Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Heart Break High - Albuquerque's Highland High School

An Important Note to Visitors from MeanMesa

This post has been certified absolutely clean -- that is, to contain no reference to Donald Trump or to the Donald Trump for President campaign. The Superior Excellence Award Certification is posted to the left. This coveted seal of quality certifies that the post content following will be purely a MeanMesa opinion article, and that the post's content will be free of any mention of Donald Trump.

You can proceed with the full assurance that all the material presented here can be read and enjoyed without any concern whatsoever that the narrative will suddenly descend to include contemporary political material.

A Few Observations About US "Public Education"
Nothing about this is particularly mysterious.

Yes, the provisions for a public education system are, in fact, an implied element of the United States Constitution, insinuated there in hopes of providing a perpetually "well educated electorate." The Founders, understandably, embraced the idea that an educated, informed, interested electorate might serve as a real advantage for keeping this fragile democracy "on the tracks" in its future years.

A look around the US on the date of this posting reveals the obvious advantages these Founders had hoped that  this idea of theirs might provide, but it also exposes the stark dangers which visit when the educational effort fails. So, just forget all of that idea about the necessity of a "well educated electorate." We are now revealing the full weight of the consequences which almost inevitably arise when the "electorate" is not well educated or, for that matter, even particularly interested

What began as a "good idea" has evolved into an ugly, modern hybrid of local [state] and national financing, unionized teachers, dynastic "academic" bureaucrats. This great idea has become a political football soaking up mountains of money while producing only the sketchiest, most irritatingly obscure results. Worse, the task of providing a "public education" is now viewed from the right as a cash burning monstrosity and from the left as an unfinished effort at social engineering. When the lunatics of the prevailing religion add their voices, what emerges, MeanMesa must woefully concede, is, in fact, utterly incomprehensible.

Just a Few Specifics About Highland High School
in Albuquerque, New Mexico
In the "Land of Enchantment," this school is not particularly "enchanting."

No doubt some of MeanMesa's foreign visitors are already quite perplexed about the US public education system. With even so much as a "passing perusal" of the system's performance statistics the "big picture" such an observation painfully composes is an incomprehensible, incredibly expensive and shockingly ineffective modern, social nightmare. If it happens to look this way to you as you view it from a foreign country, relax -- it also looks like this to us, too.

Importantly, there is no exceptional feature of Highland High School which might present some sort of striking contrast to the typical US public education high school. The school, at least by Albuquerque standards, is huge. 

Unlike many modern high schools, Highland High School is comprised of numerous buildings -- including plenty of resources and infrastructure for all manner of athletics, of course. The school offers a "high school" version of ROTC, and the campus sports a beautiful "Olympic-plus" sized swimming pool.

A quick inquiry into MeanMesa's trusty GOOGLE provides the statistics which can "round out" the high school's "big picture."

Highland High School

  • Highland High School serves 1,558 students in grades 9 - 12.
  • The student:teacher ratio of 15:1 is lower than the NM average of 16:1.
  • Minority enrollment is 88% of the student body (majority Hispanic), which is more than the state average of 75%.
  • Highland High School operates within the Albuquerque School District.
  • Albuquerque School District's 64% graduation rate is lower than the NM state average of 72%.
  • The student population of 1558 students has declined by 6% over five years.
  • The teacher population of 102 teachers has stayed relatively flat over five years.
  • 1,558 students.
Albuquerque [Public] School District - APS

  • Albuquerque School District's student population of 93,202 students has stayed relatively flat over five years.
  • The district's graduation rate of 64% has decreased from 95% over five years.
  • The revenue/student of $10,580 in this district is less than the state average of $16,798. The district revenue/student has stayed relatively flat over four years.
  • The district's spending/student of $11,518 is less than the state average of $17,733. The district spending/student has grown by 10% over four years.
[All data and following descriptive graphs courtesy of 

Don't become confused or impatient. This point of this post to to share a painfully personal, very specific and quite immediate account of the "story of Robert."

Highland High School, New Mexico Politics
and State Funding
The prevailing economy in New Mexico complicates 
-- but can not excuse -- 
this "whirling dervish" of American public education.

New Mexico holds -- intermittently with a collection of other poverty ridden states -- various places in the "poorest states in the country" lists. These lists are calculated using various parameters, but the picture is still pretty clear. [Most of the "lists" suggest New Mexico is roughly #43rd poorest. 43. New Mexico - Median household income: $44,803 Population: 2,085,572 Unemployment rate: 6.5% Poverty rate: 21.3% - source Daily Mail/census]

Complicating this funding environment even more is the fact that the State of New Mexico relies heavily on extraction taxes from in-state oil production to finance State expenditures -- focused primarily on public education. Naturally, with a Republican Governess and a GOP controlled State House along with a truly pernicious infestation of ALEC looters, each dollar of the "education money" has to run the typical, ALEC induced "tax cut gauntlet" before it emerges from Santa Fe and makes it way to a public school.

Albuquerque and New Mexico High School Graduation Rate
When considered collectively, New Mexico high schools can "boast" -- currently -- of around  a 74% graduation rate. When Albuquerque high schools are considered by themselves, they can "boast" of around 64%.

Nestled comfortably in these figures, Highland High School's graduation rate for this year was unable to reach even as high as the 50% mark. KOB4, local television news for Albuquerque, delivered the latest graduation statistics for Highland High School [June 2016 - KOB4 News]:

APS graduation rates down again

"The worst rate in the district belonged to Highland High School, at 49 percent. Del Norte and Rio Grande were just ahead of Highland.

APS officials say students with attendance or behavioral issues who are switching schools and falling off-track hurt the rates. There were also chronic absences and students who abruptly moved away."

Albuquerque and New Mexico High School per Student Resource

On the "business end" of New Mexico public education we see that Albuquerque Public School District is "pulling in" well over $10,000 per student per year. Generalizing this figure to the "process" underway at Highland High School, provides the following, rough estimate of what it costs to run the thing for a school year.

1,558 Highland High School students population X $10,580 revenue per student
 = $16,483,640.

After presenting two additional relevant interesting statistics we'll be through this posting's "science" section.

1. New Mexico ranked 49th in national education report
By Robert Nott
January 8, 2015
The New Mexican
[Excerpted. Read the original article here/SantaFeNewMexican]

New Mexico ranks near the bottom in yet another national report on educational achievement.

Education Week’s Quality Counts released its annual state report card Thursday, and New Mexico earned a D. The state ranked 49th in the nation, ahead of Nevada and Mississippi. The report includes the District of Columbia.

This is Education Week’s 19th Quality Counts report card on states’ educational standings. In the past few years, New Mexico has moved up and down between an F in 2010 — the year before Gov. Susana Martinez took office — to a C in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and a D-plus last year.

2. Near the bottom in education results,
but NM is 25th in per student spending
June 28, 2013 
New Mexico Watchdog

New Mexico’s public school consistently rank at or near the bottom in national surveys, often leading to calls for more spending.
But in the most recent national study by the National Education Association, New Mexico ranks 25th in the nation — smack dab in the middle — in state expenditures per student.
“It doesn’t really surprise me,” said state Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, a retired teacher. “It’s really difficult to compare states, such as New Mexico and, say, Massachusetts … But the idea that we can fix education by simply increasing money is not the way to do it.”
So, New Mexico is spending at a rate which places the state in 29th position in the country, but New Mexico's public education "effort" keeps rolling in at the dismal depths when compared to national averages. By this time it should surprise no one that local resistance to standardized testing nearly resulted in students and parents igniting themselves in self-immolation to not only protest the tests, but to demand that they be abandoned.

It seems that lots of New Mexican parents simply didn't have the intestinal fortitude to face the facts about the educational performance of their students.

New Mexico educational outcomes are undeniably wretched. The respective school districts and unionized teachers have frantically spelled out -- over and over -- exactly whom must be blamed. Of course this litany of moans and excuses generally proposes that all of this is the fault of students and parents. At this point MeanMesa could easily commence with plenty of geriatric ranting and raving about the situation statewide, but this post is about Highland High School, specifically.

Even more specifically, this post is about Robert, one of Highland High School's most recent collateral damage -- that is, Robert has joined the ranks of Highland High School's "walking wounded." He is eighteen years old, he is now a permanent resident of Short Current Essays Galactic Headquarters and he has officially dropped out of high school.

Moving From the Graduating Class of 2016 Into
the Graduating Class of Never
All this might actually be shocking if somewhat fewer than
 50% of Robert's graduating class mates hadn't also dropped out by this time.

Maybe we are all just expecting too much. After burning through an annual budget of more than $16 million dollars, perhaps a 50% graduation rate doesn't really stand out as such a "really bad purchase" after all. 

Robert's Story

Robert was a student at Highland High School when he "turned eighteen," left the bad home situation
MeanMesa, Ryan
and Robert
where he had been living and moved into Galactic Head Quarters as a permanent resident. At this point his high school grades were already in bad shape. While he was here, MeanMesa, upon occasion, personally assisted Robert with his "high school homework." There was little question that Robert was, indeed, a frighteningly sharp kid who was systematically being stripped of all interest in practically everything by the "academic professionals" involved in his "education."

The homework was a shocking experience. It was so agonizingly peurile that it would have normally been discarded before being presented to students in the fourth grade. 

Most of Robert's homework was intended to be completed during class. MeanMesa is certain that this took away much of the teacher's burden of lecturing on something or other in any possibly interesting manner.

Robert was, at least theoretically, a senior at Highland High School. However, nothing about these "homework" assignments seemed to be consistent with that level of education. Robert's assignments had no apparent "connection" to anything one might normally consider to be something -- anything -- routinely meriting study in high school. This "relevance problem" was so great that MeanMesa found it rather difficult to assist him with this work.

Right away there also seemed to be a sort of "unusual" attendance problem. In order to be certain that Robert was, in fact, attending school at Highland High School, the following routine was adopted. Both MeanMesa AND Robert would arise each school day morning at 6:15 AM, the old man would make breakfast. By shortly after 7:00 AM Robert was walking the few blocks to school. 

Very shortly after this began it was clearly time to consult with the high school counselor about Robert's horrible grades. This meeting was fascinating. During this consultation the school counselor presented Robert's school records, pointing out that he was severely behind for class credits.

However, upon a closer examination, it became clear that these "class records" had omitted all class credits from an entire year of Robert's schooling. 

Not a problem. The counselor strongly suggested that even when adding these missing credits to Robert's record, there would still be very little chance of his graduating on time. Additionally, during this "counseling meeting," MeanMesa was officially "elevated" into the position of holding "educational responsibility" for Robert's education.

As a result of holding this position, MeanMesa began to receive daily robo-calls from Highland High School's attendance office informing the officially "educationally responsible" individual that Robert had been absent from the school's daily classes. But...Robert had not been absent. Another "contact" with the school counselor informed MeanMesa that these messages didn't, in fact, actually mean that Robert was missing from class, but instead, that he had not "participated" to a satisfactory degree as interpreted by the class's teacher.

Being determined not to "take these erroneous robo-calls too seriously" paid dividends later. They continued for months after Robert had officially dropped out of school. We have finally managed to stop these automatic nuisances -- each one filled with another mindless repetition of every manner of inaccurate information -- this week!

A major part of Robert's poor scholastic performance originated from the fact that he no Internet access at his home prior to his move to Galactic Head Quarters. There were, apparently, some clunky old computers at Highland High School, but -- according to Robert -- the waiting lines made completing this on-line World History homework essentially impossible.

MeanMesa corresponded with the distant instructor allegedly conducting this Internet history class -- by email, of course. In "oil field jargon" this could be fairly characterized as a "dry hole." All that was missing from this experience was the sudden appearance of The Mad Hatter [Alice in Wonderland].

Meanwhile, the credits from the "missing year" didn't seem to be any closer to appearing on Robert's official transcript.

Returning to the "educational responsibility" meeting with the high school counselor, the central idea of rectifying Robert's disastrous record is also of interest. The counselor strongly suggested that Robert should drop out of school, take a GED test and attempt to get into a local community college.

Ech-h-h-h! Highland High School's 50% drop out rate suddenly began to make much more sense. We took her advice. Now, we're on our own. We are enjoying the far more promising and optimistic possibilities of the new plan.

Can anything make this work?
Can anything replace the lost time wasted by students attending Highland High School?
Diploma or not, what kind of futures do we expect from this effort?

As MeanMesa looks at the $16,000,000 annual price tag for keeping this thing huffing and puffing as it careens forward along its perpetually self-neutralizing roller coaster tracks, there is no way to avoid thinking of the thousands or millions of families in the world who struggle mightily to pay to send their children to school for even the most simple education.

The Secretary of Education in the Martinez administration made the point. MeanMesa listened to her on the local news. Her comment after being confronted with the recent state wide test results indicating 20% proficiency in mathematics and 28% proficiency in reading and writing?

"Proficiency levels below 50% are not acceptable."

Okay. Take minute. Think of the 1,558 students and the $16 million dollars annually. Think about the third world family trying to raise money to educate their children. Think about what's going on at Highland High School when you are paying your taxes next year.

Yes. Please just think about it.

MeanMesa has posted plenty on the subject of education reform. Spend some reading time if you like. Winter's coming in this part of the world, so a collection of posts about education may be just the ticket for those cold afternoons.

High School studies at Highland High [image]

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Learning to Love The Trump

How I Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love the Bomb

A Very Cordial, Well Mannered,
Thoughtful Post With <almost
No Politics
Relax. Take a break! The BIG MONEY is quietly 
gearing up the free press to

Although it is now only August, every Fourth Estate "voice" with a microphone or a typewriter in America's vast, albeit useless, industrial, "free press" is already churning out an endless collection of compelling reasons why The Trump is a horrible person and must be soundly defeated [yes, "Trumped"] in November. MeanMesa, aside from admittedly suffering through the tedium and unavoidable ennui accompanying the hours of insipid media repetition, still essentially agrees with all these nasty comments.

Donald Trump is, indeed, a profoundly despicable creation. Further, this creation is the predictable, final result to be expected after decades of laborious, GOP, think tank driven, political manipulation "strategy" -- the Republican Party's version of a "cottage industry" -- established a fetid political "petri dish" which would inevitably produce either this Trump or another Trump just like him. Simply acknowledging the grotesque product of this work may be helpful but even such a careful effort might still fail to correctly establish the shockingly arcane reality of it.

However, while all these claims may "have some substance," there is growing evidence that what we see before our eyes is actually a monumental deception. The only reassuring element is that, if this is the case, even the oligarchs have been deceived right along with hundreds of millions of American voters. To explore this thoroughly, we must first dismiss the obvious details about the candidates and their campaigns and then look carefully for clues about what is really transpiring behind the scene.

So, holding true to this post's title, let's agree that wasting any more key strokes on discrediting the fool or applying even more lip stick to the "other candidate" is hardly necessary, relevant or constructive for our investigation. 

Instead, MeanMesa thinks that this may be an excellent moment to seek out a larger, more encompassing, "big picture" model of what's happening to the nation's democracy. We are unquestionably "sailing into uncharted waters" as we speak.

Let's try to track down what shadowy details of this "monumental deception" may actually be available to us, given what we can deduce from what we see so far. The "clouds" make this crime scene very, very, extremely foggy at this point.

[Blogger offered a new "gadget" which is now appearing at the top of each post on the blog. It is called "Featured Post." We will try it out for a few days to hear what the visitors think of it, then make a more permanent decision about continuing to use it.]

Deceptions which "simply jump out" as they are being revealed are the typical case. In such instances a little evidence -- sometimes only a fleeting glimpse of merely a single iota of evidence -- is sufficient to pique an unsettled curiosity and inspire further investigation. Unhappily, this comfortable situation is not the case with this one. Here, almost the opposite seems to be the case.

The specific "evidence" which has piqued MeanMesa's geriatric curiosity is actually not what would normally be considered "evidence" of much of anything...that is, anything specific. Instead, what we see appears to be one utterly non sequitur event after another. Don't be too hasty to pillory yourself as an out of control conspiracy maniac. MeanMesa smells plenty of unpleasant evidence lurking just below the innocent, chaotic surface of matters but still -- at this point -- remaining out of sight below some exquisitely fashioned fog.

We Always Begin With Motives.
Bill and Hillary always seemed to be such a...uh...nice couple.
To the Clintons, Trump probably looked a lot like the tooth fairy.

A Public Relation Genius' Dream of a Purple Heart??
[Watch it live - YOUTUBE]
Bill Clinton had PLENTY of bruises to settle with the Republican Party. His Presidency ushered in the GOP's current ideological tirade of not simply losing election after election, but consistently careening toward impeachment efforts as soon as possible after each humiliating defeat.

Bill Clinton has always been a political mastermind, yet, quietly sitting as an ex-President, his "opportunities for revenge" and his possible "opportunities to pursue his ambitions" before Hillary's candidacy were quite limited. However, as his wife entered the political scene as a potentially viable candidate, all his odds suddenly grew much better.

Given this "environment of blood enmity" between Clinton and the GOP billionaires' "rat pack," the motives for this current scheme can possibly be explained along two seemingly separate avenues:

1. Bill would love to have Hillary win, and Bill would love to return to the White House himself -- even as First Husband, and,
2. Bill Clinton would love to "get even" -- dealing a political death blow to his Republican tormentors.

Bill accurately appraised the condition of the GOP a few months ago when he was "encouraging" Donald Trump to "go ahead and run again." The tattered wreckage of the Republican brand exposed a serious vulnerability. The billionaires in charge of the Party had mortally over extended.

After years of financing the GOP's "private media," the billionaires' fantasy of a new, reactionary, illiterate voter base driven entirely by fear, mistrust, racism and anger had finally materialized. Clinton was faced with only the almost effortless -- and no doubt delightfully pleasant -- task of "setting the ball rolling," and Donald Trump presented the ultimate opportunity to do precisely this.

MeanMesa, always in search of a "lofty editorial" perch in such "ethically odorous" matters, is, of course, not speculating as to whether or not The Trump was "brought on board" with Bill's diabolical scheme. The likelihood of either of the alternative "guesses" is roughly the same.

Perhaps all MeanMesa visitors can now understand why this crotchety old blogger now concludes that:

This is a SET UP!

Well, probably not actually 
THAT much danger. [image]

Naturally, such an unlikely suspicion will require a review of "the quiet, subtle signs" of such a conspiracy's existence. Unhappily, there is very little more beyond a few "unusual observations" which can be added at this time. Happily, given the current state of things, even such a "Set Up" appears to have "plenty of positives."

A Quick Inventory of the 
Non-Political "Non-Evidence"
Yes, there may be a 
real mystery afoot here!
We can't explain it both ways.
Way Number 1:     What Trump is doing makes sense -- but only secretly.
Way Number 2:                What Trump is doing makes no sense,     and...
no amount of additional evidence will convince anyone
 that Trump is actually doing what he presently claims he is doing.

The basic "conspiracy theory" which is the subject of this MeanMesa post has been presented previously on this blog: 

[MeanMesa suggests that visitors who may not have already read it take a moment to have a look before returning here. It is the "Featured Post" presented at the top of this page thanks to blogger's fantastic new "gadget."]

With this conspiracy theory in mind, let's take a look at a few of the unusual, mysterious, inexplicable and awkwardly strange features of the Trump campaign. We can group these into roughly associated categories.

The Republican Party

The billionaire owners of the Republican Party had been "full steam ahead" in their efforts to create a well positioned "counter establishment" block in the Party's voter base. Their conclusion was that there were simply not enough "looting opportunities" loose in the Congress to share any of them with the "old guard" GOP establishment of banksters, hedgies and the traditional Country Club set.

After a few years of this effort the Tea Party emerged, but it lacked the "revolutionary fire" which would be necessary to finally usher the country into an appropriate mind set to become a permanent, dynastic oligarchy. Still, every hill billy and bigot had been groomed for an even more violently egregious role, and that crowd amounted to a 30% or 40% portion of the voting population which simply had to be used before it slowly evaporated.

Bill Clinton correctly saw this as a potential vulnerability, and he went for the throat. This plan has already inflicted damage on the GOP so severe that it will still be smoldering a decade from now. For the first time in a century is is neither maudlin nor tastelessly melodramatic to speculate about the actual, physical demise of the GOP.

The mysterious part of this is that the heavily invested, heretofore mighty GOP gang leaders either allowed it to develop or could not stop it from developing.

The mountains of money

A Presidential campaign costs LOTS of money. The 2012 budgets easily topped a billion dollars on each side of the race. Don't fool yourself. This money represents an investment, pure and simple. The people and corporations providing this money are not doing so because their "patriotism" drove them to it.

Right along with the monumental investment is the correspondingly larger pay out, that is, the "return on investment." Right, wrong or indifferent, controlling the White House is worth a LOT of money. The billionaires who finance the Super PACs and the campaigns expect to prosper mightily from these investments. The history of the process annually reaffirms this dismal observation.

When control either part of the Congress might also be delivered by such campaign contributions, the potential "return on investment" is expanded even more. Add in control of the Supreme Court, and the "return on investment" begins to look like a U-Haul full of jack hammers parked in front of the Treasury building.

Whether it should be or not, it IS a high stakes, big business game.

Now, to bring this into perspective, let's consider an allegorical example. 

The New Factory

Investors get together to finance a wonderful new factory. The local state government is "incentivized" to throw in publicly financed infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer utilities, and street lights. Additionally, some very sweet tax loop holes are added to "sweeten the pot."

8,000 buggy whips per hour. [image]
The new company spends hundreds of millions on a fabulous new office building. It is located just a few hundred feet from a fabulous new factory. A railroad company, anticipating a nice profit for shipping the factory's goods to market, contributes the ties and track to build a spur right to the new factory's loading dock. Hundreds of new employees are hired.

But then...nothing happens

A billion dollars has been invested in the sweet new set up, but the factory makes nothing. The trains never call. The executives in the new office building never make any decisions which might help the situation. In fact, there was never even any talk about possible manufactured products or innovative ideas of any sort.

This is a picture of the mutated Presidential race Bill Clinton has foisted upon his old Republican enemies. The Republican billionaires can do whatever they wish, but this is the scorched earth that presently occupies the gruesome wake of the Trump campaign. How did the GOP allow itself to be stranded with such an abomination?

Opportunity is everything

Even the barely aware among the Republican Party base is utterly languishing in the economic pit following the Great Republican Recession of 2008. The situation has been further aggravated by the crippling political obstruction implemented by the Republicans since then. These Republican base voters are in pain. They have been wounded, and they are not in a good state of mind.

The GOP "bought" some time with an intricate web work of villains identified in their media "blame game," but the shine has worn off that trinket now. Bill Clinton correctly anticipated this. He and his wife might effectively ease some of this lingering pain from the Oval Office, but before that, Bill intends to use it against the very people who created it.

It worked.

Party policy is practically nothing

The elevation of Trump to "candidate status" solved several of Hillary's [Bill's] "electability problems" at once. Remember -- both candidates had unfavorability ratings which would have, under more normal conditions, essentially eliminated a chance for a Presidential run. This played Bill's hand as craftily as "a fiddle."

Confronting all the reasons any voter might have for not casting a Clinton ballot -- psychological, conspiratorial, reputational or even a few furtive tastes of Mrs. Clinton's "insinuated policy" here and there --  was the constant, impossibly horrid, self-destructive alternative. 

The Kochs and a few other "big money interests" who have traditionally financed Republican candidates are still obsessed with reaping their profits from ugly developments such as the TPP and the Keystone XL pipeline, but neither of these issues is currently included in the tiny amount of "policy" being discussed by either side's campaign. The mindless Trump competition has also written a permanent "hall pass" for most of the discussion of wealth inequality, climate change, college loan debt or some sort of functional health care.

Frustrated with their dwindling prospects of owning the Oval Office, the billionaires are now moving to direct their wealth at purchasing GOP candidates in State races -- constituting a dangerous "flanking feint" which could extend the crippling paralysis we've seen during the Obama Administration into the Hillary Administration.

The candidate - a con man in his own mind

The script called for a
full automatic.
There is no telling exactly why Donald Trump has been acting out the way he has. If his calamitous demeanor as a candidate has, actually, been filling a character previously defined by Bill Clinton to elect his wife, MeanMesa is the first to conclude that not only is the "script" uncomfortably amateurish, but also that Trump's bumbling, maudlin execution of his role is horribly "over acted."

Still, considering the demographic crowd to which Trump's role must appeal, maybe not. The job of attracting random hill billies and bigots from trailer parks across the fly over states is a "different animal" than impressing more sophisticated types who might be more like theater critics.

A competent con man would know better than to ridicule the handicapped, demand that a crying baby be removed from a press event, attack fire chiefs trying to control crowds to comply with safety regulations, lurch into endless, petulant name calling [i.e. "crooked Hillary"] tease establishment figures in his political party [i.e. Paul Ryan], heckling a "gold star" family and -- whenever finding himself ankle deep in a self-induced political morass -- bravely "doubling down" to wildly and recklessly increase the damage to his campaign.

Relax. This is only going to hurt for a minute, say,
-- until November.
[image - Steve Sack, fB]
Comfort in "Troubled Waters"
Does this mean that the new oligarchy will be under Democratic control?

MeanMesa grudgingly accepts the now essentially inevitable prospect that the United States will be a "fully established" oligarchy within the next two Presidential terms. The billionaires currently own around 85% of everything in the country.

This "descent into the maelstrom" with Donald Trump in power would be violent and potentially fatal for the nation. The alternative is to "descend" with Hillary Clinton [Bill] at the helm. MeanMesa suggests -- perhaps over optimistically -- that the latter course will prove to be far less violent.