In a weekend that saw the tropics swirling with hurricane terror and a Saturday Night Live takedown of the first presidential debate earlier in the week featuring Alec Baldwin (Kill Street, anyone?!) and Kate McKinnon (the shimmy), you might think that the Donald Trump campaign should be mixing its news and humor distractions with a packet of B.C. Powder and some whisky while hiding in a dark room.

After all, Trump’s actual performance was more over-the-top than Baldwin’s grumpy sniffles (Clinton is almost unanimously considered to have trumped Trump in the debate). And when Trump took those “sniffles” to Twitter in the wee-hours of the morning, he managed to offend an entire gender and the entire Latin community with his attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

In no uncertain terms, he called her fat. In no uncertain terms, he brought up a sex-tape past on the beauty queen (which wasn’t a sex tape at all, really). In no uncertain terms, he came off as a terrible ogre with “temperament” problems. (Oh, also, he was in a soft-core Playboy video himself, and his current wife is splayed across the internet sans clothing for all the world to see.)

But then the early hours of Sunday morning arrived steeped in numbers and shouts of impropriety involving Mr. Trump, this time suggesting tax evasion, or somehow even worse, that he didn’t even care. As everyone knows by now, The New York Times “obtained” three pages of Trump’s tax returns – basically, his resume, as he doesn’t work; his money works for him – and just those three pages dating back two decades revealed the Trump we all knew was living under that combover.

This man is a fraud. This man is gaming the system. He may have hemorrhaged nearly $1 billion in 1995 – thereby allowing him the option to pay no taxes for 18 years thereafter via a loophole bigger than his breathing mouth – but, man, he sure does tell it like it is. And have you ever heard the word “dangerous” uttered without threat of libel so much in a U.S. political campaign? I haven’t. Fascist runs a close second. Asshole hangs in the wings.

The word that came as an even greater surprise, however, was the glowing text-jumble of “genius.” Surrogates of varying body shapes (because, men) stepped forward into the Sunday morning television morass to declare that Trump’s tax maneuvering – or rather that of his accountants – was a work of genius, a sign of leadership.

We are a country that is built on cheating the system, after all. Just ask Trump’s foundation, which, at last glance, was ordered by the courts to suspend operations. With Trump, there is no real layering, no onion skin; there is only the notion that if you ask a question that manages to penetrate his bravado, the answer is apparent. This is bad. This is the new nationalism, the new white power, the new white-collar power. And it’s frightening

So even as SNL manages to capture the spirit of the fall of America’s political discourse, the laughter is muted by your neighbors with Trump signs that look an awful lot like burning crosses. Dangerous isn’t even the half of it. Blow wind, blow.

Graham of salt

Gwen GrahamThere are some things we take for granted – posturing, political turmoil – and then there are the things we know we need to protect. U.S. Rep Gwen Graham – she of the Graham clan and future gubernatorial ambitions – came out swinging (mildly) on Oct. 1 at the Florida Springs Restoration Summit in Ocala.

“For decades – for decades – support for Florida’s environment knew no party lines,” Graham said, according to politico.com. “But unfortunately, we don’t see the same level of support from our state’s current administration.”

If it sounds like she’s just baiting the stream toward her own political ascent, it shouldn’t. Rather, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has spent a large part of his two terms dismantling all regulatory protections, especially those involving the environment.

“I’m ashamed when I hear Floridians say DEP stands for Don’t Expect Protection or Department of Environmental Pollution, and the governor should be ashamed, too,” Graham said.

Weeds grow

John MorganHere we go again. It seems like just a couple of years ago (it was) that we were all hiding behind the moneyed edifice of super-attorney John Morgan in hopes that he could push medical marijuana through the bricks of conservatism and into the mainstream via a constitutional amendment.

This week, the Tampa Bay Times reports that United for Care, the group for which Morgan is the hood ornament and Ben Pollara is the campaign manager, might be playing its cards just right for a 2016 victory. United for Care raised a blistering $222,141 last week, according to the Times, while its opposition Drug Free Florida only pulled in $250 in the same period. UFC seems to taking the safe route this time, spending only $144,780 in September compared to the $1.8 million being funneled into paranoia by Drug Free Florida.

Depending on which way the pendulum of crazy swings Nov. 8, Florida could have a progressive victory on its hands and some much needed aid for those suffering among us. Let’s do this.

The right sex

transgender-flagThough it should never have had to be a subject of political discourse, those afraid of their own identities (apparently) have made the transgender birth certificate battle into bait for the base, costing countless court fees in the process. Look out for the bathroom!

The Miami Herald reports that Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers gave up the ghost and ordered the state Department of Health to alter the birth certificate of a 15-year-old plaintiff’s to reflect his presenting gender. It should come as no surprise; a Broward judge asked the same last year, the paper reports, but those who hold the power of the certifying pen were cautious, because, well, they felt they had to be?

Regardless, all’s well that ends well. And if it took being “cautious” on the part of the Department of Health to come to an obvious conclusion, then maybe that caution will register with other powers that be in the future. And maybe we can all start playing fair.

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