Elsie Arntzen, Montana State Superintendent of Education
This is going to be short. Every time I try to organize my thoughts, I end up laughing and crying so hard that I can’t see the computer screen.
1. The local barley crop has been so good for the past few years that the prices paid have gone down a quarter to a half this year. This barley is dedicated to beer-brewing and the orders from those companies control buying, but they all have big backlogs. Bubba had better start consuming more. Too much fascination with wine.
2. The new Republican state superintendent of the Office of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen, made a speech in Great Falls recently that was so unintelligible that even people who transcribed their tape recordings and parsed them in print could not figure out what she said. The GF Tribune uses a pay wall, but the blog called mtcowgirl.com will explain and has examples. I didn’t realize someone could be more unintelligible than Trump. It was schizophrenic word salad.
3. KellyAnn Conway does a good job of ridiculing herself. “The Bowling Green Massacre” will go down in history as the most easily won ever — since it didn’t exist.
4. “The president’s currently most influential advisers believe that he has a mandate to blow up norms of good governance.” This is not an invention nor a distortion. It is Lenin’s philosophy as accepted by Bonnan.
5. So far the hastily imposed closure of the US borders has caught people with legal green cards, a man from a friendly country with a diplomat’s visa, a baby who needs surgery, an 8 year old child, a lot of foreign students (excellent for our economy and international relationships) who had been on break or doing special studies, a major segment of the film industry, and so on. Crops in the southern states are almost ready to harvest, but the workers are blocked.
A friend just told me his niece has a chance to travel to London, but she is a Blackfeet and a Democrat — will the border honor her documents? (Actually, enrolled Blackfeet are entitled by treaty to cross the border, but that’s never acknowledged.)
6. If Trump gets near a telephone, he picks a fight, usually with countries that are close and dependable, like Canada and Australia. He thinks he’s really told them off and this will make them obey his orders. Don’t let him call North Korea. I’m not fond of “Ah-nald” but don’t forget his connections to his in-laws, the Kennedys. It’s something like mocking the CIA and FBI, who are armed. There's a streak of self-destruction in all this.
7. Ivana Trump is rumored to have an incredibly high IQ. (Curse the day that test was devised — all it really measures is success on IQ tests.) The best proof of her intelligence is that she has put as much space as possible between herself and The Donald.
I keep thinking about Martha Mitchell who, when she began to blow the whistle on her husband’s Nixon generation of Repub cronies, was jumped by security men who threw her on her face and jabbed her with a sedative-loaded syringe, then carted her off to confinement. (Wikipedia) “The Martha Mitchell effect is the process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician labels the patient's accurate perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.” The whole entry is worth reading. It’s related to the entry on this blog on 1-28-17: “Gangstalking, Eek!” It’s professionalized “gas-lighting.”
8. The businesses who thought they’d get reduced taxes and disappearing regulations, have been taken aback by directly named accusations and rebukes against named companies. A whole sequence of other promises have been reversed, either because the profit wasn’t there after all or because the facts weren’t there or because some people can’t keep their attention focused or consistent, particularly old folks with Alzheimers. Some people won't stay bribed.
In short, all the campaign promises were empty. Their emptiness is met with outright fantasy — invented massacres, alternative “facts,” and suppression of evidence. What’s at risk here is any relationship with reality. But people have been saying all the time that politicians and particularly Republicans are out of touch.
Some folks have been saying that we’ve come to the limits of nations and democracy as a means of keeping order. Some have pointed out that we’ve hit the limits of what can be managed with print and courts. When people go to demonstrations, like the cluster at Standing Rock, and are met with violence even from sympathetic veterans, that’s a real boundary breach. Very hard to cross back over. Might take a generation.
A lot has been quietly happening around the planet. The Internet, new plagues, exhaustion of resources, etc. etc. This human ecology has never existed before and is loaded with unintended consequences.
One new factor is the emptying of the middles: innovation and progress of this nation have migrated to the coasts, California and Manhattan leading. Now there is talk about mega-cities as independent even of states, while others speak of states having more power than nations. We may be a nation that is fragmenting beyond the power of any executive or judicial branch. Part of the reason for that is the failure of the Congress to function, spending all their energy and wealth on the re-election industry.
More than that, the turning over of the generations — many of them the generations of other nations — has “shifted the paradigm” to use a cliché that itself needs a shift. Kids with big thumbs who are gamers and coders are not very numerous in Valier, but their ethos seeps in through the music, and social media. At present the Right Wingers dominate talk radio, but they are old, some of them well-past their “sell by” date. Coffee time pundits.
Gender-assignment keeps smashing into the upscale world and its depiction. Trump has no idea how creepy his family seems because they are all clearly moneyed in that pseudo-rich way of celebrities. He has no awareness of the symbol shift of his name on buildings or enterprises, from standing for dollars to standing for a target. He doesn’t know about the submerged parts of icebergs that rip holes in the Titanic. Bannon does. Watch Bannon. He knows that real trillionaires can afford to be invisible. The profit in spectacle is limited.
I will be interested to see what impact the change of seasons will have on all this. It was below zero again here last night. The cats get their exercise indoors because I don’t have the heart to throw them out in the snow. But when the snow is replaced by new grass, I can expect less night destruction. At least in my own house.