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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Bluster and brinkmanship

I had plenty of doubts as Hillary Clinton headed toward the POTUS nomination this year.  Most trepidation was due to her policy swagger, particularly on matters military. She’s a boomer, but seems to think like her parents’ generation — the U.S. of A. is the great power and all other nations better damned well know that.

I could see the new, maybe improved President Clinton sending our forces thither and yon. She had the odour of yet another Democratic warmonger. Think John Kennedy.

I was sure and remain so that Bernie Sanders did not have that Captain Kirk impulsiveness and insecurity.

What we’re ending up with is a Republican version of my fear. This Trump character has neither governing nor military experience, neither a strong knowledge base nor a high intelligence. He has the swagger of the insecure, dreadfully insecure. That’s more commonly known as BS.

During his campaign, he said countries that wanted nuclear weapons should have them. The concept of keeping a lid on the Mass Destruction Club evades him. Moreover, he has no sense of maintaining detente with the nuclear power China, angering them by ignoring the One-China policy. Worst of all…so far…he openly called for a renewed arms race.

His stated position so far has been that the U.S. needs to keep a numerical advantage in nuclear weapons and we’ll be kings of the hill. We tried that unsuccessfully for decades. It may have made the related Presidents feel like real big, tough men, but it was an economic and military disaster. It drained our economy, diverting resources from real needs, made our national anxiety levels soar, and forced us into positions that took nearly 20 years to ease away from.

Kennedy and his follow-on Lyndon Johnson were decidedly, to use the crude image, dick-on-the-table types. Mine is bigger than yours was the concept. In fact, Johnson was fond of waving his johnson about, as he once did in an informal presser when asked why we were Vietnam, Whipping it out, he said, “This is why.” 

We decidedly do not need more of that puerile, insecure bluster. Unfortunately, Trump’s announced cabinet and advisers don’t seem any brighter or more mature than he.

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Fat Finger of Blame, Dems

None of us has enough fingers to point for Hillary’s loss. The blame goes everywhere from her to DNC officials to gerrymandering to the FBI to disaffected white women to skewed media coverage and on and on and on.

Honest to God, I’m sick of each and every pundit and other BS artist who has the definitive “insight.”

Few point to the most apparent factor — sexism. There’s a palpable joke that this go-round American voters who went for for the African-American MAN in ’08 and ’12 did not vote for the (any color) WOMAN. Let me play Capt’n Obvious here.

What’s a Democrat to do? What are all the combined Democrats to do?

Not Like the Other

Since FDR’s time, we can see that Dems and Republicans treat these campaigns and voters differently. President-elect Donald J. Trump may not be a Republican in any real sense, yet his behavior suits the GOP. He’s an anti-democracy, anti-American, zero-sum-game scoundrel.

Opposed to this win-at-all-costs attitude, Dems do what they did in Obama’s terms, or Carter’s for that matter. Liberal/progressive types do not tend to play a zero-sum game and more important, they can be much more introspective as a group.

For the latter point, start thinking of the Republican autopsy after the 2012 election. The GOP’s G.O.P. (growth and opportunity project) detailed:

  1. Why the electorate reelected Obama
  2. What the GOP would have to do going forward to sync with changing national demographics

The party did none of the essential steps. They lucked out big time, this one last time.

While it is and will continue to be less essential, as it has been for nearly a century, white women elect the President. They are, for the moment, the largest voting bloc, and they tend to turn out. Praise or blame white women for what we get. Sure, this time, their hubbies, sons, and beaux polled more for Trump than the women, but a much smaller percentage of them cast ballots.

2016 almost surely is the last time demographics allow this.That should work strongly in Dems’ favor. There are more and more people of color annually, a trend that only accelerates. White folk just can’t stop dying either, so the more conservative, even reactionary voters are a dwindling party.

Moreover, there’s no way in hell Trump’s dumb doctrinaire band of bozos will be able to deliver on his pledges to return jobs (largely to now dead industries), to renegotiate defense and economic treaties, to build the fantasy 2,000-mile wall and on and on. Sure, he can start by blaming each failure on inherited conditions or China or terrorists or this or that. As the impotent lack of solutions pile in huge heaps, voters will not be please. They’ll finally see they were conned. Then it’s time for more elections.

Now What?

Yet expect the Dems to visit the oracles (and pollsters and academics), have myriad focus groups, and create their own postmortem. Unlike the Republican Pooh-Bahs though, they are far more likely to act on the consensus findings.

That’s a bit silly in a way. Putting on my sparkly pundit robe and cap, I see a narrow loss, with Hillary snagging up to 2 million more votes, the House losing a few seats to Dems, and the Senate damned close. They could continue to do more of the same and expect to win the next POTUS vote, or two or three.

On the other hand, the GOP skunked them in 2010 and 2012 with their REDMAP project that grabbed state-level control in the 32 states that do their own redistricting. Hence, the Republicans were smarter than Democrats here. They got to gerrymander, and gamed the hell of the system following the last Census. Dems have much to atone for here.

I predict here when the Dems get control on Congress again, both houses, they still won’t be the asses GOP legislators have been at state and Congressional levels. They won’t obstruct the President. I am sure Republican voters as well as pols will view this as a sign of weakness. Dems are not in the mold of Conan the Barbarian.

 

 

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