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Showing posts from August, 2017

Jared and Ivanka

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has never been an administration where the president's children carried so much weight in the White House.  Not even Pere Bush involved his two highly political motivated sons to this degree.  Enter Ivanka and Jared, who apparently have Trump's ear on many issues and even sit in for him on international summits.

It is hard to gauge exactly how much influence they actually have, as I can't imagine that their father's military transgender ban and press conference on Charlottesville sit well with them.  Nor his plans to scrap an Obama era provision that would have forced employers to file reports on the breakdown of salaries by gender, race and ethnicity.  This provision was seen as the first step in holding employers accountable when it comes to equal pay for women and minorities.  Yet, each and every time Ivanka defends her father's positions.

Jared keeps a lower profile given his heavy workload.  Not sure how far he has gott…

Yet another shot across the bow

While Trump is contending with Hurricane Harvey, Little Kim decided to take a shot across the bow of the good ship Japan this week, firing a ballistic missile over the northern island of Hokkaido.  Just last week, Donald J. Trump loudly proclaimed "[Kim Jong-Un] is starting to respect us."  It doesn't seem so.

If there is anything we have learned by now it is that Little Kim loves shooting off missiles.  It is going to take far more than bellicose words to get him to hold back.  The young dictator even went further to call this missile test a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam, where the US has a sizable naval base.

Not only that but Russian officials said the US and its Western allies provoked this missile test with their joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan, along with the even more restrictive sanctions.  If the US was hoping that Russia and China would help contain North Korea, the opposite appears to be occurring.

Trump has squandered …

Harvey

Seems Hurricane Harvey isn't done with Houston yet.  The category 4 storm circled over Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana to end up in the Gulf of Mexico again, where it has gathered strength once more and is aiming back to the same coastline, sure to dump even more torrential rains on the low lying regions.  Into this maelstrom goes Donald Trump aboard Air Force One in an effort to put on his best presidential face after spending most of last week blowing up his ego rather than getting FEMA ground crews in place for Harvey's first landfall.

Trump will use another Tuesday to deliver a speech to the waterlogged Texans and Louisianans who have to deal with unprecedented floods.  Hopefully it goes better than his Phoenix rally, which once again had pundits and politicians questioning his judgement, especially after he delivered on his vow to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio this past Friday.   If Congress has any notion to impeach the president, Roger Stone warned them of insurrec…

McGovernism

The left wing of the Democratic party is searching for a hero and seems to have found one in the ghost of George McGovern.  A new biography frames McGovern as the champion of social democracy long before Bernie.  This was a guy from the heartland of South Dakota, who served with distinction in WWII and went on to be one of the most progressive legislators in Congress.  Mercifully, the first volume of this two-part biography stops at 1968, leaving him as a hero in liberal Democrats' minds.

It's hard to believe that at one time liberal social policy got you elected in states like South Dakota.  Today, even Wisconsin and Michigan have turned Republican, as social democratic values have been soundly rejected at the polls.  This doesn't stop liberal Democrats from resurrecting a bygone era.  After all, Bernie scored well among socialist-minded Democrats in last year's primaries, which seems like an eternity ago now.

We'll never know how Bernie would have done in the ge…

Time to put the "Lost Cause" behind us

One of the most interesting things to learn from this brouhaha over Confederate memorials is how many of them there are and that they are spread all over the United States, not just the South.  You can find them as far west as California and as far north as New York.  There are dozens in Kentucky and West Virginia, neither of which were part of the Confederacy.

Kentucky had declared itself neutral at the outset of the war but when Major General Leonidas Polk got it into his head to invade the Bluegrass State, the governor solicited the United States for help and none other than Gen. U.S. Grant responded to the crisis.  The state was visibly torn on the issue.  A shadow government was formed that supported the Confederacy, but ultimately the state swore its allegiance to the United States.  Yet, no less than 60 Confederate memorials are scattered throughout Kentucky.  

The other irony is that Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home is in Knob Creek, not far from Louisville, which has three…

'til Tuesday

We seem to have a short reprieve as Trump plans for his Phoenix rally on Tuesday.  Republicans walked back some of their earlier harsh condemnations following last Tuesday's press briefing.  Kasich wouldn't answer a single question Jake Tapper put forward on Trump, preferring to "look ahead," as he put it, and using the "State of the Union" to plug his successes in Ohio.  In the end, Governor John said he wants Trump to succeed.

I suppose a lot of these Republicans looked at the most recent polls and decided it is best to ride this current tweet storm out.  Alarmingly, 6 of 10 conservatives say there is nothing that would change their opinion of Trump.  It looks like a pretty rough primary in store for Jeff Flake, who will be going up against a challenger some say Trump will endorse at his rally in Phoenix this week.  The President still appears to be sitting in the catbird's seat as far as Republican voters are concerned.  
For Democrats, this is a go…

There will be blood!

It seems that our president knows no bounds.  Still embroiled in the growing scandal over his Charlottesville remarks, he alludes to a bogus campaign story about Gen. Pershing in response to the Barcelona attack yesterday.  Trump has no problem condemning Muslim extremists, but treats white supremacists with kids' gloves.

I can see why Trump would like to identify himself with Gen. Pershing.  He was the most highly decorated man in military history, putting down uprisings not only in the Philippines but Mexico as well by leading a punitive expedition to capture Pancho Villa in response to an attack on a New Mexico village.  While he never captured Villa, his unit routed Villa's army, making Pershing kind of a latter-day Sam Houston.

Trump, however, is recalling the time Pershing put down a Muslim uprising in the Philippines, a greatly overblown chapter in the famous general's history.  Trump circulated a story on the campaign trail that Pershing captured fifty Muslim reb…

The Last Days of Donald Trump

Who knew David Duke and not Kim Jong-Un would prove to be Donald Trump's undoing?  The only support the president got in the wake of his Tuesday press conference was from white supremacists and some of his friends at Fox.  Little Kim sat on the sidelines and said he will watch "stupid American behavior for a bit longer."  Whether he was implying the Sea of Japan or Charlottesville is anyone's guess.

This week couldn't have gone any worse for Donald Trump.  All he had to do was offer a heartfelt statement regarding the events that transpired Saturday in Charlottesville and he could have gone back to playing golf at Bedminster National Golf Club.  Instead, he has been pilloried not only by the press but by many members of his own political party, world leaders and even Kim Jong-Un.  That can't sit well for a man who prides himself as much as he does.
No president has had to suffer this much indignity in decades, all because he couldn't sufficiently distanc…
As Ronald Reagan might say,



No sooner did Trump manage to offer a carefully measured response on Monday, in regard to the events in Charlottesville, than he botched it by returning to his original message on Saturday.  Charles Krauthammer summed it up best in this war of words with Laura Igraham, calling Trump's Tuesday comments, "a moral disgrace."  Of course, Laura begged to differ, defending her president's response to journalists, who she believe derailed his speech on environmental regulations.

Over the weekend, Trump lost three key members of his manufacturing council including Merck CEO Ken Frazier, who he singled out in an angry tweet.  They all cited his lack of an appropriate response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, as their reasons for leaving.  Frazier had been the most vocal.  Obviously, something had to be done to lessen the fallout, so White House advisers cobbled together a speech for their president to deliver on Monday. He presented it a…

The Big Dick Ideology

Americans have always lived in a fantasy world.  Hollywood eventually provided films that gave these fantasies a verisimilitude that only celluloid productions can do.  The first great fantasy was probably Birth of a Nation, but The Wizard of Oz in gorgeous technicolor took it a step further, making us not only believe in witches and flying monkeys but in a world where all you have to do is throw water on evil and it will just melt away.

Our foreign policy is something that could have easily been contrived in Hollywood.  We see ourselves as the shining beacon of the free world and while it might take a world war to purge evil, everyone will be thankful to us in the end, just like the wicked witch's foot soldiers were when they saw the tyrant melt away.

His Trumpness is trying this out on Kim Jong-Un, but it isn't working as smoothly as he would like.  He's now thrown a second pail of water on Little Kim, and the young tyrant has the audacity to laugh in his face.  North K…

Where America's Day Begins

If nothing else, Donald Trump now has everyone talking about Guam.  No sooner did our immenseness threaten North Korea with "fire and fury like the world has never seen," than his alter ego fired back by saying he would now target Guam with his next missile.  This all may turn out to be just the latest "pissing contest" Trump has engaged in, but Guam is none too happy about the attention it is now getting.

It is doubtful a North Korean missile could actually hit Guam, but one has to wonder why Trump would even launch this kind of hyperbole given the active missile testing going on in North Korea.  Just recently the country fired a ballistic missile 2800 kilometers into space to see if it had the range to hit the US, which has long been Kim's mission ever since he inherited the country from his father.  Kim now has a new goal -- can he hit a remote island in the Pacific Ocean?  I would think Alaska to be a much easier target.

Rather than quell Trump's incen…

News of the Week

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blond who comes on at five. She can tell you 'bout the [train wreck] with a gleam in her eye.
Who would have thought Don Henley could be so prophetic?  Here's Kayleigh McEnany giving us the "News of the Week" live from Trump Tower.  I guess Kayleigh got tired of being a punching bag on CNN.  Hard to say if she will be tag teaming with Lara Trump, or if she is now the face of Trump News.

You figure these are the first ginger steps into the water of news propaganda by Team Trump, as they try to give their facebook podcast a face followers can relate to.  If the first installment was any indication, it seems Eric may be the driving force behind this new mission.  Lara is not new to television.  According to Cosmopolitan magazine, she interned with local North Carolina television news stations and Inside Edition.

Better not let Stephen Miller know about this.  Can't have anyone with a cosmopolitan bias working for Team Trump.

Whatever it…

A Lie of the Mind

Living in an age of reality television, it is pretty hard to imagine American Playhouse and other efforts to bring the theater to the television screen back in the 1980s.  But, if we take the "wayback machine" to 1984, we get our first formal introduction to the work of Sam Shepard in True West, an adaptation that featured the young John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.

Shepard had first made his mark in the 60s with his off kilter one-act plays and later traveling in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue.  Shepard no only kept a log of the road show, but wrote a song for Bob and worked with him on the screenplay for Renaldo and Clara.

He had his own band for awhile, the Holy Modal Rounders, known for its off kilter bluegrass style, whose songs were featured in Easy Rider, among other movies.  They even made a guest appearance on Laugh-In.  Yes, that's Sam Shepard on drums.

I saw Shepard once in Santa Fe.  He came into a bar and took over the drums for a short set before re…

The Colossus and the mobocracy

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to free.
Stephen Miller posed an interesting question, "which came first the Statue of Liberty or Emma Lazarus' poem, the New Colossus?  Miller suggested the latter and so in his mind it doesn't convey the "original intent" of the statue but rather some liberal notion of what it means.  I suppose he has a point in that the statue is a glorified harbor lighthouse, but its beacon was meant to signify much more than safe passage.

French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi imagined it as symbolic of American independence.  He designed it in the early 1870s and Gustave Eiffel had a built in sent over to America in pieces starting in 1875.  The arm and torch was on display at the Centennial Exposition in 1876, but it would take 10 years before the statue was finally erected on Ellis Island, with no small measure of thanks to Emma Lazarus, whose poem was used to raise money for the construction of the star-sha…