The Donald Trump Show is Becoming Tiresome while Life in Syria is Sad

I have written several posts over the past two weeks, but scrapped them as not worth reading, so I’m back later than usual.   Just want you out there to know I’m still around, watching the election shenanigans and still envisioning the sure fire destruction of the Republican party this summer.

I think what I wrote in my March 2 post about the upcoming shattering still holds up and while there are some interesting twists and turns since then, there will be quite a few more, so I’m going to let things sort out for awhile longer.   OK, I will add that Trump, Cruz and Kasich all basically said last night that they will not feel bound to support the eventual Republican candidate if not themselves (at least it is clear than neither Cruz nor Kasich will support Trump, though the other two camps are not exactly chummy towards each other, either).  They have been hedging on that for some time, so it’s not exactly big news.   But it does further the argument that the post convention Republican party will resemble Humpty Dumpty after the fall.

As for the Donald Trump show, this latest episode starring his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski roughly grabbing the arm of a female reporter, Michelle Fields, and now being charged with “simple battery” is just one more attention grab by Trump. He could have defused it with a simple apology, but why would Trump ever defuse some attention grabbing situation?  It has only worked to his advantage.

Read how one of his female fans interprets this latest dust up:  “It’s all ridiculous to me because I don’t think grabbing someone’s arm to restrain them is battery,” said Carlene Summers, a 72-year-old who attended Trump’s rally Tuesday in Janesville, Wisconsin. “I used to work on a school playground and I restrained quite a few kids and I never got in trouble for battery.”

I don’t think it matters to this fan that there is an audio tape of Michelle Fields reacting to being grabbed while talking to another reporter who corroborates her story (her “almost falling” is somewhat debateable, but the other reporter says “you almost fell” in the audio, and what defines “almost”?).  There is an overhead video which, while not conclusive, seems to back up Fields’ story and there are marks on her arm that fit her statement.

Of course, Trump has said:  “How do we know she got those marks from Lewandowski?”  (A likely coincidence, Donald?)  Funny, isn’t it, the level of precision Trump demands from his challengers, while he pays little attention to getting his facts straight and ignores questions regarding the disparity.   When it comes to escaping questions himself, he’s a Houdini.   When it comes to asking questions, he’s the Grand Inquisitor.

As fascinated as I have been by the Trump show, I’m getting tired of his act.  I’ll leave it at that for now.

As for my only other recent topic, the ceasefire in Syria, I’m happy to say it is still more or less working, more in the sense that the fighting is greatly reduced and much humanitarian aid is reaching something like 50% of those besieged in contrast with about 1% before.   Also, while on hold for the moment, talks on an eventual solution are still going on in Geneva.  Unfortunately, these talks have produced no breakthroughs when it comes to a vision of moving forward with a new government.    I can’t imagine how that will change, sad to say.

Sigh…..

 

A Few Thoughts on Syria

(WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING OF THE DONALD TRUMP SHOW FOR A FEW THOUGHTS ON SOMETHING ELSE)

Although I have written mostly about the rise of Trumpenstein of late, I have been keeping track of what has been happening in the Middle East, especially Syria and Iran.   Not so much that I don’t feel painfully ignorant about it all, but enough to express a few thoughts that you can judge how you will.  I’ll  limit myself to Syria today.

But first a word about Trump (one of several reasons I gravitate towards his rise is that he seems such a reflection of us, something I hope to understand some day).   The word is the results of today’s primaries could decide whether Trump’s nomination will look inevitable or whether the anti-Trump Republicans can still hope to stage a fight at the convention in July.  The hope that Trump will not grab the 1237 votes necessary by then.

If Trump wins in Ohio today, divine intervention would seem required to stop him.  If Governor Kasich can beat him in his home state, let the games go on.  More about all that in a couple of days.

Now for Syria.  About two weeks ago a cease fire was signed by Russia and the U. S. and other major powers concerned with  the devastation and to most people’s surprise it has held up pretty well.  Of course it did not include ISIS and it has been uneven, but humanitarian aid has reached various places in desperate need and there has been markedly  less fighting overall.

Peace talks have resumed in Geneva and Russia has surprised by announcing it will be pulling out most of its forces in Syria, which seems a hopeful sign, though one American correspondent has described it as getting out before things get really messy there.

It is hard to imagine what kind of agreement can be worked out in Geneva because “our side” insists President Assad must go, while Russia has backed his staying in power.  Russian intervention has shored up Assad’s position in recent months, with the apparent goal of keeping his position strong at any bargaining table.

However, this exodus of forces makes me wonder just what Vladimir has in mind now.   I won’t even try to guess.

At least there is a glimmer of hope for peace in contrast with the assumption of endless slaughter that now prevails.

Dilbert Predicts Trump will Win Election in a Landslide

Not Dilbert actually.  He’s a comic strip character as you probably know.  It is his creator, Scott Adams, who is predicting a Trump landslide and he has been making this prediction for months on his:  blog.dilbert.com.  I just learned of his political punditry watching one of the Fox programs this Sunday morning.   His blog seems well worth following through the election as you are likely to judge from the March 4 post below.

Let’s just say he has made a strong argument for the possibility of us waking up in November  to see Donald J. Trump as our president.

“The FOX News debate moderators annihilated Donald Trump last night. They highlighted huge problems with his budget plan, showed inconsistencies in his policies, and hammered him for his Trump University “scam” as some would call it. It was Trump’s first bad debate night.

And when I say FOX annihilated Trump, I mean they guaranteed a Trump landslide. People don’t like the establishment, in case you haven’t heard.

We’re past the question of whether our politicians are lying to us. That’s a given. The system forces them to lie to get elected. I’m not sure the voters care at this point.

A good way to judge the persuasiveness of these debates is to sleep on them and see what sticks in your mind in the morning. The few moments that you remember are the things that matter. The rest of your memories got flushed while you slept. So Here’s what I recall from last night.

1. Trump’s penis is more than adequate, he says.

2. Trump’s immigration plans are his first offer, subject to negotiation, as I have been telling you for months. (Because all things are subject to negotiation.)

3. Trump has no good defense for the Trump University “scam” accusation. But voters probably don’t care. They heard it was a contested legal situation – a boring one – and that was probably enough for people to ignore it.

4. Trump’s budget plans are ridiculous, just like the other candidates’ plans. But voters probably know that already. No one believes a budget plan from a candidate.

5. Trump looked sweaty and flustered at one point. That’s the first we have seen it. But he still came off as powerful in general.

6. Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich were also on stage. I can’t remember if they talked.

7. FOX seemed to be piling on Trump, but that could be the front-runner effect. You expect them to go after the leader and frame questions around the leader’s positions.

Overall, I doubt this debate moved the needle much on the polls. People who watch debates at this point in the election cycle probably made up their minds before they turned on the TV.

If you are wondering how to make a decision in light of the fact that all the candidates appear to be either deeply flawed or toothless, I’m here to help. I suggest you use this simple trick: Assume all the accusations about everyone are 100% true. Then vote.

For example, assume Donald Trump has changed positions on some things and plans to negotiate on other things. Assume he has a ridiculous budget plan. Assume he has insufficient policy details. Assume his taxes have some ugly surprises and that Trump University seemed a scam to its students. Assume he has several notable business failures. Assume he has offensive thoughts about women and minorities and he will say more offensive things in the future. Assume he is a narcissist too. Assume all of it to be true.

But also remember that Trump has never offered himself to be the country’s role model. And I don’t believe anyone is questioning his patriotism or love of country. As far as I can tell, Trump is treating this more like an extended job interview. He’s offering to put his talent for persuasion (which you might call his flaw of being full of shit) in the service of the country.

A Trump presidency would be messy. It would certainly introduce a new type of risk that we have not seen before.

Do you want more risk?

Generally speaking, you want to avoid risk when things are going well and accept risk when things are totally broken. If you think the country is doing well, and will continue to do so, Hillary Clinton is an excellent choice on the left, as is Marco Rubio on the right. They will keep things mostly the same.

But if you think government is rigged against your interests, and unlikely to improve on its own, you want a bloodless revolution. And the candidate you hire for the revolution is likely to have rough edges.

Here I remind you that I’m not endorsing Trump or anyone else. In fact, I disavowed Trump exactly because of the rough edges. I don’t want to be in the splatter zone with any of the accusations I mentioned.”

The Inevitable Destruction of the Republican Party

Maybe it’s not inevitable, but is sure looks like it from here.

In case you’re just coming out of a coma, Donald Trump thrashed his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination in last night’s primary, winning seven states while Ted Cruz won three and Marco Rubio won one.   Of course, there are a lot more primaries to take place, but the trend seems clear.  The losing camps like to point out that Trump really is getting only about 35% of the votes, indicating that leaves about 65% of Republicans against him.

The problem with that is none of his opponents plan on dropping out soon and it is unclear if any of them does, where their votes would go.   For example, the camps of Cruz and Rubio are far from close, so if Cruz would drop out a lot of his votes would go to Trump.   At the moment the path to the nomination now looks like a red carpet for the Donald.

Except that prominent figures in that vague collection called the “Republican establishment” seem willing to try anything to sabotage a man who at times seems more liberal than conservative, has no real plans for anything and is outrageously crass whenever he feels like it.  In short they cannot stomach the thought of Trump being the current personification of “the party of Lincoln and Reagan.”

The specter of a Trump nomination has driven Senator Lindsey Graham to admit with clinched teeth that he would even prefer Ted Cruz to Donald Trump.  That’s quite a statement from a guy who has joked that if Cruz was murdered on the senate floor, no one would be found guilty.   If you don’t get the joke, he was suggesting how disliked Cruz is by his fellow Senators, probably so since he does not have even one endorsement from them.

Things are so bad that I see various noteworthy Republicans state they won’t vote for Trump if he’s nominated, and hear much talk of plans to prevent his getting the necessary 1237 votes to win the nomination outright.  While none of the others appears capable of beating him, together they may well get enough votes to leave the matter unsettled until the convention in Cleveland in July.

Hence, a floor fight or perhaps more accurately, a gang cage match.

What might happen there boggles the mind.  Except it cannot be good for the Republican party.  It is hard to imagine a majority of delegates rallying around either Cruz or Rubio, which might leave Ohio governor Kasich as the default choice.   Being a popular governor of the state and having a positive campaign not really attacking the others he wouldn’t be a bad candidate – actually a good one in normal times – but the Trump fans are close to a religion at this point, zealots for change no matter what, and if Trump is “robbed” of the nomination, no way they’ll vote same ‘ol, same ‘ol Republican if they vote at all.

The image of Humpty Dumpty comes to mind.