Mar-a-Lardo in 2024?

The Neverending Election: So Boring Your Ears Will Bleed!

It is now official. Donald J. Trump will run for president in 2024. He plans to bore us into submission with his endless rambling disconnected speeches, complete with antediluvian dance moves and fist pumps. When his announcement to run was made at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, his mostly sympathetic audience was so fatigued that they tried to leave the room—but Trump had ordered the doors to be locked to prevent that from happening.

Isn’t that against the law? What if there were a fire? I would have called the local fire department from the floor of the auditorium. But then I am no friend of the Trumpster Dumpster.

Missing from the audience were Don Junior, who “missed his flight” and Ivanka, who has decided to remove herself from politics and Papa’s bedroom eyes

Compared to his announcement in 2015, when he came down the escalator like a god descending from Heaven, this was a low-energy event. The 2022 midterm elections have hurt the Trump brand, but he refuses to give it credence. Is he going to claim the 2024 election was stolen if he gets only a tiny percent of the vote?

You know, Americans are mighty fickle, and could it be that all the stuff Trump stands for is fast becoming passé? Maybe democracy will ultimately be saved because the 45th President is yesterday’s news.

Winning Back the Streets

Political Handout for Traci Park

An intense campaign is shaping up for Los Angeles’s City Council District 11 between two defense attorneys: Erin Darling, a Progressive Democrat, and Traci Park, probably a Republican. At stake is the proliferation of homeless encampments in the district.

On Saturday morning, Martine and I had a chance to see a debate between Darling and Park. We were unimpressed by both of the candidates—though we suspect that Park is more willing to enforce existing laws forbidding encampments near schools, churches, and public parks.

In general, there are two prevailing voter viewpoints regarding the homeless: On one hand, there are the Mother Teresas and, on the other, the Darth Vaders. If a homeless person is willing to observe the law and is seriously interested in leaving the street encampments, I am willing to join the Mother Teresas to assist them. For those who are mentally hill and are unwilling to obey rules regarding alcohol and recreational drugs, I prefer the Darth Vader approach: drive them off the streets, by force if necessary.

Political Handout for Erin Darling

Although Erin Darling is endorsed by the Los Angeles Times and several liberal politicians and organizations, I see that Traci Park is endorsed by the Fire Department and local Police Departments. I rather suspect that Darling is one of those Woke Liberals I dislike as much as Trump’s MAGA insurrectionists. At one point in the debate, he spoke glowingly of the skateboarding community. What, aren’t they all still in Middle School? Sheesh!

The older I get, the more I realize that we are rarely presented with candidates and issues which we can enthusiastically support. All Martine and I care about is cleaning the garbage piles off the streets (usually associated with bums living in tents); cutting down on petty thefts of bicycles, medications, food, and drink; and threats of violence from rampaging bums (which have affected both Martine and me).

Return from Ecuador

La Plaza Grande in Quito, Ecuador

I returned from my last vacation in South America under a dark cloud. It was November 9, 2016. I had spent a sleepless night at the Viejo Cuba Hotel on La Niña in Mariscal watching the election returns on CNN. I could not believe my eyes. Twenty times I would shut off the television and try to drift off to sleep; and twenty times I sprang awake and turned it back on because I could not believe my eyes.

Despite my dislike for Hillary Clinton, I had gone to considerable trouble to vote for her before flying off to Ecuador. I had to drive all the way to Norwalk on the I-105 in a heinous traffic jam. And now I would have to return to the United States to see my country attempt to survive the next four years under a malicious buffoon.

I managed to compose myself enough to take a taxi to Mariscal Sucré International Airport and catch my return flight on Copa Airlines to Los Angeles via Panama City.

When I landed at LAX, though, I was conscious of being in a different country than the one I had left three weeks before. Quite suddenly, all kinds of disreputable figures emerged from their hidey-holes into the broad daylight. And now, even though the Lardfather is no longer president, I feel the ground has shifted beneath my feet. The look on my face is of a skeptical vigilance.

The California Recall

The Leading Republican Contender in the Attempt to Unseat Governor Newsom

Tomorrow, we will discover whether our mostly popular governor will be unseated by a Republican shock jock, or manage to hold his seat. If he is unseated, he will be replaced by someone who does not have his vote-drawing ability.

It is not a good sign that Larry Elder is complaining that he will lose as a result of an unfair election … before the votes are even tabulated! I don’t see where that makes any sense; but then, very little that the Republican Party makes any sense at all, unless one obtains power by any means necessary—fair or foul.

Recall elections are one aspect of California politics that I would like to see amended. In the race to unseat Gavin Newsom, there were a total of 46 candidates, none of whom are qualified to govern the most populous state in the Union. The field is in fact so lackluster that it must require very few signatures to qualify.

One candidate, Holly L. Baade (D) describes her contribution as “Leadership for a brighter tomorrow.” Then there is Angelyne (No Party), the Billboard Queen, famous only for advertising herself on billboards for several decades. A Green Party candidate, Dan Kapelovitz, only says, “Can you dig it?” (Answer: No.) Another, Adam Papagan (No Party) says only, “Love U.” (Love not returned.)

No Way, Angelyne!

The politicians we elect to power are by no means perfect. And yes, Gavin Newsom has made some horrible mistakes. Does that mean we have to replace him with someone who is even less qualified, less perfect for the role?

I can only hope that none of the 46 even comes close to unseating Governor Newsom when the ballots are counted.

Breaking Quarantine

California Fan Palms Growing from Sulfurous Ponds

This last weekend, I spent a long weekend with my brother and sister-in-law in Palm Desert. Atypically, the weather was perfect. Dan mentioned that until I arrived, the temperature had risen to over 100° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius) for over 100 days in a row. While I was there, the high was closer to 80° (27° Celsius).

It felt good to see my brother again after 7 months of close quarters in West Los Angeles. We went swimming three days in a row, and even re-visited a couple of local sites.

These included the lovely Thousand Palms oasis and the Sunnylands park on the Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage.

One of the Cactus Gardens on the Annenberg Estate

Not all the facilities at both locations were open due to the coronavirus outbreak, but seeing anything beautiful these days is a rare pleasure—especially during a particularly ugly election year.

My Vote Has Been Received

My Ballot Has Been Marked as Received by the Registrar of Voters

Last week, I filled out my mail-in ballot. In Los Angeles, all registered voters received mail-in ballots, which we had the option of:

  • Returning in the mail
  • Putting in one of 400 drop boxes scattered throughout the county
  • Handing in at a polling place

My drop box was at nearby Stoner Recreation Center. I chose it because it was locked away at night so that Red-Hatted Trumpist Yahoos could not destroy my ballot in the dead of night.

I was actually reassured by the steps that California is taking to make sure that everyone’s vote counts. That does not appear to be the case in the Confederate States of America.

The Strange Case of Ion Aliman

He Won a Landslide Vote Despite the Fact That He Was Dead

It happened in the small town of Deveselu, Romania, of some three thousand inhabitants. The ballots had already been printed up with his name on them; but then Aliman died in Bucharest of Covid-19 on September 19. I could see this happening in the U.S., but not in quite the same way.

You see, Aliman was up for re-election, and the voters of Deveselu really loved him. “He was a real mayor to us,” one woman voter said. “He took the side of the village, respected all the laws. I don’t think we will see a mayor like him again.”

After the funeral, dozens of villagers visited his grave. “It is your victory,” one of them said. “Know that you will be proud of us. Rest in peace.”

A Small Town in Southern Romania

Obviously, there’s going to have to be a new mayor; but it’s not going to be any of the candidates who opposed the late incumbent. They’ll have a new election and vote in a replacement. I get a nice feeling, though, about the voters of Deveselu. If that happened here, no doubt a number of Americans would be gunned down and there would be a general feeling of hatred and paranoia. Maybe we can learn something about democracy from these Romanian villagers.

 

Dummheit

’Rona Isn’t the Only Outbreak We Are Experiencing

The following quote is from Sarah Bakewell’s excellent book At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails. It describes a conversation between a French reporter and the Nazi-leaning philosopher Martin Heidegger:

When, also in 1945, the French writer Frédéric de Towarnicki weakened Heidegger’s defences with a bottle of good wine before asking him ‘why?’, Heidegger responded by leaning forward and saying, in the tone of someone solemnly confiding a secret, ‘Dummheit.’ He repeated the word again, with emphasis, ‘Dummheit.’ Stupidity.

As I with great reluctance view the day’s news, I am appalled by what appears to be the rank stupidity of around half the American population. It has gotten so bad that, when I meet someone new, I become less forthcoming in my responses because there is a 50% chance that the person is an idiot.

It Certainly Seems So

In fact, I am beginning to dislike Americans, barring any specific reason not to. I was born in this country, but it was a very different country at that time. It was not full of tattooed monkeys with scraggly beards who think that living in the streets and taking Oxycontin, Heroin, or Crystal Meth is better than a job. There weren’t quite so many of the “I Got Mine!” types who think that anyone not a member of their country club should be deported.

There is an epidemic of stupidity which looks to be growing. In November, we can vote Trump out of office—and he might even leave the White House. But we can’t do anything to the people who form his “Base.” Those red MAGA hats must have a side-effect of shriveling their brains. (They are, after all, manufactured in China.)

I ask you: Am I being too harsh?

 

 

It’s Coming for YOU, Bubba!

Look for It the Day Before Election Day!

Ever since that grim day in November 1916 as I twisted and turned in a hotel room in Quito, Ecuador, I have come to the conclusion that something is not right with the universe. I am reminded of Casca’s words in Act I Scene iii of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar:

A common slave—you know him well by sight—
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches join’d, and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remain’d unscorch’d.
Besides—I ha’ not since put up my sword–
Against the Capitol I met a lion,
Who glared upon me, and went surly by,
Without annoying me: and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
And yesterday the bird of night did sit
Even at noon-day upon the market-place,
Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say
’These are their reasons; they are natural;’
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.

What I am referring to is the news that an asteroid might strike the earth the day before the November 3 “fraudulent” election that will confirm Donald J. Trump in his role as dictator for life.

According to CNN, the asteroid is just a shade over 6 feet—the size of our presidential pretender. I cannot help but think that it will land in such a way as to set fire to our great leader’s impressive bouffant hair-do, and possibly burn him to a cinder in his size 12 shoes. If that happened, it would surely show that there is some justice in the universe.

 

On Taking Surveys

’Tis the Season

Now that we are coming up on another presidential election, my telephone is ringing with invitations to join “Town Halls,” whatever those are; and my inbox is full of invitations to participate in political surveys. In my old age, I have become skeptical to the nth degree. When people in front of supermarkets approach me with clipboards in hand, I wave them away.

To me, participating in a democracy means voting—but not necessarily submitting to a whole slew of ancillary events whose main thrust is to change my mind. Today, I received an e-mail that let me know right up front that I might be too quick to support Joe Biden. Thank you, Mr. Putin!

I know for a fact that the Orange King (no names, please!) is going to be in big trouble when he no longer has access to the power of the presidency. Strange things are happening: The U.S. Postal Service is being gutted to discourage mail-in ballots. That, despite the fact that the Donald himself has voted by mail in the past. Now it is too subject to fraud. Well, yes, everything is subject to fraud that that man touches.

Why do I feel that we have all taken democracy for granted? All one has to do is to elect a corrupt megalomaniac to office before the ground appears to disappear from under one’s feet.