Nice nutshell, Maureen Dowd

“As I have said before, the gravest threats to our civilization are not from abroad, but from within,” Trump said at his flaccid, whiny announcement Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago.

That is actually true, but only because Trump exploited every dark division and base impulse he could find.

He would rather blow up our democracy than admit he’s a loser, and that makes him a traitor.

Trump flaunts his faux Macho Macho Man rhetoric. For decades, Republicans have lectured Americans to quit embracing victimhood and stand on their own two feet, and here’s their leader announcing his presidency on a platform of Woe is me because I’m a fall guy!

“I will tell you I’m a victim,” Trump said to a less-than-festive gathering where Melania seemed like a hostage and Ivanka was a no-show.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/19/opinion/trump-special-counsel.html

Friendship?

Worth thinking about, obvious as it also is:

You deserve friends who make you laugh, feel loved, comfort you when you need comforting, accept your limitations and quickly work out any problems with you when they see you are unhappy.   You deserve friends who always give you the benefit of the doubt, who accept when they’ve hurt you and always do their best to make amends and not let you sit in pain.  You deserve friends who return your best efforts at kindness and friendship with their own best efforts.   We all deserve that. 

We are lucky when we find real friendship and should remember to be grateful for every day of it.  Friendship should never be taken for granted, it is mortal, just like us.

World’s richest man does what’s best for himself (and the rest of us…)

And, as promised (though minus the input of the ethics team he promised to consult, and then immediately fired) Musk (Elon Mullosk, as a friend called the slimy bastard recently) restored his fellow übercitizen Donald Trump to Twitter.  For Trump to go back on Twitter is to abandon his failing Truth Social but for him not to return to Twitter is to forgo a giant megaphone, which isn’t his way.  An excellent op-ed in the NY Times made some great observations:

As someone who has been studying Mr. Trump’s Twitter use since before he was elected president, I believe that his return would mean the heightened spread of both misinformation and disinformation, the proliferation of degrading and dehumanizing discourse, the further mainstreaming of hate speech and the erosion of democratic norms and institutions. But there is something else: Mr. Trump’s return to Twitter could escalate the likelihood of political violence.

Simply put, if you are surrounded by dry kindling, add an accelerant and light a match, conflagration is the predictable outcome. . .

. . . Twitter and Mr. Trump represent a dangerous fusion of form and content. Social media generally and Twitter specifically lend themselves to simple, urgent, unreflective and emotionally charged communication. When the message is one of intolerance and violence, the result is all but certain.

I Studied Trump’s Twitter Use for Six Years. Prepare for the Worst. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/20/opinion/donald-trump-twitter-return.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuonUktbfqYhlSVUZAybSRdkhrxqAwvTIxrU4ijriNjWQUXNe0OUJH4Wavl3Aebd5YZ0zwzGfDpdnAYMYecZTnKVZLlA_DE6huIeFk5AIZHk4oNm4BDNsms-TArl9rGe7NyzpdupxgefkskOMO2TvDPDahGYzZ1ow-esTflCs330PxqnHA7Q1joE4haF9c8g8ETQQZyCKvO3rCwF-OLiGbxLa7Ao3W4JJSG2Z3I7cu_9bLlIkWR-RR2h_4G089NtcJNoQWa39JBMlc8D-6q4DiWAPjCo4h4AbS8d8a7Sv5g

True dat, as certain as the continued mindless worship of our greediest, most rapacious citizens endangers us all.

Double Standard redux

If I get mad at you, it’s because you’ve hurt me badly, have never tried to make amends and I have a good goddamned reason to be hurt and angry after months of your denial and defensiveness.  

If you get angry at me, no matter when, it’s because you are being fucking unfair and vicious, for your own sick, irrational reasons.  

What is hard to understand about any of that?  Could it be clearer?

Now, all you have to do is convince the eye witness who loves you that what they saw, what you experienced, actually happened.  Since everyone has their own perspective, aren’t we really all arguing that we’re better than the person who claims we treated them badly, that our point of view is more valid than theirs?  Isn’t everybody just equally right in their feelings?

No.  There are objective things that actually happen prior to and in the aftermath of somebody getting angry.  Focus on those, compare how each party acted.  Things that actually took place won’t lie to you, no matter how emotionally compelling a spin is placed on them.

Double Standard

One of the most maddening things in life is being subjected to a double standard.   I get to act this way, and you have nothing to say about it, but if you act the same way, I will righteously fucking destroy you.  It happens between parents and children, probably much more frequently than it should.  The parent says:  I am an adult and if I call someone a fucking piece of shit it’s because they deserve it, if you ever fucking talk like that I’ll wash your filthy mouth out with a bar of soap, you understand that, asshole?    

Democrats, as a party, play by the rules, most of the time, and they try to govern by promoting solutions to real problems.  Republicans play only to win, having come to regard the rules as weapons to be used against their political enemies, harnessing the rage of angry citizens to manipulate them. Democrats are the last remaining democratic party in our duopoly, Republicans openly want a one-party state and an above the law strongman to lead our oligarchy.   When a Democrat expresses anger, about anything, particularly if she’s a woman, particularly a woman of color, Republicans attack in a rage, morally scandalized that some loudmouthed bitch feels entitled to such terrible unAmerican anger.    When a Republican is angry it’s because of the horrible people who hate our country, and spit on Christ, that send them into a righteous temper tantrum.   You can observe this cycle daily in the 24 hour news — Republicans vow to take terrible revenge if vengeful Democrats plan to do something they hate.  Democrats generally apologize for saying intemperate things, or more often, just remain as quiet as most Republicans.

Now that we have had an ever-defiant, litigious, openly, proudly, corrupt Republican president, the double standard is more grotesquely in-your-face than we’ve ever seen in this country.   The reputation of the Department of Justice that protected Trump’s colleagues and went after Trump’s enemies under first Jeff Sessions (too racist to get a seat on the federal bench, try to picture that) and eventually the most corrupt AG in American history, Bill Barr, is being rehabilitated under the scrupulous Merrick Garland.  In Trump speak:  Garland has weaponized the DOJ for Democrat [sic] vendettas against innocent and great Americans, with more witch hunts and refusal to give him a pass for trying to overturn a stolen election, inciting totally justifiable mob violence to overturn that election, stealing (and selling) top secret government documents and petty so-called crimes like that. 

Trump’s great strength is using brazeness and every possible delay to avoid accountability for things most of us would be in prison for, waiting for our trials.   Garland’s great weakness is not wanting to look unfair.  That’s a guy Trump can play like an out of tune violin.

Merrick Garland, obeying the time honored democratic/judicial norm of avoiding the “appearance of impropriety”, seems to have just granted the corrupt former president the strategic delay he always seeks, for the sake of avoiding the appearance of political bias.   He announced it would be unfair, days after an election that largely repudiated the march toward autocratic one-party rule, to continue to investigate a man who just declared himself a presidential candidate, since Garland serves another man who has stated his intention to run in 2024.   He said this extraordinary circumstance necessitated the appointment of a famously impartial Special Counsel to conclude whether Trump broke the law, when he plotted to overturn an election he lost, when he unleashed a crowd to lynch his loyal vice president and decapitate the line of succession, when he stole and sold sensitive government documents as he was leaving the White House under protest.

Recall the sequence of events that led to this extraordinary announcement by Garland, who could not have appeared impartial to partisans who have already vowed to impeach him if he’d appointed Kraken lawyer Sydney Powell as Special Counsel (as Trump was reportedly considering, making her Special Counsel to overturn the 2020 election) or Judge Aileen (heavily for the guy who appointed me)  Cannon.   Merrick Garland’s DOJ spent well over a year politely negotiating with a famously untruthful demagogue who special prosecutor Robert Mueller concluded he could not exonerate for obstruction of justice.  Trump claimed complete and total exoneration, as did his Attorney General, supremely corrupt culture warrior Bill Barr.   After losing re-election by over 7,000,000 votes, and by the identical historic landslide (in his estimation) Electoral College margin he’d bragged about winning in 2016, Trump launched a mutli-tentacled conspiracy to stay in power, including coordinating slates of fake electors in several states he lost, repeated illegal attempts to change vote counts, threatening, cajoling and trying to influence public officials, putting innocent poll workers in danger of his mobs by lying about their crimes, by name, fanning an infuriating lie about a stolen election, inciting a violent mob to stop the certification of his loss, kill his Vice President and decapitate Congressional leadership, and lying about it all regularly at rallies he has been holding since.  Also, when he left the White House he took with him hundreds of classified government documents. 

After about a year of bad faith negotiations, with Garland’s DOJ, after subpoenas were ignored, after Trump’s attorney signed a false declaration that all the records NARA sought had been returned, the DOJ got a search warrant, searched Mar-a-Largo on August 8th and recovered a trove of papers the president illegally possessed and kept in unsecured areas of his resort/home.  How many more secret documents he still has, in places not described in the legal search warrant, or how many he’d already sold to Putin, Saudi Arabia and anyone else with a lot of money, the US government is not sure.   

A few weeks after the August 8th “raid” on his resort made MAGA nation mad as hell, his attorneys went to the federal courthouse 70 miles up the coast to get an emergency injunction in front of a judge who Trump had appointed after he lost the election.  She loyally did her benefactor’s bidding, preventing the government from reviewing its own documents and illogically appointing a Special Master, though she was overturned once on appeal regarding the Executive branch’s right to look at its own classified documents.  She is certain to be completely overturned some time next month.  But she bought the boss at least four or five months of delay, which is how quid pro quos (no longer strictly illegal under a recent Supreme Court ruling) work.  The investigation into the evidence seized on August 8th has been hamstrung by protracted legal wrangling over which of its own documents DOJ may review.

Now we have Garland’s announcement that, to avoid the appearance of impropriety in this special and unique case, he has handpicked a guy known for prosecuting Democrats and Republicans alike, who will make the final call about whether Trump needs to be prosecuted for crimes, including the seemingly open and shut one where the search warrant yielded massive evidence of the crime suspected — wait, that call will still be Garland’s, under DOJ procedures.   Since Mueller was unable to charge Trump, he also was scrupulous in bending over backwards to be fair — he could not seem to accuse him of something the president would not be able to defend himself against — and so his famous but forgotten “if we could exonerate him, we would, but we cannot” or whatever his famous but forgotten formulation was in the report Barr and Trump crowed was a complete and total exoneration, with Barr investigating the corrupt oringes of the Mueller probe for several years afterwards (Biden’s DOJ allowed it to continue for almost two years, it probably is still going on, along with a now two year federal investigation into the infamous Hunter Biden). [1]

Republicans, who by a robust handful of seat majority in the 435 member House of Representatives, hold the purse strings in the new Congress, have vowed to defund the Department of Justice’s clearly vindictive investigation and possible prosecution of Trump and henchmen, already pardoned by Trump for other crimes.   Why should men who sat in a command center at the Willard Hotel as the riot was unleashed on Congress be treated like common criminals by a political party that murders babies, after raping them, and drinks their blood?   Defund the DOJ!   And you can take that threat to the bank, Merrick.  Your best best was following the facts and the law without fear or favor.  Being afraid of looking “political” made you as political as it gets, boss.  Now Nancy Pelosi has to scramble to ensure your funding before the lame duck session of Congress ends and you have a narrow Trumpist majority already promising hellish revenge amid constant televised investigations that law-abiding public servants will dutifully attend and endless, baseless, headline grabbing impeachments.

No double standard here!  It’s just power.  Nothing personal, but a lot of you motherfuckers need to be locked up, now that we have the gavel, bitches!

[1]

Mr. Mueller’s report states that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on the obstruction of justice issue.    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/24/us/politics/mueller-report-summary.html

These, of course, are the first two hits you will find looking up “Mueller report on exonerating Trump”.  The first is from the official government website of a sitting Republican Congressman who was active in planning the January 6th rally and rejection of certified electors during the joint session of Congress that day, ALLEGEDLY:

https://biggs.house.gov › media › press-releases › mueller-report-exonerates-president-trump

Mueller Report Exonerates President Trump | Congressman Andy Biggs

The Mueller Report completely exonerates President Trump and his team. “It is a travesty that my Democrat colleagues are now doing their best to disregard the Mueller investigative team that they put so much faith in for the past two years. They will now continue their own witch hunt to attempt to impeach President Trump.

https://www.judicialwatch.org › mueller-report-exonerates-president-trump

Mueller Report Exonerates President Trump | Judicial Watch

Mueller Never Had a Good-Faith Basis to Pursue President Trump. The fizzling out of the corrupt Mueller investigation is great victory for the rule of law and our constitutional republic. Here is the statement I issued in response Attorney General Barr’s initial summary of the special counsel’s report. The long, national nightmare is over …

Trauma

When someone you love acts in a way that activates trauma in you, it’s not just having your feelings hurt.  Trauma is more like being electrocuted.  Chemicals flood your body, fight, duck, flight, run, scream, crawl, what the fucking fuck?!! Help! Help!!!  But, just like when you were helpless earlier in your life, there is no help.  You are back in the exact terrifying moment, facing the  implacable violence that seared the trauma into you when you were too little to protect yourself.   Flung in a disorienting instant back to a time when you were helpless against a brutal force much more powerful than you.   The essence of trauma is that it is terrifying and you must somehow face it alone.  You can’t save yourself from it, and nobody else will either.  Trauma is in a class by itself in terms of psychic pain.

If I accidentally traumatize you by losing control of myself, and find you shaken in your soul, my apology is a first step, at best.  The apology is the beginning of the healing story, not the end. To reassure you I will have to demonstrate better self-control going forward or you will be perfectly right to find my apology worse than meaningless, my threat ongoing. 

You won’t believe my apology, you’ll recall similar angry things I’ve done to you before, particularly if I continue to tell you that any pain you claim I cause you is your own fault, every time, that I only react that way because you make me do it.  The old wife beater’s/bully’s defense, “I wish you hadn’t made me do that to you, why do you keep making me hurt you?”

We are all weak, flawed, imperfect, limited, even disabled in various ways.  Those of us who are not narcissists (who see themselves as either perfect gods or unbearably worthless pieces of shit)  or are otherwise crazy, do our best to be kind, to not do things to others that we hate done to us.  We don’t always succeed, but our goal is to be kind, to listen and reassure people we care about when they are suffering. 

If we’re damaged enough as children we face a mountain of hard work to climb out of the traumas of our past, to avoid replicating them, inflicting them on others, but many spend their lives climbing.

Some traumatized people sincerely believe that change is impossible.  In the cases I’m familiar with it is the immenseness of their pain that convinced them of the impossibility of change. 

None of us are good at sitting with painful feelings.  Without sitting with pain, looking at it carefully, we have no hope of learning how to proceed, outside of keeping busy all the time, running, hopping, jumping, doing anything to avoid being alone with our feelings.  Many people in pain, who have the money, seek a good therapist to help them through the difficult challenge of developing the insight to change harmful behaviors.  A good therapist is a great comfort.

Others just want peace, and calm, and people to accept them exactly as they are, unfixable flaws and all.  And it is also true, if you can’t accept somebody’s weakness, you really can’t be friends with them. Those same people who need unconditional acceptance of their flaws are often very judgmental, have unshakable, harsh opinions of others and are experts at denying or justifying even the most cruel things they may do.  When confronted they will say whatever they need to say in the moment to defend themselves, telling lies they may contradict a moment later in their desperation to avoid feeling blame for acts they may be ashamed of.   They may tell you they were mistaken, that they can’t help it, both understandable human frailties, and that you are being cruel to them, that they simply need to be loved without conditions.

Anger is probably a human’s hardest emotion, up there with grief and fear.  It leads to insensitivity, nastiness, beatings, lynching, mass murder.  Anger is also inevitable when, however patient you try to remain, there is no mercy shown, no understanding given, no acknowledgement of your right to feel hurt by thoughtless treatment.  “You hurt me, too, asshole, what makes that OK?,” is not a recipe for reconciliation.  That kind of response may cause you to raise your voice, say something mean, get ready to fight, no matter how much you may cling to trying to remain mild.  When we are hurt, we need reassurance. If we get stern insistence that we are wrong to be hurt, to need to talk about it, it is the opposite of reassuring.

But some people can’t help themselves.  They may feel bad, on some level, but they are truly unable to resist redoubling the old beating when somebody appeals for their mercy by making themselves vulnerable.  Vulnerability is their worst nightmare.  No mercy for weak, vulnerable, fragile bitches!   Nothing scares someone who is terrified of being vulnerable more than somebody laying their heart bare to them. 

Here is therapist Bessel van der Kolk, with a succinct, insightful description of trauma.