A Brief Review of Current Events

So, I sort-of watched Cadet Bonespur’s address to the UN. And, by “sort of,” I mean, “It was on, I was half-heartedly listening, but really, I was quietly praying for a quick and merciful death.” So, there’s a solid chance I missed something while biting my cheeks raw.

There are two relevant things to address before the main event. The first is that there is a concept, when discussing probability and ideas like infinite time or the vastness of the universe, that if you locked a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters, they’d eventually write the works of Shakespeare. When scientists or statisticians discuss this; they usually use it in the sense that, simply by incessantly hammering away randomly on typewriter, monkeys could recreate the works of Shakespeare, much like a random text generator would. Most people, for some reason, seem to think this means that monkeys would eventually learn to read and write and write the works of Shakespeare (I mean, that’s how humans did it, give or take two millions years of allopatric evolutionary processes). I bring that up because “semi-literate experimental monkeys” might be The Donald’s speech writing team, based on today’s performance. And, boy, were they working overtime in light of the second elephant in the room.

The second is that some nitwit in the Whitehouse (I realize that’s no longer a specific descriptor) literally e-mailed the WH “talking points” to defend against the latest allegations to Nancy Pelosi. I am absolutely not making this up (https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/White-House-emails-Ukraine-talking-points-pelosi-14467277.php). Since the element of surprise (and misunderestimation)(Gods, I’m old) is the only thing The Donald has ever had going for him, naturally, the illiterate monkeys were sent back to the typewriter room to come up with some better talking points. This disastrous press conference is the result of that.

The first takeaway is utter incoherency. You definitely get the feeling that the Shadow Government run by the Op-Ed piece authors in the New York Times ( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html) are just doping Grandpa up on anti-psychotic drugs, and wheeling him from meeting to meeting. I like to think that this is the first Weekend at Bernie’s presidency, and this is what happens when CPAC has to take on puppetry duties without Jim Henson’s aid. That would also explain why the President was twenty minutes late to his own address, and he did kind of resemble a College Freshman who just got a red-eye back to Learn State after spring break at Cabo. At age 90. Honestly, if the man and his party weren’t so hell-bent on killing me and all my cancer friends, I’d feel a little bad for him. Also, the president apparently loves second-hand information, given the number of times he used the phrase “they say” or “they tell me.” I like to think that this is the singular, gender-neutral pronoun, and “they” is a gender-fluid adviser who is filtering Grandpa’s Twit-feed (how they got past Grandpa’s heteronormative guard dog, “Mr. Charisma” Mike Pence, is the subject of my new novella)(the only major flaw in that theory is that I have never met an LGBTQ person who is as openly malevolent as this administration is). During the question-and-answer period, there were no firm answers to anything; the last time I saw this much deflection was the lightsaber duel in The Last Jedi. Nancy Pelosi was mentioned more than Secrtetary of State Mike Pompeo. As a writer, I definitely notice when stuff I’ve been reading, watching, or listening to starts leaking into my own writing, so, in this case, my apologies if I ramble on about nothing with no real point or unifying thesis, it reflects the source material.

The second impression is that we are standing on the precipice of history. I don’t know if Americans felt this way when Nixon uttered the words “I am not a crook,” but at least a third of this press conference seemed like it was focused on The President’s Enemies, who now include, Nancy Pelosi, China (pronounced with three syllables), Iran, most of our EU allies, the judicial branch — if you drank every time some perceived slight or mortal foe was mentioned, you’d still be getting your stomach pumped. I’ve heard of the political tactic of running on your opponent’s weaknesses instead of your strengths (we’ll call The Trump Doctrine), but this is the bizarre legal defense of accusing your accusers of equal or worse crimes, in the hope that The Prisoner’s Dilemma will somehow vindicate you (the accusers/enemies list includes, apparently, the American people)(and basic math — the man said at one point that some pollsters or analysts (the fabled “they”) told him “for all numbers about Trump, add or subtract six, seven, ten points)(I’m not a statistician, but a potential 20-point margin of error seems horrifying when you’re a button-push away from nuclear holocaust). Nancy Pelosi has apparently “sold out” to “socialists, the radical left, at best” (AKA “political pressure”). BTW, this is how political pressure works — it is a system in which I vote for the candidate I think best-qualified for the job, and then, if the candidate fails to meet expectations, I actually call their publicly-listed office or write a letter telling them that I will support their political opposition if they continue. That’s the corrupt influence of voters in a democracy.

I bring this up because The Donald was specifically (or as specific as he gets; which is not very) focused on events of the last three days. That’s a suspiciously short time period that happens to just freakishly coincide with the latest round of scandals and allegations. He mentioned that “they” have a problem with corruption in the Ukraine (again, “they” are unbelievably busy), primarily with how “they” threaten political action against the president there unless he does what “they” want. Since the president didn’t specify, one assumes that either “they” threatened the president with legal recourse or blocking support for his agenda — y’know, the traditional ethically-questionable tactics used in democracies in shithole countries — or “they” is actually “him,” and by “political action,” he meant, “$400 million in foreign aid to investigate my political rivals.” If it seems like most of this essay is insinuation, innuendo, and speculation, so was the president’s almost-speech, and I certainly won’t hold myself to a higher standard than a man who thought using a pomeranian as a hairpiece was a flattering look (and if it seems like a low-blow to bring his looks into it; let me just remind you of literally every time he’s discussed women who are in politics). Where was I? Right, the President’s “What I Did This Week” speech. And it’s only Wednesday.

So, in the last three days, while you, the clueless American public who are so focused on things like “economics,” and “rule of law,” your tireless, unsung, unloved president has been working to negotiate with other countries on sanctions on Iran, various trade deals (again, almost no specifics were mentioned), all of which will lead to a better life for Ivanka. Wait, not Ivanka, whom he loves; you, the American white rural voter. Among other, weirder, “Grandpa’s drunk again” allusions, Drumpf mentioned that we could totally get a gun control deal, immigration reform (hopefully without for-profit concentration camps), and a totally-efficient wall (you know the Youtube videos circulating about how locals are holding “wall-climbing competitions” and turning it into a weird sport? Well, actually, they’re admirers of the fence who have come to be in awe of it)(I swear to God I am sober — or as sober as one can be after entering the hallucinogenic nightmare of The Donald’s speeches; and that was what he implied), if only we please call off the witch hunt. In other words, all it takes to see action on all these issues you’ve been writing, protesting, or otherwise calling Sean Hannity about, is threatening the world’s most powerful person’s job security. I mean, if that’s the way you want to go, The Donald, I’ll happily go that route; let me get the guillotine out of storage.

The Donald also claimed that his conversation with the Ukrainian president was a “perfect conversation” (there’s an ordinary idiom used in common English by real humans), and that he would be completely exonerated if “they” just get the first half of the conversation. It’s a bold, almost-completely-shameless play rarely seen since Nixon’s team made similar claims about the gaps in their records. Meanwhile, I’d imagine Pelosi and team already have the recordings in question and are feverishly translating them from Trump’s native Martian to English.

I’m skipping over a lot, but only because my brain, in a desperate bid to save my last functioning, intact neurological processes, blocked a lot of it from my memory. Also, the president didn’t really say anything other than, “I am your lord and savior, and all who oppose me are in the service of Satan Who Is Called Nancy Pelosi,” just expanded to a half-hour. I’m joking with that statement, but I am dead-certain that The Donald really wanted to compare himself directly to Christ, and was only dissuaded when someone pointed out that Christ was Jewish (possibly the first time in history when anti-Semitism led to a good thing), and what happened to Christ (I am absolutely sure that the next time The Donald finds out about the crucifixion will be the first time). What’s fascinating here is that we went from “No press briefings for anyone any more” to “Being prodded in front of the UN to get ahead of the inevitable allegations of wrong-doing” in less than a week. You could argue that’s just political pressure to do something (work the word “they” into that sentence and it’s a line from the speech) or get in front of the snowballing scandal, or, and this seems just as likely, The Donald is being forced to interact with people and demonstrate relationship dynamics without the tremendous safety-net of Daddy’s real estate portfolio or legal team. In other words, he’s now — ironically — as a president forced to behave in more human fashion than he ever has before. And he is failing miserably. There’s an old axiom used by lawyers that you never, ever ask a question in court that you don’t already know the answer to; I feel safe in saying that was The Donald’s life strategy, prior to neo-Nazis voting in previously-unrecorded numbers (and humans staying home in equally record numbers)(yeah, I said it; if you stayed home on Nov. 8, 2016, you effectively voted for The Donald), was to never, ever enter a situation he didn’t have a solid strategy for, and, to be fair, it did sort-of pay off; he is quite wealthy. The downside now is, Trump is in a situation everyone who passed Civics 101 is familiar with, but he isn’t: end-stage Nixon-itis. And, based on this hilariously incompetent press conference, this is what happens when an administration looks to Nixon and says, “That Gordon Liddy fellow seems a little overqualified, we don’t want any professional wrong-doers in this administration.”

A friend of mine has a theory that we are currently in the alternate Hill Valley wherein Biff got the Sports Almanac. I have a theory that not only is he right, but the weird, psychotic, fractured events of the last week are the result of Doc and Marty getting the Sports Almanac away from Biff (in 1955), and we’re seeing the timeline knit and heal before our eyes.

Written by

Science journalist, cancer survivor, biomedical consultant, the “Wednesday Addams of travel writers.”

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