Tag Archives: Presidency

President Donald Trump, E.D.

OK, here it is up front: President Trump is an Evil Doofus.

Every day it’s something new as he stumbles ever onward in his malignantly ignorant, incompetent, unethical, and immoral crusade to destroy the country and everything it has, admittedly imperfectly but at least aspirationally, stood for since its founding.

You know the particulars, so this won’t be a litany of his greatest (?) hits. No, let’s just look at this from a thirty thousand foot level to see where we are and where we might be going.

Trump has become like a marooned shipwreck victim, the only soul on an otherwise deserted island. He’s alienated much of Congress including ranking members whose support he would need for his agenda if he had one. He’s also losing support from independents who voted for him and even beginning to see erosion of his base, although not a hard core of low information voters so ignorant of what’s going on (Fox News rots the brain) that they don’t even know who Robert Mueller is or what he’s doing. He fired soulmate and Chief Yeti Bannon (who’s now cozying up to the Neanderthal Congressional Freedom Caucus) and it may not be long before the Executive Wing’s resident ghoul, Stephen Miller goes, too. Not much heard from Jared and Ivanka lately. Maybe they’re not too comfortable with Trump’s embrace of white supremacist, anti-Semitic neo-Nazis. But, then Jared’s an Orthodox Jew and Ivanka converted. It’ll likely make for some interesting family gatherings over the High Holidays. And finally, his just-made deal with Pelosi and Schumer, an act reeking of revenge against Congressional Republicans, won’t really endear him in any long term way to Democrats. In fact, he was snookered by Nancy and Chuck, who’ll be right back at him in 90 days.

So here we have poor, lonely, angry, stupid, malevolent Trump, the Evil Doofus, all alone except for his greatest object of worship: himself. One wonders, what is it that rattles around in his largely empty head as what might generously be said to pass for thought? Does he have any insight into his total lack of fitness, ability, and temperament for the Presidency? Does he have any sense of how empty a shell he really is? That he has no higher purposes in life than sating his own personal ego and pursuing more and more filthy lucre? Is it actually all just unmitigated narcissism? We don’t know but we certainly know how it looks. On the other hand, does it matter?

At base, I’m a behaviorist, so what might be flitting around inside the man’s cranium is of little to no importance to me. What is important to me is what spews out of that idiotically hair-pieced excrescence atop his neck. And on nearly a daily basis, each new government-by-tweeted pronouncement adds itself to a collection of what most likely will go down in history as the most idiotic body of work ever authored by a U.S. President.

So, where to from here? September is upon us, and it’s going to be a doozy of a month as Congress continues to fume impotently over his debt limit deal linked with hurricane Harvey relief. And then there’s the new hurricane on its way, and Trump’s cynical dumping of responsibility for a final DACA disposition on Congress with implied if not overt pressure to attach it to funding for his ridiculous border wall, which Congress probably won’t support. This could lead in December to an epic standoff with Trump threatening again to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t allocate wall funding and Congress telling him to go fuck himself. Bear in mind that a government shutdown would preclude provision of further Federal aid for hurricane recovery. The extreme right wing would gloat while victims continue to suffer.

It has become apparent that Trump doesn’t really care about much of anything. Willing to turn on staff, to abandon prior positions and even deny that he ever held them, and supportive of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, he is attempting to take us headlong into an Orwellian world of newspeak, where language and truth are malleable and mean only what is intended by him and a sycophantic entourage too dumb to realize that loyalty with the man is a one way street. Trump’s vision, if one dares to call it such, is of fascistic autocracy and Nazi-like national expulsion of those he sees as non-white, non-Christian, and not loyal either to him or to the police state he would oversee as Exalted Poobah, a man with unlimited power and authority, a mad barbarian and a philistine to boot.

Of course, it’s possible that he’ll be impeached before the end of his term, but the wheels of justice turn slowly so breath holding is not recommended. Our best hope at this time is for Democratic party dominance in the 2018 midterm elections, with enough power gained in Congress to restrain both him and the far right wing in their efforts to dismantle every humane program and every agency dedicated to the protection of our environment, health and welfare, and national security. Of course, the Democrats have a stellar history of being unable to get it together but, who knows? Maybe after 2018 Congress will even be able to force the Evil Doofus finally to name an ambassador to South Korea. Go Dems, and keep up the good work, Nancy and Chuck!

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Political Keystone Cops

I’ve said it before and, unfortunately, I’m saying it once more: it’s hard to know where to begin. In fact, I had to force myself to sit down and write about the current political situation yet again but, as in the case of train wrecks, it’s horrble but impossible to look away.

The sheer incompetence of Trump and his coterie of Keystone Cops, aided and abetted by a cowardly and self-interested Congress, seems bent on destroying what’s left of our country’s grand democratic experiment. How, in just over 100 days, Trump has inflicted such severe damage to our political system is simply breathtaking. Worse, there is a substantial segment of the American population that is still cheering him on. Last evening, for example, I attended a meeting of a non-political organization I have belonged to for over twenty years, and one guy actually showed up wearing the infamous red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap. There is no arguing with this guy. Trump could be an ax murderer and the fellow would still be a totally devoted member of the cult.

And so, to the subject at hand: the crisis in the wake of James Comey’s abrupt firing. And if ever there was an example of confusion and incompetence, this has to be its epitome. Let’s begin with the ludicrous assertion by Trump and minions that the firing was because of Comey’s fumbled treatment of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server. Trump’s inconsistent behavior about this was – is — jaw-dropping.

Last July, he railed against Comey for not pursuing prosecution against Clinton. Then, eleven days before the November election, when Comey announced re-opening of the e-mail investigation, Trump lauded the FBI Director for his action. Finally, as his rationale for firing Comey, Trump cited Comey’s arguably incompetent management of the matter. In support of this, he cited a memo which he had requested from nominally recused Attorney General Lawn Gnome Sessions and his un-recused Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. Transparently ridiculous, this “justification” wasn’t (isn’t) accepted by anyone with an IQ above idiot level. Timing and circumstance were clear. The firing was because of Comey’s failure to swear allegiance to self-appointed deity Trump and his pursuit of the investigation into possible Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the November election. Furthermore, shortly before the firing, Comey had requested additional resources to pursue the Russian investigation, perhaps the final straw that precipitated Trump’s abrupt action.

Now, while Trump’s loyal robots were out on their tightly held extension cords promoting the laughable idea that the firing was because of Comey’s mistreatment of Clinton, Trump decided to give an interview to Lester Holt on NBC. And guess what? Trump threw his entire staff under the figurative speeding campaign bus (you’d think it would have gone into storage after November, but you’d be wrong) by saying that he was going to fire Comey regardless of what the memo from Rosenstein said. In other words, he discounted his own initially stated reason for the firing. This is a guy who not only knows nothing. He also can’t remember anything he says or thinks from one day to the next.

So, cutting to the chase, what we now have is a clear case of obstruction of justice, and this is a sufficient reason to consider impeachment. Still don’t see it? Well, here it is in simple terms: Trump and lackey Devin Nunes initially prevented Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying before the House Committee chaired by Nunes regarding what she told the Trump administration (on three occasions) about concerns regarding General Michael Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador and participation in a discussion regarding sanctions reduction. Then, Trump, obviously afraid of where the investigation would lead, fired Comey in a clear attempt to derail it. None of Trump’s bleating about fake news and the “hoax” of Russian intervention rings true in the slightest, and every contradictory  pronouncement simply increases the impression of an incompetently executed cover-up. And this attempted cover up, despite it’s clumsiness and failure to convince anyone, constitutes obstruction of justice.

We have now arrived at a point at which ongoing damage caused by this imbecilic demagogue with no moral or ethical center can no longer be tolerated. It’s clear that Congress isn’t ready to act yet, but I believe that he must be removed from the Presidency with all due haste. I say this with the full knowledge that in doing so we will then be stuck with a President Pence. This will constitute an awful outcome, but “awful” somehow still seems better than “intolerable”.

Will the Republicans in Congress grow cojones and do what’s right? Maybe, if we demand it, but as of today I’m not taking any bets. Write to your Congressional representatives. If we stay silent, we’ll deserve the dictatorship we’ll get.

Subversion of Purpose: Subversion of Country

When I began this blog a little over two years ago (yes, this is entry #104), I stated its main purpose as a literary one. Partly it was to flack my own writing, and partly it was to discuss writing, publishing, and culture in general. The turn taken since then in national politics, however, has led me to write much more about social and political trends and, in particular in recent times, my concerns over the willfully ignorant, bullying, narcissistic, misogynistic, science denying, and generally incompetent Neanderthal who now occupies the White House. Oh, and his coterie of fellow moral degenerates, ignoramuses, and incompetents.

It seems as if we are being assaulted on a daily basis with mean-spirited and potentially dangerous actions and pronouncements of this group of evil clowns, and there is little evidence that anyone has either the courage or the wherewithal to bring them to heel. Of equal and even greater concern is the fact that the extremism of the administration has served to unmask the true nature of the more extended Republican mindset and the heretofore somewhat repressed racism and religious bigotry of much of the American public, some 35% of which (as of today) remains solidly behind Trump and the Republicans.

What is the ugliness that has been set free upon us? The spectrum, unfortunately, is a broad one. Here are a few elements of the current American deconstruction.  The list is far from complete, as new ones appear every day and some that we aren’t even learning about until well beyond the tweets and Executive Orders:

  • The Trump-Ryan American Health Care bill: This, of course, was a doozy. Trump probably never read the bill, of course, since he doesn’t like to read. And so, while promising “terrific” health care for everyone, he backed a bill written by Speaker Ryan that would kick 14 million souls off the insurance roll within a year, and 24 million within ten years. When it appeared that it would fail because of the no votes of the wildly misnamed “Freedom Caucus” (29 angry white males) and some moderate Republicans, the proponents offered to make it better. How? By attacking such things as pre-existing condition coverage and the creation of an excluded diagnosis list. Yes, terrific for everyone. In the end, of course, it didn’t please anyone. It wasn’t mean enough for the Freedom guys and it wasn’t generous enough for the moderates or, of course, the Democrats. Trump tried to blame Democrats, in part, for the failure of passage. But, then, maybe he forgot that the Democrats already have a health care bill, the ACA (Obamacare). Now, Trump has hinted that he might actually try to sabotage the ACA in order to get what he really wants.
  • The Trump immigration ban: The first attempt was blocked by a judge, as was the “improved” bill. Several aspects of this are quite noteworthy. First, the original seven countries, all predominantly Muslim, have no Trump business interests. Other predominantly Muslim countries in the region do and, of course, were left off the list. Second, the ban was overtly religious in nature and therefore in violation of the first amendment. Put simply, you can’t ban a whole religion for no reason other than pure bigotry. Third, the original ban was written so poorly, was so sloppy, that it banned people with legitimate visas and green cards from entering the country. Duh. Fourth, there was no evidence that the ban would do anything to prevent acts of domestic terrorism. The U.S. already conducts extensive vetting activities, and immigration is limited to those who can and do pass careful review. Furthermore, it is simply unreasonable to impose a blanket ban upon a group of people because some lone terrorist might be among them. And, in case Trump hasn’t noticed, there have been no terrorist acts committed in the U.S. by immigrants from any of the initial seven banned countries.
  • Trump’s appointments: What the hell is it with Trump’s appointments? Flynn is out as the first casualty of the Russian affair. Bannon was just pulled from his seat on the National Security Council because, the administration says, he’s no longer needed there to oversee Flynn. Wait a minute. Trump put someone on the NSC that he didn’t trust? Yikes!!! And now Bannon is apparently pissed over being pulled, so maybe Flynn’s departure wasn’t the real reason Bannon was yanked. Will we ever know? Not from Trump, and certainly not from Spicer, who’s got about as much credibility as Trump, himself, being as he is Trump’s ass-kissing lackey. And then there’s Rick Perry. I don’t even know what to say about this guy, who wanted to get rid of the agency he now heads and, as it turns out, had no idea of what the agency actually does. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary? The man who thinks the pyramids were built as grain storage facilities? And this man was a practicing brain surgeon. Maybe he was just on a career search for his own.
  • And speaking of appointments, there’s perhaps the biggest doozy of all: Betsy DeVos, a person so ignorant about education that she’s both horrifying and a laughingstock among everyone except religious nuts, those who oppose the fundamental American value placed upon public education, and those who don’t actually think guns in classrooms are necessary for the prevention of bear attacks. DeVos is the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live, except that she’s frightening instead of funny. Now, isn’t that special? (My apologies to Dana Carvey.)
  • And, although the list could go on and on, say, to deal with efforts to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, build the “beautiful” wall, the wiretapping allegation against former President Obama, and more, we shouldn’t leave out foreign relations: Russian hacking, North Korean nuclear saber rattling, relations with China, issues surrounding the administration’s attitude toward NATO… It’s never-ending, and too much to get into in this piece.

So, I’ll bring it to a close with a few questions. When is enough going cross into too much? When will the conflicts of interest, the lying and the gross incompetence lead either to impeachment or removal through the 25th amendment. When will the Republicans grow a set and realize that they’ve become the party of angry, mean-spirited, and bigoted tolerance? When will they have the courage to take action against a demagogue? And when will American citizens finally stand up and say we’re angry and depressed, and revolted by what we see, and we’re not going to take it anymore?

NOTE: As I was finishing writing the entry above, the airfield attack with Tomahawk missiles ordered by President Trump was being carried out. As some toadying politicians of both parties congratulated him for his bold action, others, including myself, were not so thrilled. What the President did was unconstitutional. The constitution does not permit the President to initiate an act of war against a foreign government and, especially, one posing no immediate threat to the safety and security of the United States. What President Dumpkof should have done was seek authorization from Congress for the action. The precedent set by his failure to do so, one that reeks of power-mad dictatorship, is horrifying. If the President can do this, what other country might he, on his own and without advice and consent, attack? What weapons might he unleash without restraint? And yet even more questions present themselves. Why did the Generals proceed with implementation of a clearly illegal order? Are we facing the unholy alliance of a dictator with the military? And what is to be said of a Congress that is not only complicit in its own developing impotence, but is even cheering its support as it is being thrust into irrelevancy?

Where, Oh Where, Do We Begin?

It’s been less than two weeks and it’s already hard to know where to begin. The irrational, executive order on immigration and refugees? The firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates (instantly making her a martyr), the firing of the ICE Director, the directive to start building the wall, threatening to send U.S. troops into Mexico, hanging up on the Australian Prime Minister? Well, these among other travesties and incompetent acts are all worthy of discussion, but for now I’d like to say a few words about President Lout’s appointment of the man likely to be our newest Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch.

First, a bit of review. In the presence of a vacancy on the Court, it is the Constitutional duty of the President to make a nomination, following which it is the responsibility of the Judicial Committee of the Senate to vet the nominee and of the full Senate to confirm or not confirm the nominee, as the case may be.

In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death last year, President Obama fulfilled his Constitutional duty by nominating Judge Merrick Garland, a universally respected, highly qualified, moderate jurist to take the deceased Scalia’s seat on the Court. Senator Mitch McConnell, aka “The Turtle”, vowed that no nomination made in the final year of President Obama’s term of office would receive any consideration by the Judicial Committee. In doing so, he excused his raw and unconstitutional action by citing what he called the “Biden rule”, a nonexistent rule based solely upon something Joseph Biden said several years ago but having no basis in legislative law. McConnell. thus laid the groundwork blocking any fair and required action on the nomination. This disgraceful act resulted in the theft of the nomination from President Obama, and left the Court one justice short of its normal complement of nine individuals. The Court responded by failing to take on a number of cases that it otherwise might have considered.

So now, Presidential Lout, fulfilling a campaign promise to pick someone acceptable to the far and evangelical right, has nominated an extreme conservative to fill the empty slot, and Republicans are gloating over their unconstitutional triumph. Worse, it should be noted that the Lout’s gang is accusing Democrats of being obstructive by threatening to filibuster the nomination. This, of course, is utter hypocrisy given prior Republican behavior.

It seems inevitable that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed, although the Democrats may be able to delay confirmation to some minimal extent. But I do believe that an additional protest is warranted. I suggest that when the roll is called for confirmation, EVERY DEMOCRAT SHOULD, INSTEAD OF VOTING “NO” OR BOYCOTTING THE VOTE, LOUDLY PROCLAIM A VOICE A VOTE FOR MERRICK GARLAND. This will do nothing to change the outcome, but at least it will get the attention of the public and remind everyone of the disgusting and obstructive behavior of Senate Majority Leader Turtle and his cohorts in governmental crime.

As a final comment regarding Neil Gorsuch, there are those who have suggested that the Lout might not be getting quite what he is expecting with the appointment. Gorsuch is a strict constructionist, yes, and a far right conservative, yes, and takes a radical view of religious rights (the Hobby Lobby decision) and, consequently, is no friend of women’s rights, but because of his belief in strict adherence to established principles embodied within the Constitution and legislation, there is a glimmer of hope that he at least will not mindlessly support the wild decrees of the Lout. If true, this would be at least one positive in what so far seems an abysmal turn of affairs in our beloved country. Not enough to justify, in my mind, his confirmation to the Supreme Court, but the simple fact is that he will be confirmed, so we need to take whatever small hope there may be that he won’t be the disaster we’re nevertheless expecting.

Does Donald Trump Have ADHD?

We have all learned over time and especially during the course of the Republican cluster fuck of debates and primaries, and his recent performance in the first Presidential debate, that Donald Trump is a bloviating, unprepared and unqualified, misogynistic bully. But does he have ADHD? Consider the following:

  • Lack of preparation for the debate with Clinton: Was this because of an inability to concentrate on the vast amount of material that would need to be in his command for the debate and ultimately, of course, as a qualification to be President?
  • His frequent (51 by general agreement on the number) interruptions of Clinton during her allotted debate speaking time: Was this simple rudeness or a manifestation of poor impulse control?
  • His facial expressions, sniffling as if he’d just snorted cocaine, and one word or sound utterings: Were these things a manifestation of his inability to hold still and focus?
  • His frequent, disjointed, rambling answers, in which he would string together almost random thoughts separated by the nonsensical, non-contextual “because”.

I would suggest that these easily observed and impossible to ignore behaviors are sufficient for at least the suspicion that Trump suffers from adult attention deficit  hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as “ADHD”.

And so we come to the critical question: Is the Presidency a job for someone with ADHD and its associated poor impulse control and lack of ability to focus, to be coherent, and to control his facial expressions? His appalling attitudes, social views, and political ignorance aside, do we really want someone like this to represent the United States of America both domestically and abroad?

The time to come out and vote is almost upon us. Can anyone justify the position taken by one woman who was interviewed after the debate? She called Trump a “jackass” but said that party loyalty demanded that she vote for him. Is this the immorally low bar to which we have sunk?

Yes, Clinton has made some mistakes over time, but is there really any choice here? If you care about the country, you should know the answer.

Of Mobs and Demagoguery: The Republican Convention of 2016

The 2016 Republican National Convention has now (thankfully) passed into history, but its effects are likely to be long-lasting. In no particular order, here is a listing of some relevant aspects of its frightening legacy, along with some observations of my own (of course).

  • The initially unlikely nomination of Donald Trump, a bloviating, bigoted, xenophobic, nationalistic, verbally abusive egomaniac has become a reality, the result of the Republican takeover by right wing extremists and evangelists. The party is now, de facto, the party of white supremacists, religious nut cases, and those with no understanding of the actual history of the United States and its founders.
  • The virtually complete takeover of the Convention’s proceedings by Trump forces resulted in trampling dissent and led to a mob mentality with behavior of the delegates that all too often (e.g., during Chris Christie’s kangaroo court performance), resembled that seen during the rise of the Third Reich. Personally, I found all those raised arms pretty terrifying.
  • Although one expects negative hyperbole denigrating the candidate of the opposing party, the behavior of the delegates as egged on by many speakers transcended the bounds of decency. Instead of being a celebration of the Republican nominee, the convention became an ugly hatefest, and if all that unites the base is hate, one wonders what Republicans will be voting for, rather than against in November.
  • We learned that Melania Trump is, as reported by the L.A. Times, an admirer of Michelle Obama, certainly an embarrassment of sorts for The Donald and others who have spent such an inordinate amount of time hating the Obamas.
  • The honesty, hard work, and dedication to principle so touted by Melania in her plagiarized speech bears no resemblance to the actual conduct of the candidate. In fact, listening to her, one would have been more than hard pressed to identify whom she was speaking about if she weren’t the candidate’s wife.
  • Every time the camera panned to the Trump family and showed his beautiful children, the only thought I could entertain was “Stepford”. In fact, so many of the women, in particular, in the arena had the same blond appearance of the Trump women that I considered the possibility that they were all programmed robots. Of course, an awful lot of the men on the convention floor looked more like beer swilling knuckle-draggers than intelligent specimens of the human species. Just sayin…but we know that Trump’s major appeal is to the white, poorly educated of our country. Just those whom we want to choose our leaders, right? And it is worth noting that this convention reportedly had fewer minority attendees than any other recent Republican convention despite the Party’s sticking some minority speakers on the program for show.
  • After the 2012 re-election of President Obama, the Republicans held that much touted autopsy on their stunning failure and came up with some reasonable conclusions about the Party’s wrong direction and what needed to be done to redirect efforts to broaden their base. The current outcome is the result of the party’s total failure to channel their own findings toward any sort of remedial action and a demonstration of how moderate influences within the party were completely overrun by the darker forces of radical religion and what now passes for conservatism but is really a complex mixture of paranoia, fear, bigotry, and a foundational philosophy anchored in preserving an American caste system.
  • Trump’s final address to the convention on Thursday night was simply raw meat for the already converted. It was a classic example of playing to white fears, denigrating the opposition, and offering no specifics while throwing out a few barely acknowledged platitudes in the vain attempt to convince a wider audience to support the ticket. And, boy, did he sound angry.
  • Neither Trump nor any other speaker acknowledged the overt bigotry and radical, chauvinistic nature of the Party’s platform, suggesting either total hypocrisy or an overt intention to deceive. In fact, if one looks at the history of VP nominee Mike Pence (Mike Pence???), one can see clearly through the deception. He is, in fact, the embodiment of the platform: a radically conservative, angry white guy out to “restore” the country to an idealized state that, in fact, never actually existed. If he and all the others of his ilk get their way, millions will lose their health care, women will once again begin dying from septic illegal abortions, climate change will be ignored, environmental degradation allowed to proceed unchecked, quality education reserved only for those who can afford it, and voter suppression will continue to run unchecked, among other “conservative” delights. Oh! Wait! It really is the Republican Party’s platform!
  • The funniest thing I heard anyone say all week came from Stephen Colbert, who commented, “Mike Pence was born after a bolt of lightning struck a jar of mayonnaise.” (See prior bullet point…)
  • In the final analysis, the 2016 Republican gathering accomplished only one thing. It played successfully to the already committed base without expanding support among elements of the public it needs to attract to have any chance of winning in the November election. Pundits say that the Party is losing more voters than it has been gaining, resulting in a net loss. We can only hope.