Archive for Congress

Let’s Avoid a Deal!

POTUS Trump is beyond unclothed. His life lie is that he cuts great deals (just look at his ghosted book). Truth be told he has neither the wit nor the ability to cut a deal with anyone.

Consider the current legislative agenda — raise debt ceiling, fix DACA, drive tax reform, and more. So far, since inauguration, his tack is steering toward avoidance. He has repeatedly said Congress failed (as in repealing the ACA), and throws the burden of proposing, fleshing out and passing fixes to problems.

Were he not so ignorant and dull-witted, he’d know that Presidents in his lifetime, well, cut deals. Rather than saying, “Hey, Congress, fix this!,” they proposed rough and sometimes detailed legislation to start the stew. Then they cut deals (that idea and word again) with key legislators. They had it happen. They did deals.

This bozo is not in the same circus.

Update: #45 might get a deal lesson. He aligned with Congressional Dems on debt ceiling and hurricane relief. Of course, this fits the definition of irony in showing he can finally cut a deal, but only with the nominal opposite party.

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Trump’s Artless Deals

When the puerile have power, they make others suffer, even die. We see two man-child heads of state — Donald Trump here and Kim Jong-un in the DPRK — playing brat with taunts and nuclear weapons.

Donny-jo always needs and demands attention. His totally unnecessary brinkmanship gets him that this time. We could spend a day viewing and listening to the many demanding he let real deal makers negotiate this, like here.

At this crux, let us state plainly that Trump is an absolutely terrible negotiator. His résumé fantasy from the ghosted The Art of the Deal entry is his biggest lie. His almost countless failures (personal as well as business life, bankruptcies, divorces and breach-of-contract suits against him and his entities) show him to be untrustworthy as well as a terrible deal maker.

Looking at his negotiation history, I see his real talent is in using dishonorable and vicious attorneys. Time and again when a deal sours, when a company flatlines, his side of the c0ntract pays him first and often only. Generally his business partners get stuck with losses and debt while the Trump side skates.

That speaks to his lawyers’ cleverness and his investors’ naivete. You trusted Trump? You believed him when he said, “Believe me!”? Ha!

Since he became POTUS, he has had to deal in public. It isn’t pretty or reassuring. He cannot get deals done at all, not even with his own Republican Congress. His bluster has not produced legislation or policy implementation. He fires officials and appointees rather than being able to cut a deal.

The only remaining hope for North Korea is that smarter people, better negotiators will force their way in and cut real deals. Lord knows Trump cannot and will not.

Surely those around him can find a way to to let him pretend he “won” and he “made a great deal.” After all isn’t that level of fantasy all he needs to muddle along happily in his elevated playground?

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Elephants Across the Chasm

Like so many instant, distant blatherers, I have had little to add to the discourse lately. Now I note that this morning’s defeat of the most recent Affordable Care Act repeal was a parting cloud that shines a sliver of light.

The cruel and crazy GOP efforts since January had an underlying theme. Both houses of Congress joined with POTUS Trump in spitting screams. “We can do this ourselves. We don’t need any Democrats. We won’t even talk to Democrats. FU!”

Sadly enough, that was almost true. It was also even more toxic sputum. Amusingly enough, Congressional Democrats remain as they have been willing to work with their vile GOP counterparts. There is still one party that cares about little d democracy, process, civility, as well as the commonweal.

There were a few Republican mumbles about maybe doing something with Democrats if all came to naught. This morning some more of them have sighed and admitted it may be time to recognize the existence (and by implication the power) of Dems.

Truth be told

Most Dems were not and are not happy with the A.C.A. and consider it only a solid first step down the path. Quite a few lefties, including this one, want single-payer, the universal health care that works so well in the rest of the industrialized world. We have to live with inefficient, overpriced health policies that keep our levels of health low and our life expectancy under that of the rest of the gang.

Even as GOP types in President Obama’s second term swore they would never let Dems improve the A.C.A. or pass anything meaningful at all, Democrats continued to plead with them to work toward finishing the health legislation.

Since Truman days, the Dems’ best gambit with Republicans has been to let the latter take partial or even full credit. That’s not the way GOP legislators have acted for decades.

Yet in this moment, I suspect this will lubricate the process again. The GOP can save a bit of face by crafting A.C.A. improvements, then proclaiming nothing would have happened without them. Forget that mirror is equally true; just give the little guys their out.

I still want to see a single-payer system, a real overhaul of our bloated and parasitic health care system. The A.C.A. was a start, but only that.

The shift will be from arrogant and obnoxious to merely condescending. That can work. The Dems never slammed and bolted the door.

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Inevitable GOP Grudge

About that cliché of elephants never forgetting, U.S. Republicans truly do not, ever. It happened with Nixon and we are still bearing the aftereffects. It’s about to happen again with Trump.

When Pres. Richard Nixon slithered out of the White House in disgrace, that was a not-to-be-forgotten humiliation, for the party more than for Tricky Dick.  That POTUS hopped about between amoral, immoral and criminal. He snuck away before the Senate could impeach him, and then his VP-becoming-President Gerald Ford pardoned him, so he never faced criminal trials and certainty of prison.

Years later, Nixon was re-imaged as a statesman. In fairness, as terrible as he was domestically and as much as he disdained democracy, our laws and the Constitution, he had foreign-policy credentials — much stronger than any Democratic President since FDR.

In those ways of escaping impeachment, get-out-of-jail-free cards, and rehabilitation, he fared much better than he deserved. Nonetheless, the GOP has never forgotten his disgraced exit.

I have no doubt that is why they so eagerly pursued Bill Clinton’s impeachment, constantly threatened Barack Obama with various legal actions, and did beyond their best to smear and bring bogus charges against Hillary Clinton. They don’t, can’t, won’t forget.

So here we are coming around the flee or take-it bend with Donald Trump. As has been the norm with post-WWII GOP Presidents, his appointees and staff are resigning or facing various charges. That won’t stop.

As it all closes in on this young presidency for an old man/boy, at some point he is likely to realize he’s cooked and facing either absconding or impeachment. I have predicted here that he is most likely to play his usual drama queen, quitting while saying the mean old media and Congress won’t let him do wonderful things and save the nation.

While it is possible he might stick it out and take impeachment, I don’t think that would give him the deniability he so often uses.

When he is forced from office one way or another, the GOP also will not forget. Already, they bait-and-switch with Dem miscreants. Of course Bill Clinton accepted fellatio in the White House, former Rep. Anthony Weiner is a pathetic sexter, and a handful of other Dems have run afoul of laws or social norms. They can’t or won’t consider the huge number of their party who are proven crooks, adulterers and worse. It’s key to pretend here.

The point is when Trump stomps away, that will be the real beginning of the newest GOP feud and grudge fest. They will live and act primarily to pay back Dems for anything that happened with their guys, regardless of how many Republicans joined in calling out and punishing Trump and his minions.

Personal responsibility is not a Republican hallmark.

Of course, for the nation, the big pity is that we have much to accomplish to fix problems and to advance us economically, socially and politically. When Republican office holders are as stupid, malicious and counterproductive as they were with Obama, much less gets done.

Still, let’s get on with it. Dump Trump, and accept that the GOP will play at revenge instead of cleaning their own house. As a group, they just don’t have a culture of advancing the nation.

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Non-Comical Comey

The WaPo The Fix column implying that unemployed guy James Comey wants to take down Donald Trump (a.k.a. the incidental POTUS) intrigues. One can suppose he’d have delusions of grandeur. But…delusions?

While the rest of Congress and all D.C. squealed and scrambled like Greek wannabes during pledge week, Comey took down the Dem Prez nominee Hillary Clinton (a.k.a. the coulda, shoulda been). Now he could easily do the same with 45.

My soft-sciences profs (anthropology, psychology, sociology) all said ascribing motives was the toughest and least exact part of the biz. We can be left wondering whether Comey wields his bolts from a platform of ego or self-righteousness or his Boy-Scout persona.

It makes no difference. If he can — and it sure looks likely —he shall dump Trump. Here’s a mid-level functionary who has already inscribed his own monument in history. He’s not through.

 

 

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Donny Fell Down and Broke His Crown

The tumbling, accelerating fall of Donald Trump has become inevitable. We are left pondering the timing and specifics.

I am wont to make the bold strokes, even if that leaves me prey later to the captious who would quibble on details. Let them.

You read it here and can blame me later (I don’t scrub my blogs and podcasts) if I get it wrong. Incidental President Donald J. Trump will resign.

The preponderance of the small has become the preponderance of the great. Russian election hacking, business debt and maybe even scandal videos rise and stink. The influence peddling and profiteering off the POTUS slot by him, his family and businesses are only getting worse, more obvious and undeniable. The incessant, impulsive and arrogant violation of the Constitution and laws has left a wide trail.

Forget the firing James Comey thing. That only highlights Trump’s dual handicaps of stupidity and ignorance. We, in fact even GOP supporters, could not longer look away from the Russian corruption and illegality matters as a result.

Trump’s tired ploy of screaming, “Fake news!” has run its course. As past and certainly future witnesses testify under oath, and in contrast to the various Trump types honestly, there will be no ore hiding.

Trump will quit, claiming that the mean old bugbears of:

  • The Constitution
  • Separation of Powers
  • Congressional Duty to Budget and Oversight

would not let him do what was right and necessary for the nation. (The ousted dictator’s lament.)

He’s also made his Pee Wee Herman I’m-rubber-you’re-glue shtick incredible. He got unbelievable mileage during the campaign with  (crooked Hillary, lyin’ Ted, little Marco, low-energy Jeb, and goofy Elizabeth Warren. He fantasized himself rubber, but the reality of being crooked and corrupt increasingly and inexorably stuck to him. He is thoroughly corrupt and crooked. Bye bye.

He’s 70, in terrible shape and may not live that much longer. Yet he is sure to go into his encrusted mausoleum with his last words being how he was sinless and wronged.

B.S.

 

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Old and Current U.S. Enemies

 

Our Congress is chockablock with Boomers. Alas, as one myself, I had anticipated and hoped that my folk would be smarter and more moral, a.k.a. more American, than the WWII crowd that thrust us into stupid, unnecessary wars, and whistled mindless tunes as federal and state governments took away the rights of millions.

Sure hasn’t happened. Boomer bozos like G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were as bad as their parents’ generation.

A surprising constant has been the ever-shifting them in the us vs. them theater. Frankly, the WWI and WWII folk were more simpleminded and thus kept the enemies clearer. We grew up with the commies under the beds (fantastical and irrational) and vestiges of the Yellow Peril (horde of Asians imagined to be massing for invasion, the racist trope).

What could be simpler than ID’ing Soviets and various Asians as the other, each and all intent on destroying our noble and glorious nation? Surely our lives were superior to those of the other, nefarious groups eager to take our stuff and snuff out our lives.

Somehow Boomers’ parents and grandparents could overlook the likes of:

  • Jailing large numbers of Japanese-Americans and small groups of Italian- and German-Americans in concentration (euphemistically internment) camps
  • Draconian voting laws and shameful economic and educational policies for African Americans
  • Endless and meaningless wars in Asia, Africa and even parts of Europe

Having spent much of my young childhood as a bit player in the Occupation Army in Japan, I had a different view of the alleged Yellow Peril. A few native Japanese chums did have their own baggage, slandering Koreans and Chinese folk, but I came to learn that likely was from long-standing nationalistic and perceived racial vestiges.  For some, awareness of military behavior in those countries surely brought deflective criticism.

Binary Simplicity

Boomers did have a now surprisingly binary upbringing. Not only did we inherit the culture of pre-War movies, but we got the new world of TV and of course literature. There were black hats and white hats, villains and heroes, Allies and Axis armies — us vs. them. Many too bought into puerile lit that munged that binary culture with politics, specifically the likes of Ayn Rand’s addlepated novels. She was best at welding oppressive sexuality to economic theory.

Ah, but it was so clean and easy. You could know who the good and the bad guys were…and what behaviors and words showed you were in the former group.

In contrast, nuance is hard. For example, we really can’t plant Thomas Jefferson entirely at one end of the moral spectrum.  How comforting it must be to live as a religious fundamentalist or political camp-follower. Check your brain at the door and you can always know you are a good guy.

The few current dictators, like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin at least simplify diplomacy in their realms. If Donald Trump had the powers he imagines, free of judicial oversight and with a totally compliant Congress, he could quickly turn our nation into a villain state as well.

I think I can well do without the racist Yellow-Peril and other simpleminded excuses to fear and hate.

 

 

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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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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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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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