The Dem Judiciary Committee’s Lambasting of William Barr

After months of trying, the Dem’s get Attorney General William Barr to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and they muck it up.  At one point Barr captured the scene with words akin to this:  I thought this was a hearing.  Don’t I get to be heard?

Generally speaking, the Dem congressmen and women were only interested in tarring and feathering Barr and Trump, fine for speaking to the choir but what about that relative handful of eventual voters who still could go either way?

Those could be the deciders…..the ones still sitting on the tipping point.

It wasn’t a good omen to hear that the committee chair, Jerry Nadler, was late because of a minor car accident.  Maybe his senses were shaken up.  I can’t think of another reason for him to allow Republican Jim Jordan to show what was essentially an amped up campaign video as his opening statement.  It displayed a steady barrage of burning buildings and police under attack as if the whole country is in flames and the Dems are to blame.  You know what they say about an image being worth more than a thousand words.  I recall those images much better than anything spoken (besides:  “Don’t I get to be heard?”)

Another impact of imagery was the solid performance of Barr himself.  Seldom losing his cool, despite some understandably angry reactions to the Dem’s accusing Trump and him of all sort of crimes, while almost never allowing Barr to respond to their accusations.  Every time he tried, the Dem inquisitor called “reclaiming my time”, meaning they only had a few minutes and they weren’t going to waste it on what they assumed were lies.

To get a word in edgewise, Barr grabbed time from sympathetic Republican questioners.  Otherwise this was a political roast without the usual humor.

My point is not to defend Barr’s positions, but the fact he was seldom given much time to express them WHICH GAVE THE IMAGE OF AN UNFAIR TRIBUNAL, NOT A HEARING.  Despite weeks of advanced warning there seemed no preparation by the Dems for pinning down a very tricky character, which would have required something more organized than the scatter gun attacks by the Dem Representatives.

Oh, by the way, I am a never Trumper in case you haven’t read many of my posts.  My anger comes when I see Dems do things that I feel are detrimental to the cause, and this so-called hearing is one of them.  Frankly, I just don’t think Nadler is up to the task of dealing with a Barr (if you recall Adam Schiff was the Dem leader in the impeachment proceedings even though that role would more normally go to the Judiciary Chair, who was Nadler).

The “hearing” totally lacked fairness and that is the main message I believe it conveys to those relatively few who are still swaying in the wind.

It is a message unfavorable to the Democrats.

Wallace’s Interview with Trump Sunday: Accessibility in Action

I regret Monday’s post in which I muddled together praise for three fine men with knowledge and integrity:  General Mattis, Doctor Fauci and TV journalist Chris Wallace.  The first two are better known, especially Fauci, than the third and they deserve it.

But Wallace exemplifies political interviewing at its best and, in my opinion, does not get the praise he deserves.  It is particularly tough to pin down the truth these days, and he’s particularly good at it in his interviews.

Liberals can’t forgive him for working at Fox (see P. S. below) and actually exemplifying the station’s slogan of “fair and balanced” journalism better than the liberals on MSNBC and CNN do.

He did the best interview I’ve seen of our pretend president Sunday (while his interview of Putin at Helsinki may be the best I’ve ever seen in terms of political toughness [Would you want to get tough with Putin?]).

But let’s get to the point.

The White House spinners of their made up truth often argue that Trump is the most accessible president ever (always that ridiculous degree of hyperbole) which is as phony as most things that come out of their mouths.  While Trump is often seen giving brief attention to reporters before helicoptering from the White House, the press questions are never fully answered and often can’t be heard over the roar of helicopter blades.

In other contexts he evades reporter’s questions by calling them “nasty” or using some other form of distraction, like terribly twisted distortions or just plain lying.  Basking in his false narrative and the power of his presidency to ignore.  Only in the warped little minds of the Trump mouth pieces can this be seen as accessibility.

I think the only reason Republicans agree to be interviewed by Wallace is because he works at Fox.  Maybe they think they’ll get a warm reception.  Often they don’t, but he’s always polite.  I don’t see many cheap shots from him.  Wallace tends to be fair and balanced, in stark contrast to Fox’s biggest stars, the week day evening crew of Hannity, Carlson and Ingraham, who remind me of the laughing hyenas in The Lion King.

But crawling back to my main point:   I want Wallace’s interview of Trump to get the attention it deserves.  Wallace actually made Trump accessible through his penetrating questions and his feisty responses.  Here are a couple of ways to digest the interview.  You can actually watch the so-called president flailing around in full by going to this link to Fox, but have a drink and some snacks at hand as the interview is 40 minutes.

Or you could flip through CNN’s ” 55 most schocking lines”.  And follow those up.  Or simply google around.  There are plenty of articles about the interview.


P. S. – A number of liberal commentators have praised Wallace, while also criticizing him for various missteps, such as not taking Trump to task for stories of Putin’s paying Taliban members to kill American troops, or making Fox look better than they are by actually exhibiting a fair, balanced and hard hitting interview.

My thoughts:  Wallace knew that bringing up the Taliban would simply prompt lies and denies from Trump and waste valuable time.  As for the unfortunate fact for liberals that Wallace is more fair and balanced then they are…. Well, I don’t think many people confuse Wallace with the opinionaters at Fox headed up by the three hyenas.  In any event, I’m eager to see a smart, tough interview from any source these days.  Just so we don’ forget what it looks like.

Anyone remember how good Tim Russert was?

Who do you Trust: Mattis, Fauci and Other Well Respected Experts, or Trump?

Trump acts as if his beliefs carry at least the same weight as the knowledge of real experts in their fields like General Mattis, former Secretary of Defense,and highly esteemed among our military, and Doctor Anthony Fauci, arguably the most respected authority worldwide on infectious diseases.

Not enough to impress Trump, though, his being a “stable genius” and all. Trump defamed Mattis’ ability after he resigned (Not to mention all the top brass before that, “I know more than the generals.”) and he has taken roundabout swipes at Dr. Fauci through some of his lackey’s.

He’s afraid of making direct attacks as polls show Fauci to be much more trusted than the president, which is why we don’t see the two together anymore.

In Mattis and Fauci we have two figures highly experienced in their fields while Trump’s military experience (beyond attending a military academy) consists in avoiding the draft pleading bone spurs a few times.  His lone scientific credential seems to lie in having an uncle who was a professor at MIT years ago (I guess we are to surmise the ability lies in his genes).

General Mattis has asserted Trump lies too much to be president (not to mention other major shortcomings) and Fauci, ever measured in his statements, has consistently been a beacon of truth about Cofid-19, which should mean a lot given his international stature.  But not to Trump, except as a threat.

In Trump’s view, Fauci has his opinion and Trump has his, as if an expert with decades of proven experience and success with pandemics rates only equal standing to some boastful drunk bragging about his accomplishments at a bar.

Those who except Trump’s demand that he alone purveys the truth have swallowed assertions like this: ” Don’t believe what you see or hear.  Just believe what I say.”  This is the stuff of burgeoning dictatorships, as is the recent appearance of federal agents, our own version of little green men (remember Russian soldiers in the Crimea?) jumping out of vans in Portland, Oregon and seizing whomever, while refusing to identify themselves.

This action would be the most scary of Trump’s many that disregard and rip apart the institutional fabric of our society if this were all real rather than another episode of a “reality TV” show.  I’m guessing the tan men with no names were there to show what Trump could do, what a tough guy he could be.   And to provide one more plot of quicksand to consume and distract us.

Of course most of you know all of this.  Think of it as a an overly long preamble, a warm-up to reading a linked piece on Trump’s interview today by Chris Wallace of Fox.  I have argued more than once that Wallace, despite working at Fox, is the best political interviewer on TV and today provided further evidence as he gave Trump a real grilling over his version of the truth when it comes to fighting the virus and other major issues we all face.

This is a summary from Yahoo News.

Read it and make your own judgement as to who is smarter and more knowledgeable between the two.  If you want to see the full interview, I imagine you can find it if you try.

Things Are Bad and Under Trump can Only get Worse.

Last Friday the coronavirus task force had its first press conference in about two months.  The lack of those press briefings seem to fit with Trump’s eagerness to get the economy back on track.  The whole of the medical information seemed an “inconvenient truth” that Trump didn’t want to spot light.

So, Trump skipped this meeting and VP Pence presided.  The VP (one of the world’s great suck ups) went immediately delusional, emphasizing what “remarkable progress” we have made under the supposed leadership of president Trump.

I have not posted since May 18, as there is so much going on I haven’t felt I had much to add.  My quote from President Obama in that last post seems to still basically cover our situation regarding the virus.   Trump’s response has been an “absolute, chaotic disaster.”

Regarding our “remarkable progress” vs. the virus, in that May post I also compared our success against Covid-19 with that of South Korea which registered it’s first case January 20, the same day we did.  Since then they have lost about 300 people and we have lost over 126,000.   How can this have been remarkable progress by us?

Another couple of enlightening stats:  Both the U. S. virus cases and deaths make up about 25% of those world wide, while we have roughly 5% of the world’s population.  How can this have been remarkable progress by us?

And now the European Union has crossed us off their list of fifteen favorite nations in regards to travel there.  They basically banned us because our rates of contagion are much greater than there’s now.  (check out the graph).  It was not that long ago that Trump was banning Europeans from coming here.

And now because of Trump’s eagerness to reopen the economy despite medical warnings of the dangers of acting too soon, we see major spikes in the virus in several states, making Pense’s rosy picture last Friday look all the more delusional.

 

Obama calls Trump’s Response to the coronavirus “an absolute, chaotic disaster.”

I could not have described it any better Mr. President.   Glad you’re getting warmed up for the big fight to dethrone the boy who would be king.  We need a lot of you now as your buddy Joe is sort of trapped in his basement at the moment, a bad look but he’s in a tough spot.  He’s just not in the center of the action right now.

As always, Trump is in the center of the news because his main goal is to be there.  He’s great at doing or saying something controversial which gets top news billing because he is the president.  In contrast to him is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who has basically been the banner carrier of the Democratic party of late as he has shown the nation in his daily press conferences what a real leader looks like as opposed to president putz.

Cuomo has been the text book leader in turning the virus around in New York city and state.  A real leader takes charge, tells the truth (sure often with some positive spin) and takes responsibility for his actions, as President Harry Truman summed up with a sign he kept on his desk:  “The buck stops here.”   With Trump the buck never stops with him.  If it’s a problem it’s someone else’s fault.

Trump’s response to Obama’s criticism is predictable: he trashes him.  Deflecting from his own incompetence, Trump hangs that label on Obama.  And he ups the ante by asserting some crime Obama committed, while refusing to state what it is.  “You know, ” he tells reporters.  “You know.”

I’d love to see a chorus from reporters ring out:  “No, we don’t.” (and we suspect neither do you.)

Trump’s phony act is so obvious, but he keeps the press at bay with his ability to churn up enough outrageous news bits as to keep reporters buzzing about and failing to land on something, some one thing to demand an explanation of.

How about this topic?  Trump continually brags about what a great job he’s done vs. the virus.   But, according to the News Tribune:  “The United States and South Korea each reported their first confirmed case of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization on Jan. 20.”

Since then around 300 South Korean’s have died of the virus, compared to around 90,000 Americans.  We have about eight times their population, so to make the comparison fair and square, let’s make the situation per capita and say if South Korea had our population, they would have lost about 2,400 people.

90,000 to 2,400………………..  Still, a huge disparity.  REALLY HUGE!  Please, reporters unite.  Demand Trump explain that statistic in the face of his bragging about what a great job he’s done.  Bring this up over and over a gain, like a dog with a bone.  Keep biting and don’t let him deflect the questioning elsewhere.

Trump deflects by blaming Obama for leaving him “a bare cupboard” of pandemic supplies” and nothing else.  At least the Obama team left him with a basic primer of suggestions of what needed to be attended to and an office within the National Security Council whose job was to track potential pandemics world wide.

Trump ignored the suggestions and closed the office.   Also, he has had over three years to develop his own plan to battle pandemics.  What’s Trump’s plan?  Open up the economy willy nilly and see what happens while gambling on a vaccine developed soon enough to save us?

Again I would like reporters to demand an explanation for why 90,000 carona deaths here, while South Korea has had about 300 (or an adjusted 2400 if we add the population differential).

Please reporters, bring this up the next time Trump claims he has done a great job battling the virus.


P. S. – My link above to the News Tribune is worth following as that news source gives a brief description of what South Korea did and we did not.

Coronavirus: How We Dry Our Hands is also Important.

We’ll get to drying hands shortly, but right now I want to vent a bit.

It is all too much for me.  The capper in this time of crisis is the horror of a man who is supposed to be our leader apparently only concerned with making himself look good.  So while doing too little to keep us safe or at least make us safer, Trump’s greatest efforts are directed to avoiding blame. 

China gets the most blame at the moment, and of course WHO who has been soft on them and President Obama, who Trump blames for leaving the cupboard bare when it comes to anti-virus tools (leaving out his role in dismantling what Obama did leave in place).  Of course the fake news, the deep state (especially the corrupt FBI) and of course the Democrats in general for pressing their witch hunt against him throughout his presidency, taking his attention away from important matters………like anti-virus preparation……  

Back in February or so Trump pointed to the virus as one more hoax by the Dems to slur him.  And dismissed the virus as something we had under control.

Whatever……………….   I just can’t stand looking at the big picture sketched and scribbled and erased and blurred by Trump….all to make him look good.  The years of Trump have felt increasingly surreal, but now they have made our lives unbelievable.

We tend to look normal but aren’t.  We stay at home a lot more, take a walk as a high point of our day, watch TV escapism  (and as much virus news as we can stand) and zoom togetherness and just hope for better to return.  What used to be an informal togetherness we experienced most days is now the occasional intermittent well spaced greeting to strangers.

I am anxious about us holding our own if Trump’s twisted reality takes hold of too many voters this November.  Perhaps science can save us with a miracle drug, and maybe Trump’s presidency, too, which would be so ironic, since he usually down plays the weight of scientific evidence (because it undermines his wishful thinking).

Anyway…………  Besides venting my anxiety I’d like to add a little something to our anti-virus fight.  We are often reminded to wash our hands often to keep the virus somewhat contained, but seldom do we see much about the importance of how we dry our hands.  Perhaps you have questions as I have:

At home can we just use the same towel? Or should we use different ones.  How important is our getting our hands real dry.  (clue: real important).  How can we make simple home sanitizers?  What about using blow dryers in public rest rooms?  Are paper towels the best way to go?  Etc. etc.

I don’t want to mislead you with faulty explanations, so it seems best for you to search the article linked below for answers to the above questions and more: article in Business Week.

It was published back on March 9, 2020, but I’ve read more recent pieces and still think this one gives you the best overall view. (It also links to other information.)

Trump and Coronavirus: How Dumb can a “Stable Genius” Be?

As Jonathan Chait described yesterday: ” On February 26, President Trump boasted that the coronavirus was about to disappear altogether from the United States. “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero,” he insisted.

When a reporter asked him (yesterday) how that prediction is holding up, given that the United States now has surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. Trump insisted he had been right all along.

“Well, it will go down to zero, ultimately,” he said.

Well, of course it will ultimately go down, but how much will it destroy in the meantime?

As Chait added sarcastically:  “…. the timeline for going down to zero has been slightly extended from a couple days to “sometime before all life on Earth ceases to exist.” Oh, and on the way to zero, we’re going to have trillions of dollars in economic damages and more deaths than a major war, details Trump didn’t get around to mentioning originally. Other than that, mission accomplished!”

We all know Trump will defend as being right anything he says or does, but the senselessness of this statement seems to reveal some new level of scary detachment from reality.  And/or fundamental stupidity.


P. S. – If you want to see more about Trump’s related misstatements of fact and common sense you can check out CNN coverage here.

Stalking Trump the Weasel (04/15/2020)

You have to hand it to the guy (or troll, or fat faced humanoid – whatever you want to call him).   He’s really great at capturing the news cycle, while deflecting personal blame.

He’s kind of an evil genius in that regard.

Today’s attention seems drawn to his defunding the World Health Organization (or putting the funding on hold or quite likely making no change but still notching another news cycle while doing virtually nothing).  Yesterday he was boasting of his total authority to “open the economy”…..an idea now dropped, BECAUSE EVEN FOR HIM IT IS RIDICULOUS, as many of his aids must have argued.

It was dropped because he has no authority to do that, but it sure put the press into a tail spin.  Hear’s the time tested formula:  Trump says or does something outrageous;  The press and liberals (and conservatives who still have integrity) become enraged and then he backs off having notched yet another news cycle win.

And he moves on………..

And he looked tough doing it.  Looking tough a high priority for him.  Making a tough decision that he might be blamed for, not so much.

I’d say defunding WHO is just another fire cracker he tossed in the air to ensnare everyone’s attention.  Of course, WHO can be faulted for many things, but at least it is a structure for dealing with important international health issues.  WHO’s faults allows Trump to deflect his many failures regarding the run up to this crisis.

What’s Trump’s alternative international organization?  Him? The grand narcissist?  America not only first, but only?  Actually, only him.

While attention is directed at the faults of others, capturing most of our attention, a lesser story comes forth, bantered around before, that Trump will have his name on the memo portion of checks sent out to the public.

I realize that most of my readers find this abhorrently ridiculous, but I’m hoping to snag a vote or two from Trump leaners.  With all that is going on about the coronavirus and likelihood of a cavernous global recession…………. Trump is pushing his brand in every little way possible.   That he thinks of such things is one more testimony that he thinks less of what is really important.

How appalling does this guy have to be before some of you Trump leaners rediscover your souls?


P. S.   –  Here’s an NYT’s article on Trump’s plan to have his name on all checks for funding relief.  One plus, probably a majority of recipients will receive direct deposits.  Thank God for small favors.

“Trump is not a King,” says Cuomo. How About a Mafia Don?

Since his self-aggrandizing mostly pseudo update on the U. S. fight against the carona virus yesterday, Trump has lambasted governors for not being sufficiently appreciative for his support and having the nerve to challenge his “authority.”

For example, it angers him that New York’s governor Cuomo has stated Trump is not a king, as if Trump needed to be reminded.   But Trump acted like a king asserting his “great powers” as president to do what he wills, including “re-opening” the economy.

Legally,  Trump lacks constitutional authority to open the economy just as he had none to close it.  (These are the realms of governors.).  Trump didn’t even want the responsibility for closing the economy of states.  He might be blamed then, and he always avoids taking responsibility for anything, except whatever seems praiseworthy after the fact.  But now he wants credit for those successes and pretends he has the authority to open businesses in those states.

I believe that when Trump says he has the final authority on all such measures, he is not talking about constitutional authority, but the authority of fear, the kind of authority a mafia don possesses.  He is saying in, reality, he can make things so tough on the governors that they had better heed his wishes.  That’s what “authority” means to Trump.

That’s Trump’s vision of being a leader.

At these briefings Governor Cuomo does a good job of walking the line, praising Trump while stopping short of ingratiating himself by allowing key Trump falsehoods to stand.  As he said this morning, “I don’t want to fight with the president.  This is too important for that.”  But he could not let Trump’s kingly behavior stand unchallenged.

If you haven’t checked out Cuomo’s morning TV updates on New York’s battle with the pandemic, please do.   They are usually on daily about 8:00 a.m. PDT.   As I’ve asserted before, Cuomo acts like a president, including an overall strategy for beating the virus back.

The more you watch both president and governor, you will likely see the latter has a plan to beat this virus, while the former keeps defending what he has done and not done about it, while claiming a lack of respect for his “great” efforts and spouting off on the need to open the economy.

Trump has a goal with no plan.   Cuomo has both.  Watch him and you’ll see.


P. S. – There is a dynamic at work regarding the Cuomo press conferences that I find interesting yet not commented upon in the media I’ve seen.  Fox News carry’s the Cuomo updates and I know a couple of regular Fox watchers who find Cuomo to be “OK”, unlike any other Democrat.  Don’t know what this means in terms of the election, but Cuomo has made himself a player in some way.

I’ve seen some whimsical thinking about how it would be nice to have Cuomo as the Dem candidate instead of Biden.  Obama gave his support to his former VP today.  That would seem to seal the deal, but it certainly would be nice to see Cuomo a lot as Dem attack dog during the presidential race.

 

Trump’s Pretend Press Conference on the Carona Virus a la Campaign Rally April 13

Lacking the opportunities of doing campaign rallies now, Little King Don has transformed his carona virus updates into a workable facsimile.   Today he reached a new high, or low depending on how you look at it.

Much of his attention was placed on making a case for himself as doing a great job on battling the virus.  That seems a reaction to a NYT article that portrays Trump as being slow to react to the spreading virus danger despite numerous warnings from various quarters.

Putting very little time into updates on the anti-virus war, Trump and his “staff” mostly emphasized the great things Trump had done to fight the virus, with few details offered.  The low points came when he showed a video which was pure campaign propaganda.  AND……when he claimed to have the authority as president to open the economy or close it as he saw fit.  Reporters challenged that but he either insulted them as phony journalists working for fake news organizations or dismissed them out of hand for being “nasty.”

Some reporters push hard to make their points or questions, but Trump slaps their comments aside like flies. They are trapped in traditional protocols while Trump recognizes no restrictions.  No Marquis of Queensbury rules for him.

The press all feel there are limits to what they can do, lest they won’t be allowed back.

They are so used to competing with each other for the “exclusive”, that the notion of working together against a common enemy (he calls them the “enemy of the people”, so of course he’s their enemy).  They are trapped in traditional press protocols fighting a street fighter who doesn’t recognize protocols.  And, of course, the press also have their careers to think about.  Being banned from the White House might come into play.

The press just doesn’t seem to know what to do with Trump.  Their trying to make amends by fact checking Trump later seems to me to be too little too late.  The show is over by that time and Trump has starred once again.  Most of his act is B. S. but it overpowers the press’ fragmented attempts to hold him accountable.

The lingering impression I have is Trump looking strong and the press looking feeble.

The Enlightenment’s belief that truth will prevail if brought into the light of day seems an iffy proposition when battling Trump’s formidable B. S. which places a black cloud over reality.

As badly as he has mishandled the government’s response to this carona virus, Trump keeps making it seem that he has somehow done a great job and wherever we are by election time, he is likely to make himself look good to many.

Such is the power of his B. S.  And the scariness.