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.

How to Tell Someone Like Trump is not a “Stable Genius.”

One clue is that they call themselves a stable genius.   Nobody else does.  If they actually were stable they would not need to keep reminding others that they are and also need numerous pep rallies by their gob smacked fans to refuel their egos, like vampires need new blood.

Now we have an especially good example of our “stable genius” at work.  He has surprised just about everyone by throwing our Syrian policy into a tizzy by suddenly pulling out our last troops in Syria.  Besides opening the door of invasion to the Turks, our departure leaves the Kurds without much needed technical support in reconnaissance and such for fighting the Turks and ISIS.

Turkey’s President Erdogan has long wanted to invade Syrian territory held by Kurds who have formed the backbone of our war on ISIS.  If the Turks follow through on their plans, they will slaughter the Kurds while we stand aside.

Besides telling the world we can’t be depended upon to help those who help us, this opens the door for a resurgence of ISIS in the area.

This is such an obviously bad foreign policy move that even Republicans question his actions.  In fact they are his harshest critics.  For example, Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said that “a precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime.”  None of which, I might add, do we want to benefit at all.

The oddity is that our self-described stable genius chooses to do this NOW while already enmeshed in full fledged attacks from Democrats along the impeachment road.  He needs all the help he can get from his Republican backers and he chooses NOW to make them furious?

Does our stable genius have some sort of death wish?   Or is he just so ignorant of foreign policy that he is clueless as to the ramifications of his actions?

Trying to pretend he is on top of this Syria thing, Trump has tweeted:  “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)…”

“Great and unmatched wisdom”?  Does that sound stable to you?

If Trump is Abnormal, Why Do we Respond to him Normally?

In a press conference today prompted by a visit of the Finnish president, the TV press displayed their habitual fecklessness by asking a few questions which only set the stage for yet another Trump rant.

Given the opportunity, Trump just railed on about his conspiracy theories and his delusions of grandeur about his great accomplishments, greater than any previous presidents.  Only he, Mr. pipsqueak president could have accomplished so much.

Coverage-wise it’s time to do something radical.  Like pressing Trump to tell the truth about something, the truth about almost anything for a change.  Keep asking questions when you are not supposed to.  I realize that is likely suicidal career-wise, but, hey, you’re always pressing politicians to come clean, how about yourselves.

Be still your ecstasy at scooping another news source.  Often only by hours, if not minutes.  Only you, the news obsessed, preen for getting the news out first when it usually comes down to a matter of minutes.

It is time to start working together a bit.

Every day I hear someone comment on the abnormality of Trump shaped politics.  Well, if it’s abnormal, shouldn’t the coverage become abnormal as well in order to combat it.  What do I mean?  I don’t know.  You tell me.  It’s your job.  I’m not getting paid for this.

You are.

Trump Impeachment Finds New Life

Those who have been reading my posts for a few months know that I have disdained the frequent calls by the liberal left for the impeachment of Trump and have been thankful that Speaker Nancy Pelozi has resisted the idea.   When less than half the nation seemed to want impeachment, it was crazy to push the idea especially when we knew how the story would end.  The Republican controlled Senate would have given a thumbs down to the House’s decision and Trump would have used it as further proof of his innocence.

To all those who have argued that this is above politics and our national duty to “hold Trump accountable”, I say a Democratic controlled House voting to impeach is not above politics.  It is a fat part of it.  Here is what is most important:  Trump not being reelected. Anything that jeopardizes that goal is a misstep.  Talk about historians looking back?  If Trump wins there may be a cadre of his propagandists writing that history.

Those who have made it seem a duty to impeach despite the fact the nation is tired of complex investigations with little taste for more of the same, have been silly.  The duty of every citizen is to work at removing Trump from office, not going through the show of impeachment.

I was in favor of Pelozi’s approach of House committees continuing to investigate and seeing where they lead.   If the calls to impeach faded as the election loomed larger and larger, that was all right with me.  Again, winning the election is the goal.

Those months of investigations of the president and the liberal press’ never ending scrutiny,  while thrilling many liberals, has worn out most of the rest of us.  Like those oft repeated latest developments of that meeting in Trump Tower, with Donald Jr. and some Russians.  All things considered, it deserved only a fraction of the attention it got.  It really was kind of a “nothing burgher.”  But the liberal press kept gnawing on it like a dog in hopes of making that old bone more tasty.

Enter the whistle blower, a real game changer.  Suddenly this isn’t tired old stuff, but something new and shocking if the initial picture becomes substantiated.   And unlike the clutter of other investigations, this seems understandable by the normal brain.  If the seeming information pans out, Trump clearly put his own interests above those of the nation regarding the Ukraine.  And has been caught red handed, not just in the eyes of some of us but of a majority.

I believe Trump will not wriggle out of this and a large part of my optimism is that Speaker Pelosi is at the helm of this investigation.  Just as she skillfully kept the hot heads at bay when they were not in a good position to impeach, she will flip the switch and go full speed in the opposite direction.

Dear Lord, that is my prayer.

Trump’s Washington Bedlam Boogie

Hard to believe, but the rate of neurotic noise produced by Trump seems to have actually increased several more decibels this past week to the point my brain waves are almost completely jammed.  For starters Trump’s Inviting the Taliban to come to Camp David for peace talks around 9/11, to such a hallowed meeting place for world leaders and at such a remarkably bad time, unknown to the general public (meaning us) until he changed his mind.  Don’t ask why?  He gives a reason, but probably it can’t be believed.

Perhaps the oddest thing about this supposed meeting is we might have not heard of it, and its cancellation, had not Trump tweeted about it, as if he wanted credit for at least trying something new even though he backed out.  It is the appearance of doing something well that counts to him, not actually achieving it.

Or take his refusing to admit he was just plain wrong (or at best several days out of date, a danger in itself) about the hurricane threat to Alabama and then played innocent like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar when a reporter asked about what looked like an expansion of the hurricane zone made with a Sharpie like, ah, the one that sits on his desk…………..

I could go on, but I don’t want to. I tried yesterday and just got immensely frustrated grappling with it all.  I just want to repeat over and over the man is nuts.

Of course my walking around repeating Trump is nuts makes me look pretty nutty, too.  So, instead I have looked around in search of someone else to give some depth to this past week and found a piece by Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg Opinion which covers the ground much better than I could.

If you want my mutterings to be fleshed out Google:  Tim O’Brien, Trump,  Taliban, and you’ll see links to the article.  The site seems to be blocking my attempt to link you to it.


BREAKING BEDLAM!   Trump fired John Bolton his latest Director of National Security this morning.  Bolton is a hawk who hasn’t found a war he doesn’t like, to paraphrase someone I can’t recall.  Normally I would be happy to see him go, but at least Bolton has some sense of the difference between reality and a TV reality show.

……………..and Trump does not, or just does not care.   As long as he can make himself look good in the process.  Bolton at least challenged some of Trump’s delusions.  Now I can’t think of anyone in the administration who will.

That’s scary.

“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.