Archive for Trump

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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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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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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Dems, what is best in life?

Apropos dialog from the 1982 flick Conan the Barbarian:

Mongol General: Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

Consider the Democratic Party’s plight and tasks and think back to the 2012 Republican autopsy, a.k.a. the 100-page Growth and Opportunity Project report. Conan’s methods and goals fit with neither the Dem modus operandi nor with the GOP’s G.O.P. report. Don’t expect heads and machers of either party to change soon. There in lies the huge opportunity for lefties.

First be very aware that under the Trump campaign, both he and the party ignored the report. That called for being inclusive and considerate of the likes of Latinos and women. Ha!

Instead and likely to their long-term detriment, the GOP rode a national bronco bucking for change. They lost a little in the Senate and the House, but kept control of both as well as winning the White House. A sharp irony in that is that Trump/change supporters hated the establishment insiders but largely kept them in office. The do-nothing wastrels in Congress are headed back. Huh?

So, a non-Republican, non-conservative Donald Trump becomes POTUS. The GOP has a huge disincentive to really change for future elections, demographic trends, and a nation increasingly out of sync with both old-style Republicans and the current pseudo-populism of Trump.

Now the Dems take their turn at rending their garments and watering their Merlot with losers’ tears. They too are choosing new party functionaries and will certainly produce a report and plan.

Same. Same. Right? No, when it’s the Dems’ turn, expect:

  • Explicit acknowledgement of failure to counter the 2010-11 GOP REDMAP strategy to control the governorships and legislatures in the 32 states that directly control redistricting following the decennial Census. The GOP gerrymandered the crap out of America.
  • Belated plans to turn the tables for the 2020 Census.
  • A much less Conan attitude toward gerrymandering. Specifically the Dems’ nature would have them return a fairly proportioned set of electoral maps in those 32 states instead of a crush-you-enemy one as the GOP did.
  • A coordinated Party response to the resulting report, rather than the GOP’s circular-file one.
  • Cleaning house at the Democratic National Committee to broom out the incompetent insiders who scuttled Bernie Sanders and otherwise played dirty pool throughout the campaign.

High-speed catch-up

To use the phrase of the year, Republicans rigged the House in their gerrymandering effort. Dems will have to trifurcate. They need to do all necessary to replicate the GOP state-level successes. They simultaneously need snag a dozen or more House seats in the 2018 mid-terms. Meanwhile, a separate group has to ID several top-notch 2020 POTUS possibles.

Unfortunately for Dems, their counterparts were ahead of them in realizing the potential of the internet and social media. The lefties caught up and learned how to link those technologies with voter data to leapfrog. Fortunately for Dems, they tend to be smarter. I would look for rapid advances to outdo REDMAP in the next foru years. They may not totally dominate state governors, and they may only get a narrow majority in the House, but then again, they are not crush-your-enemy sorts.

They’ll have to focus and develop big and small strategies and tactics. I suspect they’ll be up for it.

Their other advantage that should emerge in the first year of the Age of Trump will almost surely be the combined patterns of history and crackpot plans of the administration. We know going back to at least Harding that Republican administrations tank the ecoomy or at least deliver weakened tangibles — job growth, GDP growth, debt levels and more.

The millions who deluded themselves that if only Trump and the GOP had control the economy would soar, are certain to turn on him and his state-level pols.

 

 

 

 

trails

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Whither Dems Podcast

rightsign2The Trump win Tuesday is the right time to stop these weekly podcasts after 9½ years. Watch this URL for occasional commentary, maybe a little video…later.

Today was my usual half-Vulcan Spock self.

We shall survive as a nation, as we did during and after the George W. Bush time. He ruined the economy even more than the typical Republican. We haven’t climbed all the way out of his debt pit. We’ll never get back the many thousands of lives lost to war and jobs destroyed. I fear more of that from Trump.

I snort as Speaker Ryan and GOP sorts claim mandate. The lost the popular vote, held the House only due to gerrymandering in previous years, and hold a paper-thin Senate majority. Mandate, my bad head!

We don’t yet know what malicious laws Congress will try to enact. We do know that the wave of emotion that brought us President Trump is as irrational and ignorant as he. We need look no farther than comparing the cries of do-nothing Congress and throw the rascal out to right-wing voters keeping nearly all the do-nothings and rascals from the GOP in office. Huge duh.

We’ll surely have at least two years of pettiness and malice. As the economy slides and unemployment climbs, even the loudest Trumpettes will feel shame. Let us look historically to see in the last century that again and again Dems have rescued the nation after the GOP has goofed it up.

It’s going to be a rough, disheartening, anti-American two to four years.

icon for podpress  Whither Dems [18:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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