Monday, March 25, 2019

After the Mueller

And so, all is well and Trump is the greatest Mafia Boss in the history of the world.  And I am not holding my breath until Barr decides to release the full Mueller report. What I am awaiting, with bated breath, is what Mueller decides to do once he is subpoenaed by Nancy and asked to testify before the house.  By all accounts, Mueller is a decent and honorable man.  He has done his best to investigate all the possible crimes committed by or in the name of our president (see Mafia Boss). And, although he could not find clear proof that Trump personally “colluded” with Putin to throw the election to him, we know that Putin did exactly that. That much is beyond question.

It seems also fairly clear, given the number of indictments of Trump campaign associates—Stone, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Papadopoulos—all soon to head off to prison—that The Trump team was/is as crooked as it is possible to be.  But because Trump is unlike any president before him, he has no conscience, no ethical dimension, so he will never concede and will likely remain free, and, more importantly, in office. Even Nixon finally conceded and quit the job. But not Trump. He has declared victory and is likely off to Mara Lago to play golf and celebrate.

And I listened to one Trump supporter who declared that, reading the Barr summary, his support for Trump will continue and he will vote for him again in 2020. And I thought . . . “really . . . you actually continue to support him, regardless of everything you have seen and read??? Really?” 

Because, apparently it is true that Trump supporters would actually have applauded had Trump taken a gun and shot someone out on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.  They would conclude, “well, the guy obviously had it coming. Trump did nothing wrong”.  Trump has written himself a kind of universal “Stand Your Ground” rule for anything and everything he does.  It’s always for a reason –his reason. And that makes it all ok.

And the fact that most of his associates are headed off to prison, but not Trump is simply the classic Mafia boss scenario. Until and unless they all begin ratting him out, he will likely be drenched in the stench, but otherwise unharmed.  It will be fun to see Jared and a couple more of his family indicted and maybe convicted in a New York court, while daddy looks on and heads off to a golf date, but still the main mafia dude needs to be brought before the National Court of Opinion and tried for being himself.  And that National Court is beginning to assemble. We will know in 2020 whether the American people have decided that ethics is “so last century”, or whether our nation remains intact and viable.

Personally, I am placing no money on that election. Mainly, I am so astonished that more than 3-5% of the American public still supports him, that I no longer have any expectations about our country. And it really is a shame. I have memories of Presidents dating all the way back to FDR.  And most of them at least had some concept of what being president means. They had some respect for the Nation and its highest elective office.  Yes, Nixon was a dirty rotten scoundrel, but at least he resigned.  And yes, Reagan was an idiot and made it ok again to be a racist, but still he appeared to show some respect for his office.  And of course Bush II (aka Shrub) was a fool who allowed himself to be led into war by his scoundrally aides when it was clearly unnecessary, but he was merely stupid and too anxious to convince his daddy that he could “do president” too.

Mainly though, I come away from all that historical navel gazing with one large conclusion—that the republican party has diminished itself over the 7 or 8 decades to a tool for monied interests to do with the country whatever they wanted. The party has given up any pretense of being a public party of the people. Apparently, they have ceded that job to its main opponents, the democrats.  Whether the people will opt for a party that seems in perpetual disarray remains a very large question, hovering over the next (last??) election. We will know in 2020 whether the American people still want a democracy, or perhaps that they have lost faith in such approaches to governance, and now wish for a more monarchical system. For, like it or not, that is where Trump and his republican party are headed, including the now republican Supreme Court (another subject).  We know certain things about Trump and his party:

1. They despise public education, preferring a largely ignorant population, while continuing to make believe on education generally (let’s pretend we care about private education);
.       2. They despise public health and do not believe in the notion that health care is a right, rather than a gift given to the hard working white people of our land
         3. They despise universal voting rights, believing instead that only good (white) republicans deserve to vote;
         4. They believe that private corporations are the only source of wisdom in the land, and that government should never interfere;

h       5. They believe that Might is Right and we must remain heavily armed,
          6. They believe that women do not have any “right to choose” on any subject, and women must remain firmly behind their males on all subjects;, and finally

           7. They believe that we are a Christian nation and that all other religions suck, and that religion can and should provide guidance for all matters throughout our land.

In 2020, we will discover whether this new governing philosophy will become the once and forever rule of law in this once proud nation.

We can and should vote, unless we no longer care what kind of country we inhabit.

May the best humans prevail.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Danger Ahead

I am now growing alarmed on a daily basis. And the alarm bells are perhaps more because of American commentary, as by Donald Trump. Something awful has happened in America. It may not be solely an American phenomenon, but it is surely here in America.

We have a classic authoritarian President.  He seems to admire only autocrats, e.g., Vlad the Impaler, Duterte, Kim Jung Un. I don’t know how he feels about Hitler or Mussolini, but . . .

As I best understand it, true authoritarian governments have:
·         Limited Legislatures, because the leadership does not consult with its legislature, and because the leaders have no use for a consultation model.
·         Limited Press Freedoms, because a “free press” might question the decisions made by the leadership, and questions of that sort are not permitted.
·         Political parties are either limited to the Leader’s party, or are so limited that one is left with essentially one party.
·         Elections typically are not open and free, as the Leaders essentially brook no competition.
So, we are not yet at the classic authoritarian government model.  But we are close to a true authoritarian leader. That is, Trump routinely decries the opposing party and seems to want it outlawed. He labels the press “Fake News”, except for the press he controls, i.e., Fox News.  And he clearly wants voting to be limited to the folks who support him. I now believe that if the election of 2020 is held and Trump loses, he will not yield his office, and he will inflame his followers to a point of potential violence. I can well imagine Trump labeling the election as fraudulent, and insisting that he remain in office.

What is dismaying here is the utter lack of control being exercised by his party. It is mind shattering to see people like Mitch McConnell simply agreeing with everything Trump wishes to do.  And it is practically Headline News when any republican disagrees with him publically.  And, if he continues getting his way with judicial appointments, he will soon control the theoretically independent third branch of government.  Ruth Bader Ginsberg cannot live forever, and President Stupidhead clearly intends to control the Supremes.
Now, we can lay much blame at the feet of the man who is our president. But, he could not act independently, as he has been doing, and he clearly could not ignore all rules regarding the separation between his official position and his private interests, were it not for the full complicity of the Republican Party.  Further, he would have difficulty exercising his chosen governing style were it not for the continued support of a very large number of the voters in America.  And therein lies the danger for our nation.  Because, his supporters seem not like ordinary voters who happen to really like their president.  No, they seem more like members of a cult—ISIS springs to mind. I find it way beyond dismaying that his followers seem not to understand the fundamental character of this man they seem to adore.  Many continue to assert that he is “the best president we have ever had”. And I practically want to throw up at this assertion. How could they seriously state those words? The best?? Really, you’re sure you don’t mean “the worst” and you are just confusing those words?

Because his flaws, his constant lies, his continued imbecilic tweeting and speechifying are so obviously signs of subhuman intellect that it seems impossible to misunderstand. So, something else is going on, something I do not understand at all about the Americans who support him.  I mean, how could women, any women, support him? He is so obviously a misogynist, who is willing routinely to denigrate and abuse women that I do not understand why women do not uniformly despise him.  Similarly with people of color or other cultures. He speaks of “shithole” countries, meaning all of Africa. He refers to Mexicans and other Latins, as “murderers, rapists, and gang figures”.  He seems so clearly a white supremacist/racist that I fail to understand how anyone not similarly white like him could possibly support him.

And then there is his basic lack of intelligence.  He seems to possess the intelligence of an inadequate 4th grader.  He or, more likely his father, obviously did something to fake a college education, and he seems so inadequate that I now believe that somehow they faked his elementary and secondary school experience. Did they pay someone to sit in for him??  Oddly, rather than simply remaining quiet about his education, he invented and broadcast large lies—like being at the head of his class, something easily checked. And that is characteristic of Trump. He invents and broadcasts lies that can be easily checked. Why would he do that, unless he is both so stupid and so arrogant that he believes nobody will ever question him?  He is clearly a pathological liar, but his limited intellect inhibits his ability to understand how terminally foolish he looks to anyone even remotely paying attention.

And yet, and yet, his supporters continue to support him and even seem to idolize him. And therein lies the danger to our nation. He has energized people and told them that violence in support of him is entirely ok. “Lock her up” was just one small step away from “and then kill her”. He laughed at the thought that he could take a gun, go out on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, shoot someone, and his poll numbers would increase.  And the awful thought here is that he is likely correct. His followers love his violent rhetoric, and, my guess is that most of them are heavily armed.  He clearly has the full support of the NRA, our domestic terrorist organization, and the NRA sees to it that most crazy people in America are heavily armed.

So, the question in my mind about all this is, on whose side is the 101st Airborne? Will the Marines support him, or us? How about the Air Force and all their hardware? Whose side are they on?  And all you generals out there, whose side are you on . . . this crazy man currently our president, or the American people?
So, if we hold an election, will it trigger an actual Civil War? The last one almost destroyed our nation. This one could be the last thing we all remember before being destroyed.  Are there, finally, any thinking, humane adults left in positions of authority who will protect us from this manic creature now intent on destroying our country?  Anyone out there? Hello . . .???