A Futile Attempt At Distillation

Some days you are faced with an impossible mission. Today is one of those days for me. I want to distill all the “dangling participles” I have from about the last fortnight into a single article. I will not be successful. This reminds me of a story from my first year of coaching at the college level. We had a weekend road game against a team that ended up playing for the national championship that year. Our club was not very good; the Athletic Director (AD) had fired the head coach earlier that week and named me as the interim head coach. I had had only one practice with the team between the firing and departing. As we boarded the vans his final instructions to me were, “Keep the spread to 50”. In other words if he expected us to lose and any loss by less than 50 points was fine with him. (We lost by 30 and I did not use any delay tactics.) With all that in mind, let’s explore.    

The foreign affairs expectations bar is so low for Donald Trump that his recent junket to Europe is widely considered a success. Before he even landed in the UK he so alienated one member of the royal family that she refused to attend any events and her husband snubbed Trump. Trump needlessly insulted – and not for the first time – the Mayor of London. During his brief and strange visit to Ireland he displayed his ignorance of history while weighing in on Brexit.

However the unanswered questions from the trip that as an American taxpayer most disturb me have to do with Trump’s family. I understand why Trump was there with his wife; she is currently cast in the role of First Lady. I don’t know if his youngest son was there, but I’d be fine with paying for that. After all he is a minor and supposedly lives with his father at the White House (stories to the contrary have not been confirmed to my satisfaction as of this writing). Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner – no matter how unqualified and apparently incompetent – are Senior Advisors. I’ll pay for all of them. What were his other adult children and (in at least some cases) their significant others doing there? Was I paying their ways?

Speaking of Jared the “genius” (I’m not sure about his stability level on the “Trumpometer”) how is he ever going to broker a Middle East peace when he insults the Palestinians? In an interview Jared, who was much better off when he stayed silent and largely unseen, questioned whether they were capable of self-rule. That sounds a lot like the post-Civil War whites who wanted to “protect” the blacks because they were incapable of governing.

As proof that Trump is a symptom of and not the disease that has infected the GOP in the last decade of so I point to my current home state of North Carolina and Missouri. Missouri is trying to close the last legal abortion provider in the state. Its license was supposed to have expired on Friday, May 31st. Fortunately a court stepped in and offered temporary relief which as of this writing is still applicable. Effective Thursday May 30th women in Missouri seeking that legal and constitutionally protected medical procedure are required to undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary pelvic examine 72 hours prior to the procedure.

While the new requirement is similar to others the radical right have proposed and/or instituted in the recent past – it is most like the attempted state rape provision in Virginia under then-Governor Bob McDonnell – the method of instituting it was different. This was not a new law, it was a regulation imposed by Missouri State Health Director Dr. Randall Williams.

Williams has an interesting background. He was originally appointed to his post by disgraced former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. Williams’ prior job was as North Carolina’s State Health Director, a job that then-Governor Pat McCrory appointed him to. McCrory had a problem and need a sycophant to bury it for him. Prior to becoming Governor, McCrory had spent years as an executive (read: bag man) for Duke Energy. North Carolina officials had discovered unsafe levels of toxins in the drinking water near a Duke Energy coal fired plant; that pesky Deep State, a/k/a public servants who do their job regardless of administration. Dr. Williams came on the scene and unilaterally decided the problem didn’t exist. You connect those dots. My advice is that you hold your nose in the process.

A lot of people have backed off in their prediction of a coming Trump Recession. You have seen no such retreat in this column. At a quick glance the Trump economy looks to be in great shape; first impressions can be deceiving. Friday the May jobs numbers came out. The disappointing 75,000 jobs created received a lot of deserved attention. What was hardly covered was that the March and April numbers were revised downwardly by 75,000 jobs. I will continue to use my analogy of driving home drunk every night. The odds are in your favor that you will reach your home safe on any individual night. However, sooner or later you will end up in the hospital or jail or both. Trump is an economic nightmare and those chickens will come home to roost sooner or later. This self-proclaimed business genius went bankrupt multiple times in the casino business. How do you lose money in the casino business? Have you ever met a broke bookie, let alone casino owner?

Enough for today, I’ve gone on too long and fell woefully short of my goal. Looping back to the opening paragraph, about a year and a half later I had the good fortune to join the staff of a school with a great program where I spent five wonderful years. Our regular season record that season was 27-1 and we spent some time as the top ranked team in the country. My hope is that the story end as well for America.

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