The Trump Presidential Library
Andy's Podcaster Podcasting Podcast #35
It’s Andy’s Podcaster Podcasting Podcast - EPISODE 35
Background noise - The garden - the cicadas of Brood X are reaching their climax.
Hello world. How you doing? As you can hear, the Periodical Cicadas are still here. I think they’re are starting to die now. The men at least. It’s not quite as magical as I found it last week. They have mated in the trees and the men are starting to fall down dead. I guess we are slowly moving into the time of the legendary cicada rain. A rain of insect corpses. Not going to be fun clearing out the gutters in a few weeks. Saw some videos of people frying them up and eating them. Survivalist types and insect gourmands. Fair play to them. The FDA has even issued a warning that people with a shellfish allergy shouldn’t eat cicadas - they are related to shrimp and lobster. Yeah. I can see that. Midway through them shedding their shell they do look a bit like when they serve a lobster tail opened up and pushed out of the shell. Not sure I’m ready to start eating them yet though. But I respect you, if you do, harvesting the bounty of nature. When we lived in San Diego I went to see the Grunion Run one time - after finishing a nightshift - there these little sardine type fish, and thousands of them, come ashore to breed on full moon nights in June and July. And people make a little party of it and scooping them up and fry them on grills. It’s a lesser known SOCAL tradition. I went one time, after finishing a night shift, beautiful night. Torrey Pines beach. And one nice lot offered me a plate but although I love fresh fish, I turned it down. I don’t know. it was midnight on a beach, I wasn’t hungry. But I do sort of regret not actually sampling them. But cicadas, nah, I don’t think I’m going to have regrets about not eating these ugly little chaps. Doesn’t feel the same. One got in my sandal the other day, as I was walking, mid-stride. It popped under my toes. Yeah, it was as bad as it sounds. Although we probably do as a species need to start incorporating insects a lot more into the our food economy, to combat climate change and looming water shortages and stuff. Maybe bring them in to cattle feed, high protein toppings at Jamba Juice and Whole Foods, get some exclusive branding in for a few years before the Kirkland bulk bags of Locust Flour kicks in… But I’m not ready to start frying them up yet. Interesting to think about though. Where will cicadas fit in the food pyramid in fifty years? Right below the dead Ancient Egyptians I guess… what do you mean dead Egyptians are not in the food pyramid Andy - oh aren’t they? Well why is it a food pyramid them? Check mate Gordon Ramsey you sweary food muppet. So I guess - Brood X might be crawling out and onto the menu in 2040 or 2050. And - if any survivalist types or insect gourmands are listening, all you can eat cicadas at my gaff. I mean not cicadas - Land Shrimp. I’ll even give you spoon and a beer so you climb the ladder up the gutters. All you can eat Gutter Lobster. I’ll even throw in some BBQ sauce. The good stuff, Trader Joes. Carolina Gold, no wait if they are like lobster maybe just a squeeze of lemon and a drop of Kerrygold. Anyway come round, have a feast, clean my gutters… Kill two birds with one stone as it were. Stupid phrase that, everyone knows it’s easier to kill one bird with two stones. Anyway, to today’s show - you’ll be pleased to know that it all worked out - I got go check out the Trump Presidential Library - tell you all about it in a minute - kind of a focus group thing really, it’s not finished. Bunch of portacabins and tents at the moment on a building site out near John Foster Dulles. The airport. It’s mad that we have an airport named after a Nazi sympathizer - dude was literally called a traitor by Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg after WW2. Worked for Sullivan & Cromwell the big law firm that built the first multinational corporations, basically built the Blitzkrieg right up to the annexation of the Sudatenland. Lot of international metal resources moved around, wasn’t just German engineering ingenuity. Canada and others tried to stop it in the early 30’s. It’s all in The Brothers by Stephen Kinzer, great book. Anyway, I was a bit skeptical when Hedge gave me the plans for the Trump Presidential Library - I thought, he was trying to trick me again but no. It’s a thing. The plans were mad and they’ve got McKinsey and co working on it with the Smithsonian and The National Archives and some America First super pac that is already raising millions for it from the Trump Zombie Cult in Fox news land. The original Presidential Library remit is that they are supposed to be the repositories of all the documents of a Presidency - in one place, a sort of Library come museum - but from Nixon and then into Bush years they’ve slowly become more destination museums like with interactive exhibits. The DUBYA one in Dallas with its state of the art Situation Room that lets you role play in a very ridiculous and closed way the decisions and behaviors of his responses from 9/11 to Katrina, and of course, you make choices that deviate from what Bush did and surprise surprise America dies. It’s mad mad propaganda rehabilitating American leadership. SO of course the Trump Library is always going to be way fucking more crazy and HUGE. And it’s out on this dodgy piece of land out by Nazi collaborator Dulles Airport. So I was still sort of thinking it might be another FLANU-ARY set up from Hedge. But no. There was an email in the document dump asking for volunteers and I answered call and it all worked out. And Hedge is well jealous I got to go too, which is another bonus.
Voicemail - andy’s phone message - ‘this is andy’s phone - leave a message.’
SWID-MAN - you lucky bastard! As far as I can tell… the library tour looks LEGIT. I’m guessing, given the last President’s track record, that he just flat out fired folks and pressured the National Archives into being involved with building this prototype. It’s obviously a huge boondoggle, just another way of scamming money from the government. Classic Trump. So… yeah… it looks like it’s been thrown up on this strange parcel of land out by Dulles - probably owned by him or a or a Republican shell company conjured out of restructured blood money or something. The usual M.O. And he’s probably already billed the government a thousand times over the market price to lease the land for a few years. I bet they already used it to pay off more lawyers and hookers. And we’ll never find out because you can’t audit the Pentagon just like there’s no oversight of all the insider trading. You know, they probably only dragged the National Archives and Smithsonian in to it as payback for them not totally playing along with the BIG LIE about the size of his inauguration crowd… So… Yeah… I’m glad you’re going… Just do your best, record everything. I honestly don’t think they’ll stop you… it’s probably best not to mention me or the Shoe Council or… how you saw the plans… BUT DON’T WORRY… I really don’t think it will matter but you know… best to err on the side of caution, But obviously don’t mention your politics or your podcast. But really don’t worry about it, I’m like 90% sure it has only been built because someone at Archives knows it is a graft in progress and it’s a Bureaucratic Stand-Off that has forced them into completing some semblance of the project to cover their hideous middle management asses because they don’t have the balls to go full WHISTLEBLOWER… because their kids Montessori school payment is due and the Shore House needs a new deck or something, all the usual million entrapments that link us all in DC to this dying organism of greed. Honestly, I see this all the time. I’m sure McKinsey and Trump would like to just pocket the money and fuck off - but here we are. It’s actually very special. You’re basically market testing a GENIUS SCAM. An archetypal living piece of American Propaganda. A Presidential Library for one of the most incompetent and corrupt administrations we’ve seen. You are one lucky fucking lab rat!
SFX - voicemail beep - dc street noise
I walked down 17th street to the White House. They said the bus would be waiting around the back, just beyond the South Lawn. On the road loop where they put the National Christmas Tree. I was going to be right on time. I was a very punctual person. The Renwick Art Gallery on the corner was advertising a folk art show called ‘The Appalachian Diaspora’. A large poster hanging stiffly from a lamp post promised strange delights. A skull face made from black lung x-rays. Photographs of Pay Day Loan neon burning brightly in the darkness of derelict malls. A gigantic sculpture of a pair of breasts made from reclaimed chewing gum. Of all the galleries in DC the Renwick was one of my favorites. A real weird uncle of a space, polishing up the scraps of the Smithsonian collection with a cheeky wink. Crouching on the doorstep of the Whitehouse but somehow holding itself aloof from the crowds and the swirling vortex of political theatre… I told myself, if the bus didn’t show up or if it looked like I was climbing into a nest of QAnon republican quislings - then I’d bail and go see this show instead. Maybe figure out what ‘reclaimed chewing gum’ actually was.
I walked down the street past the Eisenhower Building, and then cut across the grass around the back of the south lawn. I could see the bus in the middle of the big open space. There were a few people in line and a cop was stood a little ways off watching the whole thing in body armor with a helmet with go-pro type camera mounted on it. One nation under surveillance. I was born at a time when the only face matching was the board game Guess Who. I walked up to the bus. Only one of the people getting on was wearing a red MAGA hat so I joined the back of the line. It was a classic yellow school bus with a miss-spelled cardboard sign in the window that said ‘TRUMP LIBY’
sfx bus engine starting up and idling
I’d never been on a school bus before but I put my kids on one every morning. The plates said this one was from Virginia. Which made sense, since that was where we were going. In 2016 the CIA had borrowed a Virginia school bus just like this and filled its engine compartment with explosives for an alleged training exercise for bomb sniffing dogs. I think training hadn’t been going well and they had decided to inject a little realism into the exercise in case their dogs would do better using a Stanislavski Method of preparation. But it hadn’t worked and the bomb sniffing dogs had not discovered the explosives hidden in the engine cavity of the school bus. And the CIA forgot to remove the explosives and for a week afterwards some kids in Loudon County, Virginia, just over the border from DC, were driven to school in what can only be described as a large bomb on wheels. The explosives were only discovered when a county mechanic found them in a routine inspection. No harm done, I guess. The usual apologies were offered. I remember very little outrage, and no investigation as to who’s kids were exactly on or near that bus route. Just another in a long line of CIA fuck ups with the cloak of national security ever ready to hide their legacy of ashes and incompetence.
I got on the bus. The driver checked my drivers license and my Covid vaccination card and then wearily checked my name on a clip board. I noticed there were two more red hats on the bus as I made my way to a clear seat at the back but overall, the passengers seemed a real mixed group, of ages, races, genders and vibe. I’d expected the usual DC business attire, but even the assumed dress code was varied. There were sport jerseys, pant suits and even an Hawaiian shirt. I sat across from a guy in a Raven’s top who immediately introduced himself and started talking. His name was Stanley. He was from Baltimore. He was a retired janitor. A janitor eh, what were the odds? He was nervous and he peppered me with questions. Where was I from? What did I do? Did I think they were going to ask who we voted for? I buckled up for some chat. “Silver Spring, Boom Operator, Not sure.” He told me he had always voted for the President if I know what he meant. I said that I didn’t know what he meant. He said he’d voted Trump then Biden. That he’d always voted for the President like his daddy and his grand daddy before him. In fact his whole family had loved politics, ever since LBJ launched his War on Poverty - and his grand daddy had said - “About time - a war on poverty - where do we surrender?” I laughed. He asked what a Boom Operator was, I told him I held the big microphones on film sets. “What about them Ravens?” I said. “Maybe this year”, he said. “Can I ask your professional opinion as a retired janitor?” I said. “Sure”. “What do you think is ‘reclaimed chewing gum?” “Oh I know all about that.” “I’m sure you do.” “It was worse in the 80’s.” he said, “I was scraping it off everywhere.” “Why the 80’s?” “Why?” “Yeah - why the 80s?” “Hubba Bubba heyday,” he said. “Hubba Bubba heyday?” “Sure,” he said, “you might not know what Hubba Bubba is you not being from here.” “Oh I know Hubba Bubba. But yes, you caught me, I’m a British American. Sure, different cultural origins but I know Hubba Bubba. I bet you don’t know why the Ravens are the Ravens?” “Sure I do,” he said. “Edgar Allen Poe.” “Ok,” I said. “But did you know the Raven inspired the Poe raven was an english Raven owned by Charles Dickens?” “Christmas Carol Dickens?” he said. “Yeah, Christmas Carol Dickens. He owned a talking Raven called Grip that impressed Poe so much he wrote a whole poem about him.” “Wow,” said Stanley, “you learn something new everyday.” “Only if you want to,” I said. “I’ve got another question for you,” I said. “Have you ever made any sculptures out of reclaimed gum, figurines? Ravens? Busts of naked ladies? In the Hubba Bubba heyday perhaps?” “No,” he said and he turned away as if he thought I was making fun of him and stopped talking to me. I guess I’d discovered a new rule of conversational etiquette, don’t talk about religion or politics or reclaimed chewing gum folk art.
After a few minutes, the bus driver made an announcement. ‘I want you all to know that I know damn well how to spell Library. They didn’t give me a sign to use and I ran out of cardboard. They are not good people.’ I looked at Stanley. ‘Well, I’m glad he cleared that up,’ I said. “He’s a doctor,” said Stanley looking out of the window, “In his birth country.” “Good for him,” I said. The bus was quiet, I think we were all processing the drivers need to explain his handmade sign. I imagined how Stanley had found out he was a Dr. He’d probably been very early and peppered him with questions as he’d done so with me. After a while one more person got on the bus. Once he’d taken a seat the driver smiled at us all in the large rear view mirror. “Next Stop, The Trump Presidential Library.” About half the bus cheered. There was some issue with the Roosevelt Bridge so we had to take the Arlington Bridge across the Potomac. We drove slowly out of the City. Across the Mall, past the MLK statue and around Old Abe Lincoln, the marble giant looking so uncomfortable on his giant marble throne. Look upon my works ye racists and prepare. I wondered if someone had ever made a Lincoln out of reclaimed chewing gum. I bet they had at some time. I bet someone has spat out a big gob of Hubba Bubba in the heyday that looked exactly like Lincoln’s half moon face, with beard and stove pipe hat. I bet they’d remarked upon it to friends. Stuff like that probably happened all the time in the Hubba Bubba heyday. ‘I never did get round here,’ said Stanley absently to his reflection in the window as we passed the monuments. He clearly was one of those people who couldn’t stop talking. “The best statues are hidden, off the beaten track,” I told him. “Near MLK you have the FBI COINTELPRO one, in the bushes on the tidal basin you can look through a sniper rifle sight right at the centre of King’s big granite stone forehead. And then at the Korean one, at the back in the bushes, there’s a CIA Biological Weapons statue of a guy in a plague doctor mask scattering chicken feathers covered in Songo Fever. And then there’s the new one, in the sun up above the Vietnam Memorial, the Golden Bone Spurs on a plinth. It commemorates all the draft dodger Presidents, Bush, Clinton, Trump and Biden.” I wasn’t sure Stanley was listening anymore so I shut up but after awhile he spoke again.
“I wish I studied more history,” he said quietly to his own reflection in the bus window.
When we arrived at the library site there was another check-in desk. We were given name stickers and a small sort remote control box they called an ‘Emoji wand’ for recording how we felt about the exhibits. There were a bunch of emoji buttons on the wand, thumbs up, thumbs down, angry face, love heart, and we were told to press them whenever we felt the need to respond to anything we heard or felt or saw. And then we were let through to a small refreshment area. There was a big food table with Chick-fil-a nuggets in little rainbow cupcake wrappers and a bar sponsored by Budweiser giving out small cups of something they were calling their new American Craft Beer. It tasted just like their usual beer. There was a one man band dressed like Uncle Sam playing ‘I wish I was in Dixie’ with a drum and whistle. I ate some chicken and sipped some bud and a man called Chuck introduced himself and asked what I did. The perennial American question. I told him I was a Boom Operator, I identify and speculate around economic booms. Globally. He nodded his head and gave me his card. He worked in corporate realty. He said, ‘I think we can do business’. And then he left to get more chicken and hand out more of his cards. If you’re not networking, you’re not working. I watched him operate. He was quick, like an airborne plague. In ten minutes he must have hit half the tent. When he wandered into Stanley’s orbit I went closer. Stanley was talking to a couple of the red hat bros. “When LBJ announced the war on Poverty - we wanted to know where to surrender!” Chad handed the MAGA guys his cards but didn’t give one to Stanley. A woman from the checkin table, one of the host from McKinsey and Company, turned on a portable microphone and welcomed us again to the future home of phase one of the Trump Presidential Library. Her name was Cindy. She reminded us to press our emoji wands whenever we saw something we liked or something we didn’t like or something we loved. “We want to know how you are feeling about everything,” she said. “Your responses will fine tune the exhibits in the Library for decades to come.” We were led out of the refreshment tent and across a sort of building site into a large circus big top. The whole tent had been partitioned into rooms and spaces with trailers and booths and cubicles jammed with computers and exhibits. The lights went down and a big screen hanging from the top of room began to play a film. Pictures of Trump from his life set to stirring heroic music. Moments from The Apprentice interspaced with pictures of other Presidents and famous people from American History. A shot of Jackie Robinson. Henry Ford. MLK. A picture of Trump grinning and holding a wad of cash outside one of his bankrupt Jersey casinos. Neil Armstrong on the moon. Shots of him in the Oval office creating the Space Force. The music rose to a climax and then the words ’DONALD TRUMP - A REAL AMERICAN PRESIDENT’ appeared in a large tombstone type font on the screen. At some point I began to mash the angry face and thumbs down symbol on my emoji wand. Other people had begun to do the same. Little emojis began floating up the screen. They were mostly positive, lots of hearts and thumbs up. But my angry faces were there, and a few others I couldn’t have been responsible for. So I knew I wasn’t exactly alone. Out gunned, out numbered for sure but not alone. The film froze on a picture of Ivanka at the Whitehouse. It appeared to be some sort of glitch. But the Emoji’s were still working and the screen was soon flooded with hearts. I pressed thumbs down but they didn’t show up. Just more and more hearts flooded the screen. The film cut out and then started to play again from the beginning. And we went through the whole thing once more. I stopped using the emoji wand to register my disgust. It felt pointless and manipulative. There were even less dissenting emoji responses. It felt weird. like I was being used to train political engineers how to deliver more effective propaganda. More High Arousal Emotion moments. The film froze again at the same place, the same picture of Ivanka. It was flooded with emoji love hearts in seconds. The host appeared on a stage in front of the screen. She apologized for the malfunction. ‘This really is a work in progress,’ she said. ‘But thank you for all the feedback so far.’ She encouraged us to go forth and explore the big tent. People started moving out. I followed them to see the exhibits.
I decided to do a quick loop of the tent to get the lay of the land. There were twenty or so exhibits and booths. A big NRA booth hailing Trump as a true Patriot. A Covid Tent calling it the China Virus and praising trump for creating a vaccine quicker than any vaccine ever created and saving millions of Americans lives. At the far back of the thing was a McDonalds attached to a Trump gift store. The McDonalds was selling a new burger called the President. It looked like a double quarter pounder. They also had a new sauce - Trump Sauce - which turned out to be just ketchup but in a little packet with his face on it. One of the red hats from the bus walked up behind me. He already had a string bag full of little cartons of Trump sauce. He told me he was a franchise owner, he had three restaurants in Pennsylvania. He told me the Trump Sauce was going to be a ‘Game Changer’. He asked what I did. I told him I was a Boom Operator, I interfaced between Boomers and Millennials to extract and maximize mutual value opportunities. He looked at the counter of the McDonalds with the menu showing Trumps face advertising the President Burger and he pressed the heart button on his emoji wand three times.
I took a walk around the rest of the exhibits. The American Heritage Institute had a thing about an economic miracle, Wall St being at an All Time High and such. There was a build the Wall zone sponsored by ICE geared towards kids. Since there were no kids at the event two more red hats off the bus were building the wall with big sponge bricks. The wall was going up between a desert and a lush looking Eden landscape. On the Desert side there was what appeared to be a little statues of uzi toting drug cartel henchmen and Chinese plague carriers. On the Eden side there was a Church with a bunch of happy white families having a BBQ on an immaculately sculptured lawn. A large screen in the exhibit ran clips of Trump shouting wall stuff at adoring crowds.
On Day One we are going to build a big beautiful impenetrable Southern Border Wall!
An info slide at one side claimed to prove that the wall was paid for by Mexico as it had already prevented smuggling and terrorist attacks that would have cost the country trillions. The screen went on to show ICE soldiers cheering as they stood over chained refugees in border concentration camps. And then it cut to Kamala Harris, the new Vice President. The red hats stopped building and stared at the screen agog. They’d clearly been trained to hate Kamala. But then we heard what she said.
Link: I want to be clear. To folks in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous trek to the United States Mexico Border… Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.
And they each gave her a thumbs up from their emoj wands. I turned away disgusted. Outside the exhibit a host from McKinsey and company approached and asked to check my Emoji Wand. She took it and pressed some buttons and listened to someone in her headset and then she thanked me and gave it me back.
“It’s working,” she said as she walked away.
I got a paper cup of water from a fountain and put the wand down on top of the water tank and left it there, pretending to have forgotten it. I walked over to a display called Truth versus Lies sponsored by Fox News. It was full of quotes and informational panels attacking liberal bias in the media and promoting Fox news as the only source of truth. They even showed a lingering picture of Jamal Khashoggi among a montage of hate for what they were labelling the ‘lying press’. Khashoggi had been butchered, literally cut into pieces by the Saudi Royal family - probably with the full outright approval of the Trump Administration since he’d been researching on a piece looking at corrupt financial dealings of Jarred Kushner. Kushner was Trumps son in law who had been given the highest security clearing in the US Government without being qualified or properly vetted and was widely identified as the point man between various multinational crime syndicates linking Trump to Russian oligarchs through close ties to Benjamin Netanyahu’s corrupt Israeli government. I was starting to feel kind of numb. It was worse than I could have imagined. It was all so arrogant, the informational content was so easily disproven with a simple Google search but I realized that was not the point. Nazi propaganda was always easily disproven but it didn’t matter if enough people wanted to believe it.
There was a very a low tech booth on impeachment I stopped at stressed that Trump was not convicted by the Senate and that the charge against him was minimal and fraudulent, especially when considered in full historical context of Presidents who had not been impeached for the things that they had done. Most of the booth was given over to information on the other Presidents and their crimes. Everything from Iran Contra to lying about weapons of mass destruction and of course the great straw man of Benghazi. Another event host approached me. He had my emoji wand. ‘You left this on the water fountain,’ he said. I took it and walked slowly towards the exit. I passed a little room called The Future which featured pictures of Ivanka and Jarred in various videos and stills that were being actively swamped with hearts and likes although there was nobody actually near the screens. I threw the wand heavily on the floor and then stamped on it until in shattered into several pieces. I left the tent and went back to the bus. Nobody tried to stop me. As I went to take my seat on the bus I was surprised to find another attendee had also abandoned the exhibit. Her name badge said she was called Gwenivere and she looked very upset. As upset as I felt perhaps. She shook her head in sorrow as I walked by her and I stopped to talk. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘Unbelievable.’
‘I feel sick,’ she said. ‘Me too,’ I said.
I was relieved to find someone who felt the same and I couldn’t help myself and I began to unload on the whole experience in a long rant. Just how utterly fucked we were as a species and the arrogance that they could get away with something like this, the wholesale rewriting of history. Propaganda from a rich ruling elite, flexing their control over the narrative of humanity. How we were truly living in what Sheldon Wolin identified as a managed economy under a system of Inverted Totalitarianism… She held up a hand to stop me. ‘No,’ she said letting out a queasy burp. ‘I had too much chicken.’ I shut up and took my seat. I should have gone to the Renwick.
Music - Theme from Taxi
That’s a wrap!
Music - Everything is Permitted - Mario Rom’s Interzone
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