getting shit done

Here’s the problem one of the countless problems with the modern Republican Party: they’ve completely abandoned the idea that the purpose of government is to get shit done.

They say they want shit done, but they’re not willing to engage in the process required to get it done. I suspect some of them mean it when they say, “There’s shit we need to get done.” But there’s a hefty chunk of the GOP that actively interferes with getting shit done simply so they can blame President Uncle Joe for failing to get shit done. They love telling everybody “Shit that needs to get done is NOT getting done, BUT if you elect us, we’ll do all kinds of shit.” Except, of course, when they get the power and authority to get shit done, they…well, they shit the bed.

We’re witnessing that right now in the food fight over electing a Speaker of the House. The most telling (and probably least discussed) aspect of this fuckparade is the simple fact that apparently nobody in the Republican House can count votes. Each of the political parties in Congress has a semi-formal position called a Party Whip. The job of the Whip is 1) to find out how members are going to vote, and 2) to try to ensure they vote the way the party wants them to vote. Right now, ain’t nobody in the House GOP doing that. Nobody seems to have reliable information on how many people are going to vote for or against Kevin McCarthy for Speaker.

Electing a Speaker of the House

As I write this, the House is getting ready for the 7th attempt to elect a Speaker of the House. With any normal political party, this would be a formality. It’s been a formality for around a century. With any normal political party, there wouldn’t BE a vote until the party was certain they had the votes necessary to win. A normal political party would want to elect a leader who’d demonstrated strength of purpose, personal integrity, strong policy views. But the modern GOP isn’t a normal political party; the man most of them want to be their leader has cravenly given in to the threats of the GOP’s most extreme elements. He’s demonstrated a moral and ethical flexibility that offends both his supporters and his opponents. Kevin McCarthy stands for nothing other than a desire to be Speaker of the House.

Here’s a True Thing: governance is about getting shit done. It’s about the dull, grinding, detailed work of talking to people you disagree with and finding ways to compromise. The modern GOP isn’t willing to do that. The modern GOP isn’t capable of that. If the Republicans, as the majority party in the House, aren’t even able to elect a leader, they’re certainly not going to be able to get any meaningful shit done.

The modern GOP is more focused on doing shit TO others than in getting shit done. They’ve ceased to be a political party; now they’re basically acting as an incubator for future Fox News hosts and right-wing media darlings.

It’s going to be a long, long two years in Congress. Assuming the House ever manages to elect a Speaker.

another ordinary day

Wake up, get myself dressed, wander into the kitchen, remember the cat isn’t going to be there, make coffee, read the news, get distracted by…something. That last bit? Getting distracted by…something? Story of my life, right there.

I’m not driven by ambition or security or responsibility or success (whatever that means), but I am ridiculously weak to curiosity. I have a compelling need to know stuff. Unfortunately, it’s rarely useful stuff. If you’re looking for somebody who knows how to repair something mechanical or build a cabinet or replace an electrical outlet, I’m completely fucking useless. But if you ever want to know the name of the brother of the last Saxon king of England or the history and etymology of ‘spatula’ or why jamon iberica is the best ham in the world, I’m your huckleberry.

I only know these things because I allow myself to be distracted by something. And following that distraction led to something else, which led me to something else, which ended up with me accumulating still more useless information. And that’s exactly what happened to me this morning.

In an online forum devoted to readers of the historical fiction of Dorothy Dunnett I came across a passing reference to St. Mary’s Loch–the site of a band of mercenaries in Dunnett’s work. Being familiar with the novel, I had a general notion of where the loch was located in Scotland, but (and this where it always starts…with that but) I decided to look at a map to get a more exact location. And I was curious why the loch was named for St. Mary.

The answer to that last question was both obvious and easy to discover. It was named for a church dedicated to St. Mary. That church is gone now, but the graveyard is still there (and since this is about useless information, the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that a graveyard is associated with a churchyard, which requires a church; so this grave site is still a graveyard even though the church is gone).

St. Mary’s graveyard.

Information about the burial site led me to somebody’s blog post about St. Mary’s Loch, which included a reference to “the Hamlet of Cappercleuch with its couthy old, corrugated iron village hall.” Multiple sources of distraction here. What the fuck does couthy mean? (Spoiler: it’s a Scots term meaning ‘sociable, friendly, congenial, comfortable, snug.) And who wouldn’t want to see a couthy old, corrugated iron village hall?

That led me to Google Maps and Google Street View of Cappercleuch. It turns out that a corrugated iron village hall is…well, just that. It’s basically a rather ordinary, disappointing metal shed. Not particularly old, and certainly not very couthy.

St. Mary’s Hall at Cappercleuch — neither old nor couthy.

Still, as long as I was noodling about with Google Street View, I figured I may as well spend a few minutes looking at St. Mary’s Loch and seeing what else Cappercleuch had to offer. And within ninety seconds I came across another distraction. This:

What the hell is this?

Reader, now THIS is a serious distraction. Just what the hell IS this? I mean, I can see what it is: a small, cross-gabled, distinctively decorated, phone-box sized structure. But what is its purpose? Why is it located just off the A708 motorway in Cappercleuch? (And if you’re curious enough to look for this on Google Maps, here’s a shortcut for you.)

The first thing I learned was that the A708 was one of the five most dangerous roads in proportion to traffic in all of Scotland. Or at least it was between 2007 and 2009. Not particularly helpful information, unless many of those accidents were because drivers were distracted by this weird boxy structure.

We can assume it’s not a Scots Tardis, but it has that ‘police box’ aura about it. It’s something official, certainly. The carefully crafted logo seems to confirm that. If we look closely, we can sort of see that it has the number 723 on the side. So, of course, the only thing for us to do is Google Box 723 Cappercleuch. And that gives us this:

I’m just going to assume you’ve made the same leap I did. AA stands for Automobile Association. It’s the UK version of AAA. AA boxes were an early form of roadside assistance in the UK. The first AA boxes were introduced in 1911. They were lit by oil lamps at night, and were sometimes referred to as “the lighthouses of the road.” The AA boxes contained maps to help folks who were lost, as well as a fire extinguisher, a lantern, and a telephone available to contact the AA for assistance. Members of the Automobile Association were issued with keys that fit all AA boxes in the UK.

By 1919 the AA had established a well-connected communication and assistance network of over a thousand roadside boxes, many of which were manned by yellow-uniformed ‘sentries’ who were there to offer free assistance.

Improvements in technology eventually made the AA boxes obsolete. By the late 1960s, the AA began to phase them out. In 2002 only 21 call boxes were still standing; AA shut down the entire network and made plans to dispose of the structures. The following year the boxes were listed as historic landmarks, and efforts were made to physically restore them. Apparently nineteen boxes still exist.

There’s a part of me, of course, that wants to use Google Maps to find them all. It shouldn’t be hard to do. There is absolutely NO REASON for me to do that, but at some point I probably will. Because that sort of pointless activity is my wheelhouse.

But it won’t be done today. I’ve learned some minimal self discipline over the years.

I’ve no idea how much of my day is spent giving in to my curiosity. I’m going to guess at least a couple of hours every day. There are folks who’ll consider this an inefficient use of my time.

Ain’t it great?

fractally awful

In a few short days, Republicans will assume control of the House of Representatives. That guarantees the next two years are going to be a colossal shit-show.

It’s going to be fucking awful. Worse, it’s going to be fractally awful. I mean it’s going to be awful in the same way on every scale. Individual GOP members of Congress will be awful, Congressional committees will be awful, the GOP majority in the House itself will be awful, and they’ll all be awful in a self-similar way.

Individual Republican members of Congress will lie. They’ll lie in committee meetings. The GOP led committees will build investigations around those lies. They’ll amplify the lies on GOP-friendly ‘news’ channels. They’ll use the existence of those investigations based on lies as evidence that the lies must be legit (if Congress is investigating it, there MUST be a reason for that investigation). They’ll use those lies and investigations as a mask to distract the public from their policies, many of which actively harm the US and our allies. Traditional news media will report those lies and lie-based investigations as if they’re legitimate Congressional inquiries. When it comes time for the next election, they’ll use those investigations as evidence that they were doing the will of the people.

We know they’ll do this because they’ve said they’ll do it. We know they’ll do it because they’ve done it before. When Republicans controlled the House during the Obama administration, they spent two years investigating the terrorist attack on the State Department’s unfinished diplomatic compound in Benghazi. There were eleven Congressional investigations which held as least thirty-three Congressional hearings, most of which were public.

Each of those investigations published a report. Each report concluded that nobody in the Obama administration officials had acted improperly. Each report concluded that the State Department’s security at the unfinished Benghazi compound was ‘inadequate’. None of the reports acknowledged that the security was inadequate because for two years prior to the attack, House Republicans had reduced the Obama administration’s budget request for improved diplomatic security.

The two-year-long Benghazi investigation was a political stunt. We know it was a political stunt because they basically admitted it. Kevin McCarthy, who was running to be named the Speaker of the House (just as he is now–stupid history repeats itself stupidly) basically admitted it on a Fox News interview. He said:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

By the way, three months after the attack on Benghazi left four members of the State Department dead, an attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School killed six adults and twenty children (six and seven-year-old children). How many special committees did the GOP create? None. How many Congressional hearings did they hold? None. How many investigations did they launch? None.

Congress, the next two years.

That was almost exactly a decade ago, when radical Republicans in Congress were just a fringe element of the GOP. A decade later, that element is no longer the fringe; now they control the entire Republican Party. Ten years ago they ignored the murder of school kids and focused on a political stunt grounded in a legitimate tragedy. Now they’re planning to do the same, but instead of an actual tragedy, they have–and this is so fucking stupid and shameful I’m almost too embarrassed to say it–they have Hunter Biden’s laptop.

I said it was going to be a colossal shit-show. I probably understated the reality. It will almost certainly be a shit-show of Biblical proportions.

Santos Clause

Is anybody surprised? No, of course not.

Sure, Republican George Santos ran for Congress and blatantly lied about almost every aspect of his life and career. Sure, he lied about his employment, his education, his charitable work. Sure, he lied about his family, his ethnicity, probably his name, possibly his nationality. And sure, he got away with it because nobody bothered to check. He got away with it and he got elected.

After he was elected, he was exposed as a liar. Santos denied being a liar, because why start telling the truth at that point? He tried to deflect attention away from his lies, but it didn’t work. So what the hell, he admitted being a liar. He said he was elected based on his policy positions, not his resume. So what if he lied? He fully intends to serve his term in Congress.

This guy, whoever the fuck he really is.

Nobody in the GOP seems at all concerned about this. And why should they? I mean, they openly abandoned traditional conservative values when they chose Comrade Trump as their presidential candidate in 2016. Hell, they didn’t just abandon traditional conservative values, they abandoned the very idea of Truth as a valued commodity. They abandoned Science and a consistent, coherent political ideology. They abandoned the whole concept of representative democracy. They even abandoned religion as a practice, though they’ve retained the illusion of it as a tool.

George Santos doesn’t believe in anything but holding political office. He doesn’t stand for anything but holding political office. He doesn’t care for anything except holding political office. He doesn’t respect anything except…no, he doesn’t even respect the political office he wants to hold.

George Santos is the distillation of the Republican Party. A vacant husk, a soulless golem, a mindless and purposeless corruption driven by an unreasoned desire to hold power over other people, animated by rage and resentment and bitterness over the possibility of losing privilege.

Let me turn it over to Tommy Eliot.

We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

it’s a wonderful communist life

Here are some True Things about people who are frightened. 1) They see threats everywhere. 2) They see threats even if they don’t exist. 3) They prefer imaginary threats over actual threats, 4) They will ignore actual threats in order to focus on imaginary ones. 5) They will take dramatic steps to defend themselves against imaginary threats, while avoiding taking sensible steps to defend against actual threats. 6) Their fears make them vulnerable to authoritarian leaders.

In the mid-to-late 1940s, Americans were frightened by communism. They weren’t scared of actual communism, which is a socio-economic philosophy grounded in the idea that the people who actually produce stuff should have reasonable access to the tools they use to produce that stuff and a fair share in the stuff they’ve produced. They were scared of the Soviet Union (and to a lesser extent, communist China), which presented an interpretation of communism as a single-party authoritarian government ruled by ideologues instead of elected leaders.

This was the political equivalent of assuming the Spanish Inquisition represented all of Christianity. There’s good reason to be afraid of the Spanish Inquisition; Christianity as it was originally created is pretty harmless.

“Daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings a communist gets to steal a banker’s wings.”
“That’s right, Zuzu, that’s right. Attaboy, Karl Marx!”

But back in the 1940s and 50s, a LOT of people were scared of what they believed was communism. They saw communists everywhere; they saw the supposed influence of communism everywhere; they were told that a cadre of dedicated communists were actively infiltrating every aspect of American life in a wily attempt to destroy everything decent. Including movies.

In 1947, the FBI produced a massive 13,000-page report (no, that’s not a typo, it was seriously more than thirteen thousand pages long) called Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry. It included this:

The purpose of the Communists in Hollywood is not the production of political movies openly advocating Communism. Their purpose is to corrupt non-political movies — by introducing small, casual bits of propaganda into innocent stories and to make people absorb the basic principles of Collectivism by indirection and implication. Few people would take Communism straight, but a constant stream of hints, lines, touches and suggestions battering the public from the screen will act like drops of water that split a rock if continued long enough. The rock that they are trying to split is Americanism.

One example of communist infiltration provided by the FBI provided was the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The screenwriters (Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett), according to the FBI

“were very close to known Communists and on occasion in the recent past while these two writers were doing a picture for MGM, Goodrich and Hackett practically lived with known Communists and were observed eating luncheon daily with such Communists as Lester Cole and Earl Robinson.
With regard to the picture, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, [name redacted] stated in substance that the film represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a “scrooge-type” so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.
In addition, [name redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [name redacted] related that if he had made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiners in connection making loans. Further, [name redacted] stated that the scene wouldn’t have “suffered at all” in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown.
In summary, [name redacted] stated it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and “I would never have done it that way.”

So, It’s a Wonderful Life was seen by some people as communist propaganda because it was mean to bankers. It’s an incredibly twisted way to view that movie.

“What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty, working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.”

But we can apply that same anxious, apprehensive worldview to almost anything modern conservatives fear. Firearm safety, drag queens, Ukraine independence, people of color, COVID regulations, trans kids in high school sports, Hunter Biden, immigrants, independent women. They’re not really afraid of the reality of these things; they’re afraid of some weird, twisted interpretation of these things. They see any depiction of these things in popular media as an attempt to destroy the American Way of Life.

In reality, these things actually represent the American Way of Life. They’re a big part of what makes life wonderful.

Let me return to my original point. People who are afraid see threats everywhere, even if they don’t exist; they prefer these imaginary threats over actual threats, which they’ll ignore in order to focus on the imaginary ones; they’ll take dramatic steps to defend themselves against imaginary threats but avoid taking sensible steps to defend against actual threats. This makes them vulnerable to authoritarian leaders. This is the MAGA-verse in a nutshell.

Let’s listen to that glorious commie, George Bailey, refute that perspective.

“Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about…they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?”

You want a wonderful life? Stand up to Mr. Potter. Every time a bell rings, a drag queen sings a show tune. A person of color is elected. A firearm safety law is enacted. A trans kid in high school competes in a swim meet. Ukraine gets heat. A person with a compromised immune system can go shopping. An immigrant gets a green card. An editor ignores a Hunter Biden conspiracy theory. A woman can walk home at night in safety (with her hands in the pockets of her pants).

rabbit hole

I am weak to distraction. Doesn’t much matter what I’m doing, if I stumble across an interesting bit of information, an intriguing casual comment, a footnote in a book, almost anything that catches my eye and my imagination, I’m lost. I’ll stop what I’m doing and leap down that rabbit hole.

This morning on Twitter I came across a quote by novelist Henry Green, explaining the inspiration for his 1945 novel Loving. This is what he said:

I got the idea of Loving from a manservant in the Fire Service during the war. He was serving with me in the ranks, and he told me he had once asked the elderly butler who was over him what the old boy most liked in the world. The reply was: ‘Lying in bed on a summer morning, with the window open, listening to the church bells, eating buttered toast with cunty fingers.’ I saw the book in a flash.

It’s a great anecdote and an absolutely terrific line by the butler. So…there’s my rabbit hole. I tracked down the quotation. It was an interview conducted by novelist Terry Southern for The Paris Review (TPR) in 1958. Southern was also smitten with the butler’s line and used it to tweak the nose of the TPR’s editor. He wrote, “[Y]ou realize of course that the word ‘cunty’ makes the reply, gives it bite, insight, etc. I mean to say it simply would not do to rephrase it.”

Why was Southern pointing this out? Because five years earlier, TPR’s debut issue had included one of Southern’s short stories in which the term shit had been edited out. Instead of one character telling another “Don’t get your shit hot” TPR printed “Don’t get hot.” That’s a much weaker line.

Southern felt so strongly about the editing that he demanded TPR issue a correction in the following issue. And hey, they did. Sort of. Here’s their disappointing correction:

Terry Southern is most anxious that The Paris Review point out the absence of two words from his story The Accident (issue one): the sentence “don’t get hot” should have read “don’t get your crap hot,” an omission for which we apologize to all concerned.

The non-correction correction infuriated Southern, of course. So he was delighted (and absolutely correct) to force TPR to include cunty in the interview.

This made me happy for a couple of reasons. First, of course, is the butler’s line itself, which is simple but poetic. Second, because every writer likes to see an editor put in their place (even though editors are almost always right, damn it). Third, because I had a similar experience years ago.

I’d written a short story called Maybe the Horse Will Learn to Sing, which was published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The story included this line:

So in trying to tweak Sweeney’s nose all I’d managed to do was to step on my own dick. There’s a lesson there, I suspect.

AHMM wanted to change that line to read, step on my own foot or something equally awful. Since I wanted to get paid, I agreed to change the line to some other weak analogy (I can’t recall what the final version was). The following year, however, that story was included in the 1999 anthology The Best American Mystery Stories, edited by Ed McBain and Otto Penzler. When I was asked permission to reprint the story, I agreed on the condition that they change the line back to the original. Penzler laughed and agreed it was a better line. That laugh was worth as much to me as the check.

So, that was today’s totally pointless but (for me) entertaining rabbit hole. That was probably 90 minutes out of my morning, including writing this pointless but (again, for me) entertaining blog post.

drive-by

I went for a drive on Thursday.

No, wait. It would be more accurate to say I went for a ride; I didn’t do any driving, I was just a passenger. It would be even more accurate to say four of us decided to visit a small town and have lunch in some local cafe (or diner or bakery or brewery or whatever passes for a lunch spot in that particular small town), and while we were out, I shot some photos. This is something we do periodically. After we eat we tend to tool around fairly randomly and see what there is to see. We may tour the town (if it’s big enough to actually tour), we may wander along the surrounding back roads.

I generally sit in the front passenger seat and shoot photos. Sometimes we stop and I shoot photos, sometimes I shoot photos out the window, sometimes I convince the driver (my very patient and obliging brother) to stop, turn around, drive back to something I thought might make an interesting photo.

My point, if you can call it that, is that on Thursday we…well, we did that. It was a chilly, occasionally breezy day with a steady fall of exceedingly fine snow. I don’t mean fine in terms of high quality or excellence (although as snow goes, it was pretty fine); I mean fine in terms of texture and delicacy. It was mostly a light, powdery sort of snow; it made the world look like it had been dusted with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Two things. One, I used to bring one of my cameras on these ventures, but for the last few years I’ve mostly used my phone for this sort of photography. Two, in winter I tend to shoot in black-and-white. I know it makes more sense to shoot in color and convert it to b&w; you have greater control over the final image. But there’s some weird trigger in my brain that says, “Hey, old sock, if you’re going to make black-and-white photos, commit to it.” It doesn’t make any sense, but there it is.

Over the years I’ve used half a dozen different dedicated b&w phone apps. So far, I keep gravitating back to an app called Vignette, which is a very flexible app that allows you to create a number of different camera profiles. I bang it around until I get a b&w setting that meets my general needs and aesthetic, then save it. Every time I buy a new phone, I sort of recreate that setting (although the recreated version is never quite the same as the previous, I’m okay with that).

All of the photos here are drive-by photos. They were shot through the passenger side window (which, of course, was closed because it’s fucking winter here). There’s always a part of me that wishes the window was perfectly transparent, and a conflicting part of me that likes the fact that the window conditions change and the photos change accordingly. The window might be a tad foggy with condensation, or it might be streaked with water or melting snow, or even spattered with mud or road grime. It all finds its way into the photo.

Drive-by photography is ridiculous. It’s all about predicting an image–seeing what’s up ahead and visualizing what it might look like when you get there. If that’s loopy enough, you then have to anticipate what’s coming and try to time the shutter release (okay, there’s no actual shutter in a cellphone, I know that, but you know what I mean) to correspond with what you hope will be a proper composition. That’s another issue with the Vignette app: the shutter lags. Just a moment, but it’s a fairly predictable moment. Which means if you’re using Vignette to shoot a drive-by photo, you have to factor that lag into the equation.

Half the fun of drive-by shooting, of course, is not quite knowing what you’re going to get. You make a number of guesses and predictions based on your experience and intuition and your understanding of the technical concerns, and hope for a good result. Most times, you guess wrong. But sometimes you guess just right and the photo is what you hope it will be. I guessed right (or close enough to right) on the photos you see here. None of them has been cropped, but most of them have been rotated slightly to straighten the horizon line.

The snow helped. Not just because it was pretty, but because we were driving more slowly. That gave me more time to evaluate the shot and a larger margin of error.

There are few finer ways to spend a weekday, when all the normal employed people are at work and out of the way. Good company, good food (usually), good drink (usually), and the serendipitous exploration of some place we have no real reason to visit other than whim. I count myself very fortunate that I get to do this.

little trumper boy

Yesterday Comrade Trump announced he would make a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT today (he’s exactly the kind of massive asshole who’d announce he was going to make an announcement). And he did.

This…and I have to announce that I am NOT MAKING THIS UP…is Trump’s announcement:

That’s right, trading cards. Digital trading cards. Not even actual physical cards. Digital ones. For ‘only’ US$99 each. For Christmas. Trading cards of Trump depicted in various ‘heroic’ outfits. Trump as an astronaut, Trump as a Texas Ranger, Trump as a NASCAR driver, Trump as…well, I don’t know…an NFL owner? In all these images Trump looks fit and thin and naturally tan.

Like any rational person, I thought this was a joke. THIS WAS NOT A JOKE. I should say this was not an intentional joke, because it most definitely IS a joke. This bonehead is actually attempting to market himself using trading cards. Who is the target audience for this bullshit? What kind of moron would think this would make a good Christmas gift? Who is stupid and gullible enough to buy th…oh. right, FreeRepublic.

So, of course, I held my nose and jumped into the Freeperverse. And yes, sure enough, there were some True Believers who saw the obvious genius of this venture.

Love it, Never-Trumpers and Democrats will go crazy.. Ultimate Troll.
10:20:22 AM by DEPcom

I think he is just messing around with the criminal deep state. They know some big bad news is coming, but have no idea about how and when it will drop. Announcing a major announcement was just Trump’s way of increasing the anxiety.
10:22:01 AM by TBall

Q: How do you communicate when everything you do and say is surveilled?
A: Obscurely.
If that’s what Trump is doing…
Works for me.
10:42:54 AM by mewzilla

But there were many more…and I mean many more…Freepers who weren’t quite sold by this scheme.

This is just so f…..g dumb. Really? This is his big announcement?
You know what. I’m done. Walking away.
10:12:28 AM by Sirius Lee

Is this supposed to be a joke? The country is falling apart, desperate for some good news, and the major announcement is trading cards? I love Trump, but this is really causing me to wonder what he’s thinking.
10:15:14 AM by JudyinCanada

Cringe worthy.
10:18:45 AM by Rurudyne

Embarrassing
10:22:53 AM by clintonh8r

Pathetic.
His ego is bigger than Obama’s.
what a loser.
10:27:41 AM by wny

I am at a loss of whether I should laugh or cry
10:34:34 AM by dsrtsage

This is a former president of the United States who wants another term to help save our nation, which is fast going down the drain. WHY is he doing this?! I’m sorry, but the ‘optics’ here are terrible. Who’s advising him??
That being said, I’d continue to vote for him if he’s on the ballot. I’m just mystified…
10:38:10 AM by Deo volente

It’s as if he is announcing to the world that he thinks we are suckers. It’s as if he was sitting around saying, “I could get them to buy anything.”
This is beyond sad.
10:45:53 AM by Vermont Lt

Trump has gone full retard. This kind of chit is not helpful. Honestly I just don’t get it. Tone deaf is not Trump’s normal behavior.
10:53:41 AM by Georgia Girl 2

I’m legitimately having a problem digesting this as reality.
11:04:45 AM by EEGator

In the interest of fairness, I only read about half of the 300+ responses to Trump’s announcement. It’s possible that the remaining 150 or so responses were overwhelmingly favorable to the TrumpCard scam ploy venture. It’s possible.

I tend to think of FreeRepublic as a bellwether for ultra right-wing conservative thought. They celebrated Trump early in the 2016 primary season. They were fully behind his blustery faux patriotism and blatantly ridiculous claim that he, personally, had saved Christmas. They completely believed him every time he shouted about rigged elections.

And he’s losing them. Losing them to DeSantis. True, they’re just trading one huckster for another, but just a few months ago this was unthinkable. Comrade Trump shouldn’t expect a Christmas miracle. In fact, it seems clear to me that Trump is bleeding and there are sharks in the water. (Holiday sharks, you know.)

Pa rum pum pum pum.