Trump hates anything beautiful, truthful, or good.

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“Destruction” by Binouse49/Deviantart

 

In the 1987 Cohn Brothers movie “Raising Arizona,” there was a mysterious character ironically named Leonard Smalls, a/k/a “Lone Biker of the Apocalypse. ” Smalls was a bounty hunter hired to look for a kidnapped baby, but he seemed like the worst possible choice to be put in charge of returning a child to its rightful parents:  he was hardened, violent, silent, and sadistic, and probably psychopathic.  In keeping with that, he despised anything small or vulnerable. Throughout the film, the lead character (played by Nicholas Cage) narrates several semi-prophetic dreams — including one in which Smalls tears through the desert on his Harley, shooting at rabbits, small lizards, and even struggling flowers growing along the lonely highway with grenades and huge assault weapons.

While the Smalls character was played up for humor (the movie was uproariously funny), there are actually people like him in the world.   People without a conscience, without empathy, sadistic people who will gleefully and deliberately hurt and destroy “the small, vulnerable things,” as Cage put it in the film.   There are people who live to destroy, and love every minute of it.

At first, like many people, I wanted to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt.  I wanted him to prove himself to be a good guy after all, or at least have a few redeeming qualities.  Like many, in the beginning of his presidency, I kept telling myself to give him a chance.    But knowing about his malignant narcissism and probable psychopathy, I knew in my bones that his heart, if he had one, was as black as coal.  He is an abuser and destroyer.

In the eight months since Trump became president, he has done nothing but destroy.  As I put in an earlier post, he brings out the worst in everyone, including his own staff and supporters.    He’s a toxic presence who smears his predecessor, his opponents, and even his own staff.  He tells lies about people that are intended to undermine them, destroy them, or ruin their careers.

Not only is he toxic to individuals, he is toxic to the nation and even the world.   Not one thing he has said or done has been life-affirming, empathetic, positive, encouraging, diplomatic, gentle, intelligent, or inspiring.   The people who still support him tend to be people who are much like he is — authoritarians, racists and other haters without empathy — or fearful and ignorant people who feel most comfortable with a strongman dictator who tells them exactly what to do.   He admires and encourages the most base and vile qualities of humanity and openly praises and curries the favor of cruel dictators.  He makes fun of the most vulnerable:  a disabled reporter, women, productive and ambitious young immigrants who came here as children, Muslims, Mexicans, the poor, and people who show any empathy or vulnerability.   He threatens and bullies reporters, politicians, and entertainers who tell the truth about him.

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He passes bills that threaten to take things away from people that make their lives better.  He has gutted any funding for climate science or research and grows angry at any discussion about climate change, even after two devastating hurricanes and wildfires spreading through the western states.    He seems to like to pillage and plunder our environment, supporting fracking and selling off our public lands to huge corporations for oil drilling.   He has plans to blast off the tops of mountains for coal mining, an industry which the rest of the civilized world knows is unsustainable and practically obsolete.   He has removed laws that protect our water, air and food.

Trump cares nothing about wildlife or beauty.  In fact, it seems that he wants to destroy our national treasures and replace them with the base and the ugly.    On one of the revamped government websites having to do with environmental issues, former photographs of beautiful natural vistas have been replaced with pictures showing heavy mining equipment, people fracking, and oil rigs.

Trump’s budget cuts funding for anything that help people live better or contribute to the greater good, including organizations that combat hatred and domestic terror, while he has increased funding for for the military, the Mexican border wall, ICE agents that arrest and detain undocumented immigrants without probable cause and for indefinite periods of time and that separate children from their parents, and anything else that potentially oppresses and makes our country more dangerous, scary, or ugly.

Now he is militarizing police departments, allowing them to purchase military equipment, and removing laws that prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons.  He tacitly encourages police brutality by pardoning a sheriff known to use torture to keep prisoners in line and even referred to one of his prisons as a concentration camp.

Trump is a warmonger, and seems to be chomping at the bit to start nuclear war with North Korea.   Rather than making us safer, he has made us more vulnerable to attack from both without and within.  His rallies are hate fests in which he emboldens white supremacists, Nazis, and hatred in general.   He has turned Americans against each other.

He has hired people who are dead set on destroying from within the departments they were hired to oversee:  education, the EPA, the Justice Department, and health and welfare.   Obamacare, which has helped many vulnerable people get health insurance for the first time, is now back on the chopping block.  Yes, again.     Trump and the more hardline members of the GOP are relentless in their cruelty and seem to like tormenting people with the constant threat of taking away their access to healthcare, not caring one iota how traumatizing the threat is.

After he was criticized for his cold response to the victims of Harvey, telling the people of Texas “Good luck,”  he made a lame attempt to show a little more fake empathy than usual after Irma.    He was probably ordered to do so, because it was obvious his “empathy” was forced.   Maddeningly, the mainstream media ate this up, speculating and theorizing that perhaps Trump was changing and he was capable of empathy after all.

But they are wrong.   Trump is not capable of empathy.  I wish the mainstream media would stop making excuses for him, because it’s a form of enabling.   Those of us who are familiar with his form of narcissism know that the more he is enabled, the worse he will become.   Trump is a malignant narcissist, and not only can’t he change, he will only grow worse over time.   The only remedy is for him (and the equally toxic people he has appointed) is to be removed as soon as possible.   What he has destroyed in eight months will take years to recover, if we can ever recover it.   Our beautiful country is already beginning to resemble a third world country or a dystopian nightmare.  Soon, people will begin to die of preventable diseases caused by contaminants that those pesky and “oppressive” regulations have helped keep at bay — and that’s just for starters.

Perhaps most heartbreaking of all, Trump has destroyed our unity as a country and our trust in each other.   That’s his intention, because a people who have been divided can be more easily conquered.  This is standard practice in all authoritarian regimes and dictatorships.

Donald Trump only knows how to do one thing well, and that is to destroy.  He despises anything beautiful, truthful, or good.

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12 reasons why I don’t like autumn.

Welp, it’s almost that time of year again. Admittedly, it’s not bothering me as much this year. But please, shut up already about Pumpkin Spice, which ought to be illegal.

Lucky Otters Haven

ugly_autumnIn my neck of the woods, this is what Autumn looks like.

Yesterday was the first cool-ish day we’ve had since May.   While the lower temperature felt nice, I also noticed for the first time that some of the trees are beginning to change colors.  It was also overcast and gloomy, and I realized that my SAD symptoms have kicked in full bore.   I just felt like crawling into bed to escape from the sadness I felt.   After winter, fall is my least favorite season.   Here are 12 reasons why I hate it.

1.  Around here, the “changing colors” just means the trees change from green to brown to bare.  A few turn this unattractive shade of deep maroon or this dirty looking yellow, but unless you go up to the Parkway, we really don’t get the brilliant fall colors you see in places further north…

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A Trump supporter wakes up.

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Trump supporters have been burning their MAGA hats lately, but not exactly for laudable reasons.  To them, Trump has betrayed them by saying he will work with Democrats (even though I doubt he’ll actually do this since he lies about everything).   If Trump has been losing his allure to some white supremacists and other members of the alt-right, it’s not because they are finally seeing him as the dangerous authoritarian despot he actually is, but because to them, by agreeing to work with Democrats,  Trump has proven himself to be a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and therefore a traitor to their nationalist, anti-immigration sentiments.

But here and there, some people who voted for Trump are beginning to realize they made a mistake.   Most of them seem embarrassed by this.  They don’t like to talk about it, which gives the initial impression that Trump supporters have not changed their minds.  But have you noticed how few Trump/Pence bumper stickers you see these days? How few people are publicly wearing MAGA hats?   That’s because lots of people have been quietly removing the stickers from the backs of their Chevies and Ford SUVs and hiding the red ballcaps in the backs of dark closets.  FOX News is now only the third most popular cable channel.  MSNBC is now in first place.  It wasn’t that way in November or January.

My daughter’s boyfriend, Zach, is a good example of one of these bashful Trump defectors.   True, he was never very political to begin with.  He wasn’t all that gung-ho about Trump even back in November and he would never attend a white supremacist rally, but he does come from a working class rural southern background where everyone votes Republican, no matter what.   So when voting day arrived,  Trump got his vote too.   My daughter voted for Hillary, and I remember her saying that she couldn’t talk about politics with Zach even though they get along really well otherwise.   He was annoyed that she voted for Clinton even though he was kind enough to not say anything to her about it.  She said she could tell he didn’t like it one bit though.   They went to the polls together, and he wouldn’t talk to her for several hours after that.

But lately, Zach has been having second thoughts.

The first sign that he was beginning to think he made a mistake was after the Trumpcare debacle.    He admitted that his mother, who voted for Trump, but was covered under the ACA (Obamacare) was worried she was going to lose her health insurance.  Unlike some Trump supporters, both Zach and his mom realized the ACA and Obamacare were the exact same thing.   Zach adores his mother and does not want her to lose her healthcare, and admitted as much.   He said he hoped Trump would stop trying to repeal and replace the ACA and just move onto other things.

A few weeks later, over grilled burgers, Zach said he thought that perhaps Hillary should have won the election.  He said that, even though he still preferred Trump over Hillary,  it really wasn’t fair that the popular vote didn’t count and the right thing would have been for Hillary to be president.

I almost choked on my cheeseburger.

Right after Harvey hit a few weeks ago (and Irma was gaining strength in the Atlantic and looking to be headed for the continental US), climate change came up in conversation.   But it wasn’t me or my daughter who brought it up (since both of us know Zach doesn’t like to talk about politics with us) — it was Zach:

“You know, the past couple of summers have been much hotter than I ever remember.   And now these hurricanes.   I don’t know…maybe climate change is really a thing.  Do you think maybe Trump is lying about that?”

Knowing that I studied science in college, and read a lot, he was ready for answers.  So I had the opportunity to tell him what I knew about climate change, and that, yes, the man he voted for was lying.

He listened and then was quiet for a few minutes, thinking.  Finally he spoke.  “I don’t know.  Maybe Hillary would have made a better president.”

I could have ran over and hugged him, but I just smiled.

 

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I’ll be crossing this off my bucket list in 2018.

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I have two weeks vacation coming up in Summer 2018, but I’m pretty certain my boss will allow me to take it in mid-May.

It’s the perfect time to visit my son in Florida again — not too hot yet, but warmer than it was last April (it was a bit chilly!).  However, this time we’re doing something different.  We’ll spend about 5 or 6 days in the Tampa area like we did last year, and visit places like Clearwater and Tarpon Springs, but then I’m planning planning to take everyone to Key West for a few days.   It’s not expensive if we pool our resources and drive there from central Florida rather than flying and then worrying about car rentals.

3 reasons visiting why Key West is on my bucket list:

1.  The beaches.

2. The six toed cats.

3. It might not be around much longer.

I just talked to my son and he’s eager to do this too.

 

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Porch is (almost) done!

Everything’s finished, except the cement floor, which will be painted in high gloss dark gray paint sometime this or next month.   I love this new, relaxing space!   Here are 3 views.

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Lucky Otters Haven is 3 years old!

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Hard to believe, but it is!   Last year, on its second anniversary, I wrote a big two-part post describing all the ways this blog has changed, and posted photos (taken from Wayback Machine) of its evolution.   I’ve changed its look several times (though never changing the theme).

Maybe tomorrow or over the weekend, I’ll do the same again, but tonight I’m exhausted and all I want to do is eat, shower, and curl up into bed with a good book and go to sleep.

Oh, and it also just passed 2 million hits! 

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Happy ending.

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Waiting for Irma’s eye by candlelight.

 

My son and his friends made it through Irma just fine.  They stayed a friend’s home about 10 miles inland.   By the time Irma barreled into Tampa, it was only a Category 2.      The storm surge was no where near what the forecasters were predicting, probably because the eye turned back inland, away from the coast.

One weird thing that happened was that hours before Irma arrived, the entire Tampa Bay lost all its water.  Photos of it looked like a desert or a moonscape (one is shown below).   It was very strange.   As Irma passed to the north, the water came rushing back in.  This phenomenon also happens before tsunamis but of course this wasn’t a tsunami — the wind literally sucked all the water out of the bay!  Tampa Bay is quite shallow though.  It’s possible to walk for a mile into the water and without it getting any deeper than about 3 feet.

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From the videos my son posted (until the power went out), it seemed like he and his friends were actually having a blast.  He took videos periodically, but the worst of the storm didn’t come until very late at night, so he was unable to take videos of that.  The power went out and they lit oil lamps and candles.

He said it got very hot, because of the lack of power, so it was not possible to run the A/C or even fans, and of course they couldn’t open the windows.

At about 2 AM he texted that he was directly under the eye!  The wind and rain suddenly stopped, and he said he could see a few stars.   A few minutes later the wind picked up again, but it was less intense.   So he went to bed.  It was a long day.

When he woke up this morning, he took another video of the damage, which was mostly just fallen trees and branches.  No structural damage to the houses that I could see.   A tree branch was wedged under his windshield wipers and part of it inexplicably got stuck inside the car door.  But all in all, things didn’t look too bad, and today he returned home.

When he returned to his complex, it was not underwater as he had feared.    However, the power was out and there were trees down and one tree had fallen on top of another apartment in the same complex., crushing its roof!

My son said he feels even closer to his friends now that they’ve been through this experience together, so I think it was a good thing for him and it’s certainly something he will always remember.

We are feeling Irma’s effects here today in western North Carolina.  It’s rainy, windy, and cold.  I think I’m actually going to put on the heat and curl up under the covers with a book and go to sleep.   It’s that kind of weather.

*****

More good news!  All 54 Hemingway cats in Key West (I wrote about them the other day since they were directly in Irma’s path) and their caretakers are safe!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4870610/Caretaker-Ernest-Hemingway-s-FL-home-rides-storm.html

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The famous Hemingway cats are in path of Irma.

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On November 1 of last year, I wrote this post about the famous six-toed cats who live at the Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, Florida.

Unfortunately, the house and the cats are in the path of the worst of Irma as it passes over the Keys within the next 24 hours.

Although they have not been evacuated,  the loving staff is staying behind to care for the cats (who number about 50) and the home during Irma.   The home is old and very sturdy, so I think they will be okay.

http://www.fox13news.com/news/hemingway-cats-staff-riding-out-irma-in-historic-key-west-home

Please send your thoughts and prayers to all the cats and the staff who are staying behind.

Visiting Key West one day and spending time with the cats (and enjoying the beautiful beaches there) is definitely on my bucket list.

*****

UPDATE (9/11/17):

Good news!  All 54 Hemingway cats are SAFE!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4870610/Caretaker-Ernest-Hemingway-s-FL-home-rides-storm.html

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My worst nightmare.

I’m a natural worrywart.   A few days ago, when Irma was still out in the middle of the Atlantic and Harvey was still the #1 topic, I wrote a post about being worried that Irma might hit my son, who lives in the Tampa Bay area.   My rational mind told me I was probably just catastrophizing, because I tend to do that.  I mean, what were the chances the eyewall of this storm, would actually go right over him?  It really didn’t seem all that likely.

But I couldn’t shake the bad feeling I had.   I have good intuition, but my intuition tends to get mixed up with my tendency to catastrophize everything, and it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.  As a result, my intuition doesn’t always work very well, since I get “bad vibes” even about things that pose no danger.

This time, my intuition was accurate.   As the days passed since I wrote that post,  Irma appears to be doing exactly what I prayed it wouldn’t do.   Like a sadistic narcissist, this bitch has been teasing me and giving false hope — she moved to the east for awhile and looked like she was going to head up the Atlantic, sparing the Tampa area from the worst of the storm.   I was able to relax a bit and laugh at myself for having been so worried.

But yesterday she shifted back to the west.  Unless a miracle happens, she will be skirting up the western coast of Florida, with the eyewall passing directly over my son’s area.  It won’t have weakened too much by the time the worst of it hits late Sunday night or early Monday morning — at best it might be a category 3 hurricane, which is still pretty bad.

My son is in some ways his father’s son.   He lacks his dad’s narcissism and lack of empathy or conscience, but he definitely has his stubborness.    I’ve been begging him to evacuate and drive up here until the danger passes.   He said he didn’t have gas money.  I told him not to worry about money and that I would provide anything he would need, but his answer was no.  He’s determined to stay and ride this thing out.  Now it’s too late for him to evacuate even if he decided to finally do so (which I know he won’t).   The roads going north are bumper to bumper and there is no gas to be had.

I think there is another reason for his decision to stay besides his stubborness.   Since he was a small boy, he’s always been fascinated by storms.   When he was in his early teens, he flirted with the idea of being a tornado chaser.  He used to watch all those Weather Channel shows about brave men and women who put themselves in the paths of dangerous tornadoes just for the adrenaline rush and to take videos of them for the rest of us more faint-hearted people to marvel at.

So I think he sees this as the opportunity of a lifetime, an adventure like no other, a dream come true for any fan of severe weather who is a bit of an adrenaline junkie too.  He wants to have a story to tell, a story that few others will be able to tell.   It’s like being a fighter pilot in World War II and or having climbed Mount Everest.   “I was in Hurricane Irma back in ’17,” is something that will definitely get people’s attention.

My son is not going into this blind.   He has been tracking this storm, paying attention to the warnings and evacuation orders, has gotten all the supplies he needs, and has chosen to leave his apartment (which is in the storm surge zone) and go slightly inland to a sturdy one story brick home where he will be riding Irma out with about 9 of his friends (it’s still in Tampa though).   They are well prepared and he tells me they are not in an area prone to storm surge or flooding.

But this hurricane is a beast, and who knows what havoc she will bring?  Irma is unpredictable, and not like any other hurricane.  Even if my son and his friends are safe from storm surge, they are not safe from the furious winds, which will be around 100-112 mph as the eyewall passes over them.   More than anything, I am glad he is not alone.  But I’m still terrified for him.

Please keep my son and his friends in your prayers.

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America the beautiful.

americathebeautiful

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