SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Thursday January 17, 2019 - 02:36:00 PM

Donald Trump is trying every trick in the book to build his Wall on the southern border. He continues to falsely claim that "Islamic terrorists" and "M-16 gang members" are streaming across the border intent on doing harm to our nation.

But let's pause a moment to ask: What's the worst thing these fictive anti-American "terrorists" could be expected to do?

Attack our homeland and . . . shut down the government?

A Poem for Trump

Donald says he wants a Wall.

I say, "Give him four"—

with a bigly cot

and a chamber pot

and a padlock on the door.


DoD on Arrival 

If Trump resorts to declaring a national emergency and orders the Department of Defense to put down their rifles and pick up hammers to build his Border Boondoggle, we might have to rename our military establishment the Department of De Fence. 

A New Gnashional Anthem 

Gnashing your teeth over All Things Trump? How about starting the New Year with a revised Trump-era national anthem. Here's one try: 

My Country' 'Tis of Trump 

(With profound apologies to Samuel F. Smith, 1844) 

My country, 'tis of Trump, Big Wall around a dump, For thee I mourn. 

Land where my freedoms died, Thanks to our ruler's pride, 

From every minor slight, Tweet-storms rained his scorn. 

Cruel narcistocracy, Dearth of nobility, Thy reign I loathe 

Trump loves oil's rocks and drills, Trees felled for timber mills, 

Dismissing Mother Nature's needs, Climate Change? A hoax. 

Let pure greed swell the breeze, And all the poor folk freeze, Sweat-shops prolong. 

The press we excoriate, Tyrants we imitate, 

Critics we extirpate, Muslims don't belong. 

Where 'ere our flag's unfurled, Insults and taunts are hurled, Then come the bombs. 

Bomb-dropping, damn the costs, 

Targeting schools and mosques, 

US-made holocausts, From Syria to Sudan. 

Groper of beauty queens, porn stars and nubile teens, of thee I squeeze. 

Master of business deals, defaults and bankruptcies, 

Rubles-for-scruples schemes, Great Don our King. 

Imagine if the US Were to Become a Real Democracy 

In the aftermath of the problematic mid-term US elections, many people are arguing it's time to restore—and improve—the Voting Rights Act. Noting that, thanks to "massive voter suppression [and] the corruptive influence of money in politics, the last couple of elections have proven that our democracy is broken and must be fixed," CREDO Action, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Common Cause are demanding new laws that "put voting rights and voter protection front and center." 

Meanwhile, it doesn't take a Constitutional Amendment to dispatch with the Electoral College. It turns out that the means of directly accounting for presidential ballots can be determined by the states themselves and more than 30 states already are on track to circumvent the Electoral College by adopting National Popular Vote bills this year. Here's more information on how this union of the States can improve the state of the Union. 


In addition to a call for direct popular elections, I'd like to endorse one more campaign upgrade. In the future, anyone campaigning to claim the powers of Commander-in-Chief would not only need to submit to the traditional physical exam, they would also have to pass a thorough psychological vetting. 

Follow North Carolina's Example:  

Let's Re-do the Last Presidential Election 

In North Carolina, the mid-term voting process was so bolloxed—what with voter suppression, gerrymandering, closed voting stations, delayed counts, and stolen absentee ballots—that a decision was made to abandon any attempt at a fair recount and, instead, opt for a completely new, start-from-scratch election. 

But there was a rogue element to the deal. 

The local Republicans, troubled by the fact that their candidate didn't do so well in the polls, indicated that they now wishe to have a different, new-and-improved candidate to run in the Re-run of the Run-up to the Re-election. 

Now before we condemn the NC GOP for heedless self-advancement, let's consider the bigger picture. 

If this plan works for North Carolina, we could argue that it should work nationwide—not just to determine the outcome of local and congressional races that remain "too close to call" but on the biggest electoral prize of them all. 

Thanks to gerrymandering, voter suppression, Russian influence and the Electoral College, the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election also wound up as damaged goods. After all, the "winner" in that disputed election lost the popular vote by 3 million ballots. 

So let's use North Carolina as our guide. Let's not sit around and wait for the 2020 election—or an impeachment (whichever comes first). Let's call for a new, nationwide presidential election. 

As with North Carolina, it needn't even involve either of the original candidates. The GOP and the Dems could propose two completely new candidates. 

The GOP could chose to elevate Mike Pence, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. The Democrats could consider Bernie, Elizabeth, Beto, Tulsi, or even Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. 

Once You Know: How to Live in a Collapsing World 

Amir Soltani, the multi-talented director who created the moving Oakland-based documentary Dogtown Redemption (alternately heart-wrenching and joyful) recently shared some news about another powerful documentary now in the works. 

According to Soltani, French filmmaker Emmanuel Cappellin's Once you Know (Quand on Sait, in French), "a feature-length documentary on energy depletion, runaway climate change, and our capacity for personal and collective resilience in the face of collapse," is in its final stages of production. 

As Cappellin explains: "I've been directing and producing the film for 6 years, filming it in five countries [France, Bangladesh, China, Greece, and the US]. We are now in the final stages before its release in 2019, with only a couple shoots left to include in our current rough-cut of the film." Here's a trailer for the film: 


In Once You Know, Cappellin circles the globe, seeking out the scientists and visionaries most concerned with the challenge of adapting to change on a "collapsing world." The film focuses on five leading climate-change experts. 

Prominent French climatologist and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead-author Herve Le Treut shares his concerns for his children's future and hopes our adaptation to new climates could become a "time of democracy." 


Jean-Marc Jancovici, co-author of a book on climate change with Herve Le Treut, is an engineer, writer and lecturer who has expounded on the link between cheap fossil fuels and economic growth. 

American writer and Post-Carbon Institute founder Richard Heinberg invites Emmanuel to stay at his "energy-autonomous home" near San Francisco. 

IPCC adaptation expert Saleemul Huq shows Emmanuel the Bangladeshi people's resilience as they try to adapt to sea-level rise. 

German geographer Susanne Moser provides the "missing piece"—"a long-term narrative where transformation once again becomes possible." 

"If you think the film aligns with your own vision of what is a stake today," Cappellin tells The Planet, the filmmakers would appreciate help in completing "the last stretch of our independent production." 

A Kickstarter crowd-sourcing campaign ended on December 29 but the filmmakers can still receive tax-deductible donations through their fiscal sponsor SFFILM until March 2019. Meanwhile, non-tax-deductible donations can be made through, the film's website.