Friday, July 21, 2017

The Failing, Fake News Interviews Donald Trump and He Explains Government, Insurance, and French History to Us All

You can say a couple of things about Donald Trump. One, he is incapable of shutting up even when it is his best interest to do so and, two, he will never cease to invent alternative facts and histories.

On a day like this it would be easy to concentrate on the sudden departure of White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. However, let's face it, he was on his way out the door from day one. According to the New York Times, Trump wasn't sold on him from the very beginning. They're reporting, Reince Preibus had to talk the Don into hiring the guy after Trump questioned, you guessed it, Spicer's loyalty. After six months of presidential dementia, it seemed like the only reason Spicer was kept around was so the boss could periodically torment and degrade him. (Yes, you might be the only Catholic in the entourage, but no you can't meet the Pope.)

Today, Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as the White House Director of Communications and Spicer decided he'd had enough. Not to worry though, he'll land on his feet. Even as I write there are scores of publishers dialing Mr. Spicer's number and offering him profoundly huge amounts of cash in exchange for a tell all book. Believe me, those people are pros. The bidding began the moment he left the building.

Meanwhile The Big Orange Dude sat down with the New York Times for an interview the other day. That would be the same publication Mr. Trump has repeatedly described as, "failing," and the purveyor of, "fake news."

The initial rush of left wing outrage had to do with Trump's admission he would have never hired Jeff Sessions as Attorney General if he had known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russian investigation. Indeed, what's the use of being president if your own employees won't help you out in a pinch? Screw the ethics and legalities. Such things are for terminally weak losers. Just ask Vlad Putin.

I, on the other hand, prefer to take a look at three other tidbits Brother Trump left us with thanks to the Times. They might not be as attention grabbing, but they are just as telling, if not more so.

Perhaps in an effort to justify his canning of James Comey, Trump claimed the director of the FBI began reporting to the Justice Department only, "out of courtesy," post Richard Nixon. He assured the Times that when it comes to the FBI chain of command, "There was nothing official. There was nothing from congress." The FBI's website states its director has been answering directly to the Attorney General since the 1920s. In addition, any communication between he and the White House adheres to a strict set of guidelines and is approved by the AG, or other high ranking Justice Department officials. As we all know, the only exception to these rules was, J. Edgar Hoover who, while running the bureau, didn't answer to anyone, not even God Almighty.

On health insurance coverage, he said, "You're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 per year for insurance and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan. Here's something where you walk up and say, I want my insurance."

Beyond being completely out of touch with reality--name one 21 year old paying $12 a year for any kind of insurance--Donald Trump, the leader of the United States of America, doesn't seem to have a clue how health insurance works. Apparently he thinks your medical coverage increases over time as you pay for it, rather like whole life insurance death benefits. As for walking up to someone and saying, "I want my insurance", that is exactly what the Affordable Care Act allows millions of Americans to do.

Now, while both of those are fine examples of Trumpisms, my personal favorite was DJT's take on French history. When it comes to Napoleon Bonaparte, the Times quoted him as saying, "His one problem is he didn't go to Russia that night because he had extra curricular activities and they froze to death."


What was that? No--seriously--what the fuck did the man just say? The Times asked the author of, "Moscow 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March," Adam Zamoyski for a translation.  Without blinking, Mr. Zamoyski responded, "I can't make heads or tails of it."

Listen, no one in their right mind can. Even a third grader forced to sit through the first half of the Audrey Hepburn/Henry Fonda movie version of "War and Peace," can describe Napoleon's ill fated invasion of Russia with more eloquence, detail, and accuracy.

Which leads us to our greatest problem. Third graders don't possess the nuclear launch codes, but Donald John Trump does.

In the end, I can cope with Don Trump being an utterly amoral misogynist and venal capitalist greed head turned political opportunist. I can even deal with it when he exploits the bigotry and xenophobia which exists in the dark souls of some Americans. What I really can't stand though is his autocratic view of how the president should be kowtowed to, not just by all the branches and offices of the government, but also a free press.

Well, that and his warped versions of history which have the distinct feel of psilocybin induced hallucinations. But then, hey, that's just me.

sic vita est


Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Legislative Accomplishments of Donald John Trump and the Cult of Personality

Despite the condemnations of terrible shills like Kellyanne Conway it is easy to understand why the national media continues to be focused on the connections between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russians. Let's face it, the number of secret meetings and those involved in them continue to grow at a staggering rate. In fact at this point it is almost quicker to name a list of people in the campaign who didn't confer with Russian agents rather than those who did.

Yes, to listen to MSNBC and some of the others one can easily imagine the public outrage is tantamount to a prairie wild fire roiling out of control some where west of Tulsa and Trump's support is circling the drain.

The only problem is it's not. At least not among the Trump faithful--those hearty souls desperately hanging onto lower middle class status while fantasizing about the return of industries and jobs that have gone the way of the Dodo.

CBS took the time to visit an Indiana county fair the other day and speak with a few Trumpists. One of them was Brenda Wilson. She assured the interviewer she, "wasn't at all," bothered by the Russian disclosures. According to her, "There is nothing to it."

Then there was Fred Wilson who said, the media, "Probably should," report on what the Big Orange guy tweets early in the mornings, "But it shouldn't be the main line." He added, "The troubling thing to me is, you know, we need to get behind the president  and quit majoring in the minor things, in my opinion, and let him do the job he was elected to do."

Finally we have, Gary Rice who complained, "He's getting a lot of things done behind the scenes that the media so overshadows on the negative side that it's just making it twice as hard."

Ah there we have it. "He's getting a lot of things done behind the scenes." Our man Gary Rice echoed in a way what the many times unhinged Mrs. Conway has to say about the media. Mainly why is the press focusing on Russia instead of America?

So what has Donald Trump accomplished legislatively? Well, in his mind anyway, a lot. Late in June, El Donald said, "I will say that never has there been a president--with few exceptions, in the case of FDR he had a major depression to handle--who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than we've done."

For those keeping count some of the other, "few," presidents besides FDR include Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush.

In the face of such stats the people at a CBS affiliate, KAQY, comprised a list of Mr. Trump's legislative accomplishments a couple of weeks ago.

Over his first 163 days in office, Don Trump signed 41 bills, not counting executive orders. 15 of them rolled back Obama era rules and regulations. (Including one which prevented companies from dumping mine waste into streams. A second restricted the killing of certain wildlife in Alaska if you aren't going to eat it.)  His first action waved the waiting period required by law for a retired member of the military to become Secretary of Defense. Two authorized the naming of V.A clinics and another named a federal courthouse. Three reappointed regents to the Smithsonian Institute.

Another directed NASA to encourage young people to pursue studies in science and math while a second NASA related bill did provide the agency with its first firm budget in six years.

There were a couple which provided funding to keep the government running, probably because even he saw what happened to Ted Cruz when the little cretin inspired a shut down a few years ago. Then there was a law which further weakened background checks on gun buyers.

Another helped states block federal funds to private agencies which provide abortions while one encourages the display of American flags on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Of course, there are others, but none of them have to do with building a wall on the southern border, or a new  American health plan, although the republican Senate is close to passing a mutant BDSM version of the latter.

Not that he has a clue about what coverage it contains, or doesn't. It has been painfully obvious since his inauguration, Don Trump doesn't give a rat's ass about the details of the GOP's alternative to the Affordable Care Act. All he cares about is taking credit for replacing Obama Care. And, if the current Senate version utterly fucks over his base, well, he knows they'll buy into the program anyway. Why wouldn't they? They have from day one and as we've seen show no signs of deserting him now.

It's as one Tennessee woman said when asked what it would take for her not to support Donald John Trump, "I don't know what he'd have to do. I guess kill someone. Just in cold blood."

That's right, when it comes to Trump's worshippers, any media revelation, no matter how damning, simply strengthens their faith. Any failure to accomplish meaningful legislation is somehow the fault of evil democrats. This is what we get when millions believe in a messiah who has hypnotized them with Living Colour's siren song that says,

"Look in my eyes, what do you see?
I'm the cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I've been everything you want to be."

Tragically, such is the state of the American volk.

sic vita est


Monday, July 10, 2017

The Latest Adventures on the Trump Merry Go Round

...round and round and round they rode, oh what an episode..."

Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, from the movie, "Cat Ballou."

Many things can be said about Donald Trump and the wankers he has employed in the past and does now. The foremost among them is they will lie at any time to anyone. That and their lies are so God awful transparent they are invariably exposed within weeks, if not days.

Back in March Donald Trump Jr. was saying he'd never met with any Russian on any subject prior to the election. On Saturday, Trump the Younger admitted he was involved in a pre election meeting with a Russian attorney: "It was a short introductory meeting," he said. "I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up."

The key words there being, "primarily discussed." So what got Don Jr, the future first son in law, and the campaign's chairman at the time to Trump Tower to speak with Natalia Veselnitskaya?

On Sunday we found out. According to Trump Jr. "I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign."

Ah, there we have it. It turns out the real reason Trump, Kushner, and Paul Manafort showed up that day was they believed Veselnitskaya, a Russian who is tight with the powers that be in Moscow, had dope on Hillary Clinton which would damage her politically. In this instance anyway, it turned out the promise of dirt was just a lure to get the Americans there so Veselnitskaya could talk about the defunct adoption program. When Trump and the others realized the lawyer wasn't going to provide them with any sort of credible incriminating news on Clinton the meeting ended.

So, despite all those indignant White House denials, Donald Trump Jr. just admitted senior officials within his old man's campaign, at the very least, made an attempt to collude with a connected Russian player during the election.

Not that this should come as a surprise. Mike Flynn--apparently unaware someone might be listening in on the Russian ambassador's phone calls--denied he had several conversations with Sergey Kislyak about lifting U.S. sanctions right up until the moment he was shown the door.

On two separate occasions, Jeff Sessions told senators he didn't meet with Kislyak despite having talked with him at both the GOP convention and in his office the September before the election. Sessions is now the chief law enforcement officer in the United States of America.

When Jared Kushner filled out a questionnaire to get his security clearance he initially indicated he didn't have any meetings with the treacherous Russkies. That included get togethers with Kislyak and the head of a Russian bank the media subsequently uncovered. Not to mention the one with, Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr. just blabbed about.

Meanwhile The Big Orange Guy met with Vladimir Putin one on one the other day. El Donald reported he was satisfied the Russian government didn't interfere in any way with the last U.S. election. Why? Because Vlad told him they didn't.

Trump was so impressed by Putin's stand up honesty he tweeted, "It is time to move forward in working with Russia..." Then he proposed a joint U.S.-Russian cybersecurity team be put together in order to prevent any further election hanky-panky.

The general reaction to this latest example of Brother Don's slavish devotion to all things Russian was best summed up by Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC. He tweeted the theoretical collaboration was, "...pretty close to the dumbest idea I've ever heard."

In fact the blow back on this particular light bulb moment was so severe by yesterday Trump was tweeting that even though he came up with the proposal it didn't mean he thought such a thing could happen. He finished the tweet by posting, "It can't."

Say what?

In the long history of presidential position reversals it is hard to think of one which happened quicker and is seemingly more absolute than what we just heard from Donald Trump.

Given all this overwhelming evidence, if it wasn't previously, it is now painfully obvious the upper levels of the current administration are heavily involved with drugs. Indeed, it is no longer a matter of if,  just a question of which ones. Let's face it, no one makes up the insane shit we've been hearing the past year, or acts like Don Trump and his crowd without being seriously into some awful chemical, or organic compounds. Christ, even the most depraved junkies can come up with plans, excuses, and lies  more lucid than these crazed fucks.

In the end the terrible truth is those now in charge of the republic are grotesquely weird and deeply paranoid. They are--despite their vast wealth--terminal losers desperately in need of validation from the very people they think so little of and they're willing to say and do anything to achieve it.

Tragically their crudely amateurish and vile scams are being pulled not just on the professional pols in Washington, but us as well.

And--as pointed out previously in this space--we're stuck with them.


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Declaration of Independence: The Supreme Judge of the World 1, Jesus 0

On July 2nd, 1776 a bunch of white guys representing 13 separate British colonies located in North America had a decision to make. It had taken a while to reach that moment. In fact debate about the issue at hand had been so contentious at times the entire Maryland delegation had walked out in protest a month earlier.

Totals were tabulated a tad differently in that Philadelphia hall than they are in the current American congress. Each colony, or state had a single vote, no matter how many people lived within its borders. Internal polls were taken within the delegations which ranged in number from three to seven. If a majority of say, New Jersey delegates were in favor of a proposal, New Jersey voted yea. If not, the state voted no.

The vote that day was on a resolution to sever all political ties between the thirteen colonies and Great Britain. It passed 12-0 in favor, with one abstention. The result thrilled John Adams so much he wrote his wife a letter telling her, July 2nd was destined to become a great American holiday. You know, there would be parades, NASCAR races, baseball games, kegs of beer, brats on the grill, and fireworks booming overhead at night.


On the 4th of July, after a day of heavy editing, during which, according to Wikipedia, about 25% of the text was deleted, a final draft of sorts was approved by congress and sent to the printers. On the 19th another minor change was made to reflect New York's belated yes vote, which made the passage of the Declaration of Independence truly unanimous.

For reasons that remain unclear, America quickly settled on the middle of the three dates as its Independence Day.

Since then the declaration, much like the constitution, and the bible, has been used to justify almost every political and moral argument shouted from the rooftops within these United States.

As late as a couple of months ago Donald John Trump assured the graduating class of the right wing, evangelical, Liberty University, America is a "Christian nation." He used as proof the Declaration of Independence, which he noted, referenced, "our Creator," four different times.

Yeah, well, kind of.

Actually the word Creator appears once. That would be in the preamble whose primary author was John Adams, a Unitarian who didn't believe in the Trinity. It was a piece of work so radical and inflammatory its first reading had caused the Marylanders to take their temporary walk.

In the introduction there is a mention of, "...the laws of nature and nature's God." In the conclusion, Thomas Jefferson appealed to, "the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions," and pledged the new nation would pursue its course, "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence..."

The document doesn't contain a single mention of Jesus, or Christ, or, even the term, our Savior--all of which differentiates Christianity from various other religions who worship a Deity, or Deities. In other words, while the majority American citizens at the time might have been Christian, the founding fathers, despite what Don Trump and others say, didn't specifically embrace Christianity, or any other faith. In fact they went out of their way to avoid doing just that.

But hey, a little truth has never stopped a rousing speech delivered to a mob ready to hear how righteous their history and therefore their cause is. If you want proof, just ask the Germans.

Given these circumstances one can only imagine how fast Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest are spinning in their graves right now. They may have been a flawed lot, but unlike the current resident in the White House and his minions, they relied on reason and brains, not lies, grotesque bluster, and revisionist theological propaganda to make their point and, ultimately, history.

Thank the Supreme Judge of the world they didn't.

sic vita est


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Donald Trump: Respect is For Pussies--Fear and Loathing is What Counts

"Our culture has gotten way too mean and too rough."

Future First Lady, Melania Trump--November, 2016

I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly about me. (Don't watch anymore) Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika along with Psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face lift. I said no!

Donald John Trump on Twitter this morning.

Yes, the man in control of the largest, most deadly, military in the world continues to prove he has the maturity, emotional stability and mental capacity of a 10 year old playground thug.

The difference, primarily, being, Donald Trump has a bunch of babbling shills working for him who attempt to explain to the world the true meanings of his early morning juvenile taunts and insults and why they happen.

Earlier today Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a Fox news commentator, the current resident of the White House, "...would not be bullied by outrageous personal attacks from the liberal media, liberal elites within the media, and Hollywood, or anyone else."

That's the ticket Sarah. Accuse everyone else of being guilty of the same crude behavior the boss constantly displays, portray him as the put upon victim, then play to the base by blaming everything on the ultimate boogie-men--the media, elites, and Hollywood. Doktor Goebbels couldn't have done it any better himself in those heady days when Herr Hitler was consolidating power.

On another front, the First Lady put her alleged campaign against cyber-bullying aside long enough to have a spokesperson issue a statement. It read, "As the First Lady has stated publicly--When her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder." Of course after her husband made the initial crack about Mexico sending the U.S. their, "criminals and rapists," she said, "I don't think he insulted the Mexicans," so her judgement in this area might be considered suspect.

Others weren't as forgiving. After this morning's outburst. James Lankford, the junior republican Senator from Oklahoma said, "(The president) should model civility, honor and respect in our political rhetoric. The President's tweets today don't help our political, or national discussion and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue."

Lindsey Graham, R-SC said, "Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America."

One republican Senator from Nebraska was more succinct. Ben Sasse wrote, "Please, just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office."

Unfortunately for us all, normalcy and dignity are two ships that sailed as soon as Donald Trump glided down that shiny escalator to announce his candidacy so many months ago. So did civility and respect, but then neither of them ever existed in the hearts of the gruesome mobs who led his charge and remain solidly behind him. 

No, they actually like the mean-drunk, persona their man staggers around with. It is their idea of what American leadership should be. That's right, baby. Respect is for pussies--fear and loathing is what counts. 

We might as well face it. The Twitter assaults aren't going to cease. We know that. The man wakes up early and immediately downs a heavy dose of some mutant brew containing huge amounts of orange juice, caffeine, and meth. Then, before anyone can react, he grabs his phone and his thumbs begin to stab at the keys in a blur. No one can stop him. Don't you think his people would have already if they could?

Indeed--in this White House it's obvious any outright suggestion of sanity, or restraint is cause for immediate exile and everyone around El Donald knows it. They also know banishment will be followed by yet another storm of tweets accusing them of, not just disloyalty, but also lax personal hygiene and lascivious Trump envy.

Hey, that's how The Big Orange Guy rolls. And--it's what we get as long as there isn't a line he won't cross.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Trump in Cedar Rapids: Promising the Rubes What's All Ready Been Done, the Horror of Another Run By Hillary, and Just the Beginning of Sodomizing America

Here is what happened next. Donald Trump traveled out to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to make a speech. He did so because he's going to run for re-election in 2020 and it's never too early to campaign. Plus, quite honestly, speaking to something like 6,000 adoring fans is a drug to him. Standing at a podium in front of the wildly cheering rubes blunts the angst of misgivings far more effectively than powerful opioids. It snuffs out any glimmer of reservation about what he is doing and how he's doing it. It makes him whole again.

One of the things he told all those angry, put upon, white people was, "I believe the time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years."

The crowd went wild. People stood, cheering and clapping. Not a one of them doubted their man understood their frustrations and was willing to fight for them. Trump drank in their adulation. As always he stood surveying the room with seemingly half closed eyes, his chin jutted out in some weird, otherworldly, channeling of Benito Mussolini.

At this moment it is unclear whether Donald John Trump knows just such a law has been on the books for 20 years, or not. The raucous brown shirts in the crowd certainly didn't. In fact, given the level of ignorance in the hall when it comes to all things Washington, it is doubtful they would have believed, Bill Clinton signed the, "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act," in 1996 even if you showed them the document.

No--thanks to the right wing/alt news media which is the sole source of their knowledge when it comes to civic affairs and history, Trump's mob would have never bought it. Even if a few of them did actually know, you can bet they'd argue the The Great Liberal Cabal, makes sure the law is never enforced.

Therein lies the problem for anyone with the temerity to question Donald Trump and his vast band of ruthless, monosyllabic, fascists. Thanks to his supporter's deep conspiracy theory roots and a firm conviction America should be run by and for white Christians they wouldn't acknowledge the truth even if it kicked them in the balls.

Indeed, Trump simply makes shit up as he goes along--just as he did on the campaign last fall and in Cedar Rapids--and his base counts it all as gospel. There is no connect with reality for them, because their reality isn't actually real. It is a myth based belief system based on and fed by, outright racism, loathsome xenophobia and, faux patriotism.

That isn't to say there aren't enough sane people remaining in the republic to oust Donald Trump in 2020, because there are. Unfortunately, right now anyway, there isn't a single democrat out there who can win their votes.

Screw the alleged divisions in the republican party. Their disagreements are only about how blatant the fucking will be and who will end up making the most profit from it.

The terrible truth is it's the democrats who are suffering a void in both leadership and policy. Name one democratic proposal in the last year which has caught the imagination of anyone outside of a college student looking for a tuition free public college education? Name one democrat who can make a crowd roar to life like Donald Trump?

The left wing of the democratic party scares the bejeezus out of every American who had it drilled into them a lurch toward socialism is apocalyptic--and that's a lot of everyone born before the year 2000. The centrists on the other hand represent a squalid status quo which reeks of empty rhetoric and delivers few, if any, solutions to those who have gone from making cars to frying burgers.

There is simply no one out there who can unite these disparate wings of the democratic party, much less sway independent voters. The situation is so awful the horror of yet another Hillary Clinton run seems almost plausible. My God, you can almost hear her saying, "I tell you, Bill, the third time is the charm."

Yes, we can rail against Trump, make brutal fun of him, and accuse him of high crimes, both real and imagined, but we're stuck with the evil fucker.

And--unless democrats can find someone, anyone, who can energize uncommitted voters like he does his base, 2017 is just the beginning of what will become known in history as, The Sodomizing of America.

Trust me, I have a feel for these things.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Great Post Cinco de Mayo Spending Spree: Strangers Run Amok in Monterrey as the Bank Account Melts

Ah, technology. Where there is data, there is always some geek looking to steal it. Just ask Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. The Russians hacked into their computer files as easily as they might smash a porcelain piggy bank with a hammer. Then, before anyone could say Vladimir, all manner of confidential emails, many altered and some not, were buzzing around the internet. Shortly afterward the former Secretary of State and those of us with functioning intellects were fucked.

But, hey, that's another story which has been well documented far and wide.

What we are talking about right now began last Wednesday, or Thursday and is far more immediate and personal.

On Wednesday my wife paid for a visit to her eye doctor with her bank debit card. On Thursday she used it to pick up stamps from a machine in a U.S. Post Office lobby and later to buy some sublimely greasy grub from a local Sonic Drive-in.

At one of those three places, or in between, someone with a Bernie Madoff Super Secret Deluxe Credit Card Scanner managed to pick up her card number and expiration date without ever touching the card itself, or her.

That person, we're told, immediately sold the information over the net to some other son of a bitch who, with very little effort, copied and pasted the account number to a blank Interjet check card and a CBA, "youth credit card." Interjet is an airline serving U.S. locations, Mexico, and the Caribbean, while CBA is a bank located in Kenya.

By last Friday morning this second person, or persons were loose in Monterrey, Mexico and other points south having the time of their lives. Meanwhile our checking account was melting away like an ice cube on a hot sidewalk.

There was a cash withdraw of $200 with the Interjet card in Toluca which is west of Mexico City. Then a $30 withdraw on the CBA card in Monterrey. There was also a $30 charge to a hospital in San Pedro, which is a part of the Monterrey metro area and an $80 plus hit at a Guadalajara pharmacy.

To celebrate the treatment of what we can only hope is an extremely painful disease, or injury, plus the procurement of God knows what kind of opiates, a shopping trip to a Monterrey department store ran up a $100 tab. Finally, to top off the occasion there was lunch at a Monterrey Burger King which cost $12. Every buy was accompanied by international banking fees ranging from $6 to .37 cents. It all happened within 15 hours of the visit to the Sonic.

That's where The Screw The Howards Express stopped. It wasn't the bank who discovered the run amok fraud. Oh no. Despite previous stern warnings that if we traveled out of country without notifying them first our cards would be shut off as soon we attempted to use them, Bank of Oklahoma happily deducted every sale from our account--no questions asked. Indeed, I just happened to look online to see if a recent check had gone through and there before me was the post Cinco de Mayo spending spree happening in real time.

The desperate phone calls began immediately Friday and didn't end until this morning. The bank canceled the card at once. However it took a personal visit to a local branch and the crudest sort of threats--"Listen, I'll sic Jim Comey on your ass. The man is a professional when it comes to these things!"--before the technocrats in command of the great computer finally issued us, "provisional credits," covering the charges. The permanent refunds won't be applied until some latter day bank dick decides my wife and I didn't actually fly off to Toluca for a Thursday and Friday orgy of sex, drugs, and mariachi.

Yes, it is a brave new world. Who needs guns when you have a brain, the right sort of electronics, and the morals of Don Trump? Just swoop in, swoop out, and let the machines do the rest. Well, except eat the Whopper and fries.

Suddenly living off the grid sounds, not just appealing, but advisable. So much so a cabana on the east side of Ambergris Caye looks to be the only viable option at this time.

sic vita est