Democratic Presidential Survivor: Episode Two

If you are looking for insights on last night’s episode of “Survivor”, don’t look to me.  I’m still stuck on what many have called a good debate on healthcare.”   I saw it as a bunch of squabbling over a very complex issue that needs a lot of clarifying, so I’ll just wait until I hear more in some more or less real debate some time in the future.

I liked Amy Klobuchar, a centrist who might move up if Joe Biden shows his age again tonight.  For those who really want to look into a break down of the food fight, you can find a good one at the New York Times, where each candidate’s performance is rated like an ice skating competition.  A host of smart commentators draw their various conclusions, none really liking Klobuchar much.

According to those judges, Sanders, Warren and Mayor Pete did best, a cut above the rest.

Here’s the Times breakdown.



The Mueller Hearing Calls for Less Talk of Impeachment Not More

After a few minutes watching Special Counsel Robert Mueller testify at the Congressional hearing Wednesday I thought:  “This is not going to go well.”

Mueller looked worn out, spoke haltingly and sometimes fumbled with pages of the report or whatever, while mostly referring to what was written as his final word on the subject.  The Dem Congresspeople tried to help him out by having many references at hand, but the overall look wasn’t good.

Later I recalled that I hadn’t really seen Mueller in action for months, only those often repeated clips of his walking down some corridor of power.  I’d seen vigor in the past, albeit restrained, but now it seemed that huge burden had taken its toll.  Perhaps this is melodramatic, but I’m reminded of Salmon working their way up stream to lay eggs with the little life they have left.

My guess is Mueller knew it would not work well, a fear that it would take away from the report rather than enhance it.  Liberal commentators try to see the bright spot in this foggy moment:  Well, they didn’t expect him to light the place on fire.  Just having him confirm charges made in the report was of value.

If that is true  in this upcoming month we should see a bump in those favoring impeachment.  Prior to the hearing it seemed only about one-third favored it.  My guess is if there is much movement at all it will be downward.

The drum beat for more impeachment action reminds me of many other times in history when high minded talk led to lost wars.  And here, there doesn’t even seem a chance for victory, just the opposite.   The Democrats will impeach in the House and then the Trumpublicans in the Senate will put a big thumbs down on that motion.  And Trump will carry that image of being victorious into the election.

I’m all for continued House hearings to see what might come up, but it is hard to believe anything startling will be discovered.  Lacking that lightening from heaven, less attention, not more should be paid to this vainglorious impeachment show.

The election decides the winner and that is what history will recall, not that the Democrats made a self-defeating run at our criminal-in-chief.

The Mueller Testimony Tomorrow

I haven’t posted for about three weeks.   Hope some of you have missed me.  There has been plenty to write about, but I haven’t been moved to tackle any of it.  Actually I have tackled some of it, but didn’t feel my thoughts were worth your time, so I scrapped them.  Like in football Trump has either run around or passed over me.  All the sham and craziness that Trump manufactures has worn me out.

At this point, I have only one concern:  Can Trump be beat and how?  I believe he is a detestable genius at marshaling our worst qualities.  It worked last time and it could work again.

Whomever the Dems choose for their candidate, it comes down to a battle between human indecency and decency.   Not left or right as has been the case.  A test as to how many of us believe that our president should, for starters, at least be a decent human being.  In my life prior to Trump, it was never an issue.

Of the many comments I have heard from Trump supporters, the one that sticks like Flex Glue is this:   “Of course, he’s despicable.  But he has done some good things.”   How many “good things” must he do to offset his becoming our dictator?

Enter Special Counsel Mueller.  What he decides to say or not tomorrow might shift the public sentiment.  The oddity is that despite his remaining the most believed figure in our political system, his reluctance to appear political may dull the impact of his truth.

Though as many others have pointed out, all Mueller might need to convince some key faction of us is that Trump’s “no collusion, no obstruction” are basically lies generated by Trump’s Attorney General Barr.

I do not know if it will work that way.   I can only hope.

July 4th, Trump on Parade

The big news on the 4th of July was Trump acting like a fairly normal president, except for the fact no other president has made the 4th essentially about him.  At least Trump sounded somewhat presidential but that’s because he stuck to a speech on a teleprompter.  News of a sort I suppose, because he usually goes off on more tangents than a fireworks display.

Trump was apparently so stuck to the teleprompter that he wound up saying something nonsensical, a claim that revolutionary troops took over airports.  The next morning he blamed that statement on a broken prompter.  The oddity was that while giving the speech he didn’t seem to notice the irregularity and just powered on as if no one would notice.

It makes me wonder if you put a recipe for lasagna on the prompter would he just read through that, too?

When I write about Trump as I just did I feel kind of sick as none of it is really worth telling.  But that’s what I’ll remember about the Donald’s 4th.   And, like with air pollution, it does seem useful to point out when it continues to strangle us.

More noteworthy was Trump’s amble to the helicopter the next morning headed for his New Jersey resort.  With the rotating blades of the copter making everything hard to hear Trump easily fended off a gaggle of reporters who tossed questions at him.

Here he returned to his real self, the usual complement of distractions, misrepresentations, fabrications, and just plain lies in what I think of as a drive by press briefing.  Which is basically the only kind of press interaction we get these days.

A reporter yells out a question.  Trump lies.  Or just ignores it.  Another reporter screams out another and Trump says something that has been proven untrue over and over.  And then on to the next question.  Or Trump will go on some kind of tangent, often unrelated.  Something that either promotes his genius or defames someone else.

If a reporter tries to present a follow up question he or she is either ignored or Trump repeats his falsehood often saying “you all know that.”  Which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The last question Trump fielded is a good example.  The reporter asked about his assertion that President Obama had virtually begged Kim Jong Un to meet,  but Kim refused.  When asked for a source on that, Trump just repeated the claim.  It is untrue just as is previous statements that all those other fairly recent presidents wanted to meet with Kim or his dad or granddad but couldn’t pull it off.

No, no, no.  None of these presidents wanted to give Kim (or his father or grandfather)  the prestige of being treated like an equal in such a meeting.  The tin pot dictators wanted the meeting, not our presidents, formerly the leaders of the western world.  It makes me sick that Trump can continue to get away with this charade.

Trump’s whole portrayal of  what he has accomplished with Kim is, to use the technical term, BULLSHIT……  A huge metaphorical mound of it that he succeeds in adding to.

All his government has done is to quietly accept the idea that NOKO is going to have nukes while acting as if the reality was otherwise.  There is little we can do about it short of war, despite Trump’s fantasied account.   If we had a close relationship with China there would be a chance that things would be different, but we don’t.

If you were a murderous dictator like Kim would you give up the one thing that keeps you in power?  And trust the proudly unpredictable Trump to safeguard you?

Leaving the feckless questioners in the dust, Trump twirled out of town while the reporters and their anchors back at the stations pretended to make sense out of the senseless.

The Trumpification of the Fourth of July

Remember the good old days when the Fourth of July was a moment of family barbecues and general celebration of our nation’s independence from England back in 1776?    Presidents have stayed out of it and let the rest of us celebrate as we may.  Even last year was that way, but Trump had barely begun to mark his territory by pissing on everything.

As NPR has stated:  “For this Fourth of July, President Trump has added an address from the Lincoln Memorial, tanks stationed in the area, an extended fireworks display and military aircraft flyovers.”

The tanks had to be hauled in on trains because they are too heavy for the Washington roads to handle.  They figure to have the look of props in a play.  Immobile, they aren’t all that impressive.  Silly even when compared with the rows and rows of moving vehicles most other autocrats display.

NPR mentioned the added cost of Trump’s celebration.   I wouldn’t quibble about that if it were somehow a unifying effort but instead it is simply the latest  Trump try to celebrate himself and divide the rest of us.  If that were not the case there would not be a VIP section close to the stage filled by Republican donors and dignitaries and hardly anyone else.

Of course, Trump will say something about honoring our founding fathers and our military, but as usual translate that in reverse to say he is there to honor himself.  As the Wall Street Journal has put it:  “President Trump will take on a starring role in the capital’s Fourth of July festivities with a speech from the Lincoln Memorial that aides are pitching as a patriotic salute to the military but his critics fear could inject politics into a typically nonpartisan celebration.”

In order to stomach this so I can dissect the performance later, I will pretend to be playing a game of Where’s Waldo.   Looking for how many ways Trump will pretend to honor others and play the unifier while actually focusing attention on himself and his achievements, while swiping at the Dems wherever convenient.