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.

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.

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.

Governor Cuomo for Presidential

Seems like we have traversed at warp speed to a new even weirder and more frightening world then the one we were living in about two weeks ago.   Then my big question was:  Would Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders come together to unite the Democratic party for the presidential run?   Now, at the moment at least, both seem irrelevant.  They are barely seen or heard from.

That’s what happens I guess when a pandemic spreads at a geometric pace creating a new world of problems.   The new drama entangles the ever present mercurial Trump in a curious dance with New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo, who has become the star of the Democratic party through his impressive marshaling of resources to fight the carona virus in New York city and state.

New York has about 40% of the 166,000 carona cases in the land.  And the numbers continue to rise rapidly, which is why it is often called the epicenter of this invisible war.  However, Cuomo’s government has at least slowed down the rate of increase from doubling every two days to doubling every five or six.   Still, a losing fight at the moment, but he’s the kind of guy who gives one confidence he has a plan to win over time.

Cuomo’s plan is to slow down the virus’ growth enough in New York to flatten the curve of its progression so that our health care workers can regroup and continue the fight as the fury crosses our country.

Trump has never had a plan.  He’s relied on his feelings, like when he said he had a “feeling” that the nation could get back to business by Easter Sunday.  He abandoned that feeling, but his lack of a plan (and awareness) screams such as Trump’s handling a conference call yesterday with the nation’s governors.  When Colorado’s Steve Bullock asserted that he had only a day’s left of testing supplies, Trump acted surprised.  “We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world…..I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.” (read more  here).

Is Trump the only human in America who hasn’t heard day after day a lack of testing is a problem? A big problem.  And does he understand the meaning of per capita?   He brags that we have tested more people than South Korea?   Well, true but we have six times the population of South Korea.  In a March 9 survey of cases worldwide when it comes to tests per million people, Korea ranks second and the U. S. ranks 15th (read more here).  ……Little Bahrain was first.

I spoke of Trump and Cuomo being entangled in a curious dance.  Cuomo needs Trump’s help as do all of the governors, so he watches his words and tempers his criticism most of the time.  And praises when he can.

Much of Cuomo’s criticism comes from comparison.   Cuomo has a news conference usually around 11:00 a.m. EDT, while Trump has one later in the day.  Check them both out or just google Cuomo and Trump for lots more details.

You watch the two perform and decide who is more presidential.

Bloomberg vs. Bernie et al: A Dem Debate Worth Watching?

I have seen much of most of the Democratic primary “debates,” which have largely been a yawn, a game of survivor cutting down the dozens in the field to a more manageable number.   As I said in my last post, zillionaire Michael Bloomberg’s investment of about half a billion dollars into an ad campaign has rocketed the late entrant into contention with Bernie for the lead, though there are still signs of life in others who I’m sure you’re familiar with.

Wednesday’s verbal battle should be more interesting than the previous ones, as it has different dimensions and higher stakes.  I’d say all of the participants have some kind of chance to get the nomination for this one reason.  If Bloomberg believes another candidate has a better chance to beat Trump, he could supply all the money needed to whomever he chooses.

While the main event seems likely to be Bernie vs. Bloomberg, the other candidates will get in their own punches to stand out, in that they also will criticize Bloomberg’s leap frogging the election process.  However, they do not want to make him an enemy as perhaps his wealth could smile on their chances down the line.

His throwing lots of dough Bernie’s way is hard to imagine, since Bernie’s main theme regarding Bloomberg is you shouldn’t be able to buy an election.  That would certainly be an odd combination, but I imagine Bernie would be able to rationalize it.  How else would they get the ton of money Trump has already raised?

And beating Trump should be the absolute priority.

The Pseudo Senate Impeachment “Trial” of Trump

Always so many political events coming so fast in Trumptopia and this week the whirlwind is swirling even faster than usual.   The Democrat’s first primary in Iowa today, tomorrow Trump’s state of the union speech and then the rest of the week finishing up the details of Trump’s impeachment acquittal.

What to take away from the impeachment proceedings.   Well, first of all Trump’s acquittal in the Senate was preordained as it requires two-thirds of the Senators to convict him, something that was never going to happen given that 53 of the Senators are Republicans.

Of course “everybody” knew this, but the Dem’s were pretty much forced to impeach Trump because there was so much evidence showing his abuse of power (and obstruction of Congress) that they had to take a shot at it in the hope their charges would sway that slice of American undecided voters along with firing up their base.

Frankly, I don’t know who was swayed where, though I give praise to the House Democratic efforts as being far more persuasive than those of the Republicans.   The Democrats relied on convincing witnesses and records while the Republicans relied on procedural arguments, distortions and distractions.  Because they had little in the way of evidence to back them up.   Really, Trump did something wrong and it was obvious if you paid close attention to the proceedings.

Republican Lamar Alexander admitted as much late in the Senate “trial”.  He dismissed the arguments of the Trump team saying he was convinced that Trump abused his power regarding pressuring Ukraine to provide dirt on the Biden’s.   He called Trump’s actions “inappropriate,” but he asserted they did not rise to the level of impeachment.  He thought it best to leave that issue to Americans at the ballot box.

A clever position to be sure, but his conclusion that the charges did not reach the level of impeachment is debatable.  However, that debate has been squelched by the Republican majority.  New evidence keeps coming forth, much of it as snippets from a book by former Trump top security adviser John Bolton that contradict many of the claims of the Trump team.  Bolton has offered to testify, but the Republicans have closed down the option for any more records or testimony, so this will have to move to the court of public opinion.

More information is likely to come out (and eventually Bolton’s book), a continuing thread from the impeachment hearings that I will return to in my next post.

The Ukraine Hearings: A Big Battle Over Truth Begins Soon

I ended my previous post by saying I planned on delving into the clash in narratives between Trump’s largely made up story of his glorious presidency and a historical analysis based more on facts and respect for the ideal of truth.

What was I thinking?   I soon realized that I was stuck in the view of Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times“I don’t know if America has the bandwidth to process everything that is going on.  I certainly don’t.”  

Me neither.

I can at least start out by saying Wednesday will kick off the public impeachment process, a major battle of the two narratives with open hearings before the Democratically controlled House Intelligence Committee.  To work through my writer’s block, I’m stealing a brief summary of what’s going on and all the TV coverage from Benjamin Kail of masslive.com.

In brief this is what is going on:

“Democrats and Republicans in the House have questioned current and former Trump administration officials and diplomats behind closed doors over the last several weeks. An anonymous whistle blower claimed earlier this year that multiple White House officials grew concerned that the president in July illegally leaned on the president of Ukraine, using military aid as leverage, to secure help in the 2020 election.

Deputy Secretary of State George Kent and Bill Taylor, a former ambassador and top diplomat in Ukraine, will testify together Wednesday, while Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will testify Friday, CNN reported.”

You can reach the site which has more information and  TV networks and times here.

Tackling the Lord of Chaos, i. e. Donald Trump

It has been almost a month since I have posted.  Trump has become such a master of muddling our minds, that it is tough to find something simple to say that matters.  For months now, with the help of, among others, the evilly reincarnated version of the once respected Mayor of New York, Wack-Job Rudi, Trump has managed to create a version of reality that has successfully challenged a traditional version of one based on facts…..not perfectly, of course, but with a respect for the truth, a concept Trump cares nothing about.

Why bother to learn the truth when you can so easily make up your own story?  And many people believe you.  Even when you are proven wrong, you just keep repeating the lie and like spaghetti tossed at a wall, some of it sticks.

Meanwhile those who feel compelled by that north star rational ideal feel forced to combat you factually, in the midst of which Trump spins another fable or two.  It only takes a minute or two.  The press exhausts itself trying to keep up.

Months ago, his mistress of spin, Kelly Anne Conway lifted up the curtain of this pint sized Oz when introducing the notion of “alternative facts”.   Normally excellent at evasion, Kelly Anne accidentally revealed the mind set of her boss in stark terms.   A view of reality based on alternative facts, ones that he just makes up.

Donald Trump has told thousands of lies, the more the merrier over the course of his presidency, but to call him a liar underestimates his deepest epistemological sin.  That is he just makes shit up.  Constantly.   And he keeps repeating his fables.  His biggest sin is that he is a fabulist.  He invents elaborate dishonest stories about the nature of things and who is to blame for what’s wrong.

He creates his own Trumptopia, attractive to those who resent and fear and want others to blame for their unhappy situations.  Even when Trump does not replace a fact base sense of reality, he manages to confuse us enough to the point he creates such fatigue in trying to sort out fact from fiction, that most of us tend to just give up.

Not Msnbc’s Rachel Madow and her ilk, of course, which might include many of you.  Rachel is obviously very bright and extremely hard working, but here is the rub.  Lengthy analyses of current political events only make dyed in the wool liberals smarter.  It makes the rest of us want to learn less.

Liberals place too much faith in the lingering Age of the Enlightenment when it comes to politics where irrationality plays a much bigger roll than liberals seem to concede.  Especially among 5 – 10% of those undecideds who will tip the electoral scale next November.

I used to read serious books about politics, but have stopped.  Why bother?  An increased knowledge, including important nuances, only means something to those who already share most of my political mind set.  People who still have faith in well reasoned argument.

I’m not much motivated to speak to the choir, even though my imagined readership seems more likely to sing hallelujah than not.

I’m here mostly to try to sort out some political facts and fictions.   Here amidst my muddle, I’m simply trying to make the point that two views of political reality are now in contention, two narratives.   One based largely on facts.   The other based on alternative facts that Trump either makes up or twists or exaggerates.

Not that I think that conclusion is a surprise to most.  But I think it deserves being delved into more.  And I plan to.

“Fox Isn’t Working for Us Anymore.” Tweets Trump.

Liberals have been calling Fox News Trump TV for months now.   What is surprising is to see Trump agree.  By complaining that Fox is no longer working for him, he is implying they once did.  A curious admission, but it fits the Trump world view that everyone should be working for him and the envy he often shows of those strong men in other countries who can more easily get things done.  Autocracy is so much more simple than democracy.

And Trump, despite his unpredictability, is a simple man.

What spawned that Trump tweeted complaint was a number of comments by Fox News hosts that Trump did not like, including Shepard Smith’s stating categorically that Trump is not telling the truth about new wall going up rapidly on the southern border.  In fact, there has been no new wall, only the replacement of about sixty miles of old wall.  Period.

Smith has also pointed out that Trump is not telling the truth about some 90 billion that supposedly went to Puerto Rico for disaster relief, of which they have actually received about 14 billion.

And Smith has called false Tucker Carlson’s claim that white supremacy is a hoax.  Tucker is one of what I’d call the Fox Views side of the network.  He, along with Hannity and Laura Ingraham, form the evening lineup that really goes to bat for Trump and vice versa.

Of course, liberal media have made the same points as Smith, but we expect that.  The more Fox News concurs with the other two major cable networks, the more possible is conversation based upon commonly recognized facts, without which there can be little conversation.

Here is my main point,  Trump TV is not Fox News, but those who constitute Fox Views, the big three mentioned above along with others who primarily state opinions, while usually critical of liberals and uncritical of Trump’s world of alternative facts.

As Trump continues to repeat and expand his fantasy land, my hope is that the Fox News side of the network will feel compelled to point out the lies as they have done for some time but not as frequently as recently.   The more lies, the more coverage of the worst of them?

Here is a link to Smith’s dismissing Trump’s wall claims among other things.  Scroll down to find the short video of Smith’s dismantling Trump’s lie.

Finally, I suggest you check out Smith’s one hour news program Mon-Friday, noon Pacific Time on Fox.