Trump Response to Puerto Rico is Simply Deranged

trump, puerto rico

Clete Wetli, Contributor

It’s tough to accept that there are still so many stupid peoples in our country that worship at the gaudy sham altar of Trump, but even if you’ve only got two brain cells to rub together, then you must admit that his shitty tweets to the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico are literally deranged. There is no justification or excuse for Trump’s words. There’s no apology or media spin that makes it any better.

We’ve painfully endured his obvious incompetence and unbridled narcissism for almost a year. We’ve watched the verbal diarrhea of lies spew from his lips every day since he soiled the oath of office. We’ve gasped as he and his staff have violated every code of ethics and sullied every governmental promise. Yet, his juvenile tweets disparaging the Americans in Puerto Rico has fully shown that his low has no limits, and that his conscience is nonexistent.

Donald Trump is legitimately and irreparably mentally ill. Professionals know this but don’t want to say for fear of political retribution. In your heart, you know this, too. He requires mental health care, and due to his age, it’s not likely to make any substantive difference. He is consumed with pathological narcissism (See DSM-V diagnosis) and he has no real, workable sense of morality. Trump has always been this way in his past and will always be this way until he dies. Aside from his twisted affection for his eldest daughter, Trump shows no love or loyalty to anyone but himself.

People are suffering and dying in Puerto Rico. Trump hasn’t listened to them and he is failing to help them. He’s made excuses and he’s pretended, like always, that his efforts have been a success in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Fuck, he’s angrily blaming the victims of a hurricane that destroyed an entire island. He’s vilifying a leader who’s waded through floodwaters to help her people. He’s beyond disgusting, beyond wrong.

He is ostensibly a fraud and truly a despicable human being. Folks can try to explain away his reprehensible past, but they’ll never be able to justify what he’s doing now. He is not worthy of an ounce of respect and he defiles the presidency. He is nothing more than a bully and nothing less than vulgar entitled prick.

After the charlatan was elected, so many people implored me to give him a chance; swearing that he would rise somehow to the demands of leadership. I honestly had no choice and I watched with deep skepticism. At every turn, he not only failed, he found new ways to profane our democracy and the institutions we hold dear. With Trump, there have been many straws that would break any animal’s back, but Puerto Rico is now the thing that truly shows the deep affliction of his character and the emptiness of his soul.

There is no redemption for Trump. No way to make it better. People are dying and suffering and he could care less about their plight. He is a cruel joke that shows the world the worst of our country and what happens when self-governance is placed in the hands of fools.

Half of our country didn’t even bother to vote. Half don’t even know that the people of Puerto Rico are Americans. They, like Trump, don’t really give a shit about anything but themselves. Trump knows better, but chooses only to do whatever will play to his base and bolster his brand. This is Trump’s America and it shows how fragile our democracy is and why we must never let this happen again.

My heart goes out to Puerto Rico. We must never forget Trump’s response. Hopefully, this is a turning point for our nation.

Damned if you don’t

school, closings, weather

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Last night, we got the message that the City of Huntsville cancelled classes due to the potential of severe weather as Hurricane Irma was predicted to bring heavy rain and wind into the Tennessee Valley. The kids were jubilant, the adults not quite so much. Then, on social media there was great bitching and anguish over the decision. Most folks were very upset because they felt that the severe weather threat was overstated and that they were now forced into spending some unplanned time with their kids. They were irate because, in many cases, it would mean having to take a day off work presumably without pay.

The best part was inadvertently listening to WVNN conservative talk show host Dale Jackson picking it as his “Number One Thing You’ll Be talking About Today” and excoriating the school administrators for the decision by calling them cowards. I was scanning stations while I was coming back from the store with bread and milk so that we could make milk sandwiches should Armageddon begin. Mind you, Jackson has no kids, but he’s quick to disparage the school system for their decision to err on the side of abundant caution. He thinks the whole decision was based on their fear of lawsuits from angry parents.

I think too many parents would be angry no matter what decision they made. In this case, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey had already made an emergency declaration before the storm changed intensity and direction. This means that cancelling class would not require a “make-up” day. The school systems made their decision yesterday based on the forecast that included wind advisories and a tropical storm watch for the area. Of course, things changed and the forecast wasn’t entirely accurate.

Cue rage and rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth and cursing in foreign tongues! How dare they!! Yes, Dale Jackson was right, this is the number one thing you should talk about today- not disaster relief, not Equifax’s hack, not tax reform, not 9/11 memorials- yes, we should burn the effigies of school administrators and be sure they hear our feverish outrage!

Alrighty then. Now that your done foaming at the mouth, you may wish to consider that if this is, indeed, your number one issue for today, your life is darn good. I have a feeling that later in the day, that will change after your kids complain about being bored and not being able to go outside because it’s raining. Or, you’ll stay enraged like Dale Jackson, who remains completely unaffected by this issue, and gripe incessantly to ever person who’ll listen because that’s sort of y’alls happy place. Ooh, I bet your pissed I used the colloquial word “y’alls” in a sentence, too…

C’mon, whatever happened to our ability to just roll with things? I mean, they made a decision on the best information they had at the time and, yes, they erred on the side of abundant caution. I may be going out on a limb here, but I prefer that rationale over making decisions out of carelessly embracing risk or being completely unaware of severe weather threats or using a Magic 8 Ball for major decisions.

Yes, you will have to interact with your children if you’re able to pry the cell phones out of their hands. You will feel intense guilt as you binge watch Game of Thrones or whatever other non-productive thing you do on a Monday when you should be working. Some of you will even declare at 2:20 that it’s 5 O’clock somewhere. Eventually, your outrage will subside or it will grow as you begin to seriously contemplate a career change as a right-wing talk radio show host.

So, let’s lighten up on the school system. They’re doing the best they can. Those poor folks are truly damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Remember, they’re dealing with your genius angels every single day. Yeah, your genius angels and those bratty moron kids down the street, yet teachers have to do all of that completely sober. So, you’ll make it through this one unplanned day. Remember this afternoon that it’s probably 5’Oclock somewhere and toast the school for unplanned family time.

I wonder what Dale Jackson’s “Number One Thing” will be when he finally does have kids? Probably, complaining about how that Hawaiian Punch cartoon character on his kids juice boxes turned them into liberal snowflakes. Well, we can only hope.

Why Joel Osteen’s response to Harvey was wrong

joel, osteen, harvey, houston

Jerry Waters, Contributor

On social media, there has been relentless criticism of mega-church pastor Joel Osteen for not immediately declaring that the enormous church could be used as a public shelter for Hurricane Harvey flood victims. Osteen has said that the city didn’t ask for help until they realized the magnitude of the disaster and, now, the church has opened its doors in response to their request.

Most of the folks criticizing Osteen are doing so because they have deep disagreements with him about the validity of the ‘prosperity gospel’ themes that are central to his theology. Others despise Osteen because they take issue with a church leader amassing vast personal wealth which they believe contradicts the message of the Christian Bible.

Why does a man who claims he’s devoted his life to following Christ need a ten-million-dollar house and a yacht?

Personally, I think the ‘prosperity gospel’ is nothing more than excuse for greed, excess, and hypocrisy. It turns Christianity into a transactional process where good behavior is rewarded with wealth. To me, this is also incredibly vain and self-centered because believers of this theology really think that the Almighty is tuned into their every thought and action in order to reward or punish them. In fact, if you think about it, it’s exactly the opposite of the humility and selflessness that Jesus preached.

Followers of the ‘prosperity gospel’ are quick to say that amassing wealth is not sinful and that Jesus would not want his devout followers to be poor. Of course, anyone who’s read scripture knows that Jesus forsook wealth and went out of way to warn his followers by saying, “Truly, I tell you it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God…”

Well, I haven’t tried to push any camels through a needle’s eye, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they try it on ‘MythBusters’ next season and we’ll see how that works out.

Yet, I don’t think that Osteen’s wealth or his brand of Christianity is the actual problem in this situation. I mean, those factors were definitely responsible for the light-speed acceleration of social media vitriol, but they weren’t the spark that set off the explosion. I think that the spark was a failure of leadership.

Osteen’s problem was that he failed to properly communicate until after the situation became a PR nightmare and he was forced to respond. His city just got hit with historic flooding and he was silent until forced to speak. Perhaps, he wouldn’t be facing controversy if he had been proactive and told people that he had previously reached out to city officials. Perhaps, he could have offered other types of assistance to people that were looking to him for leadership.

Personally, I don’t care much for him, his religiosity, or his ostentatious display of wealth. I think he just failed as a public figure and as a leader in a time of crisis. Unfortunately, like other public figures that think highly of themselves, he won’t admit he made any mistake. He’s been doing interviews defending himself and doing lots of explaining.

Disasters tend to expose the reality of a person’s character. In the aftermath of Harvey, we’ll see tremendous acts of heroism and we’ll see people looting their neighbor’s house. We’ll see generosity and we’ll see price-gouging. It will all be on display and all too slowly things will get rebuilt and life will normalize.

Right now, people material help and they need leadership. When it came to leadership, Joel Osteen failed epically. If he’s not careful, God’s going to take one of his yachts away to teach him a lesson.

During Harvey some think price gouging OK

price, gouging, hurricane, harvey


Clete Wetli, Contributor

In Trumplandia, the lack of ethics, basic morality, common decency, and social norms have become a sad, new status quo. Yet, I had to look twice when I saw an article in Forbes that genuinely advocated and promoted price gouging during an historic natural disaster. Yeah, you heard that right.

Here’s the link to the piece written by Tim Worstall, a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute:

Basically, Worstall argues that price-gougers should be thanked rather than punished because the law of supply demand is helped when scarce resources are allocated to “more valuable uses”. In this case, Worstall contends the person that can afford $99 for a case of water in Houston is a “more valuable use” of that water than the person who dies of thirst because they only have $50. Of course, Mr. Worstall, what were we dumb liberals thinking? Certainly, people with more money are way more valuable than useless poor people.

Oh, he’s not done. Worstall ends his linguistic fellatio of unfettered capitalism by positing this brilliant gem, “Price gouging is the market’s get out of jail free card in the wake of a disaster, bringing supply and demand into accord–yet we try our damnedest to imprison people for employing our most effective tool. We really need to change the laws here.”

I know! I had to walk away from it a minute and let an insane torrent of profanity loose before I could address Worstall’s privileged, fraudulent syllogism and vulgar rationalization of human exploitation and unbridled greed.

The obvious counter to Worstall’s argument is that regardless of whatever economic theory he espouses at the ivory tower of Adam Smith Institute; he is a subhuman piece of shit with no moral compass or an iota of compassion if he thinks that it’s ok to deny people aid during a disaster because they can’t afford it. Perhaps, the only human being that might be worse would be Trump who allowed the Border Patrol to remain open during the hurricane evacuation in hopes of catching illegal immigrants that were fleeing for their lives. This is the butt-ugly truth behind the conservative love affair of the “free market”.

It’s in Worstall’s piece that you can plainly see how this embrace of unfettered and unregulated capitalism is foundational to the racism, the sexism, and the vilification of poverty that entwines modern conservative ideology and policy.

This is why Republicans voted against relief funding for Hurricane Sandy and it’s why the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina were insufficient. Conservatives are terrified that someone may get something for nothing or that someone they deem undeserving may get a benefit. This sick way of thinking goes beyond price-gouging advocacy or offset funding for disaster relief, it even shows up in stupid ways like demanding drug testing for food stamp recipients.

I’m a liberal because I’m a decent human being that cares about others. Scumbags like Tim Worstall are why I’m a loud activist that will fight to his dying day to keep people like him from inflicting damage on the world. There’s no good argument for price-gouging. There’s not a place on this earth or any imaginable situation in which profiting off the suffering of others is morally acceptable.

In the era of Trump, we’ve got to stand against this type of bullshit. This is the kind of garbage that fuels the white supremacists and other mental midgets that seek justification for their prejudice, xenophobia, and avarice.

Mr. Worstall, I don’t know you, but what you wrote appeals only to the extreme worst of human nature. Because of morally bankrupt assholes like you, we’re stuck with a President that’s the epitome of whoring selfishness.