The Ultimate Showman

Everybody’s talking about Donald Trump. The people who love him, the people who hate him, even the people who don’t know who he is because they won’t watch reality TV (which reflects the decline of a once great nation that produced Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, but now has Fox News, Honey Boo Boo, Duck Dynasty, and an endless supply of Duggars).

Why the avalanche of attention? Because the press is following him closer than ticks on a hound. Why? Because he’s been saying terrible, no good, very bad things which reporters (journalists being extinct) are delighted to repeat as “news,” knowing said bad things will whip the masses into a frothing frenzy of tea-bag-covered flag-waving, which is good for their ratings.

So, when Trump maligns Mexicans, asserts he will build the Great Wall of China – “It will be huge!” – along our border (outsourcing actual construction to China to cut costs), condones attacks on persons of color, or supports banning Muslim immigrants – or banding the ones already here (citizens or not, Constitution be damned), the media ecstatically gives him all the free coverage anyone could ever want, creating an echo chamber which reverberates in the hearts of the ignorant and bigoted across our country.

In other words, The Donald has taken a page out of the Republican playbook by appealing to the lowest common denominator. As HL Menken once said: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Or, as more accurately summarized in another famous quote: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

And we are being suckered. Big time. By the ultimate showman. The Republican Party – along with most of America – is taking The Donald seriously. And he’s laughing all the way to Trump Towers.

Trump is a carny, plain and simple, seducing the marks, but don’t blame him – he is merely taking advantage of the grotesque circus the Republican party has become as it veered farther and farther right into territory occupied by lunatics demanding ever more extreme, far-right, religion-based, fanatical positions. The Donald is just telling the party faithful what they want to hear (and what many more believe but have previously hesitated to say aloud). And the party faithful eats it up, as he spews hate and lies and the media amplifies his message to a fever pitch.

Think about this. Donald Trump is, and always has been, a promoter. Of himself. What’s the ultimate self-promotion? Claim to be running for the highest office in the nation. Spout outrageous assertions that appeal to the underbelly of the populace, take advantage of the fear-mongering and hate-filled rhetoric that’s been the Republican mantra for the past decade or longer, hijack the extremist base of the party and make it your own. And know that the result will be free advertising 24/7 that will catapult you to the top of the polls. And make you a household name for years to come.

Another fitting quote? “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” He understands that and uses it to full advantage; why can’t we figure out what he’s doing? Instead, most of the other Republican candidates leap onto the bandwagon, not daring to say anything which might antagonize the base, each trying to out do the other with statements which should shock and alarm anyone possessing even a shred of human decency.

I seem to be alone in suspecting that Trump’s real motivation for his antics is pure self-promotion. Because all that sound and fury ultimately signifies nothing. He cannot win. Whether he gets the nomination or – assuming the Republican leadership will rig the convention so he can’t – has to run as an independent, he will carry the crazies who would follow him to a comet and beyond, while the reasonable minds among us – and many reasonable-minded voters remain despite all evidence to the contrary displayed by Rupert Murdoch – will be aghast and appalled by the thought of a Trump White House and the inevitable garishly overdone re-decorating of a national treasure. Either the votes will be split (assuming a moderate Republican is nominated, which is unlikely in the current political climate) or he will force traditional Republicans to vote across party lines.

The thought that neither Trump nor any of the current crop of mob-inciting clowns will be elected should be reassuring, but watching the surge of animosity against Muslims and refugees and persons of color so easily, so widely, and so intentionally provoked frightens me. We once had forced imprisonment of Japanese-Americans. We had Joe McCarthy witch hunts. We cannot let such fear and hatred rise again, no matter who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Thank the entertainment business we now call “the media” for the rise of Trump and others like him. Instead of traditional reporting, we have the new wave of yellow journalism, promulgating propaganda, replacing facts with uninformed beliefs and repeating (instead of challenging) the nonsense that Trump or Cruz or Rubio or other contenders just make up, the more outrageous the better.

That’s the problem. They can say whatever they want no matter how false and the media repeats it as if true, their lies gaining credibility like a snowball rolling downhill gathering mass. If Trump didn’t get free advertising for his “Shock and Awe” tactics, if the press refused to repeat his claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered as the World Trade Center fell, if the media pulled the plug on false or inaccurate claims, he’d have to pay to promote himself – and that he won’t do.

Better yet, what we really need during any political interviews, or debates, or advertising, or campaign appearances, is a brief sound delay, allowing inaccuracies to be bleeped out. (Most of the recent Republican “debates” would be blessedly silent.) Successful fear-mongering requires lies (Weapons of mass destruction! Death panels! Obama will take your guns!) to foster hatred. Let’s foster honest, fact-based discourse instead.

God Takes the Wheel

After surviving a recent trip through rush hour traffic, the Pope decided that on today’s highways, maybe prayer isn’t enough, so he climbed the Mount and returned with a new, slightly longer set of Commandments for modern drivers. Remember, these are God’s words. Violate at your own risk.

1. Pick one speed and stick with it. Nothing makes me crazier than the guy in front of me who slows down going up hill, speeds up going downhill and definitely speeds up whenever they’re in a passing zone so I can’t just pass and get away from him. Yes, dammit, I drive a car. Why shouldn’t I?

2. Drivers should drive. Not talk on cell phones, eat lunch, apply makeup, style their hair, read a newspaper or sleep. And definitely not more than one of these at the same time. And you twerps who text and drive? I’ve got a special place in hell for you. Yes. I. Do.

3. Children are not human air bags. In other words, restrain your kids properly in age-appropriate safety seats. Do NOT hold them in your lap. I don’t care if it’s only for a block.

4. People do not make good missiles. In other words, buckle up. I don’t care if it’s only for a block.

5. If you are not disabled, do NOT park in a disabled parking space (I don’t care if you stole someone else’s permit). If you do, you are a lazy, no-good, inconsiderate slob who might find all the air has been let out of your tires while you were in the store for “just a minute.” Or your tires have “disappeared.” Plus I have the power to smite.

6. Yellow means slow down and red really does mean stop, dammit, not giddy up. I mean this.

7. An all-way stop is a stop and wait your turn, NOT a roll and go because you’re more important than everyone else so shouldn’t have to wait. Why do you yahoos think I don’t notice your crap? I do. And I don’t forget it.

8. An all-way stop is a stop and GO when it’s your turn, not a stop and then let’s sit there for ten minutes with me stuck behind you because you’re not sure if maybe you should let everybody else in the world go first and then wait a few minutes more just to see how long I’ll pound my head against the steering wheel. God is NOT supposed to do that, it hurts.

9. If you’re first in the left turn lane and the left turn lane arrow turns green, for crying out loud GO-GO-GO. Do NOT wait until it turns yellow, leaving everyone else still stuck at the light as you go on your merry way. I’m God. I will catch you.

10. If you haven’t used your turn signal, do not turn. Just continue in a straight line until you are far, far away from me.

11. If you want to drive more than ten miles an hour over the speed limit, move to a country with an Autobahn. That’s why I created it, dammit!

12. Blinding everyone else at night with your high beams does NOT make you safer. It does, however, piss me off. Do you really want to piss me off?

13. If you’re driving on the highway and one or more cars are on the shoulder, do not slow down and gawk making everyone behind you for hundreds of miles have to slow down as well, starting a traffic jam that eventually will bring the entire United States interstate highway system to a grinding halt. (I like the United States. I did some of my best work here. What – haven’t you been to Yellowstone?)

14. In parking lots, go a reasonable speed and if you see a parking space for Pete’s sake PARK. Do NOT drive up and down the aisles for thirty minutes looking for a closer space or wait like a vulture for a space to open, engine idling, blocking all traffic while you contribute to global warming. If you do, Al Gore will come looking for you. So will I, but Al scares me.

15. When it starts to rain, do not be afraid; it will not hurt you and you do not need to slow down until you are driving slower than I can walk. Especially if I am stuck behind you.

16. Driving six inches from my back bumper will NOT make me go any faster. Plus I have the power to smite.

17. Four-wheel drive vehicles do NOT stop any faster on ice than the rest of us. For crying out loud, I gave you a brain – start using it!

18. It is never open season on pedestrians. Seriously, I like pedestrians. They are doing all the right things – reducing carbon emissions, loving planet earth, honoring their bodies by getting healthy. Do NOT mess with them.

19. Do not wait until I am less than fifty feet away before pulling out in front of me, making me push my brake pedal to the floor and causing my car to rise up on its front tires and do a little dance. Plus I have the power to smite.

20. If you do not have insurance AND a valid license, do not drive. I’m not kidding.

21. If you’re reading this and wondering what’s wrong with any of the things I listed in the other commandments, do NOT drive. Ever. I mean that. And I will know.

Bwa-Ha-Ha-Ha!

Be afraid. Be very afraid: packs of Chihuahuas are on the loose.

Sometimes Karma Works

Try not to laugh:

Car bomb teacher accidentally kills 21 students“.

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Dear FreedomWorks,

I don’t know how you got my email address or whether I just pissed off someone with a really nasty temper who then fraudulently subscribed me on some far-right-wing-nut web page so that I would forever have my in-box filled with solicitations for donations from “true patriots” who want to help “take back our country” and give “grassroots freedom-fighters the tools they need to fight Big Government and protect America’s liberty.”

I do have to ask – by “grass-roots” do you mean the billionaire Koch-financed effort to convert the government into a subsidiary of Koch Industries?

Just wondered.

And did you know that when you say “FreedomWorks” aloud it sounds like “Fweedumwoks” ? Go ahead, try it. It really does. (Which, of course, means Elmer Fudd is actually a furry “true patriot” living on Endor. Think about that.)

Anyway, you emailed me a survey. It didn’t ask any sensible questions so I didn’t respond which is why you decided to send it to me again because you desperately need to know what the most important issues are to me!

Far be it from me to disappoint you.

You asked me to “rank these issues in order of importance (1-5).” Those issues were as follows:

  • Stop libtard bureaucrats from ruining our schools and dumbing down America’s kids with things like science and reasoning skills.
  • No gun control because the civil liberties protected in our Bill of Rights must be protected at all costs. If it’s the 2nd Amendment. The rest can be compromised to protect us from Kenyan Muslim Usurpers.
  • Stop government spending we don’t need it look at Somalia no government so no government spending and they’re doing okay all they need are enough guns and thanks to the 2nd Amendment we got those.
  • Defund ObamaCare: Congress must ensure not one more penny goes to funding that fearsome Godzilla of socialized medicine by spending millions of tax dollars on ineffective votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • Defending the House: We the Tin-Foil Hat People must defend the House and prevent another round of Speaker Nancy Pelosi because she’s like a damn comet that keeps circling back and we much prefer Ted Nugent even if he runs in circles like a rabid three-legged dog biting his own tail.

I’m not being critical but for some reason these “issues” somehow – how do I say this with delicacy, hmmmm – seem completely insane and don’t reflect any issue of any importance to any rational human being.

However.

Because you desperately need to know what the most important issues are to me, here they are:

1. Climate change. Won’t we all share a hearty laugh when it turns out to be real and we no longer have a place to live?

2. Money in politics. Seriously – fix that and we can fix #1.

3. Emails from billionaire-funded lunatic fringe groups like FreedomWorks. On second thought, #2 will take care of that.

4. Billionaire-funded lunatic fringe groups like FreedomWorks. Oh, wait. Never mind.

5. Billionaires David and Charles Koch. Oh, wait.

6. Wall Street. Corporate Welfare. Income inequality.

Oops.

Damn.

#2 should be #1, shouldn’t it?

I’m sure you and your billionaire backers agree, right?

Surprise, Surprise

Actual headline:

Thief takes off with Jeep warming up at East Towne Mall
Woman watched idling vehicle drive away

“Police said she had left the Jeep unlocked.”

 

My World and Welcome to it.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson may be the stupidest member of Congress (a difficult goal to achieve but he may, indeed, be the stupidest one of all time despite what you’ve read about Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Todd Akin, and others).

Why am I painfully aware of this? Because he’s from Wisconsin, the state with which I also (as you may have guessed) have some small acquaintance.

In fact, he’s so stupid he even has his own website: ourdumbsenator.com, which induces sufficient astonished face palms to cause whiplash.

His latest display of Tea Party genius: using federal tax dollars to sue the federal government to make his office staff pay more for their health insurance. Then giving them raises (funded with federal tax dollars) to pay for the higher cost of coverage if his lawsuit is successful.

Because it’s all about protecting the taxpayer.

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

There’s a sucker born every minute.”

This may explain why conservatives are so plentiful.

And so easy to trick. All you need is a bible, a flag, and caps lock.

Case in point: an anonymous non-entity (which doesn’t legally exist) calling itself “American Strong” that wraps itself in red-white-and-blue-support-the-troops-god-fearing-patriotism to sell stuff. Successfully.

Company Overview FOR THE PROUD AMERICAN – SUPPORTING OUR NATION’S HEROES!”

MOTTO: I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free.”

I will trust in my GOD and in the USA! We are the Land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE…. We are AMERICAN STRONG!”

And the mindless masses just eat it up.

And don’t stop to question any of it. Really. Just wave the flag and right-wing conservatives salute in unison and agree with every small-minded, bigoted, red-neck comment that follows.*

And rush to buy shoddy merchandise made someplace else** (exactly where, they don’t say, but you can bet if it was in the good ole U-S of A they would say so – repeatedly – and in caps) because after all “American-Strong proudly support our nation’s HEROES & those fighting to preserve our HOME.” So all red-blooded true patriots just have to “Help to honor [those HEROES by shopping] at –www.AmericanStrong.com”.

Because when it’s in caps it MUST be true, right? And it’s sold by that great supporter of all things American named “American Strong” – and what could be more American than that?

Sheesh.

But wait, there’s more.

American Strong claims it “PROUDLY DONATES SALES BACK TO OUR WOUNDED HEROES, MILITARY CHARITIES, FAMILIES OF OUR FALLEN, AND THOSE IN SUPPORT OF THIS NATION’S HEROES.”

ALL CAPS! SO ALL TRUE!

Except … it doesn’t tell you how much it donates – all sales, some sales, or none. Or exactly how “those in support of this nation’s heroes” get a share. Something I’d really like to know because I certainly “support our Nation’s heroes” so American Strong must owe me my share, right? But when I emailed them to ask, for some reason they never answered.

Or – and perhaps I’m being overly suspicious here – is it possible that American Strong keeps all the sales?

Because here’s the fun part … American Strong …wait for it … “is NOT a non-profit.”

You read that right.

But wait, there’s more.

According to American Strong, “American Strong is not a group, or one person. American Strong is the community, and the nation.”

Maybe that’s why it discloses no identifying information. And hides behind a private domain registration. Because listing all 314 million citizens of the nation would be difficult.

BUT … if you buy something, at checkout you get this message: “PayPal securely processes payments for DCFcreative,llc.”

AND … oddly enough, according to government records, “American Strong” is actually the brain child of DCF Creative, an LLC located in Cypress CA. DCF Creative was created by Dustin C. Fedak. Who lives at the same address.

Dustin’s name does not appear anywhere on the American Strong website. Or facebook page. Or anyplace else. Neither does the name “DCF Creative.”

SO … why is it that none of the charming 22,000+ geniuses who “like” https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStrong have thought about any of this?

The answer may lie here: Multiple Scientific Studies Confirm: Extreme Conservatism Linked To Racism And Low I.Q.

*Real comments:

  • “Once again Oprah decided to open her ugly disgusting mouth”;
  • “Not going to see me lower my flag [for Nelson Mandela], but once he is 6 feet under ill gladly lower for those that gave all for OUR nation.”
  • “I question Islam and atheists. The reason it’s frowned upon is because he who resides in our White House is black and a Muslim. It is our RIGHT to question when we think there is something wrong with something.”
  • “Because ‘Happy Holidays’ is for Terrorists”

**Printed T-shirts are merely  “printed” in AMERICA. Which of course includes 2 continents. And a whole lot of countries other than the USA.

Online Support and other Horror Stories Part II

As described in Part 1 (read that one first – that’s why it’s called “Part 1”), like everyone who has ever owned a Microsoft product, I have a problem.

And, like everyone who has ever owned a Microsoft product, my problem requires me to use online support (aka “Limbo” or “The First Circle of Hell”).

Because I should be able to fix my problem with Mr. Fix-It (who says Bill Gates lacks a sense of irony?) but when I try, the Microsoft Fix-it program tell me it’s not available because it’s not the current version and to go to the Microsoft website to run the current version which, when I do run it, tells me it’s not the current version and is unavailable.

So first I tried the free Microsoft Customer Service Chat, which tried to send me to the pay-per-view Premium Software support and when that didn’t work, hung up on me after sending me to “Sheldon C” at the “Answer Desk.”

(Sheldon is not his real name. None of the people that Microsoft hires in third world nations have real names that we could pronounce. They each pick a work name out of a jar at the beginning of their shift: Xena Warrior Princess, The Green Hornet, and Monk are all popular).

Can you guess what happened next? (Hint – it sounds like Premium Software support.)

Sheldon C: Hi, thanks for visiting Answer Desk. I’m Sheldon C.

Me: This doesn’t work: microsoftfixit.audioplayback.run.exe I get an error message: “This troubleshooter is not available.”

Sheldon C: Hello and welcome to Microsoft Answer Desk! How may I help you today?

Me: I already typed the problem.

Sheldon C: Are we having problems with the sound?

Me: Yes.

[“We”?? What the hell is this “we” nonsense???? Does this guy think he’s Queen Victoria?]

And I tried to run the fixit (which has worked before) but this time it isn’t working and sent me that error message – it’s a problem on your end.

Sheldon C: Then would you like to avail our Premium Software support then to better assist you on this issue Wiswit?

Me: What???? The problem is on your end – why should I do that????? Microsoft needs to fix the glitch on the website!

Sheldon C: If you have problems when running the automatic fix it on your end then there would be some issues perhaps on the computer maybe preventing it to work.

Me: You are missing the point! I go to your website. I click on run (on the current version on your website). I get an error message telling me the troubleshooter is invalid or expired and to go to the website to get the current version (which I already got!).

Sheldon C: there is No other version of the website Wiswit.

Me: That’s not what I said. I said the current version of the FIXIT. Which I was already using.

Sheldon C: Thats why I’m offering you our Premium Software support to assist you on this issue you are encountering. If your not intereseted then its fine as well. You can get assistance as well from your local technician near your area or your original equipment manufacturer as well.

Me: Do they pay you to not help me and just send me to somewhere that charges me???

Sheldon C: the only option we could go through is just going to the premium software support option. Wiswit you dont have problems on sound at all on your computer.

Me: Yes I do. And I fixed it before with the fixit. But today you have a website glitch. Are you not listening to me? You have a website glitch that needs to be fixed.

Sheldon C:  If i fix it by just correcting the sound control within the video, would you get the premium software support if i fix it that way?

Me: You’re not listening. Your website is having the problem. the glitch is on the website and needs to be fixed there. Which is why I contacted you so you could get someone to fix the website glitch.

Sheldon C: there is not problem on the website

Me: Yes there is – it’s not recognizing the current version as the current version.

Sheldon C: now could we stop lingering on this issue for now and fix your problem?

Me: Actually – the only way to fix my problem is to fix the website glitch so I (and everyone else) can run the fixit. The Microsoft website is not recognizing the current version of the fixit as the current version.

Sheldon C: there is no issue on the website by the way Wiswit there is no audio issue as well on the your computer its just the sound controller on the video that you need to adjust

Me: Nope. It’s not.

Sheldon C: so would like to get the premium software support then?

Me: You aren’t listening.

Sheldon C: its not from the microsoft website

Me: the file I got was off the website.Yes – the microsoft website.

Sheldon C: you are not at the website

Me: If you don’t want to accept that there is a problem with your website then at least put someone on the line who is not an idiot.

Sheldon C:  there is no problem on the website. if wish to continue from here we would need to offer our premium support service to better assist you.

Me: There is a problem but all you want to do is charge me money. Who do I contact about the glitch on the website?

Sheldon C: no glitch or problem on the website again and its a fact

Me: Who do I contact about the glitch on the website?

Sheldon C: So again if you are not interested on getting the premium software support. Please contact your local technician or your original equipment manufacturer to get assistance for the website again there is no glitch or problem

Me:  Who do I contact about the glitch on the website?

Sheldon C: that would be us Wiswit

Me: Then I need your supervisor.

Sheldon C: and like im informing you there is no problem with it

Me: Your supervisor.

Sheldon C:  Since you declined on our premium software support its best to contact your local technician or original equipment manufacturer instead.

Me: Your supervisor.

Your Answer Tech has ended your chat session. Thanks for visiting Answer Desk.

Online Support and other Horror Stories Part I

Microsoft exists to redistribute your money to Bill and Melinda Gates (who don’t have nearly enough) so they can take a tax write-off when they give part of it away to someone they think deserves it (which obviously isn’t you).

Microsoft has devised a fast and easy way to facilitate this process.

1. Create things that don’t work, requiring you to contact their free support team.

2. Create a free support team (none of whom speak fluent English) whose sole purpose is to send you to Microsoft’s “premium support service” (composed of a group of people whose real names we can’t pronounce but none of whom speak fluent English) which costs you money.

How do I know? I am one of the several billion people sending money to Bill and Melinda.

Today was another fine example.

I can’t play any internet videos. Or rather, I can play them, but with no sound. Yes, the sound is turned up, I’m not an idiot. I checked that first because I’ve often been an idiot in the past. Internet video watching is the primary duty of a work-at-home writer. It’s called research. Because you never know when you might want to write about electric sheep.

But the point is that it’s important. And I need to fix it. So I go to Microsoft online support which offers a handy Mr. Fix-it (complete with a Professional Handy Man cap and wrench to throw into your hard drive). Which works one time. Then won’t work the second time the sound goes off.

Instead of working to automatically find and correct the problem, I get an error message: “troubleshooter is invalid or expired” and I must to go to the website to get the current version. Which I do. Only to get the same message. Which means the website has a glitch that keeps it from recognizing the current version as the current version. Which means I am forced to try chatting with the dread on-line support tech.

With these results …

info: Please wait for an agent to respond. You are currently ‘8’ in the queue.

[Crap. “Queue.” That means they don’t speak English.]

info: All agents are currently assisting others. Thank you for your patience. An agent will be with you shortly. You are currently ‘2’ in the queue.

info: You are now chatting with ‘Lewis’.

Lewis: Hello, Wiswit.

Welcome to Microsoft Customer Service Chat.

Thank you for your waiting.

Sorry to know that the Microsoft Fixit is not working.

Let me try my best to help you.

May I know the specific Program or Software you are referring to?

Or

Could you please elaborate the exact task you want to accomplish?

[What? Does this person not speak English? And you already KNOW what program isn’t working: Microsoft Fixit!]

Lewis: We have not heard from you. Do you wish to continue the chat?

Wiswit: yes

Lewis: Please respond to me as delay in respond may lead to session expiry and leads to disconnection in the chat session.

[Now I understand! It’s a robot!]

Lewis: Are we still connected?

Wiswit: I get no wound and ran the fixit from your website – which previously worked – but now I get an error message that fixit is unavailable to get the current version from the website But it IS the current version

Wiswit: no sound

Lewis: This seems to be a Technical issue, Wiswit.

Well, Microsoft has a dedicated Online Techncial Chat support to help you with perfect guidance or even possibly would take your device or computer on Remote to resolve the issues online. I hope this should be the right options for your Technical issues that you may not be able to handle.

So, Please click here to reach Premium Software Support – Resolve issues with Windows and Start an online chat with a Microsoft Answer Tech and resolve this issue.

I hope this helps you to resolve your issue, Wiswit.

I wish I could help.

As I have limited scope of support to help you on your concern, being a technical or a billing issue else may be out of my support knowledge; request you to please contact the dedicated support team.

Wiswit: You aren’t speaking English. Is someone there who can speak English?

Lewis: I hope you understand and cooperate.

Thank you for using Microsoft Customer Service Chat.

Please feel free to come back again.

info: Chat session has been terminated by the agent.

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