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Category: Politics

President Idiot
I may have been premature in my blog of October 11 last year. “President Moron” was the title. As I explained in that piece, it was not I who was calling our president a moron, but rather his hand-picked Secretary of State, the estimable Rex Tillerson. Who better, I suggested at the time, to judge the intelligence of his boss than someone who worked closely with him on matters of great import?

The answer could only be someone who had worked even more closely with the President over a longer period of time on a broader range of issues. His Chief of Staff John Kelly, for instance, might be able to give a credible, informed assessment of the Commander in Chief’s mental state. We learned this week that General Kelly has provided that assessment (repeatedly, according to sources), and for the record he considers the President to be an “idiot.”

Again, this is not my opinion that I am reporting. It comes from a person close to the President who was also hand-picked for his position by his boss. It is that person’s opinion we are talking about here. He is an ally and a servant of the man he is judging, and he thinks that man is an idiot. I don’t have any regrets about the “President Moron” blog. I was citing the most reliable information available when I wrote it. Still, I don’t like having to update such findings. I try to be accurate in such matters just in case someone’s feelings may be hurt somehow in the course of my eagerness to inform others.

Perhaps I worry too much. “Moron” and “idiot” are often used interchangeably in ordinary discourse — to mean deeply stupid. My guess is that Kelly and Tillerson, though they apparently had differences on matters of style and policy, would surely agree that the President is deeply stupid. However, it is possible that they were actually quite careful in their choice of words. There was a time when psychologists parsed IQ scores in differentiating between idiots and morons. Under this now-outdated system, idiots (whose IQs ranged between 0 and 24) were classed lower than morons. A moron’s IQ might go as high as 70.

As I say, psychology has moved on from these unfortunate classifications, but they might still be useful today in answering this question: Just how stupid is Donald Trump? If his two close associates were using their words precisely, then we can say that General Kelly thinks the President is a lot stupider than Secretary Tillerson does.

But who to believe? Is he a moron or is he an idiot? In the interests of even-handed reporting, perhaps we should split the difference. In that old rating system there was a third category between the other two that described those whose IQs ranged between 25 and 50. Such people where referred to as “imbeciles.”

So, I will henceforth refer to Donald Trump as “President Imbecile.” Just to be fair.
To Summit Up
Kim Jong Un is
A dingy despot
He keeps The Button
On his desktop

He’ll discuss those nukes
With Donald Trumpfish
Whose expertise
Is Forrest Gumpish

A lunatic
An ignoramus
What could go wrong?
Ask Nostradamus
Toke Up, Woke Up
Yes, it is true that we live in troubled, dangerous times. Chaos, mendacity, and willful ignorance are ascendant. Community has given way to individual aggrievement. The specter of oppression looms like a many-headed Hydra over our liberal democracy.

It is also true that we all know these things, so what is the sense in dwelling on them? We have to fight the darkness at every turn, yes, but if we become obsessed with this ugliness, then it will drag us down with it. We will need to be there, whole and ready, when the tsunami of stupid blows over and reason returns at last. So look on the bright side, I say. Light up that big Pollyanna doobie and take a nice, long hit. That’s it…now kick back…let go of the dread…cast your mind forward to a better time and a better world. It looks pretty good to me — in large part because of Donald J. Trump and his enablers.

Hear me out. Who is to say that reliable print media could have survived without the rise of fake news and strategic lying? Subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post have soared during this period because, all of a sudden, the value of truth has become so obvious. Newspapers were at the brink of death until the rising tide of bullshit made them indispensible. And that tide flows right out of the President’s mouth.

Similarly, the latest step forward in gender equality would not have happened so soon were it not for the harasser-in-chief. Millions of women were so outraged by his election that they came together in the #metoo movement and demanded that things must change. And they have changed — years before they might have. I’m not ready to thank His Repellency for that, but his rise to power has certainly clarified our thinking and galvanized us into action.

Activism itself, such a vital force within any free society, has been energized. People with strong opinions on every subject are stepping up to be heard, and violence does not seem to be a part of this trend. These movements — like the Parkland student uprising and the teacher strikes — are about righteousness, not partisan advantage. We need them. In fact, I predict that there is a healing coming for all of us. There’d better be, or none of us will survive on this shrinking, increasingly afflicted planet. Trumpsters, no matter how exasperated you may be with them, had to be brought inside the circle. They have been marginalized or ignored for too long, and we can’t afford to leave anybody behind. None of this could have happened so quickly if the last election had gone as expected. It’s the Trump Effect, and it came just in time.

Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s the doobie talking. And maybe you’re right, but we’ll never get anywhere by mainlining the opioid of despair. And so, I call your attention the bright side: our society was due for an upgrade anyway. If we keep our heads straight and seize the opportunity provided by this near-death experience, the Age of Aquarius is just around the corner.

Care for another toke?
Do They Still Hang People for Treason?
Well, do they? We may need to answer that question soon. Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution defines treason as “levying war” against the U.S. or “adhering to” or giving “Aid and Comfort” to our “Enemies.” Up until recently I would have said that only Isis or its like would qualify as enemies of the United States. The Russians, by contrast, have seemed more like adversaries or competitors.

Recent indictments from the Mueller investigation, however, have detailed a large-scale, comprehensive attack on our system of government (us, in other words) by the Russians. It is not hard to argue that only an enemy would launch such an attack. There have been no official declarations of war, but the Constitution doesn’t mention such formalities in its discussion of treason. I am beginning to think we might be there after all.

Death has always been the go-to punishment for treason, of course. Fines and imprisonment are also options, but execution (if it is ever appropriate) seems a good match to this particular crime. Oddly, however, no one has ever been executed under U.S. law for treason. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death for “conspiracy to commit espionage,” not treason. That case, it should be noted, was decided in 1953. America was in full paranoia mode over The Red Menace at the time, and most agree that our legal system was not at its best at the time of the Rosenberg trial.

The last American sentenced to death for treason was Tomoya Kawakita, whose conviction rested on his activities as a guard in a Japanese concentration camp. His sentence was later commuted by President Eisenhower. No one from the Confederacy paid the ultimate price for their offenses against our country. There were executions for war crimes and murder, but not for treason. Benedict Arnold never faced the consequences for his treachery, either, and died a quiet death in rural England. From complications of dropsy, if you must know.

So there is no real precedent here. If Donald Trump (to pick a name out of the air) were to be convicted of treason and sentenced to death, wouldn’t hanging be the first option that enters your mind? It seems like a means of execution especially made for traitors.

But let’s not be hasty. Drawing and quartering is is also on the menu, but I am not prepared to argue for its return to fashion. There’s no need to be cruel here. Justice should be our main concern — along with establishing a deterrent to the willful destruction of our society. If our state is going to kill someone, our method of choice should reflect our highest values as a people.

I’m not sure where the Mueller investigation will go, but we can certainly imagine ending up with a long list of traitors to deal with. The President, Don Jr., Jared, half the Cabinet, Mike Pence — they could all be implicated. That’s a lot of rope. The Rosenbergs died in the electric chair, so there’s is some precedent for that method. It’s not old school, though, and it doesn’t seem to match the unique nature of the crime. The same goes for any of those drug “cocktails” they’re experimenting with in the modern dens of horror we call prisons.

We’ll need something quick, humane, cost-effective, and earth-friendly for this job, but the method also must speak to the long tradition of punishment for betrayal of one’s country. Allow me to humbly suggest, then, this modest proposal: let’s dust off the guillotine — just in case. It has a history rich with symbolism, and it seems particularly fitting under the current set of facts. That’s if there are convictions, of course. We must all have a due respect for the rule of law and allow for it to take its course. After that, off with their heads!

Besides, there’s no harm in being prepared. We might be called upon to dispense large amounts of speedy justice in the near future, especially with all the traitors running around Capitol Hill these days (hi there, Devin Nunes). The guillotine would certainly qualify as a candidate for that job. It would spare us a lot of the waste associated with electrocutions or firing squads or gas chambers.

Besides being environmentally sound, multiple guillotine executions would surely serve as a deterrent as well. I do not, however, subscribe to the idea of placing all those severed heads on pikes along the National Mall. That is not who we are or who we want to become (though it would be a very efficient use of resources).

Still, I can understand why you might want to hang people for treason. It’s quick, it’s clean, and it just seems right. Unless hangin’s too good for ‘em, that is.
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee