Our Current Situation: An Introduction to My Weekly Freak-Out

INTRODUCTION: As I put together the Sunday Spectacle I found myself torn between pointing to fun, cool, weird things that bring me joy, and posting things about the horror freakshow of our current political situation. It didn’t seem right to mix the two.

Today I decided to split my weekly round-up into TWO posts. Sunday is Sunday Spectacle, a weekly catalog of things I find interesting, fun, and weird. Wednesdays are now for Our Current Situation, a collection of the news and politics and assorted thoughts surrounding our…our… well, our current situation. Otherwise known as my ongoing freak-out.

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I SEE WAR: ((Note that this is all sheer paranoid fantasy. I write it to expel it from my brain. The price you pay for reading the following is it will be in YOUR brain instead.)) Today was a pretty good day, low on the freak-out scale, but toward the end of my workday I had an unwanted thought enter my head I haven’t been able to shake. We’ll be at war with Iran by April 29.

April 29 because that’s the 100th day of the administration, and it’s something I think is at the top of their to-do list. National Security Flynn has already put Iran “on notice.”

‘But, Russia and Iran are allied’ you say. ‘The US isn’t going to take on both.’

Nope. The US is going to offer Russia a sweetheart deal to dump Iran and join us in invading Iran. What kind of sweetheart deal? A share of the spoils and the US withdrawal from NATO.

In his book Field of Fight (published last summer), Flynn writes “Although I believe America and Russia could find mutual ground fighting Radical Islamists, there is no reason to believe Putin would welcome cooperation with us; quite the contrary in fact.” (p. 174) Unless… the president was a Russophile willing to work closely with Putin. Bloomberg sums up Flynn’s book as arguing “the next president should go big and try to win it [the war against radical Islam].”

Bannon believes we are in the middle of a “war of immense proportions” and only smart people like him realize it.

Shortly after Putin and Trump spoke on the phone Russia began escalating its war in the Ukraine.

Trump thinks he “really good at war,” and for a little bit this afternoon I envisioned a time in the not-so-distant future when he will try to pursue his and his advisers’ vision of a total war against ‘radical Islam.’ And, recall that as soon as the US launched its war in Afghanistan in 2001 the media and politicians fell in line and refused to be critical of the administration. We are a nation that loves war. A quick glimpse at our history shows we’ve been fighting much more often than we have not. A year from now Trump will have an 88% approval rating and the nightly news will be seriously pondering if using nuclear weapons was a premature decision, or our only choice.

Here’s what I imagine the White House will look like on April 28.

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George W. Bush’s speechwriter, David Frum, speculates on How Donald Trump could build an Autocracy.

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Chelsea Manning makes a point that shouldn’t have to be made. We are an oddly amnesiac culture. Compromise does not work with our political opponents. When will we learn?

“Now, after eight years of attempted compromise and relentless disrespect in return, we are moving into darker times. Healthcare will change for the worse, especially for those of us in need. Criminalization will expand, with bigger prisons filled with penalized bodies – poor, black, brown, queer and trans people. People will probably be targeted because of their religion. Queer and trans people expect to have their rights infringed upon.

“The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader.”

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Is it just me? Or is it weird that in his Holocaust Remembrance Day statement The Donald (almost certainly reading The Bannon’s words) would say:

“I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good.”

Did I forget who won WWII? Didn’t WE, and our allies, win the Second World War? Didn’t we defeat the Nazi’s? So… let me see if I understand this correctly… our current president is suggesting that the forces of evil defeated the powers of good in WWII?

OK, he’s a confused speaker. He’s barely one step up from word salad, nonetheless… it’s creepy.

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Some excellent advice from Octavia Butler and Tananarive Due on surviving what comes next.

“First, breathe. Meditate. Journal. Dance. Hydrate. Get enough rest. If you’re an artist, CREATE. As I tweeted earlier this week, ask yourself what Octavia E. Butler would have written to confront this crisis…and create your version of that.

“For information, turn off the circus of television cable news and subscribe to newspapers. Favor investigative reporters over talking heads. For escape, find comedy, horror, thrillers—whatever helps you decompress. I write horror, I think, because my mother loved horror movies as her means of escape from her anger and fear. You need an escape too.”

Walk. Be mindful. This is a marathon not a race.

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