for the first time, the Beatles release the White Album and the Stones drop Beggars Banquet.  Nixon becomes President.  The Heidi game.  Captain Kirk kisses Uhuru.  The Zodiac Killer.

I mean, things were poppin’.

And I believe ’18 could top it.  The U.S. was soundly divided by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement then; it’s agonizing over even headier issues now.  E.g., will the rise of the #MeToo movement continue to equalize the power balance between men and women?  Interest in running for public office is surging among women.  I can’t wait to see if attendance at the Women’s March on January 21st will exceed last year’s 4 million.

Trump’s problems will continue to compound as he hits the various corners he’s backing into.  His blinding hatred of Obama puts him in the untenable position of claiming victory over the ACA even as he’ll have to reach out to Democrats to help shore it up.

His hysteria over the hordes of raping Mexican immigrants will also twist his knickers tighter.  He claims there will be no redemption for DACA without funding for the Wall.  I think he’s truly overstepped here.  The Dems almost certainly would refuse to comply.  If Trump screws over the Dreamers, he loses even more of the Hispanic vote.  If he doesn’t build the Wall, his base would probably start peeling away.  Indeed, he’s already losing Evangelicals, the base of his base.

He wants to end chain migration because it produced Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight people on a New York City sidewalk recently.  To use one tragic example as a reason to end an entire program is, at best, specious reasoning: Donny’s wheelhouse.  By the same logic, would he use the arrest of ex-Marine Everitt Aaron Jameson — who was stopped from attacking Pier 39 in San Francisco — to abolish the Marine Corps?

After all, Trump could argue, the Corps has produced lots of violent men, like Charles Whitmore and Lee Harvey Oswald.

Then there’s the Russia situation.  Trump is so agitated by what Mueller might find that in a recent 30-minute interview he said 16 times that there was no collusion.  It’s even weirder when you consider that collusion is not a legal term.  If he goes down, it likely would be for conspiracy or obstruction of justice.  So technically he’d be correct.

In the words of the late, great Dick Enberg, “oh, my!”  Buckle up, world.  It’s gonna be a bumpy year.

And Happy New Year!

welcome back, brightness!

December 21, 2017

Winter solstice returned to our neck of the woods at 8:28 a.m. today, and even though it was still dark here, I have never been happier to see the return of the light.  As I write this, Trump’s cabinet members are humiliating themselves with toadying comments about his “exquisite” leadership, as the House GOP scrambles for enough votes to avoid a government shutdown tomorrow.  That would be less than exquisite.

While we await the consequences of the tax restructuring, I’m appreciating the Christmas gifts the Donny has so generously given us.  His hearty endorsement of Roy Moore, heartily withdrawn after Moore lost, helped the Democrats gain a seat in the Senate.  In the long game, that’s probably more valuable than the spectacle of  Moore roaming the Mall and the malls of the Beltway.  He’ll have to settle for the food courts of Alabama, except in Gadsden.

If the Judge had been created by the writers of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels would likely reject him as too unbelievable:  “C’mon, folks.  A 30-year-old sexual predator who says he didn’t ‘generally’ date teenagers?  Get real.  Write another Coneheads.”

And then there’s the kerfuffle at the U.N.  I understand why Trump thought it would help to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  He needs to keep feeding his base as the heat of the Russia investigation builds.  But, maybe from the mistaken belief that his tax bill success meant unlimited political capital, he blusters into the U.N. via Nikki Haley.

Haley is of double value to him as a woman and a person of colour.  She’s his favourite because she’s ballsier than he is.  Opposing a non-binding resolution to condemn Trump’s policy change, she told the U.N. “the U.S. will remember the day when it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very right of exercising our right as a sovereign nation”.

She added some threats about withdrawal of U.S. aid in the speech, which dripped with so much victimhood it could have been written by Omarosa.  Undaunted and unappreciative, the Assembly voted 128-9 for the resolution.  Canada and Mexico abstained.  I know it’s because they’re deep in negotiations about NAFTA, but I’m disappointed in Prime Minister Trudeau.

Those countries joining the U.S. included Guatamala, Honduras and five South Pacific powerhouses, including Nauru and Palua.  Europe and the Middle East said “no thanks”.

And the bestest gift is the GOP opposition to the Russia investigation, which is getting so shrill that only dogs will be able to hear it soon.  Trump Jr. is seeing conspiracies, Sean Hannity is so upset he looks like he’s about to wet himself and Ohio Representative Jim Jordan advanced an argument on CNN that really should be Googled.

On Fox News he was relatively restrained and measured, but on CNN he talked as if he’d just had a case of Red Bulls.  Jake Tapper struggled heroically to help Jordan sort it out, but he babbled like a speed freak, barely breathing.  The stink of desperation from the GOP on this matter can be smelled here in B.C.

So, thank you, President Trump.  I couldn’t possibly give back as much as you’ve given me, but I would like you to have this song, sung to the tune of “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.  It doesn’t have any shelf life left to it, anyway.

“Roy Moore loves the little children,

All the little girlies at the mall,

Under eighteen, must be white,

They are fair game in his sight,

Judge Moore loves them

An that takes a lot of gall.”




the Moore we know

December 11, 2017

So tomorrow Alabama voters will choose a replacement for embattled Jeff Sessions.  Doug Jones, the Democrat, is described by Trump as soft on crime, although he successfully prosecuted two of the Klansmen responsible for a church bombing that killed four black girls.  He also, according to The Donnie, loves the hordes of illegal aliens that aren’t pouring over the borders.  You remember them, yes?  When they weren’t raping, they were voting three to five million times for Hilary.

Judge Roy Moore, the Republican, recently said that America was last great during slavery.  Even with the weight of all that nostalgia, he was able to court underage girls when he was in his 30’s.  Maybe I shouldn’t use “court”.  The Gadsden Gadabout was banned from the Gadsden Mall for Advanced Creepiness.

Leigh Corfman, one of his targets, said he fondled her when she was 14.  Moore denies it.  Many people say that Corfman told them about it right after the incident.  Beverly Young Nelson said Moore sexually assaulted her behind the restaurant she worked at when she was 16.  Moore denies that as well.  Several other women say he harassed them.  Moore . . . well, see above.

Moore’s wife of 32 years, Kayla, is standing by her man.  He first spotted her at a dance recital when she was a teenager, and he knew that she “was going to be a special person in my life.”  When Kayla is not standing, she’s earning $65K a year as president of the Foundation for Moral Law, which Roy founded in 2002.

The Foundation does God’s work, like outing Obama as a Muslim and opposing the appointment of Col. Kristin Goodwin as Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy because she’s a lesbian.  You can certainly understand Roy’s opposition to Col. Goodwin: she does other unfeminine things like fly B-52 bombers, and she’s not a teenager.

When the Foundation is not doing God’s bidding — like accepting a contribution from a neo-Nazi group — it’s explaining to the IRS why its tax records are inaccurate, and why its holy work overlaps the Judge’s political career.

Moore’s ardent supporters have reacted to the women’s accusations as if they’d just been told that Jesus wasn’t all that white.  They say that an inscription by Moore in Nelson’s yearbook is invalid because she added the day and place he signed it.  Nelson’s attorney, Gloria Allred, says Moore’s signature has been confirmed by an independent hand-writing expert.

One rabid right blogger reasoned that it couldn’t be Moore’s writing because the tacked-on date was December, and yearbooks come out in the spring.  How can you argue with that?

Many prominent Republicans, including Alabama’s other U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, oppose Moore.  The White House is “troubled” by the allegations, but Trump desperately needs a GOP hold here.  So he’s been coyly campaigning for the Judge with robocalls and appearances in Florida and Mississippi.  The only reason I can figure as to why he won’t actually go into the state is that he doesn’t want to risk being photographed with Moore.

Not to worry.  Steve Bannon, a slightly thinner version of Trump, has been barnstorming the state decrying that The Forces of Evil think Alabama voters are a bunch of rubes.  We’ll know for certain tomorrow.

The Democrats have contributed robocalls from Obama and Joe Biden.  Cory Booker and civil rights legend John Lewis went in-state to rally black voters.  We’ll know the effectiveness of that soon, as well.

Either way, the Dems will get an early Christmas gift.  A Jones win cuts the GOP’s razor-thin advantage in the Senate even further, although they would probably maintain it only until the slot comes up again in 2020.

A Moore win continues the massive embarrassment until the Repubs can somehow neutralize him.  The Judge’s views are so antiquated his campaign appearances should be in scratchy black and white archival footage.  He’s George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Orval Faubus and Ross Barnett born again.

And he won’t go quietly.  He has God’s Agenda, which supercedes Trump’s.  His ongoing presence can only fuel the #MeToo movement, which is already raging hotter than the Southern California fires.

So stay tuned.  Will Moore be able to wave his tiny pistol in the Beltway?  Will his base be so galvanized that it can’t move?  Will he be denied due to a write-in candidate (I’m hoping Boaty McBoatface)?  Or will Jones turn the Crimson Tide?  Jude and I will be watching CNN all evening.  But, then again, we always do.

what, if anything, was going through his head?

November 28, 2017

Trump has a mind-boggling ability to fuck up the easiest tasks.  Yesterday, as part of National American Indian Heritage Month, all he had to do was honour Navajo Code Talkers from World War II.  These men saved countless U.S. lives in the Pacific Theatre by sending radio messages in their native tongue.  The Axis was never able to decipher it.

So how does POTUS shit on it?  He takes a poke at Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas” because she claims to have Native American heritage.  She has only anecdotal evidence of that, but that doesn’t need to be resolved while respecting genuine heroes.

Trump tried to mollify his remark by telling the three veterans in the White House, “But you know what?  I like you.  Because you are special.  You are special people.  You are really incredible people.”  He said it in his hyper-condescending way, like they were lucky he was even noticing them.

And he did it under a painting of his role model Andrew Jackson, POTUS 7, who presided over the Trail of Tears tragedy, in which more than 4000 Cherokees died.  The optics were the worst since Trump stood by the CIA’s Memorial Wall in January and boasted of the size of his Inauguration crowd.  To his credit, though, he did mention that the Wall was “very special”.

oh, how the midgets have fallen!

November 10, 2017

The tsunami of sexual harassment charges is the swiftest and most comprehensive social upheaval I’ve ever witnessed.  It’s redefining the most fundamental ways humans interact, bringing up our deepest secrets and spotlighting our worst hypocrisies.  Example: someone on my slice of Facebook questioned why it took dozens of women to corral the odious Harvey Weinstein, but only one man to collapse Kevin Spacey’s world.

Although I applaud this phenomenal change, I hope that due process of law doesn’t get swept away in the turmoil.  It’s refreshing to see Louis C.K. own up to his misdeeds, but not a total shock if you’re familiar with his stand-up routines.

Far to the right of Louie is Roy Moore of Alabama, the GOP’s choice to succeed Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.  Moore is a legend in the state.  He was removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for refusing to take out a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.  He was re-elected in 2013, then suspended in May of last year for ordering probate judges to continue to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriages even though it had been declared unconstitutional.

Yesterday a Washington Post article alleged that Moore had sexual contact with Leigh Corfman when she was 14 years old.  He was 32.  Moore has strongly denied this but admitted he may have dated other teenaged girls when he was in his 30’s.

His defenders offered precious little help.  State Auditor Jim Ziegler averred that it was “much ado about nothing”, then segued from Shakespeare to the Bible with an oblique reference: “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter.  They became parents of Jesus.”  Ziegler wrapped it up with “there’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.  Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Moore has already made this a titanic struggle between good and evil, because that’s what Christian extremists do.  Persecution and martyrdom are the coin of their realm.  Indeed, Alabama voters may still elect him December 12th.  He was well ahead in the polls.  But check the Real Clear Politics website in a few days to see how this affects the race.

He could easily clarify matters by submitting to a polygraph test, preferably while placing his hand on the Bible.  Maybe he would remember the Commandment about not coveting thy neighbour’s underaged daughter.

Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones is a formidable opponent.  As U.S. Attorney for northern Alabama, he helped bring down domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph.  Jones also convicted two Klan members for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four black children.

Alabama is no Virginia.  It is very red.  The state university’s nickname is even The Crimson Tide.  But the tide is quickly turning.  National GOP leaders seem petrified by this.  Bombarded yesterday with reporters’ questions about Moore, Mitch McConnell could only muster that mirthless turtle smile.



so long, Aging Orange

November 3, 2017

I got so caught up in the dark doings of last month that I realized I was being as negative as Trump.  Even today, as he rails about the pure evil of Bowe Bergdahl and Hilary (anew), I struggle mightily not to get pulled into his vortex of vilification.  So I’m taking that crucial first step: I’m not going to refer to him by nickname any more.

Sure, I’ll miss Aging Orange, Cheeto, Mad Yam, Tangerine Tantrum, Tall Troll and such.  And I may use apropos adjectives like “cowardly” and “unbalanced”.  But denigrating sobriquets are really his thing.  While he goes petty, I’ll try to stay above it.

For one thing, it’s piling on.  Everyone is on his case.  He complains about it constantly.  Believe him.  Nonetheless, there’s one word to describe him that I can use without guilt: pathetic.

I draw no joy from this observation, but the empirical evidence is staggering.  I worked for many years on psych units.  The guide used for diagnosing patients there is the  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, now in its fifth edition.  Consider some of the DSM-5 criteria for a narcissistic personality disorder: “exaggerated self-appraisal”, “goal-setting is based on gaining approval”, “impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others”, “relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation”, “feelings of entitlement”, “self-centeredness”, “condescending” and “admiration seeking”.

I’m not claiming any expertise on this, but can you read this list and not think of Trump?