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.

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Survivor Politics: Kamala Harris’ Ambush of Joe Biden

The way to the White House for the herd of Democrat contenders goes through Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showed she knows that in the so-called debate Thursday.  I say “so called” because these shows bear more resemblance to the TV show Survivor than to a debate.  There is no time for any real debate, only for zingers.  The whole point is to survive to the next round which means others must be weakened while you impress.

Congressman Eric Swalwell is a good example of a loser in that his zingers fell flat, so the minimal support he has drummed up so far is destined to become minimaler.

In contrast Harris was impressive throwing Biden for a loop.  Several articles noted much planning went into this, including one generated by the LA Times.  But Harris also was a bit lucky.  When the race issue came up and a moderator tried to reign her in, she made clear as the only black person on the stage she was not going to be shut up, and she wasn’t.  She played that race card masterfully.

This gave her the chance to focus on statements Biden made back in the 1970’s opposing some forms of busing – it’s complicated but Harris made it simple, Biden was anti-busing and that was bad……..   And – surprise, surprise – nobody knew the value of busing better than she, one who actually was bused and obviously benefited from it.  Another trump card well played.

While the show was still going on her staff were tweeting pictures of her, the little black girl who already looked determined.  Soon they were selling T-shirts with the picture, too.  Frankly I thought that was all too cute by half, so blatantly showing how well they planned this hit job.  And what a hit job it was.  But I hear her campaign pulled in two million dollars after the show, and the polls figure to show a nice bump up, so she was the winner all right.

And Biden needs to regroup.  After the debate he bemoaned being mischaracterized and wished he would have been able to talk about the future.  The downside of having such an impressive resume with 40 years in politics, is there is plenty to pick at as Kamala Harris illustrated last Thursday in her time travel back to the 70s.

Biden is in a tough spot.  Being defensive is a bad look, but with so many other candidates attacking him, it is hard to avoid that response and point to the future.

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P. S. –  While what I wrote above may look like a hit job on Ms. Harris, it is actually complimentary.  Part of her campaign is as former prosecutor she will be the one to prosecute Donald Trump.  It was risky to attack popular front runner good old Joe, but  the attack was well planned and well performed and it worked.  She showed a combination of skills suggesting she could take on bully boy Trump if given the chance.

Get Mueller to Testify and Then Let’s Consider Impeachment

I still stick with Speaker Polosi’s insistence on a slow go to impeach Trump believing, like her, that first more Americans need to be persuaded of Trump’s unfitness for the presidency before they will favor impeachment.

Ari Melber, one of the sharper analysts at MSNBC, got to the heart of the awareness problem:  He has said:  “Mueller brought a book to a twitter fight.”  The four-word tweet has won the battle of narratives over the painstaking 448 pages of the book.  In a world of mind numbing information, we gravitate towards the simplest “truths”.

To combat Trump’s distorted mantra of “no collusion, no obstruction” it is essential for Special Counsel Mueller to testify before Congress.  Even if he just reads from his report.  Seeing him actually saying those words is a big step beyond hearing others restate them.  Fairly or not, Mueller’s integrity it rated much higher than the media who cover him.

A book cannot beat a twitter mantra, but TV, or a movie, can at least give the Dems a chance to square the narrative.  Americans want to see the movie rather than read the book.  That’s pretty much what we are as a nation now.  So many distractions, work wise or pleasure wise, that hardly anyone reads serious books anymore.   Including me (except for works of history that read like fiction.)

A TV show still can get our attention, thus the necessity for Mueller to testify on TV.  It would be best if he did so voluntarily, but he has been so adamant about staying clear of politics that he has yet to show that willingness.  He believes the report says everything needed.  He doesn’t seem to see that pointing to a book is no longer the right way to present the report.

The Democratically controlled  House Judicial Committee seems hopeful he will see the necessity for him to reiterate the message publicly, but he might need to be subpoenaed to do so.   I have no doubt he would comply with a subpoena, given his allegiance to law and order, just the opposite of the president.

It would help a lot if McGahn, Trump’s former White House attorney would testify, too.  He is quoted often in the Mueller report describing Trump’s attempts at obstruction and I’d like to hear his voice at least repeating some of it on TV, but so far he has fought a subpoena at Trump’s behest.   Odd, in that Trump has called his quoted statements lies.

Hope Hicks, Trump’s former long time personal assistant is actually supposed to testify to Congress tomorrow, Wednesday, in a closed door session.   But I think she will dodge questions where she can given her closeness to Trump.

Mueller, McGahn and Hicks would make a nice trifecta if they all fully testify, but Mueller is the most important.  Fortunately, he is also the one who can be most counted upon to testify.

I just hope it is sooner rather than later.

Trump is Driving Me Crazy and the Trip gets Shorter each Day

Not exactly, but with all the thoughts he prompts with his outrageous distortions, he produces  outrage fatigue, lying so often and changing his tune so frequently, everything blurs together.  He has taken us past a “post truth” politics to a post reality politics.

If you haven’t been driven totally nuts, you may have noticed how the boy who would be king said in an interview there was nothing wrong with receiving information from foreign agents, it just being more opposition research.

He changed his tune a couple of times at least, after even a couple of Republican senators gently chided Trump for basically saying to all the world, send us your dirt on my opponents.  The last version I heard was his claiming in front of the three nodding heads on Fox and Friends that of course he would notify the FBI, because no one loves America more than he does.

I could go on and on, but that would clearly get me closer to the loony bin and prevent me from writing at all.   I just want to make this point, a suggestion as to how to interpret Trump’s words.   Whatever he says, just flip it to the opposite.   So, when Trump says “no one loves America more” than he does, just switch the “more ” to “less”.

He cares so much about himself, there can’t be much love left for the rest of us.

And when he says “believe me”, as he often does, translate it into “don’t believe me”.  And if he says it twice, really don’t believe him.  When he says he has solved a problem, it really is he hasn’t solved the problem:  he just wants us to think so, like in the case of North Korea and its nukes.   Remember how he said after that first meeting with his bosom buddy Kim Jung Un that we could sleep easier because the nuclear threat was gone?

Not only is it not gone, it is undiminished, and is likely even stronger.  But no problem, president deranged Don still believes in Kim Jung Un, and his own ability to sway him.

I just can’t wait till he tells us how he has solved the Iran problem.

This Crap of Reporters Allowing Trump to Mislead, Fabricate, or Just Plain Lie Must Stop!

Having posted yesterday, I was not eager to do so again so soon, but I’m so mad watching a Trump so-called press conference provide this morning a platform for Trump to spew his twisted narrative of events, I just have to.

PRESS PEOPLE:   You know that this is happening, that he bats your feckless questions away or employs them to bring up another distortion or lie.  Then after his “speech” you sit in groups and analyze much of what he says as if any of it can be taken seriously, as if he won’t come up with something completely different later today or tomorrow.  Depending on the wisdom of his gut.

The guy has no respect for the truth, so why believe anything he says.

What you are doing is providing this scoundrel with yet another platform for his fabricated narrative.   His propaganda.  Hey, I am empathetic.  I don’t have any marvelous suggestions.  I just know Trump has beaten you at the traditional journalistic game and you need to stop playing that game and create a new one.

Maybe like a labor union you can go on strike.  In your case making a group statement that you will not attend these charade sessions any more unless you can challenge Trump (and his mouthpieces) on his lies.   Of course, he wouldn’t allow that……………………

…..so what’s next?  I don’t know.  That’s your job to figure it out.

Still Waiting for Mueller to Testify to Congress

The Trump extravaganza of issues keeps expanding exponentially, but short of a noteworthy military conflict, I’m still most concerned if and when Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify to Congress.  I’ve heard May 15 bandied about for a testimony date, but nothing from Mueller about that.

At the moment, my sense is Trump is winning the message game, asserting that the report’s lack of indictments clear the president.  From what I’ve gleaned from many who have read the report, the actual picture is much less flattering.  Even incriminating if you believe over 700 federal prosecutors who have signed a joint letter to that effect.

But we need Mueller to testify in order to substantiate that, as well as showing Attorney General Barr has misinterpreted the findings to the public.  Which in turn has allowed Republicans to parrot it’s a done deal.  Let’s move on.

Linked here is a story from CBS news that delve’s into the question of whether Trump can stop Mueller from testifying once he leaves office (no public date set yet).

I would say the basic conclusion is that while Trump might be able to limit Mueller’s comments to only what he said in the report on the basis of executive privilege, even that argument might not prevail.  In any case, it looks like it comes down to Mueller’s willingness to testify and I can only hope he wants to set the record straight enough to overcome his preference to remain out of the public eye.

Impeachment is Warranted but What’s the Rush?

Elizabeth Warren has called for an impeachment of president Trump to begin immediately.  I think that idea, while seeming bold and momentarily separating her from the herd of other Dem candidates (about 20 now), is dumb.  Just like her push to disband ICE is dumb.   (Some government organization will be needed to deal with those issues, so what you are really calling for is a smarter, more moral and more gentle ICE, while giving Trump fuel for his lies about you wanting an open border).

That’s two strikes against you Elizabeth and the campaign has barely begun (I’m giving you a pass on the Native American fiasco).  How about just getting into office and reform what we already have?

This past weekend a number of arguments and innuendos on liberal political cable have basically called out Democrat House leadership for a lack of “intestinal fortitude” to fight for basic principles.   (Nancy Pelosi lacking intestinal fortitude?  Are you kidding me?)

In an editorial in the New York Times, Charles Blow makes his case for impeachment including this sentence  …….“once a president is impeached, he is forever marked. It is a chastisement unto itself. It is the People’s House making a stand for its people.”

First, the Mueller report is enough to forever mark Trump.   The issue is to get enough people to understand it and believe it.  Second, the people’s House is really just a Democrat people’s house at the moment.  The Republicans have no say.  So, let’s understand the statement made is from just Democrats, not wholly the “people.”  I don’t think the Democrats thought of it as the people’s House when Republicans were in control.

Hey, thank God the Dems won the House, without which we would really be in deep doo-doo as a nation, left with almost no power to thwart our Narcissist-in-chief, but I don’t care for all this principled posing.   Especially when acting on principles pushes us to do something really dumb.

Warren asserts this issue is a matter of principles above politics.   Not really.  As indicated in the previous paragraph, the issue is fully enmeshed in politics and because the Trumpubicans rule the Senate we all know how this story will end and I think it will end badly for Democrats.  Trump is too good at setting the story line and when the Senate fails to convict, Trump will convincingly add “no conviction”, to the other two mantras.

As for impeachment, as you might guess I am fully supportive of Nancy Pelosi’s “one step at a time” approach.   More Americans must first come to believe the Mueller report and it will take time and education for them to do so.  It will take time because at the moment Trump seems to be winning the narrative game.   “No Collusion”, “No Obstruction” is a more powerful message than “here’s a four hundred page tell-all you all must read to believe.”  Yeah, let me check my text messages and emails, respond to some of them and play my favorite on-line game first.  Maybe I’ll have some time for that report tomorrow.

Let’s keep working the various angles to educate Americans as to what the Mueller report really says, which might take a lot of work since so many have been turned off by these endless investigations.  People believe they have heard it all before, because they have heard most of it.

Also, Trump is a master at making the truth murky, so we have to make the obvious clear.  Yes Trump’s actions warrant impeachment, but we can only charge him now (in the House) and must wait for sufficient change in public opinion to make the process worthwhile.  In the mean time let Congressional committees call in Mueller and other key figures mentioned in the report for public hearings.  Let’s see what that brings.  And let’s see how some 14 other investigations go.

There’s no rush.