Friday, March 24, 2017

Now It's In Public

                             

Now we know what's been going on behind closed doors in the Trump Organization all these years. Lies and duplicity, disloyalty and all manner of slimy behavior. The stories about Trump and his business dealings are legion, and now that he is President, all of his worst machinations are on display for the country, and the world, to see.

The business world is run in a dog eat dog, Machiavellian way. No news there. The fact that Trump has operated his business through multiple bankruptcies, the stiffing of private contractors, and the bullying use of lawsuits has worked well for him in the private realm, clearly has no analogous method in the realm of governance.

All that's left, after a mere two-plus months into his tenure is the ragged and pervasive stench of failure with more than a pinch of corruption and treason. And instead of behind closed boardroom doors, it's all out in public view.    

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ebony and Ivory


                            

For years, radical conservatives have described the drug problem in this country in terms of race. Minorities that used illegal drugs were considered less than human, unable to be productive members of society. Minorities lacked "family values" the conservatives said. Divorces, single mother led families, high crime rates, and joblessness were all the proof these conservatives needed to justify their racist beliefs.

Odd how now, nearly four decades into the "Reagan Revolution" and the near total collapse and destruction of the middle class, we are finding these same destructive social problems in white communities all across the midwest.

A news article today highlights the incredible drug overdose rate in West Virginia, of all places, a whiter state you'd have a hard time finding. With the advent of crystal meth, a cheap and powerful drug, deaths from drug overdoses are skyrocketing. A fund for aid to indigents funeral services has run out of cash because of the high rate of drug deaths. Funny, there is no talk of moral failings of these white communities that are now suffering from the same afflictions that minority communities have suffered from for decades.

Obviously, it is not and never has been a racial problem. It has always been a matter of economics. When minority families are oppressed by high rates of joblessness and suffer from the despair of no hope for better prospects, the very fabric of society frays and comes apart. Now that white communities across the country are facing the same conditions, the bonds of their communities are disintegrating and the results are remarkably similar. High divorce rates, poor education, joblessness and drug abuse are the scourge of whites, just as they have always been to minorities.

People are horrified when America is described as a racist society. Given what we've seen and now know to be true, it's time to accept the facts as they are. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Living the Lesson

                                  



Like many Asian industrial powers, South Korea has had great success in taking good ideas and making them better. In the consumer electronics realm, South Korean companies have made great strides in improving products with each new product cycle.

Politically, these economic powerhouses have used the blueprint of American democracy to enhance their standing in the world and to provide a secure economic environment for their well educated and upwardly mobile middle classes.

Now it is time for the student to instruct the teacher.

South Korea has impeached and removed from office their head of state. Corruption and political malfeasance justified the move and new elections will be held. There are defenders of the deposed President, but the mature populace has not resorted to violence. It is a textbook example of modern political maturity.

The United States has a similar situation. A democratically elected President is enmeshed in corrupt practices and foreign intrigue. His cabal of fascist advisors is enabling the crippling of the nation economically and politically. For the good of the country, the only logical solution is the impeachment and removal of President Trump.

Will this country live up to its principles and promises, or does this administration mark the unstoppable slide to oblivion of the great American experiment?

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Truth With No Consequences

          


Donald Trump is still having a hard time with the truth. All about him are leaks and the truth trickles out painfully slowly.

Since his January twentieth inauguration, he's lost a National Security advisor to a lack of truth, and now his newly installed Attorney General has had to recuse himself from investigating the Trump campaign following the revelation that he told lies to Congress during his confirmation hearings. He perjured himself, but maybe that's just semantics. Lies under oath may not actually be perjury to the Republican-controlled Congress. The Republicans do a good job of watching out for their own.

But, I wonder, what's all the hullaballoo about, anyway? So what if Trump and his campaign unlawfully colluded with the Russian government to tilt the election to Trump? So what if Trump has installed a cabinet that will carry out Steve Bannon's fever dream of tearing up the country's social contract? It's not like his constituents care about the truth.

Trump's base, his voters, are aware of what a liar Trump is. He's a sexual predator, a con artist, a thief, a serial philanderer, but none of that mattered to his base. They proudly voted him in.

As we know, his voters were the basket of deplorables, the racists, misogynists, know-nothings and the alt-right gang. Those cretins were tuned into the racist rhetoric spewed by Trump during the campaign, and they ate it up.

Another group were the Hillary-haters. That group that would have voted for ANYONE other than Hillary Clinton. That Donald Trump was the opposing candidate was just a happy coincidence for Donald. These misguided souls would have voted for Hitler if Hillary were the only other choice. Even with all of the tumult of the first months of Trump, this group still continues to rationalize their choice, cognitive dissonance being what it is.

A third group, mislabeled as "Never Trump"-ers, were the "principled" Republicans that opposed Trump during the primaries, but now that Trump is President, the use-by dates of their principled stances have long since run out. These collaborators are cynically attempting to get their repugnant radical Conservative platform implemented before the inevitable Trump meltdown, or after, when Pence is elevated to the Presidency.

The truth has no place in the world of these groups of Trump voters. Trump has the freedom to lie to their faces and smugly be certain of there being no significant push back from any of these groups. Rather than waste a lot of time, Trump ought to come clean about Russia's involvement in his campaign. He should release his tax returns so that the mystery of his financial entanglements will no longer arouse the righteous suspicions of the minority Democrats.

The truth will deflate all of the obstacles and clear the way for an easy enactment of his fascist agenda. He has nothing to fear.

The truth will set him free. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

FBI or LifeLock?

            
           

This amusing commercial for LifeLock points out the futility of monitoring a problem if you don't fix it. It makes the case for their (very high priced) credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

The bigger point that one might inquire about is the role of the FBI in the recent Presidential election.

It appears that the FBI was well aware of ongoing inappropriate and possibly illegal activity involving Russian intervention in the election and collusion with various members of the Trump campaign.

That's all well and good, but it's now four months after the election. Why was the FBI, if aware of these activities as it now seems clear, unable to put a stop to it? Is it not the role of the federal law enforcement agency to protect the nation from any unlawful activity? Or, are they merely like the "dental monitor" in the above LifeLock commercial, only to monitor but not prevent illegal activity?

What is the point of the FBI monitoring the illegal activities of anyone if they do not act to prevent these activities?

It might be costly, but perhaps we ought to swap out the FBI for LifeLock.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reagan is Right

            

I can't believe it! I'm down with Reagan!

RON Reagan, that is.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Whiff

                                  

Now MLB has decided, in the interests of speeding up the game, that they are changing the intentional walk. Rather than throw four balls, the manager will signal from the dugout, and the batter will trot on down to first base. No pitches required.

This is yet another assault on the venerable game with no thought given to how the game is being diminished with all these new rules designed to counter the very nature of the game. Without the need to pitch four balls, the pitcher is given a reprieve to his tired and inaccurate arm. There will be no chance for a wild pitch, no chance for a ball to come too close to the plate and be hit by the batter, an occurrence I saw happen just last season. There will be no chance for any mayhem on the basepaths by the opposing team, should they wish to further rattle a pitcher already in trouble.

Like all of the unadvised rules changes being put into force recently, the goal is to make the game faster, for the sake of new fans with no connection to the game, its history or its charms. The problem is that it hurts existing fans, and changes the game into something very different from the old familiar pastime. We see this during playoff and World Series games, when casual fans or non-fans are watching, and rather than focusing on the game, the cameras inevitably focus on the faces of the managers or bench players looking for "reaction shots"  that may play well on the tube. For a baseball fan, these telecasts are always the worst.

There is really no hope for changing these new and unnecessary rules. The powers that be have no faith in their own sport and will continue to willingly morph the game into something soon to be unrecognizable.


Fruit Salad

          

Fruit salad. That's the military slang for the ribbons that appear on military dress uniforms. They are symbolic of heroism, service, and sacrifice for members of the armed forces.  High ranking generals and admirals usually are loaded with fruit salad, the spoils of years of military service.

For reasons fairly easy to discern, President Trump has deigned to appoint several generals to high-ranking positions in his administration. It's not unusual for military retirees to move into civilian government positions. They have served in administrations of both parties. What is different about Trump's presidency?

During the campaign, Trump often disparaged generals that he blamed for "allowing" ISIS to continue to operate. He claimed to "know more than the generals" about how to fight and defeat ISIS. Trump's ridiculous blatherings notwithstanding, Trump has no knowledge of military tactics or the nuances of foreign policy. His political victory remains a testament to the unimaginable stupidity of an electorate fascinated by celebrity and inanity.

But, what does it mean now that there are generals in charge of civilian functions of our government? What expertise do they bring other than their military views and experience? How can generals operate within the very different confines of civilian authority when all they ever have known was the discipline of the military?

When the corrupt machinations of Trump and his administration are ultimately revealed, as they surely will be, how might generals respond to the ensuing chaos? I remember decades ago when President Reagan was shot, in the ensuing chaos of the response to the assassination attempt, Reagan's Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig, incorrectly and unconstitutionally declared himself "in control". The Vice President is next in line, whether present or not, and the 25th Amendment describes the remaining line of succession.

When the Trump Presidency implodes, what will his hardened generals think is their responsibility? The President, the Commander in Chief, is a civilian role. The fruit salad on their uniforms doesn't give them the right to usurp the Constitution and let us all hope they don't.



   

Friday, February 17, 2017

Suicide Squad

                             

At the end of WW II, when Nazi Germany was on the brink of defeat, there were mass suicides throughout the country. Not only Nazi party members and government officials, but also regular citizens. Entire families, children murdered by their parents before killing themselves, chose suicide rather than face defeat and justice at the hands of the Red Army or the Allied Forces.

The Germans that bought into the Nazi myth of invincibility, that victory was their destiny, could not bear the humiliation of their ultimate defeat. Of course, many didn't want to stay around and be held to account for the horrible atrocities committed by their brutal and inhuman countrymen.

That was then and this is now. Then it was a death cult sheathed in political garb, but its followers were held in total thrall to their charismatic insane leader.

What about now? We have a charismatic and severely personality disordered leader that has risen to the Presidency on the backs of the self-pitying racist and prone to violence disaffected groups in this country. Skin-heads, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members are in total thrall to the Trump cult of personality.

Less than a month into his Presidency, the Trump administration is in total chaos. Rank amateurs with no clue how to work the levers of power in Washington D.C., their racist and unconstitutional agenda is floundering.

There is a feeling that Trump won't last the entire term of his presidency. Talk of impeachment fills the air along with other constitutional maneuvers extant to provide for the removal of the President, should his closest aids find him unable to serve due to ailments physical or mental. With any luck, the Trump years may fade into just a laughingly ridiculous aberration.

When that happens, what will become of the true believers, the fellow travelers, the 60+ million people that believed in Trump, that he was somehow different, that he'd not only make America great again, that he'd make them great again too? The people that jammed his rallies at every campaign stop, that ridiculed the press covering them, that reveled in Trump's victory as if it were their own, what of them? The base that ignored every idiotic pronouncement, every lie about protecting the little guy, lies about bringing back jobs, what of them?

When the crisis happens, will these people don their Nike sneakers and slink into their homes and find that the humiliation of their having been duped by a conman too much to bear and emulate the Germans of 1945, even as Trump has tried to emulate the Germans of 1933?

History does seem to have a way of repeating itself, doesn't it? 

The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve - Vox

The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve - Vox:



'via Blog this'



Sadly, it's hard to imagine the current Vice President and the Cabinet of Misfits having the patriotism or integrity to carry out their duty under the 25th Amendment, should the need arise. It's Party before Country for this band of self-dealing wretches.