Trump: pointlessly denying the obvious

The Thinker by Rodin

I recently rewatched Titanic, the 1997 film about the doomed ship of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. My timing was curiously ironic, given Trump’s rapidly sinking campaign for president. Unlike the Titanic, the Trump campaign has struck many icebergs these last few months. It hit the fatal one eight days ago with the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording.

At least the Titanic grazed its iceberg. The crew did see it coming, just too late to avoid scraping it. Captain Smith’s error was strategic: traveling too far north for the season. The Trump campaign can’t claim their radars weren’t on. Its collisions were all easily avoidable. Then again Trump is an anomaly: a candidate who thinks running a campaign for president is like playing a game of bumper cars and the candidate that hits the most cars wins.

It took less than two hours to sink the Titanic. It will take November 8 to make this sinking official but of course the water is now well above the bow and only the smokestacks are still above the sea. While passengers tried to get into the few lifeboats on the Titanic, the fiddlers (a string quartet) literally played on and on. It didn’t do much to calm the nerve of the passengers, but it did perhaps help these musicians calmly meet their demise. So unsurprisingly there has been a lot of fiddling these last few days on the deck of the S. S. Trump.

More women came forward this week alleging that Trump sexually assaulted them. These reports are coming so quickly it’s hard to keep up with them all. Any campaign would deny them of course, but an astute campaign might make some general statement that these charges are baseless while attacking Clinton instead. It’s not like there aren’t stories out there they could use, such as some more scattered WikiLeaks emails from Clinton campaign officials. Of course with Captain Trump in charge, there was no such possibility. He had to bite back at these women: they are all without merit, they are out for publicity and some of them are really ugly so why would I even try? It’s his last point that took already furious women and made them even more so. In Trump’s mind women are objects for his pleasure, not human beings.

Trump probably understands he is destined to lose. This explains why he is already expressing bogus concerns about a “rigged” election and is asking his supporters to watch polling places. He also seems to be sanctioning violence if he loses; after all if it’s all “rigged” then civil unrest is justified. (Inciting violence is a crime, BTW.) It’s wholly unsurprising that Trump would stoop to such depths because he has a history of it. He is incapable of admitting that he is at fault for his sinking campaign.

Similarly, he can’t admit his own problems with the sexual harassment, sexual assault and the possible rape of a 13-year-old girl. Naturally, it’s all “locker room talk” (although I never heard any locker room talk like this, and he was on a bus when he made his remarks to Billy Bush.) His sexual harassment lawsuit was settled without an admission of liability. Women claiming he assaulted them are lying and even the friends they told the story to at the time are part of a great conspiracy against him.

Bill Clinton too was known to have played the field, although his field was much smaller and those that occurred fell more into the field of infidelity than sexual harassment. Like Trump, Bill Clinton did settle one lawsuit out of court. At the time Republicans went apoplectic at these murky allegations. Lying under oath about a consensual affair with Monica Lewinski was enough to get him impeached, but not convicted. The silence from today’s Republicans about what looks like a much larger problem with their chosen candidate is pretty deafening. Unlike Clinton, who could be discreet and cover his tracks, there is plenty of evidence that Trump’s mindset was that because he was rich and well known he was entitled to use a woman any way he wanted. After all, how could they deny his charismatic personality? He said pretty much this to Billy Bush: “I don’t even wait,” he told him.

His claims then that he never engaged in any of this behavior strains credulity at best and sounds wholly ludicrous at worst. Unfortunately for Trump these sexual assaults sound consistent with his character. It certainly is possible that a few of these women are lying but they can’t be all lying. There is too much corroborating evidence to seriously think none of these incidents ever happened. Moreover, Trump’s own “locker room talk” and his recording with Howard Stern say otherwise, not to mentioned documented incidents like his venturing into the Miss Teen USA dressing room while contestants were undressing.

We’ll see the magnitude of his loss on November 8. I feel a tsunami approaching. I think it will come mostly from women out to make a statement: we’re not going to take his kind of crap from any candidate anymore. It may turn Congress blue.

Trump’s defeat should be an accountability wake up call for the man, which would be a first. But it’s quite clear that when his ship is going down he wants the crew to be the ones that drown. Trump gets a lifeboat of course and it will be gold-plated.

The Republican Party is looking for a few more loonies

The Thinker by Rodin

Every time I think Republicans cannot get any crazier, I am proven wrong. The latest example is of course Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who last week said that women who are raped have this heretofore clinically unknown ability to ward off rapist’s sperm, thereby not getting pregnant. But this can only occur in the case of a “legitimate rape”.

Silly me, I had no idea that rapes could be classified between legitimate and illegitimate. I thought by definition rape had to be non-consensual sex, but not in the crazy world of Republican ideology. I’m not sure but I think their wacky thinking runs something like this: some women secretly want to be raped. Maybe they go down dark alleys in miniskirts hoping some rapists leap out from behind trashcans. Why would they do this? Because they are so desperate to conceive that the only way they know how is to get raped. Going into bars and winking at strange men doesn’t occur to them. This sort of rape, in the view of Akin I imagine, is an illegitimate rape. If the woman welcomes the chance for rape and gets pregnant, consciously or unconsciously, she must want the child and thus she should not be allowed to have an abortion.

Thinking about this preposterous logic for a bit, there must be all sorts of illegitimate rapes. If your perverted and abusive father decides to rape you, well, no matter how vile it was that he raped you, you still love your father, right? So of course this is not a legitimate rape. Carry the child to term. Live with not only the shame of being violated by your own father, but having to explain or hide this from your child for life, as well as support him with no help from the government. After all, this child deserves life, even though being the product of incest he or she may well suffer genetic deformities.

Akin’s amazing and wholly unscientific beliefs raised howls of concerns from fellow Republicans. The howls came not for his beliefs but because he had the audacity to express them. (Naturally, he had many supporters, including women in his own district.) After all, his views are now codified in the 2012 Republican Party platform, which, if Tropical Storm Isaac ever leaves the vicinity of Tampa, will be routinely adapted by Republican delegates at their convention this week. That’s right. The Republican Party platform calls for all abortions to be outlawed via a constitutional amendment, with no exceptions for rape, “legitimate” or otherwise. It’s all about respect for life or something.

It’s hardly news that their respect for life ends at the moment of birth. From that moment on, new mother, you are on your own. Do not expect one penny from the government for your child. In fact, don’t expect the government to provide any prenatal care for you to carry your pregnancy to term either. Anyhow, once your child is born, forget about food stamps, forget about WIC supplements, forget about welfare, and forget about any form of government assistance. Your new baby can die of starvation and disease for all the Republican Party cares, because any of that is socialism, which is much worse than having no respect for life before birth. Hope instead for charity from non-governmental organizations. When questioned on the topic during the Republican presidential debates, that was Ron Paul’s solution. Magically, churches and private charities will step up and help all these poor children, even though they proved incapable of doing it before we invented these child welfare programs, as evidenced by all the homeless kids in the streets back then. Presumably in the new Republican order child protective services are out as well, at least at the federal level. If, like in the nineteenth century, life impoverishes these children then it’s okay if your kid ends up on the street. Maybe he can scrape together a living shining shoes or something. He has to learn self-reliance and personal initiative anyhow. Eating dog shit for dinner builds character. Children should embrace devastating poverty: it is an opportunity to prove your mettle.

The whole Republican Party has embraced crazy and unworkable ideology over reality. Try to find just one position in their party platform that is congruent with actual science. Please let me know if you find one, but I can save you the research: you won’t. Tropical Storm Isaac right now looks like it is bearing down on New Orleans, which almost seven years ago to the day devastated New Orleans and surrounding areas. President Bush dealt with the situation eating a birthday cake with John McCain on the tarmac in front of Air Force One. He entrusted FEMA to a former director of an Arabian horse association. He showed his respect for life by allowing senior citizens to drown in New Orleans nursing homes.

So what among other things would the Republican Party do today if their policies were adopted? To read from one plan, newly minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan, NOAA’s budget would be severely curtailed. The National Weather Service is part of NOAA, as is the National Hurricane Center. Some Republicans, like Ron Paul, would be thrilled to get rid of the Commerce Department altogether. (NOAA is part of the Commerce Department.) Which would leave it to the private sector to make hurricane predictions. Doubtless The Weather Channel would step up, buy their own weather satellites and hurricane spotter airplanes. Of course, hurricane forecasts would only be available to those who could afford to pay for it.

Reason simply plays no part in the Republican Party. It’s all about crazy ideology. It’s all about staying true to principles, principles that repeatedly have been proven false. Mitt Romney’s plan for the federal budget is fundamentally and mathematically flawed, as documented by many nonpartisan organizations that have studied it. But that doesn’t matter, first because they won’t admit they can’t do math and second because they must be true to principle, no matter what. The orthodoxy says taxes must be cut, particularly for the richest and somehow draconian cuts in services (but not the military, naturally, which will get an increase) will balance the budget. As if taking all that money out of the economy will somehow have a positive rather than a negative effect on the economy. Ideology, like religion, does not require reason. It simply requires unyielding, unreasonable and crazy faith, the sort, sadly, rampant in churches principally in Republican strongholds. It’s the sort of faith that lets you blithely ignore the scientific consensus on global warming and evolution.

And so boldly the Republican Party sails off in search of ever righter and crazier ideological waters. It is ideology so weird and reckless that their hero Ronald Reagan would be beating on the doors of the Democratic National Committee asking for readmission to the party.

Can you believe the unbelievable? Can you vote for policies that have proven catastrophically incorrect not once but twice? Can you suspend all the evidence and believe your president was not born in the United States and is a secret Muslim? Can you ignore the fact that our president actually loosened gun control laws and yet believe he is trying to take away your guns? Can you believe that President Obama wants to turn the United States government over to the United Nations? Can you believe that two plus two equals five? Can you believe that women who have suffered a “legitimate” rape have some secret spiritual powers to kill bad rapist sperm but let the good sperm, like your father’s, go through?

You can? Then the Republican Party is for you. And they have a big tent, because there are plenty of crazy people under it already, and they need just a few more to gain control and ensure complete national dysfunction. They are doing it, of course, on principle.