Thursday, December 22, 2016


Since lies have now become the new presidential style, and other sources of truth have been discarded, we are left with one reliable truth-checker — at least for those who use a computer to search for answer.  That truth-checker is “”  When you hear something too good to be true, Snopes will investigate and come to a conclusion.

When I saw a video that explained the 25th amendment and how it can be a trapdoor for Trump, I thought it was too good to be true.  But Snopes says it IS true.  Here’s a video explanation for those who can’t or don’t read.

The argument against using this trap door is that it would damage faith in democracy, but the argument against that argument is that there’s little left to lose.  The weakness of democracy is now and has always been the quality of the demos, the people.  The numbers of “for” or “against” are far exceeded by the huge numbers of people who didn’t care enough to participate.  They felt that the whole thing was controlled by international corporations protecting their income and power, and they never dreamed that such exalted but invisible persons would allow the election of Clem Kadiddlehopper (remember that Red Skelton character?) or “Junior” (The Mean Widdle Kid, or "Junior", was a young boy full of mischief, who typically did things he was told not to do. "Junior" would say things like, "If I dood it, I gets a whipping.", followed moments later by the statement, "I dood it!”)

We have been aghast at the Trump strategy of appointing generals and CEO’s to his cabinet.  It is unclear to me whether the cabinet as described in this amendment is the one put in place by Obama or the one nominated by Trump, which has not yet been confirmed by Congress.  

“There are two options to remove a mentally unfit president, which were helpfully laid out step-by-step by Fusion. The first option requires a majority of the president's cabinet — positions such as secretary of state and secretary of defense — joining together with the vice president to declare the president is unfit. The second option requires the vice president to convince a majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate to decide the president is unfit. Both chambers of Congress then submit a letter stating such, which removes the president from power.”

All along, I’ve been less curious about why Trump made such counter-intuitive choices for his cabinet than curious about why they would accept, aside from some vengeful intention to punish people who resisted them in the past.  Looking at the names and accomplishments of these mostly old experienced white men, I can’t believe they don’t recognize Trump as a puppet Kewpie doll and wouldn’t like to just evaporate him.  The 25th Amendment could do that.

As for the Republicans, they have been so completely discredited by offering such a candidate, and are so full of bullet holes in their feet that they don’t have a leg to stand on.  Their possibly only chance of redeeming themselves is repairing this blunder.  Whether that would finally unify them into a real party is problematic.  But if this whole situation doesn’t unify the Democrats, then they aren’t a political party either.
Hugo Aronson

We all have little obsessive stories that act as Aesopian fables, repeated again and again.  One of Bob Scriver’s favorites was about Hugo Aronson, a self-described “big dumb Swede” who got rich on the discovery of oil and was so endearing in his wealthy dumbness that he was elected to governor.  He would say, "I don't know nothin'.  I'm just a big dumb Swede!"  And Bob would say, "And he was."

I’ve often driven the “Hugo Aronson Highway” that goes east and north of Highway 89 along the north side of Two Medicine River past Holy Family Mission until it emerges among the rocker pumps onto #358, the Valier/Cut Bank road.  Aronson’s highway is paved but I have doubts about the engineering.  If you drive this road quickly, it's such a roller coaster that your head often will hit the inside top of the cab.  Opinions differ about whether this was named as an honor or a joke.

But sickened as I was by Trump’s election, I had already been vaccinated by a little adventure with democracy here in town.  A sprinkler-system salesman took advantage of everyone’s discouragement over the shrinking of our population while confronted with the expansion of state laws and penalties over infrastructure.  Trotting from one household to another, he spread misinformation, discontent, and suspicion until he was voted in — very much a resentful reaction against the previous “mom” mayor, who was more liberal and compliant to law, a recent immigrant from the Pacific Northwest who was computer-savvy.  The critical man was from the county seat where he had grown up and where he was not held in particularly high regard, which may have been the reason he moved here.

The obvious trouble was that when it came to forming an agenda and running a meeting according to Robert’s Rules of Order, he couldn’t.  He didn’t know the rules.  In fact, he couldn’t even lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, which opens every town council meeting in this place that remembers how things were done decades ago.  People here still say “Merry Christmas” and can recite the Lord’s Prayer.  There are no blacks, no Jews that I know of, only one Hispanic I can think of.  If there are LGBTX people, they don’t disclose.  (But then, I never know who is having traditional “affairs” either.)  There is no town policeman, since we depend upon the county sheriff.  Some have suggested we just disband since the population is shrinking so much that businesses are closing.

That mayor resigned and is wintering in Mazatlan, Mexico.  He often boasts about his several weeks of being mayor.  Now we have a new competent and respected mayor.

Many of us are old, but we’re not stupid.  It’s the youngsters who are stupid, in part because schools — obeying rules from the state level — don’t teach civics or how to recognize propaganda.  The connection between rules and consequences is broken.  In fact, one civic leader told me she wouldn’t bother to vote since the whole system was broken.  A big belligerent man told me he had no use for state laws.  He didn't much like the county laws either.

My hope and conviction is that the network of progressive and enlightened people has formed a sub-government, cooperating for the sake of a new vision — who I know have been frankly discussing what should come after democracy and nation-based laws, something that is not a reaction to World War II or 9/11 or even to Hollywood narratives of confrontation and spying.  It may be that our consuming two party system is simply passé and ineffective, too cumbersome and vulnerable to work.

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