Archive for President

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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Whither the Tiny-Tent Party?

The next several election cycles will be fascinating. Hillary looks like a cinch to win on Nov. 8. Then what?

I see the GOP cracking open their infamous, unused autopsy from the last POTUS loss. Their only shot at regaining the White House and making the big-tent fantasy real will be there. On the Dem side, Congressional Republicans are already promising to obstruct Clinton at every turn and even try mightily to impeach her for imagined and disproven sins. So Democrats as a party and as pols will have to:

  • Copy the 2010/11 GOP strategy of controlling state legislatures and thus redistricting and thus House makeup
  • Rally the public who are sick to death of obstructionism to first goad their Reps into cooperation and second to defeat those up for election in the next two cycles

Dems have hard tasks, but at least theirs won’t require mental, emotional,cultural shifts as with the GOP.

Let’s play the game along with Republicans. They lost the POTUS yet again in 2012 and followed that with the promies and (dare we say) hope of the Growth & Opportunity Project (G.O.P.). That jocularly named autopsy detailed the failures, forecast the demographic trends, and mandated what they needed to do to fill up a big tent of women, African Americans, Latinos, and, well, Democrats.

The lameness of pary head Reince Priebus and ticket head Donald Trimp seem the antithesis of the autopsy findings. Assuming the obvious Hillary Clinton victory in two weeks, do Republicans:

  • Accept that they can only get the voted of poorly educated white men?
  • Cling to being “the party of Lincoln” even though the modern bastardization couldn’t be farther from his ideals?
  • Try to live with a splintered and split personality of far right extremists, bigots and other anachronisms?
  • Do another deep dive and this time really try to follow the analysis findings?

They really have become an asylum or other institution of dysfunctional quasi-adults.

For the Democrats, if they can’t geet control of at least the Senate (thus installing judges and preventing the Tea Party pledge of impeachment and other vengeance against Clinton, then what? Ideally, they could get control of most legislatures in the 32 states that let their local lawmakers do the Census Year redistricting. Republicans were brilliant and ruthless in gerrymandering. What is the Dem strategy?

icon for podpress  Tiny-Tent Party [24:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Donnie Points and Whimpers

For consistency, note that I called out GOP would-be POTUS Donald trump as a mommy’s boy in June. He’s still at it.

Granted, Sen. Elizabeth Warren politically popularized “the sysetm is rigged” several years ago. Then realizing her weakness with progressive sorts in her campaign against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton wore the RIGGED button figuratively at speeches.

Now the delicious irony is amoral Dem turned pseudo-Republican Trump overuses the term to tedium. The election is rigged. mass media and pols, even GOP officials, conspire against him in a fixed election.

Another bit of humor is that Sanders a tiny bit, and both the Clintons and Warren and her hubby Bruce have done very well financially. They don’t rob from ordinary folk, but they can’t claim to be even anywhere in the middle-class.

The key difference here is that Trump’s claims:

  • Are strictly about himself and not the commonweal
  • His are without evidence and patently false

Let’s discuss whether he has any case at all.I love that Okie Warren’s word repeatably comes from the fake donkey’s mouth.

Let’s also touch on how the pathetic 35% to 45% who’d torch democracy for anti-woman, anti-lefty emotional voting will deal with the now-destined defeat. Some threaten rebellion, even assassination. The rotting husk of the Republican party chooses lizard-brain reactions right now. Can they come to democracy and the commonweal?

icon for podpress  Rigged [18:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Hillary, Know When to Shut Up

With relief, most of us look to Hillary Clinton’s victory next month, and fending off Donald Trump’s approach to the White House. What about the next go?

Already, people are talk king about running for the Prez. Republicans like Paul Ryan sene her campaign weaknesses. Democrats are certain to have the we-can-do-better free-lances arming.

One huge factor of the 2020 race would be what we have seen more in the debates than her stump speeches. She lets her intellectual pretense and lawyer training block her pitches. She makes a policy point or answers a pointed or nasty challenge, only to run on and on.

She can be Dem Party head also for the 2018 and 2020 House races as well as state elections.

I’ll talk about the greatest ad salesman I knew and what his lessons were. That Trump guy boasts of his sales and negotiating prowess. His business record is not so supportive of those claims and his flaccid swats during campaigning contradict it. Hillary can outdo him and future contenders, not by changing her messages, rather her delivery.

icon for podpress  No Saleswoman: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Pegging Those Deplorables

Hillary Clinton got it right. Let’s join her and keep it up…for the rest of our lives. Many Donald Trump supporters prove themselves in word and action to be hate mongers. They need to be called out now and regularly. That may eventually get through to them.

With bitter amusement, we see Trump, his surrogates and even the amoral among commentators have been wailing about her demonizing these hard-working loyal Americans with her observation. Instead, she has pointed to the demons and called them by name. That is as right and necessary task.

Yes, she did it. Yes, she should have done it. No, everyone’s feelings and thoughts are not of equal worth. No, bigots shouldn’t get a free ride in the public byways.

I mix rant with some personal experiences in calling out — and affecting — racists. Oh, and I’ll point out the perfection of the Talmud on this.

icon for podpress  Deplorables [20:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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