Catchin’ Up

I’m back to my version of live blogging. What you have read for the past 12 days or so was written well in advance. A lot has happened during that time and I’d like to briefly touch on a few topics. Let’s explore.

Speaker Paul Ryan was unable to make a gang of eight meeting dealing with national security because it interfered with a fundraiser in Texas. The moral of that story is that Ryan puts America first unless money is involved.

It’s nice to see people mature. Take Oliver North for instance. He went from illegally running guns for Ronald Reagan to the NRA presidency. Now he is a legal –albeit morally questionable – mouthpiece for American gun manufacturers.

ABC cancelled Roseanne after the star, Roseanne Barr, sent a racist tweet. (Ironically on the same day that Starbucks closed 8,000 stores for racial sensitivity training.) Many lauded ABC for cancelling its highest rated show. I look at the numbers a bit differently. The Trump base targeted show had about 18 million viewers. The population of the United States is approximately 310 million. That means about 94% of Americans didn’t watch the show. You connect those dots.

I find some irony in the fact that Trump vocally supported Roseanne when her most famous incident was grabbing her crotch at the conclusion of singing the national anthem before a San Diego Padres game. Perhaps I missed it but I never remember an NFL player making that gesture during the national anthem. That includes any member of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles who Trump disinvited from the White House.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. 2018’s hurricane season started on June 1, 2018 at which point power had still not been restored to the entire island’s population of American citizens. (Remember Trump gave himself an A+ on his and his administration’s performance in the recovery effort.) The official government death toll from Maria stands at 64; Harvard estimates the number to be 4,645. Let me just say that that is a huge difference and leave the judgement to my readers.

In another of his see-saw moves Trump decided to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU, Canada and Mexico. At the same time he is easing restriction on Chinese phone giant ZTE. Maybe our allies need to give Ivanka Trump some trademark approvals and/or lend money to a Trump real estate project outside the United States. If you want to curry favor with Don Trump you have to let him wet his beak.

Trump’s own White House staff described a recent phone call between the President and Emmanuel Macron (the de facto leader of the free world) as, “Terrible”. It seems the French President had the audacity to question the wisdom of some of Trump’s recent economic moves. I guess the memo stating that whatever Trump does is the best even if it directly contradicts what he had recently done is pure genius and not to be questioned. I’d put my money on the opinion of world renowned Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs who called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump who he described as a, “Threat to the nation and the world.” He described Trump’s tariff as delusional and part of a, “Psychopath’s trade war.”

Domestically Trump has ordered his Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, to halt the shutdown of coal burning power plants. Trump reversed a tax on coal that funded black lung disease benefits for coal miners. This is all part of his effort to create and save coal jobs. Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted perhaps the best retort, “I eagerly await the administration’s regulations protecting pagers, fax machines, and Blockbuster.”

Staying in Don Trump’s Council of Capos (a/k/a Cabinet), by my count we are now up to 14 federal investigations into EPA Director Scott Pruitt. Among other things it seems he has had federally payed staffers looking for real estate and used Trump Hotel mattresses for him; sometimes while on the clock.

The Trump admiration has taken to separating babies from their mothers at the border in a transparent effort to discourage refugees from seeking asylum in America. Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley went to a shuttered Walmart in Brownsville, Texas that has been converted into a juvenile holding center for immigrants to inspect the conditions. He was not only denied admission; the government contractor running the facility called the police to remove him from the parking lot. Maybe it’s just me, but separating babies from their mothers is something I would expect to see the Nazis doing in a World War II movie not Americans in 2018.

Then there is the on again, off again, repeat the pattern summit with North Korea. If it takes place I hope it is successful. I think there is a pretty decent chance that a meeting will commence, but only a fool would predict a great outcome. However, some of the beneath the surface stories emerging are quite entertaining. One of the stumbling blocks is that Kim Jung-un wants a $6,000 a night hotel suite but North Korea claims it doesn’t have the cash to pay for it. Also one of the concessions North Korea wants is a McDonald’s. I guess Kim wants to eat like Trump.

I’ll conclude with a purloined line from Michael Gerson’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post entitled: The likely next speaker of the House is a mindless sycophant. It is, “When the king is a liar, truth is treason.” Gerson was referring to Kevin McCarthy. Assuming the cancer that is Trump is removed America still has some dark days ahead.

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