Originalism

It’s Not Like They Were Gods

One thing I do not understand is the judicial principle of originalism, according to which we have to somehow divine the intent of our Founding Fathers. That strikes me as rather silly. Take Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, for example. While Jefferson was Adams’s Vice President, he did everything possible to subvert him, including hiring a yellow journalist named James Callender to attack Federalist positions. This was at a time when the winner for President was forced to take the loser as his Vice President. And that was written in the Constitution! (It was not until later in life that Adams and Jefferson were reconciled, and they both wound up dying on July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration of Independence.)

If two of our Founding Fathers were such enemies, how is it possible to arrive at any consensus by reading their long-dead minds regarding the problems of the 21st Century. Remember, these same Founding Fathers were forced to accept slavery. Perhaps Trumpf’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia, Neil M. Gorsuch,  would be more comfortable if slavery were reinstated.

Will we all have to wear powdered wigs and take snuff? Do we have to give up the automobile in favor of the horse and buggy? Would we have to give up the Internet and our whole telecommunications network just because some judge has this jones about some long dead politicians, as great as they were in the context of their own times.

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know

But Don’t Let That Lull You into Passivity!

That little photo inset in the above picture are of Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter from Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). You remember that picture: It’s where pods from Outer Space are replacing the citizens of a sleepy Northern California town. How appropriate! It seems that the invasion is coming from the Evil Forces of Trumpfism and his Alt-Right followers.

The news cycle has become overcrowded with Tweets, Executive Orders, and the usual run of Republican Follies (such as the new unlamented American Health Care Act (AHCA). Where the presidency used to generate only two or three news stories each day, now we are confronted with a whole slew of attempts to deprive the citizens of this country of what they want and what they need. Our formerly good government is being replaced by an invasion of Right Wing Pod People with their alternative facts (lies), economic nationalism (isolationism), enemy of the people (friend of the people), fake news (truth), and America first (corporations and billionaires first).

There’s Always Plenty to Go Around!

There is an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times!” It’s so easy to become dispirited and just give up. Even if you feel as if you’re being attacked by a hydra, I suggest you stay awake and defend your liberties. Get used to letting your two state senators and your congressman know what you want. Call or e-mail them on a regular basis. Let them know they can be replaced in 2018—and you know that’s just around the corner.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Writer Hunter S. Thompson

Johnny Depp Portraying Writer Hunter S. Thompson

It’s a damn shame that he’s no longer around. I think the Trumpf Presidency needs a Hunter S. Thompson to penetrate through to the squirrely nature of it all. I have just finished reading his Generation of Swine: Tale of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s, also known as Gonzo Papers Vol. 2.  And he was talking about the last years of the Reagan Presidency, what with Iran-Contra, Oliver North, Ed Meese, and that whole ball of wax. That was nothing compared to what is happening now! Yet Thompson kept rising to the occasion:

Huge brains, small necks, weak muscles and fat wallets—these are the dominant physical characteristics of the ’80s … The Generation of Swine.

Things are a bit different now: The brains are tiny, what with Kellyanne Cowgirl and Sean Sphincter.

I could see the CBS man  through the warped convex glass of the peephole, and I yelled at him:

“Get away from here, you giddy little creep! Never bother the working press. Spiro Agnew was right! You people should all be put in a cage and poked with sharp bamboo sticks.”

I called hotel security and complained that a drug dealer was hanging around in the hallway outside my door. They took him away within minutes, still jabbering about freedom of the press. I went back to bed and smoked Indonesian cigarettes until the evening news came on.

Now there you have an example of the man’s trademark gonzo journalism, in which the journalist himself is a character. And is the story 100% accurate? No, of course not, but there is enough truth there to be (1) wildly entertaining and (2) basically true. About the Presidency (and remember: he was talking about Ronald Reagan):

There is no need for the president of the United States to be smart.

He can be hovering on the grim cusp of brain death and still be the most powerful man in the world. He can arrest the chief of the mafia and sell the Washington Monument to Arabs and nobody will question his judgment.

Yeah, well, he should be around to see Trumpf and his Billionaire Boys Club. One final clip:

October in the politics business is like drowning in scum or trying to hang on through the final hour of a bastinado punishment…. The flesh is dying and the heart is full of hate: The winners are subpoenaed by divorce lawyers and the losers hole up in cheap motel rooms on the outskirts of town with a briefcase full of hypodermic needles and the certain knowledge that the next time their name gets in the newspapers will be when they are found dead and naked in a puddle of blood in the trunk of some filthy stolen car in an abandoned parking lot.

Are you listening, Hillary?

Unfortunately, it was just too difficult for Hunter to remain in character at age 67. One February day in 2005, while on the phone with his wife, he blew his brains out with a shotgun.

Oh, by the way, he frequently ended his stories in this collection with the legal phrase res ipsa loquitur, “the thing speaks for itself.” Too bad he’s not around to bring it to our attention.

Yes, Vote, But …

Democracy Can Be a Bitch!

Democracy Can Be a Bitch!

We have a local election coming up on Tuesday, March 7. I will vote, of course, but I will not make any political canvassers deliriously happy. In fact, I might avoid answering the phone at all. There will be strange invitations to “town halls” from Judy, my “personal assistant”; there will be oddly inopportune “surveys”; and there will be young volunteers claiming to represent people running for the School Board, the City Council, or referendum issues financed by lying bastards from the real estate developers’ interests. If I pick up the phone at all, it will be to swear at telephone volunteers, or, more likely, at robocalls which stand no chance of being heard in their entirety by me.

Don’t people know that all democracy has given us this particular four years is a bonehead real-estate developer with tiny hands and a  mind and penis to match. Politics is unspeakably foul; and anyone involved is suspect as far as I’m concerned.

My mailbox is jammed on a daily basis with expensive four-color pleas for my vote. Actually, they are helpful. Anyone candidate or issue that spends what I consider to be too much money is probably taking money from nefarious out-of-state interests, like the Koch Brothers and their ilk. I assume that most of what I hear or read will be outright lies, and that ultimately I am being romanced out of my God-given rights.

I can hardly wait for March 8 to roll along.

 

The Resistance Emerges

Dump Trump!

Dumpf Trumpf!

A Resistance Movement to Trump has emerged from a highly unlikely location: From inside the White House! You can see their website, which is entitled The Official White House Resistance Operation. It’s almost too good to be true. But then, Trumpf has been complaining about leaks from the White House, suggesting that even his employees dislike what he is doing with the office of POTUS.

However much he tries to insist on slavish loyalty to his prezidenchuleering, Trumpf will always generate protest from voters whose needs are being ignored by the new racist, ultra-conservative regime. He cannot ignore these protests, because they clearly represent the majority of the population. The people who support him the most are (1) his billionaire friends and (2) ignorant Confederates who have been “left behind.”

 

The News: All Trump All the Time

In Whatever Direction You Turn, There He Is!

In Whatever Direction You Turn, There He Is!

Every time Trump is mentioned on the news, Martine either hits the mute button or turns the channel. The problem is: Donald J. Trump is everywhere. Whether one is watching ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, BBC, RT, or France 24, the news seems always to feature our lunatic president and his stumbling failures.

It’s not my problem, because I never watch the news—except on the Internet. And there I am in complete control of my news feed. I know that could be a problem, but no way am I going to watch Breitbart or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly without shooting my cookies. I can generally tell right from wrong, and I know that everything our Trumpery president represents is very, very wrong.

So don’t worry. I won’t push Trump at you unless he really gets to me and makes my temperature rise. I really prefer to write about books, films, places, history—anything but the Cheeto Monster with his orange leer.

@unrealDonaldTrumpf

Why Isn’t There Any Bird Crap on This Man’s Shoulder?

Why Isn’t There Any Bird Crap on This Man’s Shoulder?

The following are fake Donald Trumpf tweets from the New Yorker of January 27, 2017:

@realDonaldTrump
Weak Hamlet should stop moaning about past and get on with his life. All talk, no action! King Claudius has my full support.

@realDonaldTrump
Tremendously fat honey thief Winnie-the-Pooh deserves to get stuck in Rabbit’s hole. Not crying for him, believe me, OR low-energy Eeyore.

@realDonaldTrump
Successful businessmen should be left alone by boring ghosts and sad employees. Bob Cratchit is a loser. No enthusiasm!

@realDonaldTrump
Little Miss Muffet doesn’t deserve curds OR whey if she can’t deal with a bug. No strength or stamina and her tuffet is a disgrace.

@realDonaldTrump
Anyone who thinks a good relationship with Mordor is a bad thing is stupid. And crooked Frodo should return ring to rightful owner.

@realDonaldTrump
Wolf well within rights to evict disgusting pigs from below-code structures.

@realDonaldTrump
Overrated king’s horses and men are failed élites. Humpty Dumpty deserves better and will get it after Obamacare repeal.

@realDonaldTrump
Very Little Jack Horner’s biggest accomplishment: putting in thumb, pulling out plum. Sad!

@realDonaldTrump
Stepsisters deserve compensation for loss of employee. Shame on you, prince!

@realDonaldTrump
Better British schools and Hogwarts would fail on its own. Instead, England has disastrous witch problem. I WON’T LET IT HAPPEN HERE!!!