Epilogue to Last Week’s “Holes” Post

In my previous post I tried to etch a rough line between the Trump TV show and the Trump presidency, while trying to make the point that the show has gotten most of the attention while Republican congressional actions have often been sidetracked or delayed by Trump speaking his mindless.

On the other hand, Trump’s outrageous speech and actions have drawn attention away from the right’s steady actions to dismantle the administrative state allowing them to progress steadily unnoticed like termites in your attic.  In short, it’s a twisted relationship.

BUT THE KEY POINT TO KEEP IN MIND IS WHAT MATTERS MOST TO TRUMP IS THE SHOW NOT THE PRESIDENCY.

What matters most is not achieving anything in particular but to hold our constant attention while appearing to win often while blaming anyone he can think of when he doesn’t.  This is most clear in situations like the attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, where he was obviously ready to sign anything and call it a great victory for the people with no clue of what impact any of it would have.

That Trump sees this all as a show was supported in a tweet by conservative talk show host Erick Erickson Saturday.  Referring to the now infamous “hole” comment, Erickson wrote:

“It’s weird that people in the room don’t remember Trump using that word when Trump himself was calling friends to brag about it afterwards.  I spoke to one of those friends.  The president thought it would play well to his base.”

Trump bragging about using the word.  (get that Paul Ryan? who called the comment “unfortunate and unhelpful” as if Trump had just misspoken with his 4th grade vocabulary.   No, he meant to say that.  He was proud of saying that.).  To be fair Erickson, formerly the editor of the conservative blog Red State has been a strong critic of Trump since the vulgarian described Megan Kelly’s bleeding from somewhere in that debate.  Because of that Erikson disinvited Trump from a Red State event.

I infer he disinvited Trump because of a sense of common decency which mattered more than whatever political overlap there was.  This is just a theory, but I think where there is decency, you’ll also find more honesty.

So, Erikson can’t stand the guy either, but he sure has a lot of conservative friends who would have connection to Trump and I believe his comments because he has shown decency and honesty in the past, qualities harder to detect in Trump than finding oxygen on the moon.

Today is Martin Luther King day, so many Republican politicians must feel those comments by Trump were particularly unfortunate and unhelpful, especially to their own political careers.  Trump doesn’t care.  MLK day only amplifies his “unfortunate” comments from last week assuring him the spotlight, which to him is fortunate.

Well, boys and girls that’s what comes of making a pact with the devil’s showman.


P. S. – There is a piece on Red State that discusses two problems of Trump’s “holes” comments in a thoughtful way.  I suggest you look at it as it seems the kind of piece that many could read and actually discuss without yelling at each other, such a novelty these days.

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Struggling at the Bottom of a Trump Made Shithole

This past week must be one of the most action packed of the long running Trumped-Up show:  I, President.  – which is saying a lot.  That doesn’t mean this episode deserves an award, just the reverse, and there is so much crap involved, I don’t want to touch it.  But I feel a need to say something, to find some take on Trumptopia that sheds some light.

It helps me to think of this whole week as a show because that is the way Trump sees it.  In December, the New York Times reported that “Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals.”  That seems to sum up Trump’s approach to both TV producing and governing, a shared hodgepodge.

Much of last week has been aimed at vanquishing the author of a big tell all book about fast times at White House High, which seemed to set the table in the days that followed as the book portrayed (I hear) Trump as the nitwit in chief of a loony tune WH.  Trump’s response was to hold some meetings and do other things to look presidential.

Much that transpired revealed the opposite, but I doubt he cares.  Even when he plays the fool he remains the center of attention, often more so, prompting hard working reporters to deconstruct his big lies, like the one that the random lottery that is used for a small part of immigration gives us the people those countries don’t want.  Totally false, but so what, Trump pumps out more whoppers than Burger King.  And regurgitates old ones.  Easier for him to just keep telling a lie than for others to constantly refute it.

In those meetings Trump showed his usual lack of any grasp of complex issues and said things that contradicted Republican positions.  In a televised meeting of leaders of both parties he seemed to favor a simple DACA fix (as if to show he is cooperative and kindly, calling it an “act of love”).  But after the meeting he flipped positions and refused the deal, apparently deciding that love was not shared by his base.

Also, he criticized the FISA act in a tweet for not protecting him implying he was for changes in the act even though the WH had already indicated they did not want changes in the bill voted on Thursday in the House.  In both cases Trump had to be reminded he was actually against what he said he was for or vice-versa.

Heh, but so what?  The DACA deal wasn’t made and Trump blamed the Dems, of course, even though he was the one who changed positions.  And FISA got passed after Trump stopped getting in the way.  So despite floundering, Trump filled the Republican bill and was the center of attention in the process.

Of course, the shitholes comment seemed to garner too much of the wrong attention from around the world.   He called African countries shitholes, while implying Haiti and some south American countries weren’t much different.   However, he denied in a tweet he ever said that.  He had only “talked tough,” but not those words.  Also, his word spinners have construed it as reflecting his America First emphasis.  Those who oppose him love those other nations more than the U. S.

With Trump it seems we often have to turn things upside down to see more clearly.  While normally incurring the wrath of much of the world would seem a bad presidential move, the shithole story became THE STORY of the week, grabbing attention away from many criticisms and self-made errors by the president.  It is outrageous, but our outrage works for Trump, prompting us to lose sight of his general incompetence while emphasizing his America first message and giving him the constant media coverage he hungers for, like Dracula needs blood.

So, did Trump vanquish his rivals this past week?  I’d say it is hard to judge, but in his own tumultuous way he held his own.  Constantly being the center of attention certainly makes him a winner of his television show.  Hard to get higher ratings.  And I don’t think his fan base of about one third of the country will have many complaints, so I’d say he’s a winner of his own little game.

Unfortunately, the rest of us are being forced to play it.


P. S. – I’m from a time when you didn’t completely type profanities, like sh–holes out of a reluctance to be vulgar.  But I noticed the term being used in its entirety in reports and learned that while normally the word would be slightly disguised, reporting guidelines make an exception when the president says or writes it.  In short, an exception is made out of respect for the president’s position.  Sickenly so , we have a president who doesn’t have respect for the position himself.

Also, I got the NY Times quote I used from a piece by Eugene Robinson about how Trump seldom knows what he thinks.  Robinson’s descriptions of a couple of meetings mentioned above fit with my own observations, in case you’d like to check them out at :  Eugene Robinson

Donald Trump: The Grinch that is Stealing Reality

Watching Donald Trump at a cabinet “show” this morning patting himself on the back for many so-called successes in his first year as president, I felt sick, like I had been transported to the dystopia of the book 1984 .  He churns out so much B. S. so fast I really can’t handle it anymore.  Fact checkers figure to tear this little talk apart, but so what?

His B. S. machine will go into overdrive on something else tomorrow or soon after.  It feels futile to say anything.  As I’ve said before, it is so easy for him to make things up, and just keep repeating the lies, while it is much work to disprove them.  And the falsehoods keep coming at you like bullets from a machine gun.  And about one-third of our population believes Trump no matter what.

Trump can go on and on acting as if his Trumped up world is real and because he is president no one is in the position to yell:  “Shut the “F” up you lying piece of Sh_t!   Without that bit of corrective action, Trump gets to create his own reality and those in attendance, both in the room and at home, have to just listen, as if we actually believe him.

Watching VP Mike Pence putting his imprimatur on this perverted picture made me even sicker.   He chimed in on how honored he was to serve the great man, how grateful to be in that position and what wonders his boss has created so far.

If Trump is impeached, the fond hope of many of us, the pandering Pence will become president, who is as big of a phony as Trump but in a different way.   He has turned false sincerity into an art form, so I’m hoping he’s impeached, too, and Ryan gets the job.   No matter what you think of him, Ryan  has to be better than the other two.

I was going to say a few things about the tax plan, but since it is hard to write anything today and I feel like an ant looking up at an elephant, I’ll let it slide.  Other than to say the obvious that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not a great gift to the middle class, no matter how often Trump and his minions say it is, and he and his fellow billionaires make out way better than the rest of us, no matter how often he says they’ll actually lose money.  These are two major points that are preposterous falsehoods, reason enough not believe anything Trump says about the bill.  Or for that matter, anything else.


P. S. –  Just to give you a taste of reality in contrast to what Trump is dishing out, check out this interview of Paul Ryan by Savannah Guthrie.   Supported by a statement by Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and ongoing billionaire, Guthrie asks Ryan if he “is living in a fantasy world” to say that the tax bill will help workers.

President Trump as a “Brain-eating Disease.” 

In the other room I hear Trump bloviating about what a wonderful job he’s done about making us a “great, beautiful, crime free country” again.   I have fantasies of parting his hair with a meat cleaver.

His bluster is mostly B. S. at best or misleading or untethered to reality and just plain lies.  What is soul sapping is he seems to pay even less adherence to the truth as time goes by, so much so that the press can’t quite combat it.   He keeps belching forth more mind pollution than our reportorial devices can dissipate.

The Washington Post will need to hire more fact checkers just to handle this one short speech.   And many citizens won’t believe them anyway.  That’s the problem with our traditional belief that truth will prevail in the market place.  Many think the custodians of political truth are so corrupt that they’ll take whatever cockeyed version Trump can come up with as more real.

Another problem is it’s usually so much easier to just make up something than to disprove it these days.  Trump creates new realities with a whim, which take numerous bull dozers of reality checkers to knock down.

And then Trump counters with a simple “fake news” accusation and the score is about even.

Like when Trump claimed three million illegal residents voted.  It takes just one sentence to claim, but it takes a lot of work to actually disprove it.  Think of the work Obama had to do in proving he was born in Hawaii.   How absurd was that?  Trump never produced a shred of evidence, just a crap heap of innuendo was all it took to gain a large following.  I imagine Trump was so surprised that it worked so well he began seeing a path for himself to the presidency.   He saw how easy many of us could be had.

His brag fest this morning shows he has come to the point where reality is whatever suits him.   He assumes that if he repeats it often enough, and bolsters it with more fabrications here and there, his truthiness will win out.

I don’t think that’s entirely impossible.   It’s actually been working pretty well.  Think of the high consumer confidence ratings these days.  I believe much of it is the belief that Trump the businessman will make our lives better.   I believe much of that will be proven false, but that might take months and I wonder how many of his fans will believe the evidence.

I got my title  “brain-eating disease” from Thomas Friedman in an article suggesting we all need to focus on something other than Trump more often.    A columnist and prolific writer of thought-provoking books assessing present trends and the future (a mind set in stark contrast with Trump’s), he describes the president placing commentators  “into a terrible choice: either ignore it all and risk normalizing Trump’s excesses or write about him constantly and risk not having the time to learn and report about the big trends now reshaping the world”.

There is so much happening all over the world that we become increasingly ignorant of because of our 24/7 focus on Trump.

Friedman takes a healthy breather by focusing on impressive technological developments in India, but I fear my case of the Trumps is worse than his.  I feel that the disease has taken hold sufficiently that I’m now an addict beginning to wonder whether they have begun chapters of Trumpaholics Anonymous yet.

I can not think about much else until I come to believe that Trump’s fall is imminent.  Despite the sense the Mueller investigation is slowly tightening a noose, I continue to see Trump in control of the game.  Until I see him in a real pickle, I’ll keep trying to figure out what’s happening with him and how much the brain-eating disease is spreading or being contained.

That’s all this addict can do.


Those of you who actually can see your way clear to look at that vast complicated world outside of Trump’s Gothic City-like Underland might want to check out Friedman’s article on the impressive tech developments in India  here.  It’s a shock to me as I lived in India for 10 months in 1966/67 and thought India, so slow moving, poor and tied to its past, would never change much.

Trump’s Triumphant Return from Asia

Full of himself as usual with all sorts of imagined successes, the president is back in town.   Well, at least we’re still not at war with North Korea, which I view as a plus.  Most concerning still is how war might begin by accident especially now that we have three carrier fleets in the vicinity which must look menacing to Kim Jung UN.  Maybe we want them to be a bit menacing, but definitely not to the point which will prompt him to cross some imaginary, hard to define line between us, the line of no return.

Fortunately – I guess – there are reports that Kim has hired American foreign policy experts to help him better understand Trump, so Kim at least is trying not to jump the gun.  On the other hand, I don’t know how well we understand the man despite all the theories that abound, so I’m not sure what image NOKO is getting.

In terms of North Korea, the most hopeful sign I’ve seen is news of a special envoy from China being sent to NOKO.  I choose to hope he will be of some help, even though there is no knowing why he is going.  Oh, I’m sorry.  My poetic nature is showing.

As for the rest of the trip, it seemed mostly just a lot of photo opportunities and Trump’s ego being assuaged by being treated like royalty.  Meanwhile those various Asian nations are working on business relations among themselves without the United States, since Trump pulled us out of the Pacific Trade Pact, with China courting all of them for closer relations.

While Trump wants to take us back to the 1950’s (his childlike version of Back to the Future), the Chinese are steadily working their away into the future with trade pacts  and much money spent developing anti-polluting energy technology.   As the prolific and incisive political theorist Thomas Friedman has asserted, the Chinese view the Donald as, “Trump the Chump”; they wine and dine Little Donnie to make him feel big, while they are steadily making themselves bigger on the world stage  apparently without his noticing.  His hats should be redesigned:  Make America Smaller than Ever.

You know how Trump keeps talking about replacing these multi-nation trade pacts with great trade deals he is going to arrange with individual nations.  Has there been even one so far?  After all he has had a year.  Have I missed it?

The only clear plus of this visit seems Trump’s help in getting those three tall UCLA shoplifters out of prison, but as with everything he touches, he smudged that, too.  With all that he might tweet about upon his return,  the always ungracious Trump chose first to lecture the boys on how they should thank him for his help,   Which they later did, to which Father Trump responded they should also thank Chinese leader Xi Jin Ping and should remember how life’s a winding road or something equally trite.

This is one of those moments when I’m certain his J. middle initial stands for “Jerk.”

Summing it all up, the trip was a typical performance by our Clown-in-Chief.  The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson describes the trip in a more fully developed and better written editorial:  “Clown Goes Abroad”.  My post might be viewed as an appetizer for his more satisfying meal.  I think he really nails the absurdity of Trump playing president.  Right here.

Wuz Up in Trumperland for November?

It has been over three weeks since I posted, an indication of how sick I am of writing about Trump, a man who deserves little written about him at all, except for one revolting fact:  He is the President, the only guy with a one man nuclear capacity.  Oh, right, there is also that North Korean guy.  More about the two of them below.

This seems a good time to make a few points as potentially important events might be in store for us this month and not just speculation and wild goose chasing launched by the President’s off hand comments in tweets and in public, a continuous fourth of July fireworks of distractions that usually leave us a little more divided each new day.

Here are three key areas to keep our eyes on over the course of this month despite whatever distractions that Trump trumps up:

The Mueller investigation has become more concrete in recent days with a couple of indictments and news of a guilty plea by one of the actors, George Papapodopoulis, a guy unknown to most of us, but with the potential of opening up Trump’s can of worms regarding connections with Russia.  What the indictments and plea deal suggests is that Mueller is sending a message to those tied to the Trump administration that they too could be indicted if they try to deceive investigators.   This could produce a number of real news events in contrast to the suffocating miasma of speculation that we have had to stomach for months now.

The second news thread to follow is the Republican tax “reform” plan that is supposed to be revealed today.  One key idea is that a few trillion in closed loopholes will be necessary to prevent this “reform” from ballooning our national debt, and as always, we all hate loopholes accept for those which benefit ourselves.  They couldn’t get a healthcare bill to pass and that seems a walk in the park compared to this.   If this is a park, it is replete with muggers.

Saving the worst for last is Trump’s upcoming 12 day visit to Asia starting Friday.   On the surface this would seem a good thing to do for several obvious reasons, except we are talking about Trump doing it, so who knows.   Of course, he will say it was all great, especially him.  I’ll say it was good if we don’t seem even closer to war with North Korea than we do now.

The NOKO issue is particularly scary because Trump and Kim Jong Un appear on a collision course, as the latter seems to see an expansion of his nuclear weaponry as the best way to keep his regime, especially himself, safe while the former seems unlikely to tolerate a NOKO capacity to strike our mainland with a nuclear weapon.

Something has to give here, or catastrophe on both sides seems inevitable.   An additional danger is that one of the bluster brothers might interpret some threat the other makes as a sign of imminent attack, prompting a preemptive strike.  I can’t recall who labelled North Korea the “land of lousy options,” but that’s remains a fine description.

Thanksgiving is in three weeks and while I have much to be thankful for in my personal life, I wonder how thankful I will feel regarding the three issues touched upon above.

“The Emperor has No Clothes” says Senator Bob Corker. Well, more or less.

I’ve been waiting for months for someone who has supported Trump in the past who finally can’t take it anymore.  Can’t pretend Trump’s administration is doing well.  That person turns out to be one Senator Bob Corker who, to the New York Times, “charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

If you haven’t heard of the tweet hand grenade exchange this weekend between Corker and Trump, it ended with Corker writing:  “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” 

Can you guess the adult who requires day care?

You could say Corker started it with some criticisms of Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protest last May, suggesting his comments were not up to the standards of a president.  That he needed to up his game.

Much more recently Corker referred to the trio of Secretary of Defense Mattis, Chief of Staff Kelly and Secretary of State Tillerson as what keeps the White House from falling into chaos, not something the blister thin skin of “our” president could take, so Trump went to tweeting to tear Corker down, which led to Corker’s reply above.

In typical Trump fashion, he is so intent on getting back at Corker that he pays no attention to the importance of having the senator as an ally in congress if he actually wants to get anything done.   I believe Trump doesn’t ultimately care what he accomplishes as long as we all stay riveted to his “show” and he can makes us believe he’s accomplishing a lot.  And where that fails to place blame on someone else, the reverse of Harry Truman’s the “buck stops here”.   With Trump the buck stops anywhere except with him.

I urge you to read the notes of the  interview with Corker in the New York Times.  Because Corker is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and also on the Senate Budget Committee, this fall out between Trump and him could have numerous ramifications on what gets passed in congress and how our foreign relations develop, especially with North Korea and Iran.