It’s Over

It’s over. The first term of President donald trump’s presidency is now in it’s final stage. Though it took a few more days than any of us were comfortable with, the nation has spoken and the message to POTUS Cheeto is clear.

 

I’ll let President Biden do the talking instead of having a captioned image over donald’s photo simply because i’m certain that most of the people reading this are sick of that face. It was a face I couldn’t stand on television, and it’s a face that I hope to never have to think about again.

What seems like a decade ago now, I wrote THIS in the leadup to the 2016 election. I (much like the rest of the world) was under the impression that trump would lose and the Republicans would be in for a hell of a mess after the trump tornado tore through their party.

 

Dave Rubin (host of one of my favorite online shows The Rubin Report) lives by the mantra that is, the best way to fight bad ideas is to expose them to the spotlight. If we look at this in the context of this entire election, it is brilliantly accurate.

 

What a different time it was. Or more, what a naive fool I was.

 

Starting with Donald Trump.

Despite running for president many times in the past (gotta love free advertising when the media hands it over without question), being under the spotlight as Republican candidate has severely damaged his image. Rather than hanging around the unchallenged depths of our minds as a business man and reality TV star, he was forced onto center stage. As was his long list of dirty laundry and shortcomings. While it’s debatable what will happen after the cameras go away, I suspect that the Trump brand and name may not ever be the same.

For me personally, what happens to his business is irrelevant. What is more important, is that he will likley NEVER get taken seriously in politics ever again. The Trump tornado not only wrecked the RNC for the foreseeable future, but also his own house. But unlike the RNC (which will eventually figure it’s way out of this mess), I doubt Trump will ever fully mitigate his disaster.

 

While I am tempted to chastise myself over this flawed analysis, I am now more inclined to think that I just got the timeline wrong.

Before President trump single-handedly tore to shreds every single aspect of the Trump brand that he had been carefully curating in the media for decades, THAT was the image the vast majority of non-ex Trump organization employees or contractors had of the man. Though he left a trail of court cases and publicly notable incidents exposing his shortcomings in the years leading up to the 2016 campaign, few outsides of the media had such knowledge of the incidents. 

He was a former television celebrity made famous by a series of television shows that no longer air. Thinking back as far as 2013 or 2014, I had little reason to even contemplate the man as anything but a cultural reference. Just another part of the American and Western pop cultural zeitgeist.
Something that is interesting to consider now, given the 20/20 hindsight of the present. America’s businessman turned race-baiter also manifested that face in the nation in which’s electoral college would grant him leadership. But more on that later.

When it comes to the Trump brand, I don’t think it an understatement to say that the company is fucked.

Before exposing his true beliefs back in 2015, he had his name and brand recognition. After he locked down the nomination and then swept his way into office, he had that position in which to use for his own enrichment. Whether it was pouring millions of taxpayer dollars (or campaign donations!) into Trump-branded properties, abusing the use of taxpayer-funded security detail and transportation (like the Airforce 1 747’s) for personal use, or taking bribes from entities (foreign and domestic) though his businesses, the gravy train was good while it lasted.

But it’s over now. Soon the tsunami of taxpayer funding into Trump-branded entities will cease. All the love and cash that he received from entities foreign and domestic will cease alongside his powerful status. And now that his previous history has been completely obliterated on a global scale, there is no going back. If the Trump organization isn’t filing for bankruptcy by the time the 2024 campaign kicks off, I’ll be very surprised.
Really, it will be something if the Trump organization outlasts the last vestiges of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Do I think that he will ever face any penalty for the crimes he committed either before his campaign, during the campaign or during his term?

I have no idea.

I once joked that if he lost, he would likely hop aboard his personal 757 and head out to Russia, never to be seen again. Well, never to be seen in the US or in a nation with a US extradition treaty again, anyway. Considering that he recently joked about possibly having to leave the country if he loses, my prediction might not be as off the wall as I thought.

Which brings us to the Republican party. The GOP.

I would like to think that 4 years of Hurricane Trump tweets and inflammatory (not to mention false) rhetoric will set the party back years. I like the thought of a Biden win exposing every single republican politician sucking off the president as the opportunistic parasites that they are. I would like to think that people like ted cruz and Bitch mcConnell will look the part of fools, now tasked with a party that has become so dishevelled that even QAnon believers now have a home therein.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia who has repeatedly expressed belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, was elected to the House of Representatives Tuesday night. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado who has said that she hopes QAnon is real because “it only means America is getting stronger and better,” won her contest too. Come January, almost a million and a half Americans will be represented in Congress by people who support a community bent on proving that President Donald Trump is waging a holy war against a high-powered cabal of child traffickers and blood-drinking Satanists that includes prominent Democratic politicians and Hollywood celebrities. This worldview is vehemently anti-media, anti-science, and—despite its claims of patriotism—antidemocratic, because it often calls for Trump to lead a military coup against the “deep state,” and to execute political enemies and “child-killers.” The FBI has deemed QAnon a domestic-terrorism threat. Trump refused to denounce it throughout his reelection campaign.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/11/a-biden-victory-isnt-a-defeat-for-qanon/616998/

On one hand, it would seem that the path forward for the opposing democrats just got a WHOLE lot easier for 2024 and beyond. The GOP decided to back Trump right to the very end, and have already stated that they will block any and every attempt that President Biden makes in terms of passing legislation. The GOP is beyond even bothering to HIDE their desire to win by any means necessary, so all the democrats have to do is not play into the antics.

If democrats keep the pressure up against the most inhumane political party on planet earth and make sure voters know what they are doing for them (along with making sure that voters know who is preventing the actions from going forward), they will have it made. But most importantly, they must NOT squander this chance that a record number of voters in the US have given them.

They must not take the millions of voters for granted, AGAIN. Because there may not BE a next time.

At this point, it is questionable how things are going to proceed if potus trump decides to break centuries of decorum and fail to concede to President Biden. Some have thrown around the potential of civil war, which is more than a little terrifying from the standpoint of this Canadian. It feels a bit like being in Sudetenland in September 1938.

Fine . . . maybe a LITTLE hyperbolic. None the less, I’ve never liked the feel of life sandwiched between a teetering superpower and a probable dictatorship.

So begins the end of 2020. Or as most people are likely to think . . .finally! Why can’t we just skip all the way to June and be done with it! Hell, November! More Christmas, less COVID! 

As much of a yawn as the movie Click was back in 2006, I would love to have that clicker right about now.

Either way, POTUS Biden is not an excuse for either the democrats OR democratic voters to go back to sleep. And I am not talking about the disenfranchised minority voters that came out in droves for Biden this time around (and who may well vanish again if they are overlooked yet again), either. I’m talking about the more privileged leftists among the American electorate. Those with enough privilege to actually think that a position like “Bernie or no one!” is reasonable. And of course, those who just don’t want to be a part of it. Because politics is silly/boring/whatever the excuse.

But of course, this is but half of the picture. It’s hardly fair to scapegoat voters for failing to support a party that fails or disengages them. Which is where the Democratic party comes in. Not only will the same old conformist “We know best! Stop confronting me!” boomer-esk status quo attitude no longer do, progressive ideas and ideals MUST also be given more than mere lip service. The continued successes of candidates like Bernie Sanders and AOC are all the evidence one needs in proving that point. Unless we want to talk about 2016 again. Or 2020 without the horrific mismanagement of Covid 19 by the former president-elect.

Sorry, Joe. You are definitely a better choice than the orange alternative. But that isn’t saying much. 

Prove me wrong. I would love to look back on this in 2024 or 2028 and see how wrong I was about the DNC, DCCC and every other un-democratic entity that makes that party tick. However, being that past behaviour tends to be a good predictor of future behaviour, it’s hard not to look at this through the mindset of a cynic.
As a species, we don’t have much time left to alter our behaviour in order to mitigate the worst of the climatic chaos scenarios. And this is not even considering the multitude of other factors causing pain and suffering in various human populations typically ignored by American politics. A return to this status quo would make the Democratic party the 2ed biggest danger to human life on earth. Complacency may end the republic, and possibly even human life.

As much as trump has been a fixture in the news cycle for WAY too long now, I am less fearful of him than I was 4 years ago. He may have a network of cronies and family, but there is hardly any intelligence to be found in that crew. If they are not getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, then Borat is catching them with their hands down their pants.

If this reference is lost to time, here are a couple reminders:

 

 

^^ From The David Pakman Show ^^

https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-nw-rudy-giuliani-borat-hotel-scene-20201021-y47ayywpxfcoffrm65xozhfuji-story.html

I am somewhat fearful of many Trump supporters. That combination of armed, unstable, passionate ineptitude is dangerous to anyone in their immediate proximity who fits their profile of a danger to freedom. Those people may well make things interesting for the next few months. However, unlike the infamous Q from QAnon infamy, I have little such fear of donald himself.

What I do fear, however, is this entirely new zeitgeist that he has stirred up in the American population, and in the world at large. This newly festering disease of fascism and authoritarianism that is increasingly bubbling to the surface. This gash may well have been always here, but the increased saturation of social media over the past 12 or so years looks to have helped completely tear the bandaid off.

Like the mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities (mainly consisting of sub-prime mortgages and loans) that many everyday people didn’t understand until they torpedoed the world economy back in 2008, I feel the same about many social media algorithms which are in use on platforms today. They served their purpose as money makers for their respective owners. That was until the dark side of relying on a complex black box became painfully apparent. Being that sub-prime loans are prone to fluctuate, I assume that some economic factors somewhere (corporate outsourcing? instability in the markets?) begun causing people to default on loans. As this increases, so too does the interest rate, driving more insolvency. Until eventually the whole thing topples, taking one bank (and damn near all of them if not for TARP).

The algorithms are much more dangerous than these derivatives, however. Built on and feeding off of our data as mined from our interactions with various platforms, the goal is manipulation. Primarily, how to ensure that you keep interacting with Social Media platform A instead of B, C, or D. Part of this is achieved by programming applications with the same tricks used by slot machine designers. Though Silicon Valley likes to use the term gamified to describe these types of platforms, manipulative is just as fitting an adjective.

Though some apps are worse than others (in my experience, Youtube, Facebook, Quora, Snapchat and Tik Tok are the worst in terms of eliciting addictive behaviour from me. In that order), they are all being designed for this purpose. Whilst Snapchat and Tik Tok addiction are indeed problematic (particularly for younger users), I am far more fearful when it comes to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Platforms that appease users by way of using their data to find (and recommend) the best content to keep your eyes in their ecosystem.
A few years ago, my biggest fear of this was the complete isolation of people from any and all information aside from whatever their chosen niche was. Be it Dungeons and Dragons, knitting or cats, I feared that people may become completely blind to issues of the macro (such as climate change), let alone issues at the local level (such as mayoral elections).

Considering the unrestrained and likely exponential growth in terms of the effectiveness of the various AI-driven algorithms driving today’s social media platforms, I fear that we may be seeing big tech unleashing onto our democratic systems what the big banks unleashed on the global economy 12 years ago. Underregulated, misunderstood and highly profitable machines with an Achilles heel that is not apparent until after the damage is already done.

Either way, it’s time to close this post off. Though this has likely come across as the rantings of a hopelessly disenfranchised cynic, I will close this on a positive note. As down as future prospects tend to get me if I give them too much focus, I find much hope and solace in the up and coming generations. Some of it comes from my own millennial cohort, but much of it comes from the Zoomers of generation Z.

Often written off by older generations in charge of political power worldwide, there often more mature and knowledgeable rebuttals to the often lazy and nonsensical arguments of the adults has served as a huge source of personal inspiration to this cranky cynic. Instead of being stuck somewhere in-between the dark clouds of my past and the dark clouds of some unknown and yet to materialize future, they give me a reason to hope.
Having been born far enough out from the Baby Boomers to be largely free of their restrictive ideological thinking processes, and having grown up with enough exposure to the internet to know both its benefits AND it’s downsides, zoomers tend to be far more aware, knowledgeable, and unafraid to make their stances known. Something I love to see, whether it’s high school kids demolishing the NRA in the media, or a young girl from Sweeden showing more competence and common sense than most of the people occupying higher offices of any kind (political OR corporate).

In going forward, I certainly HOPE the democrats don’t return to business as usual, because I fear for a nation led by a dangerous psychopath that is not a self-serving narcissistic moron. Whether Trump decides to run for another term in 2024, or another populist shows up in 2024, 2028 (who knows!), the fate of a nation and a species may be at the feet of the Democratic party. A prospect that is fucking TERRIFYING.

Oh yeah . . . I forgot . . .positive lol.

On that note, I do return to my growing fondness and faith in the Zoomers, with more and more of them maturing into voting age. With their numbers comes increased power to hopefully steer the US (and the world) into some form of preparation for . . . EVERYTHING.
Or to put it another way, the only way is to force our change. Because the beneficiaries of now are unaffected by the future consequences of their actions (they will be long gone). As opposed to us, who may well be rendered a premature abortion on account of the anti-human policies of the ironically pro-life professing right. 

 

Enjoy the victory. But keep up the fight.

If not for you, then for everyone who can’t help themselves.

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