Category Archives: politics

What about my rights

A society has two basic means to regulate its members’ behavior. It can either entrust them with rights, or restrict them with rules. Each approach has its downside, and most societies use a mix of the two. In China, there are all sorts of rules regarding what you can say and where you can go, but citizens have the right to engage in quite a few economic activities as they see fit. In the United States, you can do what the hell you want, and the law comes knocking after the fact, for the most part.. The problems with rules seem quite obvious, at least to those of us who grew up in liberal Western democracies. Rules are stifling. and the utilization of rules assumes the worst of humans.

Implicit in law, policy, and custom is the notion that people respond best to fear or avarice, and therefore need punishments and rewards. Left to their own devices, they will be unruly. There is a grain of validity in the rule-makers attitude, but it is also the case that people live up to expectations.

The problems with rights are less obvious to us. There are a couple of problems though. A relatively small one is the superficial flaw noted above in regards to how laws function in the United States. A society based on rights assumes that citizens can be trusted with those rights. Those who trust, risk getting burned. The trusting soul can fall back on rules, but only as deterrence via the threat of retribution, not as direct prevention.

And there is a deeper problem with rights besides, because there is a lazy way of possessing a right. The ideal right-recipient is someone who values the right, and is therefore motivated to understand what the right demands of them, where the right stands in regards to other rights, and what consequences may follow from exercising the right. Being an ideal right holder is a hassle. It’s much easier to stow your rights in your pocket and go do as you like, pulling out the right only when the need arises to ward off relevant trouble.

Certain pathognomonic signs accompany rights laziness. The shiftless typically speak of their rights like an extra appendage. They don’t hold a right; the right is one with their flesh. Following from that characterization, lazy right holders behave as if there is no wrong way to exercise their right.

Driving provides the best example of this mentality. For the lazy, anyone in their way is infringing on their right to drive as they please. The traffic cop is a purveyor of injustice. Judges who restrict drivers licenses are the real criminals, since they violate not just someone’s property, but their very person.

The US, being a rights-based society, has showed those signs of laziness from the very beginning. Its founding documents speak of rights as inalienable, and endowed by the Creator. Eyes and teeth are that kind of thing. Gifts and treasures are not. From the beginning too, Americans have exercised their rights like teeth and eyes, which do not demand accounting, rather than like gifts or treasures, which do.

The archetypical tale of American right-laziness is the tragedy of Kyle Rittenhouse.

By all accounts, he was a 17-year-old boy with very typical issues. He seemed to be searching for an identity along with some validation. He wanted to be a cop or an EMT. In other words, he wanted to do something which came with some power and control as well as the admiration of others. He wanted to do something moral. He had taken a CPR course and put together a jump bag like paramedics carry. Plus, like many if not most 17-year-old boys, he wanted a gun. He probably wanted it for the same reason that many if not most other 17-year-old boys wanted a gun. A gun was a badge of adulthood. It offered instant validation. It compensated for any awkwardness in the bearer. Besides the psychological attractions, it made a lot of noise and smashed stuff.

Unfortunately, he was not old enough to own one himself. Apparently, he prevailed upon an older friend and another adult to purchase and keep the gun for him. The arrangement was against the rules, but might not have been a problem, had the adults not been lazy in the exercise of their right to own a gun. They seem to have treated the gun like it was one of the boys appendages. When he decided to take the weapon with him to try out his identity as an EMT/cop at the site of a real-life conflict, they let him and the rifle go.

When he arrived, he met other people with guns, exercising the right granted them by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. By all accounts, they offered him a task, but no advice, and no further guidance. After a while, he wandered off, looking for someone to help. He soon ran into situations that he could not handle. He lacked the experience. In the end, he shot and killed two people, and permanently maimed a third.

He bore his right like an appendage, but he did not understand the consequences of carrying a gun like he understood the consequences of having an arm or leg. He could not come by an understanding of his right naturally, he had to learn it. But there was no one to teach him. Apparently, the other arms-bearers that he met along the way did not feel like it fell to them to tend to their right as this kid exemplified it.

As a society, we are getting lazier with our rights by the day, and the signs and symptoms show. Nobody knows what to do with their speech. Nobody knows how to meet amicably. Nobody knows how to be armed responsibly. The anxiety that comes with uncertainties is growing, day by day, and each day we become more anxious for rules to dispel the uncertainties.

Authoritarians have begun to pop up in response. They will be happy to provide us with all the rules we want, and then some. They will even sweeten up the rulemaking medicine for us by telling us that they are actually taking rules away, “deregulating” as a means of concentrating power. A set of rules constraining our behaviors (to the advantage of the ruling family) is our fate, unless we stop merely exercising our rights and begin to tend to them.

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The Heat of a Separate Logic

Sometimes, I catch my wife watching out of the corner of her eye while I cram my feet into climbing shoes. The process entails a good deal of whining and swearing, which will continue throughout the subsequent training session. She usually keeps quiet about what she sees, but sometimes she can’t help but ask, “What is it that you like so much about climbing?”

I tell her that I like it because it’s war, except that, as opposed to war, if everything goes right, nobody dies. My answer is a bit hyperbolic. For one thing, I have never even been near a war, much less participated in one. What I mean is: the attractive thing about climbing is the same as what those who have fought wars say is the attractive thing about war.

Though it is difficult to put a finger on the source of our attraction, we humans are undoubtedly enamored of war. Our literature enshrines it. It has a permanent place in our culture, in the form of holidays and memorials, but also in practices like the martial arts. The studios can always sell us another war movie.

It isn’t just a fascination born of fear either. We associate warfare with all kinds of positive moral qualities, like courage, loyalty, and determination. Even the Prussian general, Carl von Clausewitz, implicated valor as a reason for the individual to become voluntarily involved in warfare. This from the man who said that war has its own grammar, but not its own logic.

Von Clausewitz clarified that position on the nature of war in what is now a famous aphorism: war is politics by other means. Practicalities drive us to war. That can’t be the whole story though. If it were, all armies would be conscripted, and no war would last as long as every war has lasted. We fight well beyond pragmatic exhaustion.

That’s because Von Clausewitz was wrong. War does have its own logic. If we listen to war’s participants, we hear about the struggle to survive their circumstances, and to put an end to the struggle itself by overcoming their opponents. We hear about the moral obligation to protect one’s comrades. The politicians may have pursued their policies into war, but once the war gets going, the fighters fight for other reasons entirely.

If we take logic to mean a description of consistencies between meanings, then we have to conclude that war does have a logic of its own. It is a logic which supersedes all the extrinsic reasons for going to war. Maybe that’s why war persists. Because it is easy to think about getting in to a war on the basis of von Clausewitz’s pragmatism, but once the fight is on, the other logic takes over, and not only gives us a reason to see the war through to some conclusion divorced in principle from political practicalities, but also gives us stories about all those positive moral qualities which the participants find in their quest to come through the catastrophe.

The other logic is always dangling out there. It is the same logic that drives me to climb, and others to fly wing suits, race motorcycles, and ski out of bounds. Any useless activity involving uncertainty and inherent danger will have the same enticing, overpowering consistencies between meanings. There is no practical reason to jump out of a functional airplane. There is no material gain in clawing your way up some obscure cliff face. Even the motorcycle racers and sponsored skiers don’t do it for the pay.

This sort of pursuit challenges us to engage, because once we engage, the other logic, which is the logic of survival, determination, and commitment, takes over and cooks off all the other, weaker, practical logics. For the duration, everything is clearly in its place.

Clarity is not a requirement. In our age, nobody really considers going to war on such a vision quest (we gave that up with the end of dueling). You don’t hear the participants in a battle wax nostalgic about the smell, the cacophony, or the sight of dismembered bodies. At best, the practical details of war just serve as props for the exhibition of the other logic. So often the story goes: I didn’t want to be in a war, but since I was, I tried to take something good away from it, and this is what it was – loyalty, determination, commitment.

Those stories are good ones, maybe even necessary ones. Still, they are an attractive nuisance. They don’t get us into war, but they contribute to a kind of permissive state in our collective psyche. Political practicalities appear more convincing. Our own participation in conflict feels easier to justify, sometimes to such a degree that those who should know better (historian Stephen Ambrose) express regret for never having their courage tested in combat.

That’s what it is about climbing. It’s a way in to the crystal sphere of the other logic. It’s also an admission that I want to live as much as possible in the sphere, though it is impractical. I think that that admission is key. It is the bit of insight which separates an attraction to useless, uncertain and inherently dangerous sports from an attraction to war. So maybe there is one generally useful thing to be had from dangerous sports. If we can cultivate in the larger society, an insight into our own motives for pursuing impractical, uncertain and difficult peril, we might be less susceptible to war’s appeal.

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The myth of the free range human

… Is a myth that I, as much as anyone, wish were true. My dream is to have a little place in the middle of nowhere, off the grid, with a couple of greenhouses, a composting toilet, a 12gauge loaded with rifled slugs, and a pair of vicious dogs. The truth is though, the only way to realize my dream involves relying on things made on the grid. Even after I am established, I’m going to need things from town – in other words, from other people – to maintain my little homestead.

One might argue that my situation is artificially contrived. Nobody asked me to begin in the middle of a civilization, I was just born here. I had no part in constructing it, and I am quite justified in feeling that the whole thing could’ve turned out a lot better than it did. But that would be wrong too. We are all stuck with something like what we’ve got. It’s inscribed in our genome. When my children were born, I did not have to give them any special instruction in speech and language. I simply talked to them, and soon enough, they began to speak. That’s because they have special structures in their brains which are receptive to language learning. We are social animals, and there’s no getting around that.

We are stuck with a duality. We are fully individual, but we can only realize our individuality by way of our social nature. There are no arts, sports, or academics without other people. And as social creatures, we direct our communal effort towards the full expression of individuality. From the isolated point of view of the collective, arts, sports, and academics are a waste of resources, yet we pursue such things as a group because of their benefits to the individual participants.

The dialectic of the social individual permeates all of our institutions, even medicine. Medical professionals treat patients one by one, but on the basis of the statistical effectiveness of each treatment. In fact, our most effective treatments – interventions involving nutrition, sanitation, and immunization – purely play collective odds to benefit an individual patient’s health.

By the same token, our best treatments are not things done to the patient by the physician. Our best interventions require the participation of the individual, and the exercise of individual virtues like patience, generosity, and courage. The current pandemic is a perfect example. Public health institutions aim to immunize the population, in the hopes of preventing individual tragedies.

Libertarians object to such collective efforts, in defense of individual integrity. But this is where the dialectic flips. To exercise individual virtues, and so maintain individual integrity, each person should participate in the treatment. The failure to do so does not demonstrate rugged individualism, but mean spirited cowardice.

In defense of individual integrity, our society allows meanness and cowardice. Nobody is going to hold someone else down and give them a shot. But neither is anyone obliged to give credence to all the excuses and objections expressed when measures are taken to mitigate the collective effect of failed individual character.

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Realism in the Time of Covid

I walked down the broad, sandy track, distracted. The path was built for motorized traffic, so it required no attention to route finding, and my mind could wander elsewhere, in places far from plagues and Gumby revolutions. But I did not stray for long. Behind me, I heard barking. The noise was the sort of high-pitched yap which a dog makes when something frightening, yet fun, is in progress.

I had assumed that a dog made the sound, but I began to doubt as the yammering grew closer at an unnatural rate and became accompanied by a growl that fluctuated in uneven gasps. I stepped off the track, waiting nervously. But of course, no extraordinary monster appeared around the last bend. What did roll into sight was a standard, biomechanical amalgamation. The dog, a German Shepherd mongrel, sat lashed to the vehicle frame up front, shaking and yelping. Behind the mutt, a lumpy man in a down coat steered the buggy from the comfort of its silver roll cage. He gunned the engine over little rises, and coasted around the curves. He gave a little smile and a wave as he passed me. A small American flag fluttered from the apex of his sun-shade.
The commotion rapidly faded, and I turned my attention back to the walk, and the granite towers at the walk’s end. I could see the formations now. Poking up from the slopes of the Little Valley, they were squat spires, the color of the sand beneath my feet. Most were not monoliths, but stacks of huge blocks, each brick 40 feet or more on a side.
At the apex of a small rise in the trail, a single, rhomboidal flagstone, and a small prickly pear with three leaves marked the turnoff to my objective. They looked as if they had been placed there, but they were no more intended for my purpose than the track of hoof prints which led away from the landmark towards the climb. A dotted line, stamped in the sand by deer and elk, and punctuated with mounds of pellets along the way, wove through the Manzanita until it intersected with a line of Cairns leading to a gigantic stack of boulders.
I dropped my pack at the base. I could not tell if the staging area had been manufactured or not, but it was a perfect little patch of dirt, sheltered by cypress and laurel. I fished the rope out from the bottom of the pack and donned harness and helmet. I carried no more gear, because my goal for the day was not to climb the 4 inch wide crack above me from the bottom up. My goal was to find out if I was still a climber, and if so, to begin to claw my way back to a respectable condition. To those ends, I would crawl through gaps between the blocks above, anchor the rope to a pair of unseen bolts, descend the rope, and climb back up to the bolts as many times as I could.
With the rope tied to my back, I made my way around the side of the formation until I could tunnel through the cracks. The way led down and across to a small alcove. A scraggly alder tree grew there, apparently supported by a very shallow bowl of sand alone. In retrospect, it had made a mistake. Though the spot was secure, the soil was too shallow, and the tree’s highest leaves could only catch sunlight for a couple of hours every day. It could never thrive, but it was a pleasant decoration for the time being. From the alcove, a short, awkward squeeze led to a hidden ledge, and the anchor. I secured my rope to the two bolts.

After descending back to the base, I loaded my self-belay device and began to climb. I moved methodically, not at all like I would climb with a partner belaying from the base. I used a single device for fall protection. This was on purpose. The set up relied on hands and feet as my first line of protection, with the rope and device as backup only. Having a second chance put an edge on the whole project which was lacking in the case of third chances and single chances alone. With a third chance in play, the focus shifted to the equipment and allowed for some slop in the climbing. Committing to one chance only demanded fatalism, and fatalism shifted the focus to the mental equipment needed to accept one’s fate, at the expense of free movement.
I climbed through the route, slowly convincing myself that I could still move smoothly. The effort meant ignoring the grind my left shoulder when I loaded it in extension, and the stiffness in my leg on the right when I tried to step high.
I made it through an acceptable number of laps and pulled the rope. The sun was now as high as it would get in midwinter, and it illuminated a small tuft of leaves poking from the alcove between the boulders above.
I turned my back on the formation and wandered down past the Cairns, the elk pellets, the rhomboidal rock, and the three-leaf pear. With the full warmth of the sun on the Little Valley, the trail was now bustling. A grade school child teetered over a bump on his motorbike. A parent followed, riding a matching cycle nearly on the kid’s back tire. Groups of people, some wearing facemasks, some not, nodded to me politely as I stepped off the trail to let them by.
As usual, I could gauge my distance from the trailhead by the age and attire of passing hikers. I first passed those kitted out with boots and daypacks, then the sneakers lot with their coats tied around their hips, then the shorts and flip-flops crowd. By the time that the expensive homes which flanked the start of the trail were visible, the vast majority of passing travelers wore boat shoes and elastic waistbands and would plainly go only a few more steps beyond the gate. What they sought by this activity, I could not imagine.

The parking area had filled up since my departure, and in the usual fashion. When I had arrived in the morning cold, the only other cars parked in the lot were a dated Subaru and a Toyota truck. The Subaru had a Sierra Club sticker on the back window. The truck was covered in dust. Between morning and afternoon, cleaner vehicles had filled in the rest of the parking spaces. A few of these had American flag decals, and one of the flags was blue with a prominent blue line through the middle of the stripes. One rear window bore a red white and blue “Q”.
I wondered who belonged to those stickers. Nobody on the trail looked crazy. Certainly, nobody looked like a revolutionary, and if my fellow travelers that day really were the sons and daughters of the Revolution, then the revolution would be over as soon as the propane and Slim Jim’s ran out.
I had them entirely wrong, though. What a person trusts depends on what a person wants. What a person wants depends on the depth and breadth of their perception. The revolution was against the untrustable unseen. They revolted against rumors of an invisible pathogen. They revolted against the idea of murky social, political, and personal depths. Most of all, they revolted against a start in the cold and dark which they had somehow been convinced that they were entitled to avoid.

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Welcome to the Aftermath

“Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”

  Vince Lombardi

“There only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games

Ernest Hemingway

“The ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.”

 Voltaire

The difference between Hemingway’s sports and games is, of course, a matter of winning. In games, winning really is the only thing. In those other endeavors, winning is nothing.
Simply engaging in sport yields the maximum voluntary experience. Engagement delivers everything on the spot, whether or not the participant comes out on the other side, and certainly regardless of winning and losing.
Trophies, money and ribbons only serve to dress sports up by equating them with games. The civilization must thereby disparage sporting ends, since it strives constantly to the opposite goal.
The civilization turns out to be really good at window dressing though. Its props and costumes create a realistic illusion in which games are wholesome and sports are pathologic. Maybe that is why we now live in an age of games and gamesmanship. Our culture has created a situation where Lombardi is right.
Excessive trappings have made sports and sportsmanship not only unrecognizable, but incomprehensible.
Subsequently we have the rise of the consummate gamesman: Trump. To him, there are only winners and losers. Failure to engage and success in shifting the cost define the gamesman’s method.
Allowing him to operate so at the controls of our society has given the whole thing a gamy taint.
To clean it up, we need to make things a little more sporty, though we might not need to make politics quite as sporty as Voltaire suggests.
Perhaps it would be enough to replace the inauguration ceremony with a bullfight.

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For Anyone

…who believes that, “we have more cases because we have more testing”.

Testing for an infectious disease is like counting the number of balloons in a dark room by tossing darts through the doorway. Say you throw 10 darts in the room and hear two pops. There is still a good chance that a number of balloons remain uncounted. But if you throw 40 darts in the room and hear two pops, the likelihood of a two-balloon scenario soars. When the rate of pops drops below a certain proportion, you can be sure that you have counted most of the balloons in the room. A low percentage of positive tests is what you’re after.
Once you have established the adequacy of your testing, you can sort out what the results reveal about containment. The raw numbers don’t tell you that much. In the case of national case counts, it is reasonable to expect a country with a large population to experience higher numbers than a country with a small population given similar degrees of disease containment. A true measure of containment is cases per population, or in our analogy, how crowded the room is with balloons.
So when a pinhead like Trump says that we have more cases because we have more testing, that standalone statement is pure bull shit. What’s worse, it’s a distraction from what really indicates the adequacy of our understanding of the outbreak’s extent and the effectiveness of our efforts to contain it: percent positive tests and infections per population.

How is the US doing?

Top of the heap with >15,000 cases/1 million persons (European Centers for Disease Control)

Percent positive tests: 7.9 (an adequate percentage is less than 5%)

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H plus or minus the A

Wee Donnie loves his Plaquenil. He says that hydroxychloroquine may be a game changer. He is not a doctor, and he is certainly not an academic, but he says that he has common sense to guide him. His common sense tells him that the drug might have some beneficial effect in Covid-19 infections, times are desperate, and so why not give it a go – what do you have to lose?

Of course, common sense is what tells us that the earth is flat and the sun goes around it. Shockingly, common sense is just as dependable when it comes to bio-statistics. Trump has no idea what he is talkiing about (as usual). Let me heap a fair helping of scorn on his contentions. To do that, Donnie’s argument has to be split into its two components; otherwise, the load would collapse the full-length argument before even a third of the deserved disparagement were dispensed.

Part one concerns the effectiveness of hydroxychlororquine for corona virus. There are a couple of observational studies from China suggesting that moderately ill people given the drug may have been less likely to progress to severe illness. There are also in vitro studies of viral replication which show hydroxychloroquine to be inhibitory. Finally, there is a study examining viral shedding in patients given the drug versus patients not given the drug. This last study is open label, not randomized, and examines a surrogate endpoint – what we want to know is whether the medicine makes people get better, not whether it makes their nasal swab get better.

All of this evidence generates a hypothesis (that hydroxychloroquine may improve clinical outcomes in coronavirus infection) but doesn’t yield any conclusions at all.  To illustrate how this can be so, witness research on the use of this very same drug for influenza treatment. Because, hydroxychloroquine inhibits replication of the influenza virus as well, in vitro. When given to patients in a randomized, controlled trial however, it didn’t make anybody any better, any faster.

But why let the perfect be the enemy of the good? We can go on hope and the possibilities implicit in the observational studies. The med is safe, right? Just give it. To clarify the consequences of such proposals, lets say that the putative cure for Covid-19 is not a Q/T – prolonging antimalarial. Let’s say, it’s a chocolate brownie. The instructions are: chocolate brownies cure corona. That’s it; that’s all we know.

Now, some people are going to take a tiny pinch of brownie, and secure in its protection, head off to the church picnic. They will get the virus and wind up in the ICU.

Other people will eat 5 brownies per day, sending their triglyceride levels through the roof. Those in this group who are also taking certain medications, will develop pancreatitis and wind up in the ICU (drug-drug interaction).

Some will go beyond the 5 brownie dose, to 7 per day. Among this lot are bound to be some latent diabetics who will subsequently land in the unit with hyperglycemic hyperosmolar non-ketotic coma (drug -disease interaction).

Finally, a few true believers will bump the dose to 10 brownies daily. They will experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with subsequent dehydration and acute kidney injury, buying them an ICU bed right beside the Covid patients (adverse drug effect).

The point is: common sense sees no farther than its own nose and is blind to all these eventualities. Scientific method is not, largely because it admits that we can’t know all the eventualities. That’s why good clinical trials measure hard endpoints, like death or time to hospital discharge, and not surrogate markers, like the presence of virus on nasal swabs.

Don’t rely on that nitwit shyster Trump, his toadies, and their common sense. Rely on scientific method instead.

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International Domestic Abuse

I confess to listening to the impeachment trial. I did so without much interest at first, especially during the opening statement from team Trump.

What else were they going to say that had not already been said by all his other flunkies? As Cipollone began speaking, my expectations were momentarily fulfilled, but then he did something surprising. He read a section of Trump’s call to the Ukrainian president which he felt was exculpatory and which he claimed had been omitted on that basis from the House’s presentation.

The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”

This move elicited a strange mix of amusement, puzzlement and deja vu. It did not seem too helpful for Trump’s case, quite the opposite, in fact. And I had heard this kind of bizarre exposition before. It took me a moment to realize that it was straight out of those training videos on domestic abuse which are required viewing for my job.

One of the techniques employed by the abuser to control the victim goes just like the passage above, something along the lines of, “Nobody loves you like I do baby, you know that. Who else is going to love you like I do, give you all those things you need, if you throw it all away and leave me? You understand now why I get so upset, even lose control sometimes when you disappoint me? It’s because I love you so much.”

It all became clear in that moment. The nature of Trump & Co.’s relationship with the rest of the world is the nature of an abuser’s relationship to the victim. It explains the lack of insight (the abusers are always happy to use the same defense to outsiders, oblivious to its lack of force absent the power disparity). It explains the displacement of guilt (looking at you Pompeo, you fat, stinking sack of pig shit). It explains everything.

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Q Confessions

I must confess that I have not been completely honest with all of you. It is with a heavy heart that I admit this, but it will soon become too difficult to maintain the charade anyway. Some of you may have guessed the truth already, and to you I offer congratulations. You really are the clever ones after all.

To start, I am, and all along have been, working with the Clintons, the FBI, the Jews, and all the rest of the deep state apparatchiks who seek to undermine their own positions by bringing about a New World Order. All this even though I am a Black Muslim.

You may wonder why I am coming clean. But you must know by now that we villains are at once diabolically clever and thoroughly incompetent. We can concoct airtight and elaborate schemes, but can’t seem to help telegraphing our every move.

I think we fail because of our unconscious guilt. We know we are wrong, deep down, and so we confess just in time for the upstanding to foil our plots. But it will be too late this time.

As I write this, our operatives in the CIA and FBI are assembling the guillotine in a secret House chamber, as Rep. Schiff and Hillary herself drag Donald from his nest in the West wing. Moments from now, Pelosi will give a perfunctory reading of charges and then pull the trigger, with the ceremonial rape of Our Great Leader’s headless corpse to follow immediately thereafter ( I am told that the last bit will not be televised).

Once the deed is done, I will at last be free to pursue my true motive in all this. In this final hour, I will reveal the secret desire, formerly known to just one other, behind all my machinations. I have manipulated both my loyal Americans and my co-conspirators in pursuit of one, grand prize: Melania.

Dearest Melania, It has all been for you, all along, just as I promised. Soon we will walk in the light of day, together, and Baron will finally know what he must have suspected. For how could such beautiful wine ever come from such soft and withered grapes moldering near to the ground?

All of this shall come to pass momentarily, my loyal friends. Then you will have the Truth, and the reassuring feelings which go along with having been in on it all along. And if nothing happens, then all of you will know that this has been a triple-double cross, in which case, you are still the clever ones. Even better than church, isn’t it?

WWG1WGA

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Huh?

On the census citizenship question: The supreme court invited Tweetsy the Clown & Co. to come back with a better lie?

Sebastian Gorka called somebody a punk? Dough boy? Called somebody else a punk?

Pass the popcorn; even arson can be done as slapstick.

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