The Quick and Dirty Case Against Donald Trump

I want to talk to Trump voters for a moment.  I’m no-one special, but, like everyone else in the world at the moment, I’ve got some thoughts about the Trump-Clinton election that I want to share.  I don’t like Trump, but one thing I do like about him is that he doesn’t mince words.  Neither do I.  This is my case against Donald Trump.  It’s harsh, but it’s what I really think.  Also, I can make it without using the words “racist” or “sexist” once.  You don’t need to bring in the PC Police to see the guy’s not worth a damn as President.  Here goes…

The case against Trump:

1)  He has no political experience.  Hillary Clinton has lots.  If you were about to get on a plane, would you rather have a pilot, or a businessman who’s promising to “Make Planes Great Again!”?  Now, you might well say “Hillary Clinton is a lousy pilot who crashes planes.”  That may be true, but I ask again; if you have no choice but to get on a plane, would you rather have an experienced pilot who occasionally crashes, or a businessman with zero experience who’s promising to “Make Planes Great Again!?”  You might be fucked either way, but who is more likely to get you from A to B?

2)  He’s “independent”, but that’s not a good thing.  Trump never stops talking about how he’s self-funding his campaign so he won’t owe anyone any favours.  But Trump is exactly the kind of guy who buys favours from politicians!  Voting for Trump because he’s “Independent” is like saying “Ted Cruz took money from Big Pharma…let’s elect the CEO of Pfizer!”  All you’re doing is taking out the political middle-man and putting the crook straight in the White House.

And besides, who gives a fuck if Trump is already rich?  You think he got rich by not taking money from people? 

3)  His promises are bullshit.  Look at this wall.  What would a good wall look like?  Well, I’m no expert but at minimum, it would need to be:

  1. About fifteen feet high minimum.
  2. About 2,000 miles long.
  3. Have barbed wire all along the top.
  4. Have armed guards patrolling it.
  5. 2,000 miles of floodlights to keep migrants from climbing over at night.

This wall is either going to be built properly and be insanely expensive, or cheap and a pile of shit.  No-one wants a cheap shit wall.  So let’s pretend Trump can build this great wall.  It’s gonna cost billions, and it’s gonna keep costing billions forever!  It’s always going to need repairing. The guards are always going to need paying.  The electric bill for the God knows how many thousand watt floodlights is always going to need paying.  This damn thing has to be 2,000 miles long!  It’s going to cost billions forever!  Next year, another few billion.  The year after that, a few billion more.  Forever.  And Mexico’s going to pay for this?  How?  Mexico can’t even pay its own cops enough to stop them from moonlighting for drug dealers.  How the fuck are they going to pay this money?  Have they got a magic lamp we don’t know about?  The wall is a bullshit promise.  It’s never going to happen.

Now Trump says he’ll get the money by holding back the cash immigrants send back to Mexico, but that’s just more bullshit. All that’s going to do is open up a black market for illegal money transfers.  People are smart. If Mexican crooks can figure out how to get lorry loads of coke and heroin into America, then American crooks can figure out how to get money back into Mexico.  That’s just simple common sense.

And then Trump says he’ll threaten to slap tariffs on Mexican goods.  All that’s going to do is make more Mexicans want to come into the US.  If they can’t make a living in Mexico because of these tariffs, where are they going to go?  That’s right.  America.  The whole wall thing is bullshit.  If it gets built, Mexico isn’t going to pay one red cent for it.

And what about tunnels?  Remember that El Chapo guy?  The one Sean Penn did that weird interview with?  He broke out of jail through a tunnel 2 miles long.  And that was just for one guy!  How is this magic wall going to stop people tunnelling under it?

4)  He’s weak.   Say what you like about Hillary Clinton, but she’s a tough-as-nails stone-cold bitch and that’s a good thing if you’re dealing with hard bastards like Putin.  Bill Maher once made a joke about Donald Trump’s dad being an orang-utan and Trump sued!  How can someone that thin-skinned ever possibly be President?  The guy’s a pussy, no two ways about it.  If a comedian makes a joke about your dad and the first thing you do is call your lawyer, you’re a pussy. If you want a hard bitch who doesn’t even know how to back down, vote Clinton.  If, instead, you want a cry-baby who hides behind his lawyers and eats his pizza with a knife and fork, vote for Trump.  

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See?  A fucking FORK!!

5)  He’s unhealthy.  He’s old, fat, beet-faced.  He always looks like he’s ten seconds away from a massive stroke.  I think he should make his health records public.  People have the right to know if their next President is going to stroke out if he climbs two flights of stairs.  Come to think of it, I’ve never seen Trump climb stairs.

So yeah.  That’s Trump, a beet-faced bullshit merchant with no clue how government works who makes fake promises and is still going to take money from corporations because that’s just what guys like him do.

If you disagree, feel free to let me have both barrels in the comments.

Cheers,

Trev.

 

 

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Twitter, and the Inexorable Heat Death of my Self-Esteem

I’ve been on Twitter for nearly a week now, and I’ve yet to amass a single follower.  It goes without saying that this proves I am universally unloveable and should just drown myself in a bucket of tar and get it over with.  However, I live in hope that someone, somewhere, in the far distant future, will stumble across my Twitter profile, and if they do, they might ask themselves “Why has this guy used Ximenes as his Twitter handle?  What’s a Ximenes, and can you feed it after midnight?”

Of course, by the time anyone gets round to asking this question Twitter itself will probably be archived on a thumbnail drive plugged into the skull of a cyborg anthropologist trying to work out if a Shitlord was some kind of priest.  Nevertheless, I shall endeavour to explain.

I chose the name Ximenes because I am thoroughly addicted to cryptic crosswords, and Ximenes was a (relatively) famous crossword designer in the UK.  Kinda like Will Shortz, but even better. The proper nomenclature for a cryptic crossword enthusiast is ‘Cruciverbalist’, though dork is shorter and equally accurate.  Some of my posts, therefore, will feature clues (and occasional full puzzles) of my own devising, along with explanations of how to solve different kinds of cryptic clue so you too can look clever on the train.

I’ve got to be honest, I’m not going to be making this a priority.  I’ll probably only do one or two posts a month on this and that’ll only be when I have literally nothing else to blog about.  Anyway, here’s a few to get you started.  The first person to answer them all correctly will win a cash prize of 1,000.00* dollars!

  1.  Mythic foot (6)
  2. Marine distributes cocaine (7)
  3. Defeat stout docker?  Not entirely (5)
  4. Rebel against Slavic tyrant?  Heads will roll (4)
  5. Church outing, in a sense (15)

Good luck!

*Zimbabwean dollars

Nobel Laureate Sarah Palin Praises Bill Nye.

Today, Sarah Palin, the supreme polymath of the modern age, threw the colossal weight of her reputation behind pseudo-scientific woo peddler and bow-tied bullshit merchant Bill Nye, by declaring – in a display of near unfathomable generosity – that the children’s TV presenter was “As much of a scientist as I am”

Palin, who won the Nobel Prize for biology for proving that the entire human race in all its infinite variety was descended from two people created by God in a magical garden filled with enchanted apples, stunned the scientific community with her remarks, not least because she deigned to deliver them in English as opposed to her usual habit of communicating solely in polylogarithmic derivations of undiscovered prime numbers.

Palin, who, in 2008, simultaneously revolutionised the fields of geography, anthropology, and cartography by proving that Africa isn’t a continent, made the claim while promoting the groundbreaking documentary ‘Climate Hustle’, a film which, once and for all, answers the question of whether the past hundred and fifty years of constant fossil-fuel combustion, combined with a strict ‘let’s cut down all the really big trees’ policy, could possibly have had a negative impact on the Earth’s delicate ecosystem.  Spoiler alert: It hasn’t.

Many have wondered what Nye, a mere graduate of Cornell university and multiple patent holder who doesn’t even believe in witches, could possibly have done to warrant the attentions of a mind as great as Palin’s.  However, a source close to her told this reporter that “She was just in a good mood after solving the Penrose conjecture.” 

Editor’s note:  It has since transpired that Mr. Nye, aware that Palin’s magnanimous comments represented the apex of his professional career, and eager not to sully the moment with more of the ignominious failures which had heretofore characterised his entire life, had committed seppuku, and thus could not be reached for comment.  His last twitter entry reads”And Alexander wept, for he had no more worlds to conquer.”

 

 

TL;DR version – Go home Sarah, you’re drunk.

Why protest Trump? Cruz is like, right there!

Okay, before anything else, I’d like you to read this article by Gemma Hartley published at The Establishment entitled Abandoning Trump’s America Isn’t The Answer.  The general thrust of the article is that liberals who (even jokingly) suggest they might emigrate if Trump becomes President should stay and fight the good fight.  Here’s a key quote:

True allies to the marginalised communities that Trump disparages should think twice before flippantly mentioning running away. It is not a strong show of liberalism or morals, but rather a show of cowardiceor worse yet, apathy. If those who were once invested in the democratic process to this degree decide to up and leave, they are essentially saying they have no faith or interest in the future of the United States and the people who will go down with it.

I can’t fault the logic.  Firstly, if Trump becomes President, protesting him becomes all the more necessary.   Secondly, if Trump is so scary and dangerous, simple self-preservation dictates that the worst thing you can do is leave and make yourself a target of whatever batshit foreign policy he’s cooking up!  Shit, if Trump wins I might move to America!  I’d want to be as close to that crazy bastard as possible.

But the thing which really baffles me is this:  Why are Left activists protesting Trump in the first place?  Don’t get me wrong, there are obviously a shitload of reasons, and I’m sure you don’t need me to go through them again here.  But bear with me.  I’m going somewhere with this.

There are currently three candidates left in the running to be the Republican Presidential nominee; Trump, Cruz, and Kasich.  Now, we can discount Kasich because…fuck it.  Everybody else has.  Though it probably shouldn’t, personality counts in elections and John Kasich has about as much personality as an Excel spreadsheet.  That just leaves Trump and Cruz. Like it or not, one of these two is going to get the nomination.  Based on my understanding of what Left activists want, it baffles me that they’re expending so much energy protesting Trump instead of Cruz.  Cruz is by far the more dangerous candidate.

Firstly, I think Hillary has got the Democratic nomination all but sewn up at this point (Sorry Bernie Bros. I just call it like I see it) and Hillary will have a much easier time defeating Trump than Cruz.  Trump has so many negatives to exploit that Hillary could run a different attack ad every day from now to the heat death of the universe and still have material to spare.

Secondly, for all Trump’s anti-women remarks, I doubt he cares that much about reproductive rights.  It took him less than 2 hours to backpedal on his comment that women who get abortions should be punished.  Cruz, on the other hand, is a committed pro-lifer.  If Cruz gets in, he’s going to spend his four years doing everything he can to make access to abortion and contraceptives harder, not because he thinks it’ll play well with voters, but because he genuinely believes it’s the right thing to do.  I predict that if Trump becomes President, he won’t do anything much to repeal Roe v Wade.  If Cruz gets his way, by 2020 the average American woman’s nearest abortion clinic will probably be in Toronto.

The point is that, as anti-woman as Trump is, in terms of what I believe he is prepared to do, Cruz is even worse.

Thirdly, for Trump, this whole thing is an ego trip.  He doesn’t care about governing.  He just wants to strut around the White House while a brass band trails after him playing ‘Hail to the Chief’ while he ‘air-conducts’ with his tiny hands.

And does anyone really think Trump is more of a bigot than Ted Cruz?  Personally, I think he’s probably less of  bigot.  With Trump, him being a con-man and all, there’s always a chance that he’s just blowing smoke, just saying whatever ugly shit he thinks will get him through the next debate or the next interview.  Cruz, on the other hand, is perfectly sincere.  Trump talks about building a wall because that idea resonates with a lot of voters.  Cruz talks about building a wall (yes, he wants to build one too) because he really, truly, honestly believes it’s the right thing to do.  Trump may also believe that, but there’s a chance he may not.  With Cruz, there’s no question.  There are two differences between Trump’s bigotry and Cruz’s bigotry.  First, Cruz has been quieter about it.  Second, Trump probably means it, Cruz definitely means it.

Trump’s comments on Muslim immigration are also pretty messed up but does anyone really think that a bona-fide religious lunatic like Ted Cruz will be any kinder to them?

It seems to me that, as bad as Trump is, he’s less objectionable than Cruz on just about every point of comparison.  The only difference is that Trump is just more in-your-face offensive.  He’s like a bad-tempered dog.  Cruz is a snake.  If Cruz was a Harry Potter character, he’d be in Slytherin sucking up to Draco Malfoy.  Trump would be a blast-ended skrewt.

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“I know words.  I have the best words.”

In my opinion, Left activists would do better to devote all their resources to doing everything to ensure Cruz doesn’t get the nomination.  He’d be a harder candidate to defeat, and an even more disastrous, more hawkish, more unstable President if he wins.

 

I’m a Twit!

Yes, after nearly 40 years of not being on Twitter, I have finally given in and signed up.  Now, I don’t much like Twitter.  I consider it to be something of a necessary evil.  There’s a lot of arguments on Twitter and, while I do enjoy a good argument, I don’t think they’re best conducted in a medium which caps your remarks at 140 characters.  Arguing on Twitter is like two guys on trampolines yelling at each other over a fence, so I probably won’t be using it all that much, and when I do, it’ll probably be to share dumb memes, pictures of my cat, and to let people know when I’ve got a new post up.  Still, if you want to follow me anyway, you can find me at:

@gospeloftrev

As always, retweets don’t equal endorsements, the views expressed are mine and mine alone etc…

Capital Punishment and Schrödinger’s Government.

Let’s start with something light and fluffy; State mandated execution.  Now, I’m from England.  We abolished capital punishment in 1998.  However, the last actual execution in in England took place a long time before that, back in 1965.  The death penalty was formally  abolished in ’98 but, in practise, it had fallen completely out of use over 30 years earlier.  The average age of an English citizen is 40.  Therefore, most people alive in England today have never seen anyone executed.

Even though most people in England have no real experience with capital punishment, there is still a lot of support for it.  Around 48% of people support its reintroduction.  This is significantly lower, but not drastically lower, than the levels of popular support capital punishment enjoys in the USA, where around 61% of people think it’s a good idea.

These are pretty dismal statistics, so before you get too bummed out, here’s a cat dressed as a pirate.

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Look at his little face.  He’s loving it!  If you make it all the way to the end of this post, there’s a picture of a gerbil dressed as a wizard waiting for you, and I promise it is every bit as adorable as it sounds.

Anyway, I consider capital punishment to be a pretty terrible idea.  However, I can understand why people might support it.  The Hammurabic maxim of ‘An eye for an eye’ resonates with a lot of people.  That murderers should forfeit their own lives just feels like justice.  And on a certain level, I agree.  I freely admit, if we had some kind of infallible ‘Minority Report’ style means of determining guilt with 100% certainty, I’d probably support capital punishment as well.  However, our current justice system is far, far less reliable than that, and here’s where I part company with people who support capital punishment.

Consider:  A murder is committed, an investigation conducted, and a suspect apprehended and charged.  The investigation is handled by detectives, fallible men and women who are both overworked and underpaid.  The case is then brought before a jury, each of whom examines the evidence through their own unique set of biases and preconceptions.  Some of these jurors may be racist.  Some may be sexist.  Some may be completely fair minded, but may have had some personal experience with violent crime which makes it easier for them to believe the worst of people.  And some may just be flat out stupid.  I’m not exactly Einstein, but I’ve known some seriously dumb motherfuckers in my time.  I once worked with a woman who thought men had walked on the moon…and the sun!  You’re probably thinking “Bullshit.  No-one’s that stupid”.  You’re wrong.  She was totally that stupid.  I know another guy who thinks we never even walked on the moon. He thinks the footage of Neil Armstrong was shot in a studio by Stanley Kubrick and that if you watch The Shining really, really carefully, you can pick out little hints that prove it.  Dumb as a fucking post.  These people have every bit as much chance of ending up on a jury as you or I.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that if the defendant is too poor to hire a decent lawyer, he’ll probably get a public defender appointed by the State.  Now,  I’m sure that many, if not most, public defenders are perfectly good lawyers who know their business and want nothing but the best for their clients.  However, it’s also true that, like many detectives, many public defenders are overworked and underpaid.  Overworked and underpaid lawyers cannot possibly provide as good a defence as lawyers that work for expensive companies and who get to pick and choose their clients.

Finally, you’ve got the Judges.  While a jury can recommend a sentence, only a judge can actually pass one.  Some judges are elected, and elected judges tend to sentence people to death far more often.  I don’t know whether this is because they want to curry favour with pro-death penalty voters, or because pro-death penalty voters are more likely to elect pro-death penalty judges in the first place, but either way the result is the same.

So you’ve got a defendant rushed to trial by detectives who’ve got more work than they can handle, who is too poor to afford decent representation, and who is being tried by a jury 50% of whom will likely be dumber than average and may well be bigoted to boot, and who may well be sentenced by someone whose job depends on being seen to be “tough on crime”.  To say there’s room for error would be something of an understatement.

I’ve taken you a long way round to make a short, but important point:  In a fallible system mistakes are inevitable.  The execution of innocent people is not a “risk”, it’s a mathematical certainty.  It can’t not happen.  You can put in as many safeguards as you like, but if they’re all managed by tired, overworked, underpaid, potentially biased and inevitably fallible people, eventually they will all fail.  It’s only a matter of time.

So that’s why I am opposed to the death penalty.   You may have your own reasons, but this is the argument I personally find most persuasive.

But here’s where things get interesting, at least for me.  It’s well known that most people who support the death penalty are conservative.  It’s also well known that one of the bedrock principles of modern conservatism is “The government which governs least, governs best.”  Ronald Reagan once famously said “Government doesn’t solve problems.  Government subsidises problems.”  He also said “The most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help'”

Here’s what I don’t get:  It seems like conservatives have a great deal of trouble trusting the government to do anything right.  According to this Pew poll, only 11% of Republicans trust the Federal government.  Of course, this could be to do with the fact that the current President is a Democrat, but even when GWB was President, that figure never topped 50%.

However, in spite of all this mistrust; in spite of the naked contempt many Republicans routinely show towards the U.S. government; in spite of the fact Grover Norquist, leader of Americans for Tax Reform, one of America’s largest conservative advocacy groups, has said his ultimate aspiration is to “Shrink government down to the point where I can drown it in a bath tub”; it is conservatives who show the highest level of faith in the capital punishment system.  It seems like many conservatives can’t trust the government to do anything right except execute the right people 100% of the time.  Indeed, Norquist himself has said:

I am actually a strong supporter of the death penalty for people who murder people.  It strikes me as perfectly reasonable, just, and fair.

I don’t think Grover Norquist is a bad person.  I may disagree with him on damn near everything, but everything I’ve read about the man suggests he’s doing what he thinks is right.  He and I want the same things, we just have very different ideas about how to make those things happen.  Plus, he’s named after a muppet, which I find naturally endearing.  That said, his position on capital punishment seems to  massively contradict everything else he says about government, and it’s a contradiction many conservatives seem to share.  Why, if the government is so incompetent, do we trust it to sentence people to death?  If the government is so useless, if the government can’t do anything else right, why are so many conservatives so willing to believe it can do this right?

This is why I called this post “Schrödinger’s Government”.  It seems like a majority of conservatives believe the government is infallible on this one issue, while being supremely incompetent to handle anything else.  The government is perfect and perfectly useless at the same time.

What is the explanation for this?  Well, I’m no expert, but I have a theory.  I believe that, when it comes to capital punishment, most people are guided by their gut instinct of what feels right.  If “An eye for an eye” feels right to you, then you’re more likely to take any negative opinions you might have about the government and put them on hold while you’re talking about capital punishment.  Once the conversation switches to tax reform or whatever, then those negative opinions will come back.  If, on the other hand, “An eye for an eye” doesn’t feel right, then you’ll do the opposite.  A liberal who happily trusts the government in matters of education, tax policy, and welfare reform may suddenly become far more skeptical when discussing capital punishment.  I don’t think it’s deliberate.  It’s probably unconscious.  But I think most people, maybe even everybody, probably does it to a certain extent.  I may well do it too, but, if I did, I’d probably need someone else to point it out to me.

As it stands, I think the safest way to approach any issue is on a case by case basis, and use skepticism as a default position on all social and political issues.   Whether you’re talking about capital punishment or healthcare reform, your first question should always be “If you’re wrong, how quickly can we undo it?”

And now, after all that, here’s your gerbil.  Congratulations.  You’ve fucking earned it!

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Awwwwww.

Trev.

 

Second blog post.

Okay, I’m new to this.  I’m not particularly tech-savvy so this page will, in all likelihood, be buggy as fuck, at least to start with.  I am therefore depending on YOU faithful and probably non-existant reader, to help me out.  Specifically, if you are having any trouble commenting on any of these posts, please let me know.  My intention is for all comments to appear immediately and uncensored.  If your post does not appear immediately, please tweet me at @gospeloftrev

I will then have a look at the settings and try to fix the problem.

On a related note, I feel I should take a moment to briefly spell out the comments policy on this blog.  Here it is:

No spam.

That’s it.  If you’re spamming some bullshit product your post will be deleted and I will petition the internet gods to see that you die young, alone, and thoroughly unloved, but that you’ll still manage to outlive every single member of your family and all your pets.

I don’t like spammers.

Apart from that, there are no comment rules.  This may change.  I have a fairly high tolerance for trolls so long as you’re funny and interesting, but the odds are that this entire blog will just be an exercise in screaming into the void and no-one will ever read it anyway.

Thanks,

Trev.