Bad Behavior

No matter how hard I try to avoid it, politics continue to suck me in.

My first draft of this post assumed you’d heard about our Fearful Leader’s latest faux pas. Then I realized that even if you have, by the time the post goes live, he’ll have committed at least two or three more. So let’s be more explicit.

So perhaps you’ve heard how You Know Who behaved in a meeting with Congressional leaders over the current government shutdown? If you missed it, he again revealed his total inability to negotiate. When the House Democrats again refused to submit to his flat demands, he slapped the table and walked out of the meeting.

I just have one question.

That’s not acceptable behavior in any context. Not in business, not in social life, and certainly not in politics. Though, given Trump’s love of everything Russian, I’m surprised he didn’t take off his shoe and pound that on the table. But I digress.

The question is why his supporters condone this sort of behavior. If their kid demanded a raise in their allowance, slapped the kitchen table, and stormed out of the room, would they praise their negotiating tactics and give them the money? Would they go into a job interview, insist they be hired immediately, slam their fist on the table, and leave, then expect to be called back and put to work?

So why do they continue to say he’s a wonderful negotiator, a great president, and absolutely should get his giant Lego set?

Moving on. Not very far, though.

I can’t help but feel a certain amount of schadenfreude over the situation Chipotle is in. Because, let’s face it, they brought it on themselves.

In case you’ve missed it, this has nothing to do with the Salmonella Story–that just reduces whatever small amount of sympathy I might have had for them. This is about claims of wage theft, corporately sanctioned policies that forced workers to work without pay.

The case goes back to 2013. More than 10,000 current and former workers filed suit and attempted to have the case certified as a class action. In response, Chipotle adopted a mandatory arbitration provision for all new hires, and last summer roughly a quarter of the complainers were required to drop out of the suit and go to arbitration.

The result? Not only is the suit continuing on behalf of the workers who were hired before the arbitration clause was added to contracts, but now Chipotle is facing hundreds, possibly thousands, of arbitration cases–which it may have to pay for itself.

All they’ve accomplished is a temporary delay in the main suit and increased their own potential financial burden.

At this point, they’ve probably spent more money on their legal maneuverings than they would have shelled out if they’d simply settled the case when it was first filed. Or–assuming there’s merit in the claims–if they’d just treated their workers fairly.

I can’t help but wonder if Chipotle’s executives have gone to the same school of negotiation as Fearful Leader.

Two Things

I don’t want to make this another political post, but there’s one thing I feel obligated to say: It’s not over!

Seriously, folks. I’m seeing a lot of celebration over the Manafort conviction and the Cohen plea deal. And yes, they’re worth celebrating.

But it’s not, as many columnists seem to think, the end of Trump. Case in point, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote that “the president’s strategy of diversion and evasion collapsed.”

Which president has he been looking at? Has he read any of Trump’s tweets over the last couple of days? Or any statement coming out of the White House over the last year and a half? This is an administration that runs on denial, obfuscation, and lies.

Has any Republican in Congress snapped out of his paralysis and done anything more concrete than expressing cautious concern? Not that I’ve heard about. Has there been any sign of Republican pushback against Brett Kavanaugh? Not that’s been reported in any news source I’ve got access to.

Until we see Republicans taking action against Trump–or until Democrats control both the House and the Senate–not only is Trump not done for, it’s not even the beginning of the end.

‘Nuff said.

Moving on to something more cheerful.

The affinity between cats and boxes is well known. I–along with every other blogger since the Internet was created–have written about it before.

You can find pictures of cats in boxes with little trouble. Cats in shipping boxes, cats in cereal boxes, and on and on.

But nobody has come up with a box specifically designed for cats to sit in. Until now, anyway.

That’s right. Scott Salzman has, according to the Longmont Times-Call run a successful Kickstarter to launch sales of his purpose-built cat-sitting boxes (not to be confused with the sort of cat boxes normally filled with litter).

That’s right. For a measly ten bucks, you can now offer your cats a box built just for them. No more secondhand, used boxes!

My prediction? Your cats will completely ignore the “Purrfect Cat Box” you buy them, and instead play with the packaging it was shipped in.

Final Straw

I don’t usually talk politics here. Generally, I prefer to keep the blog a respite from all the crap we face in our daily lives*. I may gripe a lot–especially about poorly thought-out technology–but it’s rarely a matter of life and death; you can read a post, hopefully snicker at the snark, and move on, safe in the knowledge that the world won’t be appreciably worse if you disagree with me.

* Note to any agents reading this: I think my novels fall into the same category. If you think there’s a place in publishing for stories that let readers escape their cares and woes, let’s talk.

But sometimes the piles of poop get too big and I need to vent.

I don’t expect to say anything you haven’t heard before. If you don’t want to read my political rant, feel free to skip today’s post. There will be toe beans tomorrow.

If there aren’t toe beans, it’s because I’ve been hauled off by the Gestapo. Check with ICE. Think that’s unlikely? Think again. We’re seeing more and more reports of Immigration actions hundreds of miles away from any border. Actions featuring demands for proof of citizenship from anyone who isn’t clearly “our sort,” i.e. a white male.

And yes, I am a white male. But I’ve often been asked if I’m Puerto Rican. That’s “other” enough that I might well be stopped and questioned. I don’t know about you, but I don’t routinely carry proof of citizenship. I’m not even sure what is considered proof today. A driver’s license isn’t. Is a passport? Or would I be better off carrying a picture of Trump’s ass so I could kiss it if questioned?

But I’m digressing slightly.

It’s not the Supreme Court’s triple-whammy on unions, abortion, and travel earlier this week. It’s not even Justice Kennedy’s announced retirement. It’s the current administration’s determination to lie, cheat, steal, and shit all over anything that might stand in their way.

If you think there’s any chance of Justice Kennedy’s seat remaining open until after the November elections–much less until the new Congress is seating in January–you really haven’t been paying attention. He retires July 31. I expect the first confirmation hearing before the Senate recesses on August 6.

Hell, it might even happen before his retirement. I fully expect the nomination of his replacement to be fast-tracked. After all, the Republican machine has a perfect excuse. Remember how bad for the country it was in 2016 when those awful Democrats and that horrible fake president refused to appoint a successor to Justice Scalia?

Don’t laugh. Everything else gets blamed on the Democrats. I’m amazed this hasn’t yet.

And that’s my point.

Part of that lying, cheating, stealing, and crapping is to immediately blame everything on the previous administration. Why? Because the tactic works. Over and over again, the opposition gets caught up in debunking the lies, and the actual issue gets lost.

Hey, here’s a charming little scenario for you. The current Supreme Court just demonstrated their willingness to accept “National Security” as an excuse for unconstitutional actions. The next court isn’t going to be less willing.

So, Justice Kennedy retires July 31. A new justice is rammed through the Senate at the beginning of August. Along about October 15, the White House issues an executive order citing potential foreign interference with the November elections. “As such, in order to safeguard America’s precious liberty, elections will be suspended until their security can be guaranteed.”

Let’s be blunt here. It could happen. And if it does, all the evidence we have–everything that’s happened over the past year and a half–shows that Congress and the Supreme Court will go along with it. Oh, sure, there would be plenty of Republicans expressing grave doubts about the consequences, even condemning the president. But there wouldn’t be any Republican action to override the order, and nothing offered by the Democrats would be allowed onto the floor.

At this point, I consider anyone who continues to self-identify as a Republican part of the problem. I don’t care whether they voted for Trump. Every Republican in Congress is part of the problem. Ditto Republican officials at the state level. They’re supported by Republican fund-raisers. They get votes from party members who–even if they held their noses and voted against Trump–continue to vote Republican tickets.

And anyone who thinks they can “take back” the Republican Party is living in a dream world. It’s gone.

There’s only one solution. If there’s an election in November, vote them out. And in the meantime, don’t get distracted by today’s crisis, tomorrow’s uproar, or next week’s revelation. Half of them are going to be manufactured as distractions from the previous fusses, and the rest are repetitions of one single idea: “We–us, the people in power–own the rest of you. You’re working for our benefit, and if you don’t like it, you can drop dead. We’ll even sell you the gun.”

Don’t argue. It just gives them another opportunity to lie.

Don’t rebut the lies. It only makes them stronger, in the same way a song you hear over and over turns into an earworm.

Between now and November, pick an issue. One issue. Clean water to Flint (or Puerto Rico). Asylum-seekers illegally detained. Police violence against minorities. Whatever is most important to you. Do what you can on that one issue. Don’t let yourself get distracted by any other crisis. There are enough of us to deal with everything–you don’t have to do it all yourself.

And on November 6, get your ass to the polls and vote. Vote your conscience. No politeness. No “Give him a chance.” No “He’s not really as bad as all that.” Just no.