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Lessons Unlearned, POTUS Version

A certain Donny Jo Trump, the incidental POTUS learns not. He returns to the dry well, ever expecting water.

Most recently, as one example, the federal appeals court in Richmond told him to take a hike. His clearly religion-based proposed travel ban has lost throughout the country, as unconstitutional, a clear violation of our First Amendment. Yet, Donny goes back again and again, pausing only to decry the unfairness (to him personally) of this or that court.

Alas. our titular President proves repeatedly that is both grossly ignorant and stupid. How embarrassing for us as a nation… He neither understands how our government or laws work nor human obligations to others.

We can only conclude:

  • He never took nor got civics as taught to the Boomers
  • He does not understand such basic concepts as separation of powers among governmental branches
  • He’s an inherited-wealth mama’s boy, who whines when he doesn’t get his way all the time

I have both patriotism, again as taught to Boomers, and ego in play here. I want my POTUS to be bright, compassionate, and, well American. He is none of those.

The old lad has survived to 70 without the basics of Americanism. Worst of all, he stupidly runs into the same walls. No, you don’t get your way because you inherited wealth. No, you don’t get a pass on the Constitution because your mother loved you. No, trying the same inane executive order does not suddenly make it legal when one court after another slaps you down.

Just too dumb.

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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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Drive Out Demons — Impeachment Aftermath

Impeachment against Donald Trump, incidental POTUS, are increasingly likely to begin. As I recently predicted, he would certainly resign before any Senate trial.

He has a lifetime of quitting and doing the mommy’s boy it’s-not-fair act. He’s 70 and not likely to mature. He also is both too ignorant to know history and too stupid to grasp the law.

Familiar Feud

As much as  I shall be pleased to see him forced out, I do not want to hear his whinging. More important, I dread the inevitable decades of Republican spite and attempts to even the score.

Following Richard Nixon’s slithering retreat from the top office, GOP lawmakers obsessed with getting a Dem POTUS out of office. The more rational and mature response would have been to accept that he was dishonorable, dishonest, and disdainful of democracy and the rule of law. The party could have accepted that they operated in a poisonous environment and cleaned house.

Alas, that would have meant admitting current Dem moral superiority. That was a low bar though. Democratic politicians had their own share of corruption…a difference of degree and not kind. Nixon was simply base, even for a pol.

Every Dem Prez that followed and ever Dem nominee for the office had the hounds of political hell nipping at them, trying to drag them down. When they finally impeached Bill Clinton for lying about receiving fellatio, that should have settled them down.

Another round

But noooooo. They didn’t remove him from office or drive him out, as with Nixon. In their heart of hearts, voters largely know that Republicans are less honest and honorable, even among this group.

It seemed plain to many that the slander and lies about Hillary Clinton was more of the same feud. Maybe if they could get her jailed for imagined crimes, they would calm. As with her hubby, one would think that her defeat in the last election would have quieted the dogs. Again, noooo.

Here we are with Trump, as corrupt as anyone not already charged, tried and jailed.

Trump has broken too many laws and has one of the most corrupt administrations ever in the history of the office. His reckless bluster and his I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I taunts will not outweigh his sins.

He will go and many of those around him are likely to face various charges as well. Arrogance does not wash clean.

When Trump goes, the big feud will continue and intensify. I cannot see a large number of Republicans suddenly taking responsibility. The hunt to drag under Dem Presidents and candidates for the office will surely be nastier than ever and continue to dominate our political discourse.

Inevitable but boring…

 

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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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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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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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Incivility, gender, race and hate

I threw on my cloak of optimism, supposing that Hillary will become POTUS and that this will be a springboard for a nation more at ease with a woman at top.

I spent many years in Virginia and still identify with the best of us there. Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia (XVIII: Manners), “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just…”

As this motley, churlish election cycle completes in less than a week, let’s discourse on big themes, such as:

  • Following the no-colored-Presidents-for-me tone, how deeply are we experiencing, the no-dames-for-President tone?
  • Are 40% to 50% of us truly OK with a puerile, impulsive ignoramus as out leader?
  • Are the judgmental Europeans right about us as bigots and socially retrograde?
  • Can this election catapult us to a new America of tolerance and egalitarianism?

We’ve had 8 years plus the campaign of “Oh, no, it’s not that Obama is Black. It’s that he’s foreign; Muslim, a pinko. :Assuming POTUS Clinton the Greater, do we then get, “Oh, no, it’s not that Hillary’s a women. It’s that she’s a crook, a criminal, a pinko.”?

I can’t believe 6% or more of the electorate is undecided, or so they claim. Then I”m an incredulous sort. Playing cards so close to your vest makes them tattoos. Bad form.

Let’s kick around the final days of a much too long, far too nasty season.

icon for podpress  Incivility may end [17:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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