United’s Bloody Peasant

United/Republic’s tarmac mugging of an aged passenger puts me back on a familiar horse. The bifurcated reactions of viewers and readers say way too much about current Americans.

Visit any online news source and check the comments on the old physician being being bloodied and abused by the Chicago constabulary under Republic’s orders. Moreover, go to one of the sites reporting on United’s CEO on how they had no choice and the victim is solely to blame.

Speaking well of most readers, the vast majority were opposed to and even aghast at the arbitrary brutality. Once they found that the root cause was that United decided it wanted to move four employees, the reactions were stronger. Anyone with the sense God gave lettuce would instead have booked the airline employees on a different flight or chartered a plane for them or even had them driven the four hours to the destination.

Instead United CEO Oscar Munoz publicly and repeatedly said and wrote his lackeys had no choice. This terrible doctor did not obey, did not get out of his assigned, paid-for, settled into seat on demand. Hence, it was his fault he was bloodied and maybe knocked unconscious.

To the point of comments, a small minority agrees:

  • Rules are rules, not matter
  • The fault was the doc’s. He did not do as he was told.

That is so anti-American, anti-liberty, and irrational.

Short-term United’s share price inched up. Long-term, this is most like a multi-million dollar or more PR problem. Whether flyers do organize a boycott, the per-person private boycotts are certain to follow. United and Delta are infamous for poor load management and overbooking, for bumping the highest percentage of passengers.

This may quickly lead to federal legislation protecting flyers. That’s long overdue. Meanwhile, rules-are-rules people, CEOs and commenters alike, live on islands of obeisance, unaware that most of us prefer freedom and rationality.

 

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Trump Doctrine: Olly olly oxen free

Muse for a moment on candidate Donald Trump’s preemptive slurs. Every opponent from any party got a toxic nickname. The overused term irony is apt here. In particular, he repeatedly called his Dem foe corrupt Hillary.

Even before he became POTUS, Trump’s business and legal dealings, ploys and questionable activities made it far too plain who was corrupt here. Smearing another does not absolve him.

Suddenly, as attention-getting as DT’s admitted or accused sexual misdeeds, his stiffing partners and contractors, his blatant self-dealing and conflicts of interest may be the sins of his version of the best and brightest. His cabinet and lower lackeys one after another drop out, are forced out, or operate under clouds worthy of Joe Btfsplk.

Pic Note: From an Al Capp strip via wikipedia. Fair use.

Several dropped out when they were proven dishonorable and liars. A surprising number of candidates seemed to know trouble when it called and did not risk taking a DT job.

Free Passes

More intriguing are the hide-and-see crew. They may hear that kids’ call olly olly oxen free and return without fear of being tagged (or put on trial). The current administration, as you might expect of any corrupt regime, is not shy about giving minions a free pass.

Already called back to base has been Kellyanne Conway. The nominal senior adviser will not face any charges for her egregious shilling of DT’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line on national TV. The WH Counsel’s Office gave the free pass, claiming her clear violation of federal law was inadvertent.

This indeed is one of the principal definitions of corrupt. Promoting products to benefit the POTUS or his family is illegal for good reason. Doing so is corrupt.

Most recently up in the shame docket is AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. In sworn oral and written testimony to Congress and the FBI, he averred that he had no contact with Russian government officials during DT’s campaign. In fact, we know now that he had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador and likely several phone conversations with other officials. Now he claims that they didn’t discuss campaign matters.

Do Laws Matter?

Prima facie it appears he violated campaign law, committed perjury several times and perhaps was even treasonous. Can his pro-active (a.k.a. defensive in DT’s case) pardon, like President Gerald Ford’s of disgraced POTUS Richard Milhous Nixon, lag far behind?

Dems in Congress scream for Sessions to resign. Even some Republicans who have any moral and patriotic fibers in their personal covering left are muttering for Sessions to recuse himself from any discussion or action of investigation of DT’s Russian connections.

Here’s betting DT stonewalls this. He’ll claim Sessions is fine and should continue as is. Of course, the rational world then immediately wonders

  • What the hell happened in the election
  • How pervasive and powerful was Russian interference and influence
  • What does Donny hide-my-taxes owe to Russians
  • Was DT blackmailed by Russians
  • Did Sessions act as pimp for DT and Putin politically

If DT calls Sessions home free, that could be a serious error. With the corrupt appointees clinging to free base, all eyes will be on DT. How corrupt was and is he?

The game is afoot, but it’s not as simple as hide and seek.

 

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Double Donkey for Dems

Amid the drama-queen level hand wringing of the Democratic Party, insiders got it together long enough to elect a new DNC chair. The final choice came down to what would be impossible in the GOP, a Muslim (U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of MN) and a Latino (Tom Perez, Obama’s Sec. of Labor).

The latter won and immediately, successfully called for the former to be his deputy. That’s not going to placate most progressives. They’ll see Perez as old-school, establishment DNC. They have unfortunately swallowed and now regurgitate the memes about the last election as proving Dems’ abject failures instead of what it really was, a confluence of external and internal factors.  Yet, if that addlepated guilt trip leads of political inspiration, so much the better for the party and nation.

The history is that the GOP laid a groundwork over maybe 8 years to take control of the states’ officials and the last census. Brilliant.

Dems foolishly assume a few things. One is that people will vote their self-interest. Two is that they will pay enough attention to know that for nearly a century, Republican administrations have meant worsening economies, high unemployment, unfair income distribution, soaring national debt, and war. Voters do neither.

As a disclaimer, I’m in the progressive camp and wanted Sanders. I would have preferred Ellison. Yet which of the two became the new chair is not that important. Either would do much the same, although I think Perez is a better orator and will inspire more action. He’ll get more to a better destination, because he activates them and not because his map is better.

Let’s allow the donkeys to pretend that the analysis of their election failure is accurate. That should also inspire action. I predict that as the public sees and experiences the gross, manifold failures of the current administration, the GOP sows and the Dems reap.

 

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Conan v. Thumper, a Resist Lesson

Nearly a decade tutorial should be enough. D.C. Republicans channeled Conan the Barbarian, while in their turn, Dems played the well-socialized Thumper.

Here’s the obvious call — Congressional GOP’ers have far overplayed their hand. The Dems have played like UUs, respecting others. Democrats need to be ready to follow the Republican lead, tromping as well as smiling and caressing.

We heard the calumnies of Barack Obama as he campaigned for the POTUS spot and then held it. The incredible hypocrisy of yelling, “Unfair!,” while claiming Dems are trying to delegitimatize Trump’s Presidency goes beyond risible.

Too nasty v. too nice

Let us frame GOP obstructionism and deceit in cinematic terms. Recall Conan’s answer to his general to what is best in life, “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” This is precisely what the Republican Congress has been doing, continuing into the new administration. It’s scorched earth, regardless of how much it hurts the nation and its citizens.

In contrast, Dems have continued to play by the rules. They seem to be a bunch of UUs, They live out the Seven Principles and continue to hope and even expect Republicans will do likewise. After all, this is how Boomers were raised. In light of lessons from the WWII generation, religion, movies, TV and books, we learned about good and bad behavior, playing fair and civility. Dems are much more like Thumper from Bambi, whose catch-phrase was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

It’s one-sided respect and fairness.

The GOP is likely to keep control of Congress through 2018. There’s a shot at 2020 or 2022 to flip Congress. The Dems are working hard at the state level, and the current administration’s certain failures to meet promises and goals will catch up. When those who stupidly believe that the media is dishonest and corrupt, not the GOP in D.C. have to accept reality once again, the current destructive bums will go.

That will not be another time for Dems to forgive and forget. Republicans have shown themselves too long in too many ways to be without fairness, graciousness or honor.

While I can’t believe Dems will ever behave as disgracefully as Republicans have, Resist cannot end with a Congress rife with Thumpers.

Dems don’t even need to threaten them with saying, “You’re only getting what you gave us.” There will surely be lamentations of their lawmakers. Yet, that will just be background music. Meanwhile resurgent Dems need to take charge thoroughly. Let the bad guys beg for compromise, which they never gave nor accepted. Then the Dems can consider it.

No more Thumpers.

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Trumps: Greed I, Greed II

Crush ’em like worms! Melania Trump joins her infamous hubby in suing, threatening, and stifling critics. We don’t need no stinkin’ First Amendment.

Let us pause to appreciate the cloning of Donald Trump’s branding shtick, coupled with that of litigiousness. His wife has sued a 71-year-old blogger and a big UK newspaper company, charging that they damaged her brand in the sum of $150 million.

She is shameless in profiteering off her role as wife of the POTUS. Whether she will run afoul of criminal statutes in her greed to exploit that connection is yet unknown. Her husband has a long history suing willy-nilly, often losing and settling while claiming instead to win if he doesn’t admit guilt in any one case. With her brass in claiming damage to her alleged brand as a former, long ago, model and Mrs. POTUS is certainly aping her husband’s style. He may not build anything, may own little solid, nor create permanent jobs, but he sure knows how to profit from stamping his name on properties. Melania is giving it a go.

She is using the same vicious lawyer who crushed Gawker in the Hulk Hogan case. This is not a polite request. So far:

  • She claims a “substantial” settlement from the old guy. His tort was to have quoted a newspaper article that quoted a Slovenian magazine piece that read that her modeling agency was also an escort service. The implication that she was for hire beyond clothed and nude photography is the basis for the brand-damage charges.
  • Her claim against the Daily Mail for quoting that same piece was dismissed for being in the wrong court. (See details in the link above.) She has refiled in another court.

The NYT gets to the heart of her greed in an editorial today. Their staff would like to know what’s up with so blatantly trying to profit off her husband’s office. I join them.

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Pain from the Gut

Be very, very cautious of anyone who says the like of, “I trust my instincts,” or “I go with my gut.”

Since he took office, POTUS Trump seems to rely very heavily on impulse. Just consider the latest, the fatal (to a SEAL and civilians) Yemen raid. Nearly all is appointment nominees and policies suffer likewise from the failure of what shrinks call the executive function.

Granted, at times instincts can be protective and useful. About to walk down the proverbial dark alley? Meeting someone at a party who is trying hard to get you to come to the apartment? If you internal lights and sirens go off, perhaps trusting those feelings would be wise.

On the other hand, relying on whim to fun your life, much less a nation, is never wise. No matter how many Western or detective movies you’ve seen, betting it all on a feeling almost always fails in real life. It is the lazy, fast, easy way to avoid thinking, research, judgment.

I’ll take my reality check from Star Trek instead. There, Spock — half human/half Vulcan — was the measured, rational one. He was the foil to the puerile an impulsive Captain Kirk. That the latter was in charge says much of fiction and our love of action over reason.

Pic note: This is a promo image, with no copyright claim.

Trump surrounds himself with yes-men/women. He needs some no-men/women, or at least some let’s-think-about-and-talk-about-this people. He is in the literal sense a locomotive, someone making crazy movement from one place to another. This is not what we want or need. This is not a mature and reasonable person. This is no way to run a country.

So decide whom you want to spend an evening with on your gut. Step back if your spidey sense warns you of physical danger. Just don’t drag me or America where your whim want to go.

 

 

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Trump, Kellyanne, Steve — F the First Amendment

This old journalist is weary and wary of the Trump administration whining about and now threatening the press. I do believe though that he and his minions are far overplaying their hands, apparently believing their own hype and tripe that the public hates the media.

Consider advisers Steve Bannon and Kelleyanne Conway constant drumbeats of a corrupt and dishonest media. Just now, listen to them saying reporters and commentators need to shut up and listen instead of reporting and commentating, click here for words from one one of these horses.

Throughout the campaign and now into his Presidency, Trump played mommy’s boy again and again with how the press is so unfair and so dishonest and so corrupt…when they dared to quote him accurate or point out that he meant with his own words. To use one of his favorite tweet terms, that is SAD.

It’s no surprise, he is known for the Pee-wee Herman thing, as in I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. In campaign and now POTUS modes, he slandered everyone with nonsensical slurs. It was Corrupt Hillary when he has long been the business type who faced and faces corruption charges, quite a few of which he’s settled (without admitting blame, just paying the fines and such). He calls reporters and news outlets dishonest when he has a huge catalog of Pinocchio and False findings from nonpartisan fact checkers.

Sorry, Donny poo. It’s not the media who are unfair and dishonest.

I do fear he and his closest will continue to try to curtail the First Amendment. He neither respects nor understands our Constitution. Conway has already been calling for journalists who criticize him to be fired.

Here’s where his dirty little inner circle is miscalculating. Prior restraint and illegal punishment of reporters has been an anathema to American democracy. It appears as though Trump and his crowd believe they have so poisoned the public against the press that they can circumvent or override our Bill of Rights. I hope they continue to try. The smack down will be very loud.

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Stump Trump the Way He Understands

The inevitable came quickly for our still surprised and unprepared POTUS. A firm thump to his thick skull came when his arbitrary and unconstitutional immigrant ban orders got an equally sudden block by Fed judge.

That was more than just the lives of the stranded salvaged, it is sure portent. Trump is so puerile and emotional, he is bound to continue to thrust out arbitrary and ill-conceived edicts. Some are bound to run afoul of those checks and balances so popular in the civics classes we all used to take. Overreaching will mean legal hand slaps and even legislative handcuffs for the most egregious.

This doesn’t so much play to Trump’s weaknesses as it does move the political game to a field he knows well. He has lived his entire career for legal actions and gambits.

Knowing he faces certain losses here and there won’t make him more cautious or wiser. In fact, in his bizarro world, he’ll frame each loss as a win and smirk his way to his next blunder.

The hustler who blithely claims he doesn’t lose lawsuits and doesn’t settle them does both. He simply denies that or even more irrationally claims he came out on top of the situation.

Our task will be to rise above the deceit. Do not get into a spitting contest with a liar. Let him orally reframe his losses as wins. Ho hum.

Let us anticipate four years of cockups, some of which will lead to corrective legal or legislative actions. Let us anticipate a torrent of quibbles and outright lies to follow. That torrent will not cleanse the mind or eye of even the most casual observer. Let us expect Trump to continue to expose himself as incompetent and impulsive, in another words, a loser.

 

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Self-Limiting D.C. Disease

I seem to insist on having a long neck. Even before Trump got his Electoral College threshold, I predicted a one-term or likely less Presidency. The pre-inauguration theater makes that all the more probable.

First, his bluster and fantasy aside, the plump, sedentary old man is a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm in the wings. Honestly, I dread the idea of Mickey Penny, a.k.a. Michael Pence the reactionary ideologue, taking over the top spot. Yet, none of us should be at all surprised if Trump topples today or tomorrow.

More to the point though, the POTUS-to-be is clearly determined to founder, sink and drown per law. He’s too old and rigid to stop being a mommy’s boy. The effects include whimpering that any criticism is unfair (“Make ’em stop!” Stomp foot.), and turning back on bluster.

Granted the Brits and subsequently us here in the U.S. of A. have fallen into the shout someone down instead of out-reasoning the debate opponent trap. That spread first to Ivies and private schools here and now permeates in a cage-match format. Donny-poo got locked into that. I’ll note again that saying the same thing at increasing volume many times does not make you right. Rather, it means you are loud and repetitive. Neither of those behaviors is a virtue in polite society.

Rather than see and recognize his limits, Trump instead pushes beyond them and insists the world is wrong to question him. That so far, even before taking office, appointing his son-in-law to WH office in defiance of the anti-nepotism statute and tradition, refusing to divest himself of businesses as is the law and tradition, and perhaps worst, stonewalling the clearly treasonous ties to and support from a hostile foreign power, i.e. Russia.

The latter may be the unavoidable crash. I expect him to lift sanctions on Russia, continue to do family biz with Russians and Russian companies, and to prove that he is as alleged the puppet of a foreign leader.

Most of Congress are boomers. They are deeply imbued with post-WWII ideals. Too much will be too much. The question is will Donny-jo’s body fail first or will his arrogant lawlessness do him in?

 

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Brash New World in New Year

Even though Duh-Duh-Donald is not yet POTUS, he does not know that. He creates foreign policy via phone, in person and by Twitter. He is both too ignorant to understand the basics of transition and too dumb to grasp the cause-and-effect of his words.

This might be the point for “God save America.”

As he has not yet taken office, I have been hunkered down. I just cannot stand it. In one way it is not fair to take Trump to task for what he and Congress have not yet done. In another, let us look at what he has.

Dumbing Way Down

Throughout the long election season and after, he made it too plain that he has no interest in knowledge, facts or history. He has not even sipped at the Pierian Spring. Instead, he claims without any evidence that he is smarter than all others and knows more.

That kind and level of magical thinking leads only to failure. It also frustrates those with a lot of learning, the deep drinkers.

What his Presidency portends and what he has been delivering is a dumbing of his office and America as represented by his administration. Our international partners and foes alike have been figuratively shaking their heads that such a stupid and ignorant person would head our government.

George W. Bush was bad enough. I thought he would be the dumbest President in my lifetime. True enough that he was willfully ignorant, apparently out of intellectual laziness. Unfortunately, the new, devolved edition appears not unwilling, rather unable, to learn and understand. No matter how often he says deeply stupid things like, “I’m rich. That proves I’m smart,” that will not make it true.

Saying something many times at increasing volume does not make you smart. It makes you repetitive and loud. Neither trait is a virtue.

Kicking Against the Goads

Alas, poor Donny-poo’s impulsive, puerile and emotional tweeting exacerbates his flaws. He lacks executive function and strikes out childishly. Let us stop to pity those who admire his unfiltered Twitter thumbing.

He insults many, domestic and foreign. He ensures enemies for himself and the nation. He seems incapable of admitting the many times he has been wrong, and of apologizing. Anyone raised well, anyone you could trust socially, and anyone mature would not communicate these ways.

Instead, he falls into the trust-your-gut and go-with-your-instincts mind. Rather replace mind with emotions.

He has already irritated and offended various powerful foreign leaders, save Russia’s Vladimir Putin. His playing the courtier in Moscow is its own issue and problem. Otherwise, we shall feel and face effects of his clumsiness with the others.

What the World Sees

Perhaps we should not cry doom and destruction yet. After all, world leaders made it very plain that W. Bush was a clod and ass. They thought ill of us for electing him and despised us after his two prolonged and bloody wars.

We rejoined the smart-nation club with the Obama administration.

Now we are back at the international dinner’s kiddy table. We have an immature, emotional, dumb President. We are to be pitied.

I suspect that our international peers, partners and foes:

  1. Will revel in schadenfreude at the mess we have gotten ourselves into with a stupid, emotional leader
  2. Will learn  to discount Trump’s puerile tweets, much as they do with Kim Jong-un’s bluster. “He doesn’t mean it or know what he’s saying (read, “America doesn’t…”)”
  3. Will accept that our nation has been degraded by promoting an incompetent POTUS, thus devaluing America

Other democratic nations have elected incompetent and nasty heads of state, and again, we did it recently with Bush 43. We likely shall never fully recover from the disgrace of Trump. Yet unless everyone in Congress and around him fails in their duty, we likely shall survive four years of his bungling. Then as usual, Dems and other adults will set to work righting the ship of state.

 

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