Category Archives: opinion

If Trump Really is Delusional …

I have written extensively about Donald Trump. And my writing has been consistently negative. No out of spite, but because I object strenuously with his style of politics – one that divides rather than builds for the future. And of course, there is the corruption, con job, and incompetence. And his like for authoritarians.

I have speculated that when you boil it all down, Trump isn’t all quite there. He has difficulty seeing reality,, and instead, lives in his own fantasy world. In other words, he is delusional. His mania is not just an act. He really believes the shit he says.

So if he is delusional, where are we likely to go now? We have historical examples of deluded leaders. And from those examples, we can see a pattern when the deluded leaders are presented evidence of their delusions. They tend to reject the evidence and retreat back into their fantasy world. That makes them even worse leaders than they were before.  Think, for example, of Henry VIII in his later years, or Hitler in his bunker.

It has been written that the midterms presented Trump with that type of reality sandwich. He really thought that he would “win”. That his influence would prevent the “blue wave”, or at least if it did not, he could blame candidates who were not sufficiently loyal to him. Instead, his candidates lost. The republican party lost the House. As I said, that was a reality sandwich.  And now that it has happened, Trump will be confronted with the consequences — the democratically controlled House will impose oversight of his administration.

Trump did appear to freak out after the mederms, immediately firing Sessions and then showing his best pouting five year old act on his Europe trip. Now, of all hings, we get a weird story that he is doubting Mike Pence’s loyalty. Are these signals that the dude is retreating further into his bizarro fantasy world?  We will know if Trump  comes out with a new grandiose  strategy to bounce back.

Such as? Hmmm … a foreign policy breakthrough? The North Koreans are not being very cooperative. The trade war with China is not getting the US anywhere. Syria? Too complicated and not important enough. And then there is the Saudi problem. Trump seems destined to be tarnished by whatever happens with the crown prince. In other words, no easy wins. Hmmm … domestic policy? The border wall will go nowhere. The army has already been sent to Texas. Given the ballooning deficit caused by the last round of tax cuts for the rich, more tax cuts are off the table.  Repeal Obamacare? That didn’t happen even when the Republicans controlled the House.

It scares me to say this, but Trump may think the only big play he can make is to try to pull out of NATO. Based on what he has said over the past years, that is an idea he likes.  And it is novel, and very big.  Will he make the case that the US has had enough of European freeloaders in NATO?  If Trump does come out with this, I do not think it would fly. But it would be further evidence of his delusional problem.

Stay tuned. This might get ugly very soon.

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Brexit Logic Exposed for What it is – Nonsense!

Poor Theresa May! I am sure that she is a nice person who wants to do a good job as prime minister of Great Britain. Sadly, she will be remembered as the prime minister responsible for not figuring out how to make Brexit happen in any logical way.

It was obvious from the beginning that the EU would not offer favorable terms to the UK as part of the UK’s exit negotiations. Why not? Mainly because it would trigger a mass exit to the doors by other member states seeking the advantages of EU membership without any of the responsibilities and pain that it entails. And yet, even though that thought must have crossed the UK negotiators’ minds, they went ahead anyway trying to get as many advantages of membership with no responsibilities or pain of membership. Think of it as a diplomatic charge of the light brigade.

Do you see the problem?

So finally, May cut a deal. And not surprisingly, it is a deal that no one in their right minds in the UK wants. Most likely it will mean the end of Ms May’s tenure at number 10.

And here we are. What is next? The British electorate most likely needs to face up to a rather ugly set of choices. It can do a hard Brexit and suffer drastic economic loss at least in the short term. Or it can say “Ooos! We made a mistake! We want back in!” Or it can accept the May deal with its obvious flaws. There are no other options.

What would you do if you were Ms May? Perhaps a call to Donald Trump for some sage advice?

Trump Mendacious Incompetence Reaches a New Low

After a disastrous European our, Donald Trump is back. Perhaps he should have stayed in Europe?

On Wednesday, the trumpster in chief decided to do an interview to change the narrative about Matt Whitaker. Something in that regard might not have been a bad idea, given how poorly the firing of Jeff Sessions and appointment of Whitaker as acting AG has gone over.

The bottom line is that everyone knows Whitaker is a stooge and everyone knows that Trump appointed him to try to throw a monkey wrench into Bob Mueller’s gearbox. There is no other credible interpretation of Whitaker’s sudden elevation to the nation’s  top law enforcement official  even though (1) he is the subject of ongoing FBI investigation, and (2) he has made his opposition to all things Mueller clear in the media (prejudging what he is supposed to oversee), and (3) he appointment might be unconstitutional, and (4)  he leap frogged over Rod Rosenstein to become acting AG who  has been Bob Mueller’s best friend in Washington.

So imagine that before the interview, you are advising Mr. Trump. You would no doubt remind him that admitting why he appointed Whitaker would help establish a key element of an obstruction of justice charge.

Did anyone advise Trump  of this? Apparently not, as the Donald charged into the interview and  pretty much admitted that he installed Whitaker because of the MUeller investigation.

Trump has thus, once again, killed two birds with one stone. The one bird is to provide evidence that he acted with illegal intent. The other bird is to demonstrated once again that he is incapable of realizing that he should restrain himself from blabbing about it or face legal consequences. Stripped down to the essentials, Trump has said, “Of course I tamped with the investigation! Do you think I want to be impeached?” Or does Trump believe that he is so far above the law that no legal consequences are possible? And has he even thought this through or is he acting with the same cognitive nuance as a 5 year old?

The story line is old hat by now. And we are likely to see this re-enacted again and again until there is a collective “enough is enough” moment in America. And as we hurtle towards that moment, the scene gets more and more pathetic. I do not feel sorry for Trump, but I do feel sad for America.

And if that were not enough, get a load of this story that hit the press yesterday

Foreign-policy veterans were floored Thursday following a bombshell report that the White House considered extraditing one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top enemies to get Ankara to back off the investigation into the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Lack of a moral compass? Check. Incompetent effort to achieve a dubious objective? Check. Damaging to the nation’s prestige? Check. A trifecta!

Stay tuned!

What Do the Midterms Tell Us About 2020?

The results of the 2018 midterms are not yet fully tabulated, and already people are speculating what it all means for 2020. Will the so called blue wave sweep dems into the White House and control of the senate? Lawrence O’Donnell thinks so. Or will the Republicans figure out a way to capture the imaginations of centrist voters while keeping an energized hard right core voter group? I am sure that Mitch McConnell hopes so.

The reality is, however, that we do not know. Midterms rarely are predictive of the next election cycle. Much more important are the actual events, and the interpretation of those events that happen after them.  So what story lines are likely to emerge? And what impact could they have?

  • On the Republican side,  more Trump related events are bad news. Not just about Mueller and the investigations from the House about the Trump administration. But also events that bring out Trump’s incompetence and lack of appropriate demeanor. If these events dominate the news in 2020, the dems will benefit and likely win the White House and the Senate while retaining control of the House. Trump has not got off to a good start with his silly antics on his last trip to Europe. Why? Trump’s hard core is loyal but there are not enough of them.
  • Normally, an international crisis works well for the incumbent. George W. Bush got a lot of help on that score from9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. But with Trump in the White House, success in dealing with crisis is not assured.  A disaster story along the lines of Carter’s handling of the Iranian hostage crisis would sink the Republican brand
  • Democrats have to hope for inspirational events beyond anti-Trump rhetoric. This is not likely to come out of Washington, which will be gridlocked. It may come out of states where dems are in control.  Better health care,  upgrading infrastructure, happy events, inspirational leaders.hip. Those sorts of things.
  • Dems would benefit from a recession perhaps triggered by Trump’s trade wars. Even if the trade wars are not the direct cause, voters are likely to see the connection.

The bottom line — the blue wave will likely be sustained, and unless events change perceptions of Trump and the Republicans, the dems should do well in 2020.  And keep in mind that the dems have a much easier path to gaining control of the senate in 2020 than they did in 2018 (lots of incumbent republicans have to defend their seats). But things can happen ..

So stay tuned. The games are just about to begin.

Did Donald Forget his Umbrella?

This quote caught my eye this morning

Donald Trump traveled thousands of miles to Paris on Friday to participate in a number of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

But a bit of rain on Saturday kept him from one of the solemn gatherings ― and his no-show prompted a chorus of scorn.

Here is the full story from Vox.

Well, one doesn’t play golf in the rain, right?

Perhaps someone might remind the president that the men who died fighting in that war did not have the luxury of waiting out inclement weather before facing the grim realities of trench warfare or worse, charging machine guns.  Once again, we are reminded that the dude in chief has his own priorities.

What to Make of Whitaker?

Donald Trump denies that he knows who Matt Whitaker is. Of course, like nearly everything Trump says, this is a lie.  The truth is obvious. Trump moved Whitaker into the Justice Department to help him thwart the Mueller investigation., and Trump elevated Whitaker to be acting attorney general for the same reason.

First a reality check. Contrary to Trump puffing (see article above) this dude does not belong in that job. He has neither the credibility or experience to be the country’s top lawyer. If you doubt me, check out this back story about Whitaker’s pre attorney general legal thinking. The title of the article? “Matthew Whitaker is a Crackpot!” I would add that he is obviously an opportunist crackpot. Not a great combination.

And that is not all. Whitaker will supposedly take his position as the nation’s top lawyer without having been confirmed by the senate. Some argue — with reason — that this violates the constitution. Remember that document? It may also be obstruction of justice.

So why did Trump make this move? Did h not see that by doing it, he was sinking deeper into controversy? Some think that was exactly what Trump wanted. For emotional reasons, he wanted to distract attention from his disastrous midterm election endorsements. And he seemed to get some traction from the Brett Kavanaugh confab. So why not go for it again?

Indeed, why not.  We are just starting out on the Matt Whitaker melodrama. But there is no way it will end well for Trump, Whitaker, or for that matter, the country. At the core, once again, the president has demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law by debasing the central institution that enforces it. Whitaker is already unmasked as a stooge and opportunist. He will not last long. And the country? We all get dragged further into a melodrama that distracts us from building for the future.

The future? Right. The thing that happens after the next news cycle.

So what did the midterms change?

Some have argued that the so called “blue wave” was not as big as dems might have wanted. They point to the fact that the republicans have enlarged their majority in the senate, even if they lost the house. And they point o the large turn out of conservative voters.

But as Lawrence O’Donnell and Michael Moore take a different view. And their take on the midterms might surprise you. Go for it!