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Wednesday, Dec 07th

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Editorial

The New Abnormal

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We pretty much imagined life would change the minute we had seen Orange-Head's numbers tallying on the Electoral College board.  Not long after, we saw the popular vote's run-up, noted the disconnect -- once again -- shook our heads briskly, and were certain life had veered off course.  Having lived through the opening salvos of Post Election (and Electoral College) Stress Disorder, we are test-flying on a new era, no doubt about it.

This era's airplane, we keep noting, has no wings or engine, we keep noticing -- and the pilot-emperor has no clothes...

As if on cue, the staff at the Oxford Dictionaries has freshly-minted its Word of the Year for 2016.  (Their chosen word could have been any number of heart-stopping utterances for mixed company, but, restraint was in session, to their eternal credit.) So, after the blitzkrieging psychosis of pain, hardship, loss, insult, suffering, frustration and disappointment, the Word of the Year for 2016 is "post-truth."

Huh?

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SHUT. IT. DOWN.

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There's keeping an open and hopeful mindset, and there's ignoring the bus and truck which have leapt the curb and are coming straight at you.

Last week's shocked and jittery, anxious-for-good-reason, wait-and-see mindset has now disappeared, for solid reasons, not just anticipated-maybe-concerns.  The hand-wringing lasted four days.  We're now into Holy-Shit-Build-the-Bunker-Deeper Mode.  (Wait too long and we'll jump to the final phase, Ain't-that-Rocket-to-Mars-Done-Yet?!)

Every day brings new, multiple confirmations that Completely Insane People will be running the country.  Example:  Check out the Cabinet array being arranged for the next global round of Nuking Civil Rights and Carpet-Bombing Modern Liberties.  In no way could I ever have previously envisioned the current nightmare team being scraped up from the Returdlican Septic Tank of Discarded Retreads, them being resuscitated, and then given the golden keys to democracy's kingdom.

I'm also stunned to learn the Trumpster Transition Team -- should I go for the T-3, Terminator 3 wordplay here? -- didn't know it had to bring in its own work team to staff the west wing, of all things.  (I hope emergency-services people are standing by to explain electricity and paper clips to Team Hairdo, and to tell them they don't have to bring their own little bags of peanuts onto Air Force One, unless they just have to have the gold-dipped ones to be content.)

Being stunned by this bunch affords no protection via immunization or exposure in future stunnings.  Proof:  I'm gobsmacked to learn Trump doesn't understand that handing off your business interest to your kids does not constitue separating yourself from your business interests and insulating you from conflicts of interest.  Duh.

Maybe I simply expect more from a future president than someone who doesn't understand that asking permission for your entire family to have access to the entire bombshell arsenal of the nation's top level secrets is, you know, technically known as NOT GOOD, YOU BERSERK DUMBSHIT. This is especially true when a mjority of us still don't trust the Oranged Head of the family with them to start with, and haven't, not since the intelligence briefings started.

[Sorry, I had to snicker inwardly there, as Trump has clearly not gotten any smarter since then.]

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Day Four: Pandora's Clubhouse

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Thanks for coming by later in the day today than we've been meeting lately.  I'm sure that you, like me, just wanted to linger under the warm blankets until, oh, say -- the mid-terms.  I don't blame you there.

Getting up on any cold morning is tough to do:  You've spent all night warming up the spot.  And now, so soon after Tuesday of the Damned, seeing your breath in the room, perhaps you also feel like you're rising for your daily appointment with the firing squad.

The nightmare from Pandora's Box is this:  One of these days, the bullets will be literal and real, not merely figurative and surreal.  Until then, we can have us some brunch and potluck -- thanks, everyone -- up at the back.  Help yourself, then take a seat, and we can get started with Group, whenever we're ready.

* * *

Anyone else been thinking about those checks-and-balances the Founders envisioned?  Who is going to sign up to keep Herr Drumpfkopf in line, and all the other Berserkers in the House and Senate, and within SCOTUS, once the whack-jobs have seized all three branches of government?

I know it's a cliche, but we are seeing the definition of seizure of the asylum by the inmates here.  I'm thinking a lot of mysterious checks are going to be written on the Treasury, by a lot of unbalanced people.

* * *

I've been thinking about the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show a lot lately, for some reason.  Part of it has the sensibility of protective escapism, like the protective-and-soothing mind-cocoon which happens while watching the old, great Looney Tunes, and from the release from stressful reality that laughing out loud provides.  Here, I'm now seeing the beset characters in that amazing film, Sullivan's Travels, drenched in misery, in chains, frog-marched into church, in order to take a load off, watch a few black-and-white cartoons.

There's an element of escapism here, sure, but there's also one of release, watching improbable cartoon violence and hapless schadenfraude somehow.  After all, as a country we are nothing if not a death cult, and violence is our favored national  Clockwork Orange release.

If you don't believe me, give some thought to how many of our entertainments are built around violence -- how much football we watch, how many murder shows we consume, how much death and destruction we release on the screen, and how much fake blood and funs makes it into life, and is real...

We didn't exactly play fair in building this country.  First, we stole it from the natives already living here successfully after "discovering" it, then we proceeded into genocide to keep the new tenants "free," and to help keep the land prices close to zero, and limit the damages we'd have to pay if and when anyone objected...

... then, we layered in slavery as a foundation for generations of wealth-ownership, and the construction of a form of cutthroat capitalism so vile as to insure the ongoing domination of the masses by the select few, which has continued, nearly unchecked, to this day.

...minus the stray inventor or lottery winner here or there who escaped the mold, otherwise proving the rule.

Our form of capitalism, of course, is unsustainable and planet-killing.  This may not matter, if the button-pushing and planet-killing starts for real -- however, since King DT and Pouty Putin have their strange-bedfellows bromance hot and rolling, we may not start the End of the World, but we might get sucker-punched first by Russia -- especially if Putin lulls Lord Donnie-Boy to sleep with enough bedtime stories.

But, speaking of fear, and of the depth, breadth, and type that only the Cuban missile crisis and the cold war brought to our doorsteps in living color, let's get back to those cold-war-era cartoons with Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris Badenov, and Natasha Fatale...

... and, of course, to Fearless Leader.

We now have our own cartoon versions running in parallel, starring our own, soon-to-be Clueless Leader.

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Day Three: 'Very Unfair'

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Yes, I know:  I keep waking up in TrumpWorld, too.  The thought clicks into place about two seconds after my eyes open and consciousness dawns.  Dazed and confused.  Then, the cringing and wincing begins all over again...

My blood pressure goes up 40 points envisioning his clan in the national living room, rummaging around in the country's secrets and cupboards and treasure chests, looking for self-fulfillment, self-aggrandizement, and various wealth-building angles to play.  We have 243 million adults living in this country, give or take.  THIS is the best we can do? REALLY?!

How on earth did we elect a person who speaks and acts as this man has done all throughout a campaign -- and all through his life?  While in the public eye, in the spotlight -- not in some dank back room, where he was an unknown?  How can we respect someone who has spent a lifetime showing disrespect to everyone around him? How can we trust a man who has spent his life cheating and conning others?  How can anyone -- let alone half the country -- have been taken in by a man who always acted only for his own benefit, recognition, and gain... especially on the basis that this greedy elitist would do all he could to improve the poor lives of the regular, everyday people?

It's alarming.  It's another world.  It's some new rip or rift in the fabric of reality which has occurred, and there's no way of telling what will happen next, no way to know or understand what we should expect -- no way to see what the New Normal might be in this New World Order, this neo-democracy.

Yes, well:  Grab a Danish and some coffee, take a seat.  Welcome back to Group.

* * *

I'm sure you've already heard a Trump protester was shot at a demonstration.  Scary stuff.

Most protests have been peaceful.  One or two events got a little heated, I hear, with some proof of anarchist-agitators getting involved with peaceful protesters, trying to urge them on and make things ugly.  A clear majority of the events have been peaceful, respectful, legal, and spontaneous outpourings of real and valid concern.

We all expected Trumpsters would be riled up and rioting after Hillary's projected win.  We didn't expect to be marching and protesting a Trump takeover.  And we surely didn't expect them to start picking us off when we expressed our surprise and dismay at the qualities -- and lack of them -- in the totally inexperienced and woefully unqualified man-child who won the Electoral College, but not the popular vote.

I mean:  Let's get real. No one from the left started picking-off protesters when Obama won office, nor when rightwing marchers hoisted their Obama effigies high, or when they torched flags, figures, and photos of the man.

No one took potshots at the Supreme Court or its members when, it could be said, they ended -- at the very least interrupted -- the reign of representative democracy in this country on December 12, 2000, when a legitimate vote recount was underway, but was terminated by them, with the court deciding to hand over the presidency to their choice, and not the People's?

In fact, I'm trying to remember the last right-winger who was gunned down by someone from the left, or by an independent or other-party member -- when anyone pulled the trigger on any Republican, any time in the life of you, your parents, your grandparents...  All I remember, personally, is the assassination of JFK, RFK, and MLK, Jr., and that it all happened within my very own lifetime.

The Secret Service has sure had their hands full with the unprecedented number of death threats for Obama, gawd knows -- a sure sign that this country is not settling down and not getting any wiser.

Sure: There were plenty of rightwingnuts around, and still are.  Always have been.  None of them have been "taken out," as so many swaggering rightwing tough guys like to say.  And why is it that people with the gun collections and the camo gear and the chips on their shoulders for anyone not exactly like them are always lunatic, white-guy Republicans?

I tell you:  I'm waiting for the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! banner to come out of mothballs and be unfurled again.  It'll look just great to the world, hanging alongside a new, big sign I saw today celbrating Trump's win, reading:  THANK YOU DEPLORABLES!

* * *

You've probably already heard about that petition which was filed in Oregon, requesting that state be allowed to begin secession from the rest of the country.  California's talking about starting one, too.

Thing is, the one already filed in Oregon has been withdrawn.  Why?  Because of all the death threats, and threats of assorted mayhem and violence against the people involved, and their property.

  • Funny -- I don't remember anyone on the left boiling over and threatening people during the on-again, off-again squirreliness from southern states who periodically ramp up seccession papers every third or 13th weekend, for any light-on-logic cause or another...
  • Wonder why it is that it's always been the rightwingers who get twitchy, and who get trigger-finger itchy, who want to kill or bail?

This violence is happening -- and happening already, a whopping THREE DAYS after the election -- one person shot and many people threatened, OVER THOUGHTS THEY HAVE EXPRESSED.

What can we expect -- what in hell should we expect -- in the coming weeks, months, and years?  What should we expect when someone does more than express a contrary thought, and actually ACTS against the way rightwingers want things to go, against TrumpThink?

Will we start shooting members of councils and legislative bodies?  Kill any lawmaker daring to present a bill with another point of view?  Threaten their families?  Curse and spit at them, tell them we are burning down their homes?  String them up, out in front of their burning houses?  Warn them that we know their children's names, tell them we know where their kids go to school?

Yes, waking up in TrumpWorld gets more real -- every... single... day.

* * *

Ask me, Trump should stop tweeting about how "VERY UNFAIR" it is, having people peacefully expressing their First Amendment rights.

His complaints are hollow, vaporous, and are further insult, coming from a man who made suggestions about a Second Amendment solution for his opponent in this last tortured, and torturous, presidential race.  It is also doubly insulting, considering Trump had previously tweeted that people should march on Washington and stop "this travesty" of Obama's re-election in 2012.

Maybe a cooler head prevailed in the TrumpBubble, or, more likely than not, Trump was jumped and hogtied by his staff, and his Twitter account was once again wrestled away from him.  Later, a new message appeared, contradicting his first message, pouring love all over those passionate protesters.

You can't have it all ways, simultaneously, all at once, and from all directions and points of view.  We've had -- and still have -- plenty of rightwing hypocrites in office and on the political scene.  However, I think this is our first experience with a hypocrite able to display facets of hypocrisy from a multiverse of parallel multiverses and alternative dimensions, all at once.

* * *

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Day Two: Triage Tango

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Another election.  Another Veterans Day.  Another round of triage.  Yes, it's a new day. Welcome to Group.

Might be nice to start out this session by reminding everyone that those five Kubler-Ross stages of grief are not linear, bim, bam, boom, and all-done.  Elisabeth Kubler Ross has herself had mixed feelings about coming up with that scale, saying it was always meant as a guideline, not a serial shopping list of tasks to be done, and crossed off in that specific order -- nor was it meant to exclude other facets.

So, as we move through our reactions and feelings, it might be helpful for us all to remember that each person experiences grief in his and her own way, and each person works through it in an individual way, too.  There will be setbacks, repeats, stumbles, dance steps done out of order, time-outs, new steps added in...

Try to think of it as celebrating your own personality and path -- don't penalize yourself for grieving in your own way, in your own time, and in your own fashion. Mark your own progress with yourself, not others.  Don't rush it.

Meanwhile,  If you're looking for prescriptions, here's some that are pretty cheap, effective, and easy on the system:  Build in more time for the people, events, and activities you already know you enjoy;  pleasure, love, and laughter are nice distractions, so to say.  Other suggestions?  Music, movies, reading walks in the park; pamper yourself a little, treat yourself, and do it on purpose, with meditative Zen focus.  Hug more, too.

Or, as our dog friends would say: wag more, bark less.  (Dogs are Zen masters.  A lot of good can come from observing their behaviors.)

And limit the time you spend consuming -- and dwelling on -- bad news.  A little goes a long way.  No reason to buy scuba gear when you can have a better time snorkelling.

There will be time later for action -- for volunteering, joining the fight, whatever you think is right.  For the moment, though, it's OK to go inward for a little while, and rest. Trust me, the dragons will still be there when you come back.  There are always dragons.

While you wait and rest, some advice:  As your mom said, stop messing with it -- give it time to heal.

* * *

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Say Goodnight Gracie Part Five of Five … or … Less Talk, More Monkey

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Ever since the shitshow ended a couple of nights ago there has been a plethora of polite analyses of What The Fuck Just Happened. Desperate pundits are trying to be reasonable while describing how and why Fucko the Clown just won the election.

This is what Denial looks like:

The hubris of Hillary Clinton and the DNC empowered them to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders because not only did she “deserve” the presidency, but they believed she could beat Fucko in the general election. Clinton, the DNC, and their donors, completely underestimated, or ignored, the Hillary hatred that has been simmering for decades, as well as the contempt voters have for establishment politics.

True. But the most insidious form of denial is always true. But it is not the whole truth. That is why denial is a complete waste of time and doesn't solve anything. It is always easier to accept and believe a partial truth because it is a distraction that keeps us from recognizing the larger, more uncomfortable truth.

Occam's razor. Noun. The maxim that assumptions introduced to explain a thing must not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Let's see how it works.

59,821,874 Americans voted for Fucko the Clown therefore there are 59,821,874 Crazy Stupid People in the United States. Regardless of the fact that the previous sentence sounds like a harsh generalization … it is not. The only way anyone could vote for Fucko is if he/she is a Crazy Stupid Person. Rational smart people could not vote for, would never vote for, anyone like Fucko the Clown for president.

That's it. That's all we need to know. There were enough Crazy Stupid People in the United States on November 8, 2016, to elect Fucko the Clown.

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Day One: Cratered Aftermath

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Welcome back to Group -- please grab a little something from the food-and-drink snack cart, and we can get started...

As you know, positioned here, as we are, on the lip of the smoking impact-crater of democracy, the first thing we've had to attend to is pulling out survivors from the white-hot and smoldering wreckage -- pulling people out from under towering stacks of collapsed polling data, out from under the shattered shards of broken dreams, out from under the formerly stable, non-psychotic, and modern-world construct formerlyt envisioned and expected by most people here and abroad.

True, it was never going to be an exciting run with Hillary, perhaps, but one could take sincere comfort in the routine ability to make plans for getting up in the morning, and still finding one's slippers on the floor, next to the bed -- and not discovering instead a radioactive hole 139 stories deep, vomiting up a shimmering, nuclear slag-heap of lava belching forth, champagne-fountain-style, resulting as an incidental, unexpected, and minor happenstance following a late-night, American Presidential Twitter-fight with China, Russia, and North Korea...

* * *

For those who were curious, we have an initial summary report today from The Code Blue Project, the non-profit group surveying medical facilities and usage, following Tuesday's demolition derby with democracy.

With 94% of aid stations, urgent-care strip malls, and hospitals reporting in, it appears the group's top-line "Crash Cart" report shows more than 119 million people were given emergency defib treatment on Tuesday alone -- talk about paddling up a river with no canoe!

Yes, well... the breakdown of Americans was CLEAR! -- or so they themselves reported.  The breakout of numbers was a pulse-pounding 50-50 -- with slightly more Democrats served than Republicans.

Field staff attributed this to the greater heart-load attributed to Democratic political expectations, and to their own overwhelming and historic sense of collective doom, although Republicans themselves reported feeling lost, helpless, panicked, and dismayed at the unexpected prospect of actually having to grow up, become adults, and govern for a change.

Democrats reported a sense of loss on par with the laws of physics being repealed, while Republicans said they felt a sort of "anti-gravity, flip-flop queasiness," as one high-level campaign worker put it, while sorrowfully contemplating the loss of being able to openly hurl threats, shout insults, urge followers to beat up people at random, and "howl at the moon like hyenas in heat."

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