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Showing posts from April, 2018

The Odd Couple

Just when you thought it couldn't get any stranger, Kanye returns to twitter heaping praise on his "dragon energy" brother, which set the blogosphere afire.  Trump responded in kind, leading their followers to ponder the meaning of this odd bromance.  Is this a calculated move or has Kanye not fully recovered from the "exhaustion" he suffered on his 2016 world tour?  What exactly does Trump have to gain by embracing Kanye?

This comes shortly on the heels of Roseanne's triumphant return to television, in which she declared her loyalty to Trump, garnering huge overnight Nielsen ratings.  He called to congratulate the low brow comic, seeming to consider her opening night ratings a vindication of his own popularity.  Her numbers have since dipped substantially but still enjoys high ratings.

One of the things the conservative movement has going for it is a large audience anxious for programming that suits its views.  They are always complaining that Hollywood i…

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

This past week His Trumpness hosted both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.  It was clear who his favorite is, presenting his first state dinner in the White House for the French President, which seemed largely designed to spotlight Melania in her glittering sleeveless silver dress.  Remember all the flack Michelle got for her bare arms?  Unfortunately, Merkel is left with sloppy seconds.

While Macron was warm and generous in his kisses, he made it very clear in his speech before Congress that he in no way supports Trump's scorched earth policy.  In fact he called Trump's environmental record "insane," albeit with a wink.  So how do these two get along?

I suppose Macron knows how to butter Trump up in private, lavishing praise on him, which is what he wants to hear most.  Merkel is not so good at this.  I suppose it is her East German upbringing or maybe her background in physics.  She treats Trump as one would an anomaly in science, like  a flannel moth caterpillar

Closely Watched Elections

Close only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes, but in a district that is more than 70 per cent white, largely retired "snowbirds," ergo mostly Republican, to only win by five points is pretty much a loss.  All though, this was a seat formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords before she was gunned down in 2011.

The RNC had to pour in lots of money and outside support to carry Debbie Lesko to victory.  Conversely, the DNC offered little more than logistical support to Hiral Tipirneni, and she nearly pulled off an upset that would have dwarfed that of Conor Lamb.

So, why did the Democratic National Committee offer so little support for Tipirneni?  Is it because she doesn't have a wikipedia page yet?  Or, they didn't want to get burned like did in the Georgia special election, when they poured in a huge amount of resources only to see Jeff Ossoff lose by a similar margin?  Or, they weren't too happy Tipirneni wasn't supporting Nancy Pelosi?  Whatever the case, th…

Up Jumped Spring!

Sunny Spring weather has me re-examining what direction to take with this forum, as I'm tired of all the gloom Donald Trump brings.  I can try to make light of it, as I often do, but that only marginally relieves the depressing feeling one gets from all things Trump.

For the most part, Europeans have shrugged off Trump.  I was in Sweden last week for a conference on acoustical materials, and the Donald hardly registered a blip in talk over the dinner table.  That seems to be the general mood over here, treating Trump as America's problem, as long as he doesn't go to war.  Talk of tariffs have come and gone.  It's not like there is any great demand for Harleys or even Levi's jeans these days.  Sweden's Husqvarna is the hot new bike, and it seems women are mostly into leggings these days.
It seems that Trump has accomplished his goal of isolating the US from the rest of the world.  Macron is one of the few European leaders that still seems keen to engage with Tr…
To hear James Comey, he seems like a dispassionate observer, reporting what he was privy to during his short time with Donald J. Trump.  There is little reason to doubt what he says, which makes his comments all the more damning, even if he feels the President should not be impeached.  However, there is something lurking beneath his calm demeanor that makes you wonder what ax he has to grind here.  After all, this is the same guy who almost single-handedly undermined Hillary Clinton's campaign by re-opening his investigation into her e-mails in October, 2016, diverting all the media attention away from Trump's infamous Access Hollywood and Miss Universe scandals.

It's pretty hard to buy Comey's argument that he was so confident Hillary would win the November election that re-opening the investigation would have little impact.  The e-mails had been dogging her throughout the campaign, and most people thought this issue had been laid to rest in July when he announced th…

The Trump Slump

You might recall Trump loved to gloat about the rapidly rising stock market, even before he took office. The Dow rose roughly 2,000 points just during his transition period from Nov. 8, 2016 through Jan. 20, 2017, and continued to rise precipitously throughout his first year in office, peaking at 26,616 on Jan. 16, 2018.  Since then, the Dow has slumped more than 2000 points and sits at 24,360.   Some might call this a "correction," but it seems that Trump's policies are beginning to take their toll on the economy and he can no longer ride the wave that was a carry over from his predecessor's term of office.

The stock market has always been a fickle thing.  Obama experienced similar down cycles, like one between Nov. 6, 2015 and  Feb. 12, 2016, where the Dow fell roughly 1900 points before beginning its upward growth once more.  It regained all that it had lost by June, and was rising at a steady clip prior to the 2016 general election, not that it did Hillary Clint…

Rockets Red Glare

It seems there is nothing His Trumpness likes more than a surprise fireworks show at someone else's expense.  He lit up the Syrian sky once again in a feeble attempt to "show force" after a chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta town of Duoma, which Russia says was staged to cast a bad light on the Assad regime.  This follows closely on the heels of the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England, which Russia also says was staged.

All could be.  There are dark forces at work that could very well want a monumental clash between the US and Russia, using England and Syria as staging grounds.  It took less than this to launch WWI but so far both parties have remained relatively restrained.  Secretary of Defense Mattis called it a one-time shot, not planning to follow up with anymore actions against Syria or its comrades in arms Russia and Iran.  For all we know this missile strike was staged to lend the appearance of a punitive strike f…

No-Limit Washington Hold'Em

It's not just Russia but China appears to understand the demographics of American elections very well.  In response to Trump's tariffs, President Xi hit back with tariffs aimed directly at the heartland of the US that will hurt Trump voters the worst.  Pretty ballsy move and one that certainly got the Chief Trumpkin's attention as the Big D wants to add another $100 billion in tariffs, as if he is playing some kind of high stakes poker game with China.

This had the impact on Wall St. everyone expected with the Dow tumbling nearly 600 points on Friday, as there was little Larry Kudlow could do to stop the bleeding, after first hearing of Trump's new tariffs the night  before.  Kudlow is now El Presidente's top economic advisor, but it doesn't seem he gets much attention in the White House, and therefore none on Wall St.

We now appear to be officially in the middle of a trade war with China.  Xi has a better poker face than Donald, so I have to think most econom…

The Baltics in the Age of Trump

Maybe the Baltic countries should join together to form a joint confederation.  I don't know what you would call it Litvonia or Esluvia or Latuvia, but they certainly don't get much attention on their own.  It's been nearly 30 years since Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union, the first of the Baltic nations to do so.  It got a lot of attention at the time, much moreso than Estonia or Latvia which seceded in turn, but since then Lithuania has found itself lagging behind in name recognition.  The few movie and television references than do pop up are usually its northern neighbors, like the time George wanted to convert to "Latvian Orthodox" on Seinfeld or Dinesh fell for a cute Estonian programmer on Silicon Valley.

Yet, some of the most famous sports and entertainment celebrities have been Lithuanian.  Johnny Unitas politely turned down an award by the Baltimore Greek community for sportsman of the year following his Super Bowl victory, noti…


Or how President Trump Learned to  Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Maybe we can take Trump's decision to abandon DACA as an April Fool's joke, or any one of his recent irrational decisions.  This is a guy who in the past month has gutted his cabinet and top advisers, proposing John Bolton of all people as his new National Security adviser, who seemed just as shocked to hear the news as we all were.

With Tillerson and McMaster now gone, the only voice of reason left in the Trump administration is General Jim Mattis, and you have to wonder how much longer he has in Trump's cabinet, given the President appears to have revived his Celebrity Apprentice in the White House, offering as a rag tag bunch of advisers who have no more idea what their cabinet post entails than does Trump.  We can call it Secretary Apprentice.

Ben Carson was literally called on the carpet by Elizabeth Warren for his abysmal job as Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs.  It wasn't just his questiona…