The Inmates and the Asylum

Remember the old line about the inmates running the asylum? We’re so there.

Catherine Rampell’s recent column in the Washington Post spelled it out:

Time to trade in those red #MAGA caps, Trumpkins. If you want your headgear to fit in with the latest White House fashions, invest in some tinfoil.

From top to bottom, this administration has been infested with conspiracy theorists. Most appear to be true believers. Take Stephen K. Bannon and his anxieties about the “deep state,” or the recently ousted Michael Flynn and his propagation of suggestions that Hillary Clinton was tied to a child sex ring run out of a D.C. pizza parlor.

Others, such as Kellyanne Conway, appear to just be paranoiacs for pay.

Conway, as you’ll recall, says our microwaves are spying on us…. Then there’s Budget Director Mick Mulvaney , who shared his suspicions of his predecessor’s job reports:

We’ve thought for a long time, I did, that the Obama administration was manipulating the numbers in terms of the number of people in the workforce to make the unemployment rate, that percentage rate, look smaller than it actually was,” Mulvaney told CNN’s Jake Tapper. Mulvaney declined to say exactly how the numbers were being manipulated, saying the explanation might “bore people.”

In case you were concerned about this numerical manipulation, you will be pleased to know that when the numbers made Trump look good (or so he believed–he actually hadn’t been in office long enough to have an effect on employment one way or the other), they suddenly/magically became credible.

Rampell points to others in the administration who hold–how to put this?–unconventional ideas. There’s Scott Pruitt, of course, who dismisses settled science on climate change. There’s  Curtis Ellis, an appointee in the Labor Department who has argued that Democrats engage in “ethnic cleansing” of working-class whites. There’s Sid Bowdidge, a massage therapist with no discernible relevant credentials, appointed to the Energy Department, Rampell tells us, “despite tweeting that Muslims ought to be exterminated and Obama was related to radical Islamist terrorists”.

It’s hardly just coincidence that the Trump executive branch is rife with beliefs that are wholly disconnected from reality. Such beliefs were a foundation of his campaign. Of course this would be the talent he attracts. Not scientists, experts or others who believe in weighing evidence, but people who heard Trump’s many malicious lies and reckless insinuations — that vaccines cause autism, that Ted Cruz’s dad was connected to the JFK assassination, that Mexicans are flooding over the border to rape and kill, that Antonin Scalia and Vince Foster may have been murdered, that 3 million people voted illegally, that our first black president was born in Kenya — and said: “Sign me up!”

Not long after reading Rampell’s funny-but-sad-and-scary enumeration of the Trump Administration’s nutballs and conspiracy-theorists, I came across a report confirming her assertion that many Trump voters shared and applauded these sentiments. And worse.

Maricopa County burnished its reputation as the Trumpiest in America last weekend as hundreds of locals, including heavily armed militamen, white nationalists and even a few elected officials, gathered to support the 45th president. The ensuing “March for Trump” was as horrifying as it sounds.

Aside from the predictable misogyny, the continued calls to “lock her (Hillary Clinton) up,” and angry rejection of the notion that America has any obligation to take in refugees, there was lots of that “old time religion” aka unrepentant bigotry.

Some even dared to tell Dan Cohen of the Real News Network how they’d make America great again now that Trump is in office. And Muslims weren’t the only religious minority unwelcomed.

“If she’s Jewish, she should go back to her country,” a 13-year-old Trump supporter said of a protester.

“This is America, we don’t want Sharia law,” one attendee explained. “Christian country,” he added.

One man insisted that Senator John McCain was a “secret communist.”

Beam me up, Scotty!

Today’s deepest political schisms aren’t partisan, and they aren’t political in the traditional sense of that word. Americans aren’t arguing about policies, about different prescriptions for solving problems, or conflicting interpretations of constitutional restraints.

The reason we are having so much difficulty communicating is because today’s divisions are increasingly between people who live in the real world, and people who have long since lost touch with it.

And guess who’s running the show?


  1. Fox Noise, Rushbo and the band have had quite an affect on our nation.
    And the Reverend Pence has filled the government with as many right wing nut cases as he could find. Scary stuff.

  2. I’m still struggling with how to live sanely with nearly 4 more years of this act. I tuned out the news for awhile, but was drawn back in by the sad/comic WH briefings and KA Conway’s shtick. Maybe if any of the budget cuts that gut some basic services to some of these folks actually go through they’ll wake up. I’m not optimistic. Having Scotty beam me up may be the only solution.

  3. May I add that if you point this out, you are called a “snowflake”, or worse. As a progressive writer, I’ve been pointing this out for awhile now, and actually (secretly) supported a Trump victory for one reason (beyond the gawk factor), I suspect four years of Trump might wake up enough Americans to actually rebuild this democracy from the ground up.

    Most of my high school friends on social media blocked me years ago. Before they bailed, they wanted to know why I used the Confederate flag in posts when discussing the Tea Party. The demographics were well known about Trump’s followers nearly a decade ago.

    Yet, when Donald appointed all the Goldman chumps to his cabinet, I suspected we were watching the old marketing technique called, “bait and switch”.

    There is plenty of silliness and idiocy on the right, but be very careful about becoming an Establishment pawn. Plenty of books written about the Deep State and there are very reputable journalists covering real stories occurring below the surface noise.

    For one, Trump wants to make major cuts in the Central Intelligence Agency. I have several books which point out how the CIA has manipulated our media for decades. Their favorite media source is WaPo. Multiple authors and sources say the exact same thing. All the sources I’ve read have agreed that the CIA has enjoyed their inflated budgets and being the go-to agency for the Establishment. I expect they’ll use every weapon available in their arsenal to manipulate Americans in their favor, even if we don’t have a clue what it is. 🙂

  4. The inmates running the local Republican asylum, the state of Indiana, are waking up to the reality of their losses. About two years ago there was the brief dawning hope of renovation and reuse of long closed and shuttered Central State Hospital, an actual mental asylum here in Indianapolis (shut down with all other public mental health facilities by Democratic Gov. Evan Bayh). Local developer Mike Higbee, former Director of the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, offered viable development plans which would maintain this historical site (buildings and acreage) while putting it to a needed multi-faceted business/residential use…and add a major increase to local economy. Mike, where are you?

    Today’s edition of the Indianapolis Star reports specific inmate awakenings due to prospective heavy losses under Trump’s budget and national education plans for this state and this country. Front page; “Schools chief: ISTEP not for evals”, “In break from GOP thinking, superintendent says such scores aren’t useful in measuring teacher performances”. I view this as too little, too late from this particular superintendent to save or help our local education system but at the same time; too much, too soon before the DeVos plans for “God’s Kingdom” to be put into action along with all students being provided with vouchers to attend PRIVATE schools.

    Also on the front page; “Area may feel cuts of Trump budget ax”…yes, this Republican newspaper in this Republican city and state actually referred to “Trump’s budget ax”. The article refers to the massive increase in defense funding while “slashing a wide range of domestic programs, such as housing and transportation. The cuts likely would hit everything from a planned bus rapid transit line in Indianapolis to Hamilton County’s Meals on Wheels program.” It is my understanding that this would cut into CDBG funds everywhere used for Meals on Wheels in most states.

    Page 3, under the Metro heading; “Job cuts endure at factories despite Trump pressure”. Do I need to remind anyone of Trump’s pressurized interference in the Carrier situation; soon after resulting in outing his lie of saving 1,000 jobs (only 300, some temporary) but locking the state of Indiana into sacrificing millions of our tax dollars into this deliberate scam…prior to his election? His ineffective promise of economic security will now effect approximately 1,500 additional factory workers. Most of whom probably voted for Trump. If any of you watched the one-hour special on MSNBC with Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders Town Hall meeting with residents of the poorest county in West Virginia; you will easily make the connection between the few working coal miners and the remaining employed factory workers in Indiana.

    Todd Smekens: you must be a self-proclaimed progressive writer as I see nothing progressive in your words, you are also woefully misguided if you actually believe this county can survive four YEARS of Trump when we are collapsing internally and in the eyes of the world due to less than two MONTHS of his “deconstruction” of our government and democracy. Below I copied and pasted your comments so you wouldn’t/couldn’t be misquoted.

    “As a progressive writer, I’ve been pointing this out for awhile now, and actually (secretly) supported a Trump victory for one reason (beyond the gawk factor), I suspect four years of Trump might wake up enough Americans to actually rebuild this democracy from the ground up.”

  5. Tear it all down so we can build it back up. Repeal and replace. Deconstruct! Is there a Republican left in this country who thinks of their children and grandchildren’s future? Who thinks of the consequences of their policies beyond how they effect their own taxes? Who ever step outside of their suburban bubbles to experience the lives of those they exploit?

    Those inmates are not just in Washington and the State House; they are all around us sucking the life out of this country.

  6. Comparing 45 and his minions with inmates running the asylum does a great disservice to inmates and asylums everywhere.

  7. To demonstrate how my thinking has gone lately I heard a former Russian spy interviewed this morning who said that Putin must be enjoying what is happening in our country as our divisiveness is operating at fever pitch; that Putin is winning as we are at one another’s throats etc. Instead of thinking that the old spy was on to something, I immediately thought of it in terms of a Bannon-Trump plot to shut us up and to quietly accept Bannon’s New World while abandoning what is left of ours. It then further occurred to me that I am guilty of seeing a right winger behind every bush and that I am falling into the divisive trap fashioned by the Trump-Bannon-Putin power lust group so that they can fashion an authoritarian state out of the ensuing chaos we may be nearing today.
    My point is that we must somehow segregate fact in our world from fancy in Trump’s world and go from there based upon undergirding democratic principles we hold so dear while remaining open to alternative ideas but without succumbing to them in the interest of avoiding divisiveness – a daunting task to be sure – and one that requires a thoughtful scalpel rather than a Trumpian machete for such a delicate operation. Another civil war inspired by Putin in our leaderless country is not an option, but neither is a fascist state. There are other alternatives that can be peacefully selected, and my choice is a rejuvenated democracy which values people over Wall Street, a choice made at the polls and not in the streets.

  8. Gerald; in my estimation, the two most dangerous men on earth today are Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump. With Putin sitting on the sidelines; watching, waiting and keeping score to see who blinks first and sets off nuclear war. He will then move in to claim salvage rights and rebuild to suit his ego.

  9. In my opinion, the most-dangerous person in the world is the Fake President Donald Trump. If he’s awake … he’s lying. Everybody knows he’s lying, but nobody seems to know what to do about it. It seems plausible that a few bright attorneys should be able to come up with a justifiable cause to put Trump somewhere where he can’t hurt anybody. Not four years from today. Now!

  10. Perhaps this exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty summarizes the Trumpet and his Trumpeters. Sean Spicer reminds me of Humpty-Dumpty:

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!

    What has been obvious all long is the Trumpet is aggressive, egocentric, and arrogant. These character flaws make it impossible for him to perform any critical thought process analysis.

  11. Good way to explain things Louie. The question is will the damage from the gross incompetence be apparent enough in four years to send the whole tribe packing?

  12. Todd,

    ” Plenty of books written about the Deep State and there are very reputable journalists covering real stories occurring below the surface noise.”

    You know what you’re doing. Keep it up.

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