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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Actual Rhetoric

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Bams gave a speech today.

I cried.

Not because it was a bad speech. Of course it wasn’t. Nor was it a sad speech. No, no, as always, Obama’s words were eloquent and uplifting, reminding Americans of our common beliefs and desires, of our mutuality.

Hearing Obama speak, these days, is like stumbling upon a photo of a loved one who is no longer with us. The feeling of loss is almost unbearable.

 

 

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For those of you who are sports-impaired (here’s looking at you, Trep), the gentleman depicted in this photo is LeBron James, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers (a professional basketball team). Mr. James, in addition to being quite large, is very good at what he does. Some commentators, in fact, have hazarded that he is as good, or nearly so, as the fabled Michael Jordan.

In short, Mr. James (also known as “King” James) has some weight to throw around when he chooses to do so. And now he has done just that, taunt-tweeting the guy in the oval office and calling him a bum. The contretemps began when the Steph Curry, another popular player of basketball, refused an invitation to visit the White House even though his team won the national championship this year. The bum then dis-invited Curry, thus making sense to no one but himself:  how do you dis-invite someone who has declined to attend? (May I suggest that the bum is not a careful reader?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Are In Deep Trouble

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It’s no accident that depictions of the Constitution often include a judicial gavel–without judges and courts, the document is just an old piece of paper.

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is a big thumb of the nose at courts and the law.  His choice of Arpaio as instrument is telling;  the sheriff was convicted of contempt of court by a federal judge.

For years the sheriff and his minions detained people without cause whether they were American citizens or not. The only requirement necessary to be arrested and held in the sheriff’s odious jail, it seemed, was a dusky skin. Clearly this was a thoroughly racist practice, and Arpaio’s orders were intended solely to terrorize and intimidate people of color.

After he was finally convicted of racial profiling, Arpaio still went about business as usual, incarcerating anyone who didn’t look right to him, until the citizens of Arizona finally voted him out of office. Another federal judge eventually charged and convicted him of contempt of court because he had blatantly ignored the decision handed down by the previous court.  Until Trump intervened the sheriff was waiting a stint in jail.

If Trump gets away with this, what is to keep him from pardoning Michael Flynn?  Paul Manafort?  His son and son-in-law?  Himself?  The presidential pardon is the single exception to the general rule of law mandated by the Constitution–there are no checks on it, no way to achieve balance when it is exercised. When Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, who was obviously guilty of the charges levied against him, the only consequence (maybe) was that Ford was not re-elected.

In other words, use of the presidential pardon is injudicious on its face;  it invalidates the constitutional provisions that protect us all from criminal acts.

Goddess help us.

 

 

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Utter Depravity

161009214226-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-01-16-exlarge-169I’m back! It’s been almost four months since I posted here. My only excuse is that I’ve been in a quasi-depression since the night Trump was elected President. I stayed up all that night watching returns, hoping against hope that what Chuck Todd was telling me just wasn’t so. I was in shock, I think.

For awhile afterward I was in mourning for Hillary, for the devastation this loss would wreak on her personally and for the nation’s loss of her superior intellect, her long experience in governing, and her sheer stones. It looks as though she is recovering, though, and the forthcoming publication of her account of the campaign looks to be an honest review of What Happened. She is a brave woman. Other women will appreciate her comments about the scene famously depicted in the photo (and hilariously recreated by Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin on SNL) when Trump stalked her as she attempted to make a point. Women know this behavior.  From what I have seen so far, male commentators just don’t get it, and her mentioning it will no doubt offer such men another ground on which to belittle her.

As time passed, I realized that my sadness had additional roots. I have been repulsed by Trump’s racism ever since the 1980s when he took out a full-page ad in the New York Times urging that the so-called “Central Park Five” be executed. You may recall that a jogger had been horribly assaulted in the park. Five young black and Latino men were arrested for the crime, mostly, as far as I can see, just because they were there and they were young men of color. They were freed from prison by DNA evidence after a long incarceration that ruined the rest of their lives. For his part in this incident, in my opinion, Trump himself deserves a stint behind bars.

It should be clear by now to any attentive American that Trump’s racism is still alive and well. But there’s more. I add amorality to racism and misogyny as serious charges against Trump. Because of this he is utterly unfit for political office. Some days I agree with those few brave voices that have suggested he has mental deficiencies, and if this were shown to be the reason (the only reason) for ejecting him from the presidency, one could feel sorry for him. On the other hand, solid evidence of his impairment would allow (force?) the House of Representatives to begin the process of removing him from office.

Aside from that possibility, Trump has shown himself to be an utterly vile person. His only concern seems to be to protect and advertise his greatness and (possibly) that of his family. There seems to be very little warmth between him and his trophy wife. Who can blame her? I hope the payoff for her has been sufficient to make up for the reality that she must occasionally spend time with this horrible person.

Perhaps one could grant that Trump has at least one moral imperative: the preservation of his self-image. Whatever he wants is right;  whatever goes against his desire is wrong. That is why he returns again and again to the old slights and the tawdry victories–he has transformed his presidency into a continuous stump, an unending hymn to his supposed greatness. In the mean time he has accomplished little for the country apart from the selection of a new Supreme Court Justice, which was actually engineered by the equally vile Mitch McConnell–who at least owns the virtue of craftiness.

I was moved to write about this today by something that supposedly happened during Trump’s rally in Phoenix last night. Apparently one of his supporters hollered out that Senator John McCain should die right now. McCain’s daughter Megan responded to this taunt in a tweet: “I wouldn’t wish seeing this about your own father on my worst enemy. May God help these people who inflict such cruelty in the world.” https://t.co/2wV3yFI1Hn

Indeed. Megan McCain has put her finger on the most heinous effect of Trump’s immorality: his followers have been infected with his vileness.

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Is This It?

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Back in 2002 and for several years thereafter Desert and I inhabited offices that sat next to one another at the end of a small hall. Every morning, whoever arrived at work last asked the other: “Is this it?”

While the ostensibly required answer was “yes” or “no,” the question actually meant: has the Bush administration finally told a lie that is transparently false enough to awaken Americans to the fact that they always lie? About 9/11, about their attempts to find bin Laden, about WMD, about Iraq, about their purge of state attorneys-general, about torture–on and on and on.

It’s time to revive the question, this time about yet another dishonestly elected Republican president:  Is this it?  Is it clear enough yet to the Hairball’s supporters and enablers that the Russians helped him to steal the election? That the Russians may still have some hold over him and his administration? That they may, goddess forbid, be dictating policy to him?

Hillary tried to warn us during the third debate:

“But you are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks. And what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans.

They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.

This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort – as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.

So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past?

Those are the questions we need answered. We’ve never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.” (ww.politicususa.com/2016/12/10/october-hillary-clinton-told-71-6-million-viewers-russias-interference-election.html).

You may recall that Hillary “won” that debate. Indeed, she won all of the debates even though the Hairball stalked her and called her names during each one. She also won the popular vote by almost three million.

I guess that’s what you get for telling the truth in America today.

Loss. Silence.

And yeah I’m bitter, and yes I’m holding a grudge, etc etc and every other trite claim that can be thrown up. Can you blame me?  My country is being stolen while the damned Thugs sit on their smug asses and tell us “Move along.  Nothing to see here” as they prepare to take away health care and deregulate the banks that brought us the 2008 crash and lower taxes on the rich, and, and ….

AGH!

 

 

 

 

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I could have sworn the notice said “Office Hours With Jeff Flake.” For those of you who live elsewhere, Flake (yeah I know) is one of my Senators. The so-called “office hours” were to be held today in my home town at the library.

What’s not to like? I figured I would go early, take a book to read until people began to show up, and meet some of my neighbors.

When I arrived about 45 minutes early a small room was already full. So the librarian moved us to a bigger room, telling us we were the largest group who had ever congregated for one of these events (a sign of interesting times? the impending apocalypse?) Soon the larger room was full as well, and seats were being brought for those gathered in the children’s library next door. Most members of the audience were white-haired (no surprise given where I live). It was not too difficult to discern political stances by reading T-shirts: “RESIST!” and “Human Rights” sat a few rows away from “Trump/Pence.”

As we waited for someone to address us, an enterprising woman who works for the blood bank got up to tell us that local banks are dangerously short of blood. She gave us dates when the mobile blood banks would be in our neighborhoods, and urged us to donate. She gave out cards with the dates to remind us.

Maybe we should run her for the Senate?

About fifteen minutes late, three people in suits showed up, and one of them distributed forms on which we were to write our names and contact information, along with questions we wanted to ask Senator Flake. Clearly the woman addressing us was not the Senator. When asked, she told us that she is his Office Manager. His office manager!

Undeterred, audience members raised hands and posed questions. I heard one about immigration and another about water;  neither were friendly, IMO, to Thug positions on these matters. Finally someone asked:  are you going to answer our questions?

“No,” she said, looking surprised by the quite reasonable question. “I’m just here to gather your responses.” At that point, the crowd groaned their disappointment and began to disassemble.

The afternoon wasn’t a total loss.  I met some nice people and was pleasantly surprised by the generally center-liberal bent of the questions that did get asked as well as the occasionally quasi-belligerent tone in which they were asked.

If Flake ever does show up in Arizona to answer questions, he had better be prepared.

 

 

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