Tag Archives: donald trump

Donald Trump’s Terrible Awful No Good Very Bad Day

There have been many days that prompted bloggers to adapt the popular children’s book title to frame the immediate chaos around Donald Trump’s political misadventures; but today of all days seems to cry out more than most for that redundant banner headline.

Leaving aside the trail of stinking piles drying in his wake every day, today might one day be remembered as the day that his epic losing streak began.

This morning, like so many Americans (and as I have done every morning since the inauguration), I reflexively turned on the news even before the coffeemaker in order to find out what new region of Twitter hell Donald Trump had taken us to overnight. Despite his best efforts to gin up international tensions, nuclear war hadn’t yet broken out, so I settled into my kitchen chair with a sigh  and a steaming cup of relief. It was going to be a pretty good day after all.

Mr. Trump’s immediate national concern seemed to be his adult daughter’s broken heart at being told by Nordstrom that they could no longer carry her line of merchandise because sales had been so poor over the last quarter. Never one to underplay a family slight, Mr. Trump had tweeted how “unfair” Nordstrom’s decision was; that it obviously was politically motivated, and that his daughter is such a good person who is always trying to get him to do “the right thing.” Then, for good measure, he tweeted it again to the vast readership of his official @POTUS feed.

Even though, for some reason, this gross exercise of  conflict of interest doesn’t set him up for immediate consequences, it does add to the growing file of transgressions that may ultimately be his undoing. Furthermore, Nordstrom probably has a pretty good case for a lawsuit.

Apparently Ivanka hasn’t been very successful at getting Dear Ol’ Dad to do the “right thing”, either.

The new twist this morning was that shameless Trump sycophant and consigliere Kellyanne Conway had taken it upon herself to ‘right’ Nordstrom’s ‘wrong’ by appearing on Fox news to give impromptu commercial endorsement for the First Daughter’s products and exhort the faithful to go forth and buy Ivanka’s crap.

Like so many of Trump’s closest advisors, Kellyanne’s qualifications for the job must be seriously questioned. Supposedly she is a lawyer, and yet, she seemed to be totally unaware that what she was doing in hawking Trump family merchandise on TV represented an immediate and gross conflict of interests, a breach of White House ethics, and a set-up for worsening optics on the general issue of conflicts within the Trump administration.

It seemed that what Kelly Anne had crossed was an ethics bridge too far even for the Donald, because it wasn’t long before the word came out that counsellor Kelly Anne had herself been “counselled.” What exactly this means is unclear, but it seems to suggest some acceptance of responsibility was finally being broached within the administration, if only by a side flunky.

But we had to wait until evening for the best news, when the 9th Circuit Court Decision came down as a sweep in favor of the plaintiffs. A crushing defeat for King Donald!

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, and there are a few more innings to be played in the game of anti-American immigration policy; but tonight we can pause in the battle for a little celebration, knowing that it’ must be somebody’s job at the White House tonight to sit on Donald and restrain his little fingers from unleashing a Twitter storm of unintended consequences.

Perjury could save the nation.

Sunday musings in a flu and Robitussen-induced fog:

Congressional Republicans have all the power to stop Donald Trump’s march to catastrophe, but recognizing that they have been effectively castrated by fear of populist revolt from their base, we are left frantically looking for a “Plan B” before the Doomsday Clock strikes twelve.

Apparently our best legal opportunity to curb the insanity is to get him into court for any reason and force him to testify under oath. This has been suggested repeatedly in the media but, IMHO, hasn’t gotten nearly enough traction.

The man appears incapable of distinguishing truth from fiction and it is unlikely that he can restrain himself from at least one boldface lie in the course of any sworn testimony, no matter how brief.

Therein lies the easily pulled lynchpin to impeachment.

I would guess that, by the time he lies under oath, at least half of all congressional Republicans would leap at the chance to push him toward the exit sign if given that opportunity through a simple impeachable offense such as perjury.

They’ll know, of course, that they will still have Mike Pence (God forbid!) to do their rightwing bidding…but Pence is considerably less likely to launch a missile strike on a whim.  We might actually survive to to see another election.

The beauty is that Donald Trump has done so many nasty and double-dealing things to so many people over the course of his personal and business history that the opportunities for court-ordered depositions abound.

What the public and the media must do is find some way to reassure his myriad victims that they have the opportunity to do the country a great service simply by dragging his ass into court.

Donald Trump will inevitably do the rest. He is programmed to lie even about trivial things. He simply can’t help himself.

“Quick, Kellyanne, he’s gonna blow!”

Donald Trump and his newly minted Press Secretary/attack dog, “Spike” Spicer, just spent the first day of his administration whining about the turnout for his inauguration and attempting to bully the press into confirming his false assertion that it was the biggest turnout in history.

It was speculated that, in typical Trump fashion, this was a diversionary tactic to distract from the unflattering super story of the day, the “Women’s March on Washington.”

Aerial photos left little doubt that the first Obama inauguration drew a vastly greater turnout than did Trump’s little do, nevertheless Trump and his stooge eagerly and persistently plunged into perjury in defense of his fragile ego.

Aerial photos also delivered the unmistakable message that turnout for the “Women’s March” dwarfed the modest captive gathering on the mall the day before.

How must it feel for Donald Trump to gaze upon the photos from across the country of the throngs and throngs of demonstrators who rose in coordinated opposition to his agenda, all in a single day? Does he understand that the volume of demonstrators across America who braved traffic jams, dangerously crowded subway cars, and other inconveniences to take a stand against him probably numbered in the millions but still represented no more than half the number of votes by which Hillary Clinton won the popular vote?

If he does, Kellyanne must have him hog-tied in the White House mess to keep him from tweeting away his rage. All he wrote was

“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election. Why didn’t these people vote?”

Newsflash, Donald, these people did vote and you lost the popular vote.

Marchin’ in the Streets

It’s a nice day for the Women’s March in Montpelier with unseasonably mild temperatures (up to 41-degrees) and only a 10% chance of rain.

Over the past twenty-four hours, I have spoken with my sister who will join the March in Portland, Oregon and my son’s Significant Other, Sarah, who, with her mom, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend have made the drive to D.C. for the big March down there.

My friend Cheryl and I will head to Montpelier to join with  Progressive Party members at 1:00, at Montpelier High School, where we will merge with other activist assemblies in the Vermont Women’s March to the State House.

Our brand new Progressive Lieutenant Governor, Dave Zuckerman, will be among the speakers that include former Governor Madeleine Kunin,  Meghan Gallaher of Planned Parenthood, Ebony Nyoni of Black Lives Matter and former Transportation Sect. Sue Minter.

You can feel the crackle of connectivity in the air as parties of friends and family members all over the world make their way to the March routes.

Donald Trump’s angry supporters supposedly voted for ‘change,’ but what we are getting instead is regression.

The only real change will come when paleolithic patriarchy in America is finally left behind and women are represented in positions of power equal to their actual numbers in the population.

Donald Trump, one must hope, is the last desperate gasp of that regressive impulse, destined to be cast aside on the scrap-heap of historic errors in judgement and temporary insanity.

It is fitting that women should lead the keynote resistance against the man who single-handedly is attempting to reverse decades of progress in women’s and minorities civil rights, defense against climate change, educational opportunity and first amendment rights.

Donald Trump clings to the idea of American exceptionalism, yet his vision for the country would set this nation well-behind the rest of the developed world in so many fundamental ways.

Let’s make the next president (after Darth Pence replaces an impeached Donald Trump) a progressive female from one of our valuable minority communities. She is out there somewhere. Our job is to find and empower her.

See you at the March!

Twilight in America

Truly inauspicious  beginnings.

Even mainstream media outlet CNN is beginning to acknowledge the cancer they enabled with unlimited access to live air time whenever Donald Trump called into the station in his early candidacy. Remember how shamelessly they stooged for him? Even as they rolled their eyes at his outrageous antics, they never held him accountable for the poisonous lies he embraced.  Donald Trump was making them his creatures, only to later dash them against the wall.

This opinion piece on CNN.com is well worth sharing; but what truly is disturbing are the comments it has provoked.

Many of us saw signs of proto-facism even in the early days of Trump’s bid for the presidency, when CNN and others, not recognizing his authentic potential to do harm, allowed Donald Trump free reign of the airwaves to propagate messages of hate, misogyny, dystopia and pathological nationalism. CNN slavishly covered every minute of his blood-thirsty rallies, accepting abuse and coming back for more.

Like a malevolent Pied Piper, Trump cleverly used these broadcast opportunities to reach into the dark hearts of all those in the shadows who have chafed at the evolution of race and gender roles in America, and felt their impotent rage suppressed by the forces of political correctness.

It is an all too familiar scenario, replaying the script of authoritarian adventure that has undone older republics than our own. Now, even this CNN opinion writer sees that it won’t end well for American democracy.

Amid a frenzy of increasingly irresponsible tweets, on Martin Luther King Day, Trump upped the ante by savagely attacking civil rights icon John Lewis for simply refusing an invitation to the Inauguration. If he had it in his power now to impose penalties for non-attendance, I have no doubt that Congressman Lewis would be in jail, once again, right now.

What’s crazy is that a number of pundits, and even a few Democrats, have taken the position that even though Mr. Trump’s characterizations of Congressman Lewis were clearly out of line, Lewis was somehow also in the wrong, simply  for stating his reason for refusing  to attend. Unprincipled shills for corporate ‘neutrality’, they priggishly invoke the importance of upholding the outward appearance of an “orderly transfer of power”  etc., etc.

That is absolute bullshit! This is not the time to indulge in a game of false equivalence.

The President Elect set fire to those traditions himself, long ago; first of all by falsely imputing the legitimacy of the previous president; then by refusing to share his taxes with the American people; by indulging in flamboyant acts of cronyism and nepotism, and refusing to divest in order to avoid conflicts of interest; by public disloyalty to the national interest; and finally by lying so fabulously and unapologetically as to consign the notion of executive honor permanently to the scrap heap.

Other behaviors and comments showing a pattern of disrespect for minorities and women have so thoroughly violated his responsibility as the head of state as to leave little doubt of his illegitimacy, even before we consider the evidence of interference by a hostile foreign state and the possibility that his campaign was in cahoots with the Russians.

Donald Trump has no respect for the office or for more than half of his constituents; so why on earth should we be expected to indulge his vanity by pretending nothing’s rotten in DC?

To my mind, anyone who treats this transition and Donald Trump’s presidency as ‘legitimate’ is guilty of complicity.

Surely there has never been a better reason to set aside tradition than when the President Elect himself shows no interest in upholding the traditions of democratic consent.

Donald Trump and his sycophants have wrapped themselves in the delusion that he is somehow above reproach and possessed of an unimpeachable mandate from the people, when nothing could be further from the truth.

But even “truth” doesn’t have the weight that it did a year ago, before Donald Trump reshaped it as a negotiable commodity.

Ethics, anyone?

Ethics in elected office has been a big topic of discussion since the latter part of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The highest profile issues are those surrounding President-Elect Trump, who still hasn’t shared his taxes with the public, and apparently doesn’t intend to distance himself from his business holdings; and from his roster of administration appointments in which billionaire tycoons and former lobbyists figure heavily.

Apparently Republicans aren’t interested in questioning anybody’s ethics but those of Democrats.

Emboldened by majorities in the House and Senate, as well as control of the Oval Office, Congressional Republicans attempted to castrate the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. That effort was scrapped only twenty-four hours later, when news of the sly maneuver reached the greater constituency and all hell broke loose.

Still, it was a reminder to me to check on the progress of Vermont’s own belated attempt to establish ethics rules in the wake of the sensational Norm McAllister sexual assault scandal.

Efforts to establish a State Ethics Panel were allowed to languish and die before summer recess. In a measure of progress, though, the Senate’s own version, propelled forward by the McAllister debacle, does establish certain new disclosure guidelines for senators.
With the 2017 winter session comes new hope that a State Ethics Commission, which already has broad support in the Senate, will finally obtain House approval.  It’s far from all we might wish for, but it’s better than nothing.

Here in Franklin County, the salacious topic of Norm McAllister’s unwholesome appetites simply refuses to go away. Shortly after a jury was selected to hear the case of the second of his three alleged victims, it was announced that Mr. McAllister had copped a plea to avoid a trial and was facing up to seven years in the sentencing phase, but would avoid potential penalties (up to life in prison) for the most serious charges.

That was Tuesday. Today came the news that McAllister had told WPTZ that he “might” change his mind.

While I would relish the opportunity to finally hear McAllister being examined on a witness stand, I can’t imagine that the continued suspense provides anything but further suffering for his victims.

Who knows whether he will really change his plea? This is the same guy who has essentially both admitted to and denied his guilt in the assorted pre-trial depositions.

In Post-Truth America I suppose we shouldn’t be at all surprised.

 

A visit from Old Nick

Christmas is just one week away, and democratic oblivion may not be far behind.  In this darkest of times, I thought it appropriate to revisit a classic, seen through a new lens.  The words are mine, but when I turned to the internet for images, I found surprisingly many. My favorite was the one signed “Hefner 2015” and sourced from consumepopculture.com.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the housetrumpus
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Prayers had been said and candles snuffed out,
The children lay dreaming, no clue what about.

The grownups were gone; they succumbed to the flu
Leaving two little girls to try and make do.
The peace of their sleep was abruptly ended
As the clear sense of evil upon them descended.

Away to the window Meg crept from her bed
And peeped through the curtains, heart pounding with dread.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Lent an eerie suspense to the quiet below.

Drawn as she was to see what was out there
Meg failed to notice the smell of burnt hair.
It came from the hearth in that very room
And from it delivered a Creature of Doom.

Out from the chimney his minions they came
And he whistled and cackled and called them by name;
“Now Hellfire! Now Brimstone! Now Pitchfork and Vixen!
On Pestilence, Plague! On Donder and Blitzen!”

“To the one by the window! To the one in the bed
Don’t let them escape or it’s off with your head!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky;
So into the room came the hell angel flood
Surrounding the children and screeching for blood.

Then He Himself emerged from the din,
Ultimate Evil, the Father of Sin.
Meg recoiled at the vision and raced to the bed
To save her wee sister, the last of her kin.

She gathered herself to her maximum height,
Picked-up the broomstick and charged him with might.
The Terrible Beast was so taken aback
That he momentarily ceased the attack.

Too soon he recovered, his fury excited.
He reached for Meg’s sister; the room was ignited.
But before he could carry the child away
The trumpet of dawn introduced a new day.

Their evil tormenter now cringed from the light;
He and his minions were ready for flight.
As the shriveled-up husks of the nightmare receded,
Meg said to herself, something final was needed.

Drawing a breath from the depth of her being
She blew like the wind as the specters were fleeing.
A cloud of grey dust was the only left trace
Of the horrible hoards and the devilish face.

Then in a twinkling as daylight poured in,
Up the chimney it went and away with the wind.
But as it flew off, Meg could still faintly hear,
“Just wait ’til I get you the same time next year!”

 

 

Feminist Impersonator, Christina Hoff Sommers

I’ve got to say that the most recent op-ed by conservative, Christina Hoff Sommers brought forth an involuntary wince from me. It’s making the rounds of the usual suspects including the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. I caught it in the St. Albans Messenger, and here, for what it is worth, Is my two cents on the subject:

In the wake of Donald Trump’s macho march to power, how anyone could deny that the U.S. is essentially a patriarchy is beyond me. It has confirmed what most women have suspected since puberty, that there is a tacit acceptance culture of catcalls, pinches and grabs governing the male-centric universe. Despite efforts to codify protections from those behaviors, they persist and go largely unchecked in the greater U.S.

I don’t know with whom Ms. Sommers is hobnobbing, but few of the feminists in my acquaintance have been “man-haters.” Those that were generally had a pretty concrete personal experience of abuse that put them in that frame of mind. If you’ve been bitten by a savage pitbull, you aren’t likely to be overly fond of the entire breed.

I can only assume that Ms. Sommers lives in some bubble of privilege and has therefore been spared the frequent reminders of women’s inferior status vis-a-vis practical power, that the majority of women now simply take for granted as the norm.

It’s funny that she criticizes the contemporary feminist, who typically is young, single, sharing a crowded apartment and carrying a ton of student debt, as “elitist,” when she herself so clearly meets the definition of a class elite:

Forty years after Roe vs. Wade enshrined a woman’s constitutional right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, we have come to a place where that right has never been in greater jeopardy, and even birth control is under attack. The very idea that women should not have the right to make choices concerning their own bodies is paternalistic.

Meanwhile, male “choice” through chemical performance enhancement is fully funded without question, and represents a booming sector of the pharmaceutical market.

Concerning the “Womens’ March On Washington” scheduled for January 21, Ms. Sommers offered this snooty suggestion:

“If I may offer some unsolicited advice. If that voice is calm and judicious rather than hyperbolic and harping, people just might listen.”

Well, thank you very much for the advice Ms. Sommers. That and a nickel won’t even get you a ride on the streetcar these days. As a matter or record, we are on the whole the calmer, more judicious gender.

It took many generations to get up enough lather to challenge the patriarchy in the last decade of the twentieth century, but no sooner had we declared a modest victory following Roe, and confidently retreated from the battlements, than the old habits of patriarchy began to reassert themselves.  Now, as we near the second decade of the twenty-first century, many of us look back and see how much ground we have lost in the battle for true gender equality.

I think the election of an admitted sexual predator to the highest office in the land by significantly less than half the electorate is reason enough to raise our voices in protest.

(written in memory of GMD’s late, great pillar of feminist argument, Julie Waters.)

Trump’s Business Pick’s History With Steroids

Donald Trump revealed several more administration picks today; and while there will undoubtedly be plenty of discussion of the others, one might just slip through the cracks without any discussions of the skeleton in her closet.

The president-elect named WWE bigwig, Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration, citing her experience together with husband Vince McMahon in turning the WWE into a billion-dollar business.

What no one has so far mentioned about Mrs. McMahon is that in 2010, following the lurid murder/ suicide scandal of Canadian WWE star Claude Benoit, she was called to testify before Congress on the topic of rampant steroid abuse within that enterprise. Benoit had taken his life after murdering his wife and children.

Steroid distribution was not even illegal until 1988. In 1991 steroids were officially classified as “controlled substances.” Nevertheless, use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs continued to be rampant in the WWE, and all roads seemed to lead to Vince McMahon who was caught in the snare set by the feds for one Dr. Zahorian who supplied McMahon’s stable of ‘athletes’ with their drugs.

Due to “sloppy procedural errors,” the case against McMahon was dismissed.

Then, in 2010, following an unsuccessful Senate run by Linda McMahon, a 1991 memo from Linda to the other execs at Titan Sports (parent of WWE) turned up, which suggested a tip-off may have occurred when her husband was under investigation:

“Although you and I discussed before about continuing to have Zahorian at our events as the doctor on call, I think that is now not a good idea…Vince agreed, and would like for you to call Zahorian and to tell him not to come to any more of our events and to also clue him in on any action that the Justice Department is thinking of taking.” 

The story is lengthy and baroque, but well worth a read. The long and the short of it is that the feds have never been able to hold either McMahon accountable, thanks in part to the long reach of their gold-plated associations.

My interest in the McMahons dates to a single year in my own amateur body-building competitive “career” back in 1991(?)   Vince McMahon was the chairman of the amateur division of the IFBB. Having won the regional title in Burlington, I came under the wing of the regional chair (who will remain nameless) and had the opportunity to compete in nationals down in Orlando. As I was truly a natural I knew I didn’t have the chance of a snowball in hell of even placing, but went just for the experience…which did not disappoint, let me tell you.

It was very WWF, complete with “trophy girls” in spike heels, big hair and spangled bikinis. The audience looked like it had descended from a region of outer space somewhere near Vegas. It was as much of a spectacle as anything that took place on stage. No one smiled or spoke backstage and there was none of the camaraderie one encountered at regional events.

I remember going to breakfast in the dining room of the motel where we were all staying and seeing Vince McMahon and what looked like a bodyguard of bouncer/mobsters wolfing down waffles and eggs with a steely, unwelcoming look on their faces.

Of course, by then my regional chair had regaled me extensively on the steroid story, even subtly hinting that I might want to try it myself. It was well known back then that ‘everyone’ in the IFBB, was using and that it was actually encouraged in order to exploit the entertainment value of freakishly overdeveloped bodies.

Even the amateur women were doing it, as I discovered when I walked into the waiting room at sign-in. These gals bore no resemblance to the amateurs I had competed against at home.

“Scary,” I thought, soon after abandoning any thought of continuing with bodybuilding.

Steroid use in the IFBB was simply a given, and McMahon and his goons were the very picture of an underworld vibe. As little as I ever cared for wrestling, I was certainly intrigued when the WWF took off and the McMahons became a freak show for the whole world to observe.

I guess the point of this stroll down memory lane is just to say that Linds McMahon’s chops as a “small business” entrepreneur were built on exploitation of illegal drug use and a generally very shady past.

I wonder how long it will take the media to unwrap this pungent package of poo?