ROCK-BOTTOM

We are not far from basic rock-bottom now.

We’re close enough so that we can forget both Trump and Clinton and look past them to the future, which we have to do as a nation.

What this means is that we need to spend some time on the platforms of both parties, which eventually we’ll do.  But before we can even get there, we need to examine the future of the Supreme Court, and of Congress.

It’s early to be scaring people with visions of right-wing mania on the Court, or even soft left-wing liberalism there.  Generally, fears about the future of the Court surface only in the last ten days of a campaign, although as a running theme, concerns for it have been running sotto voce throughout the entire campaign.   Usually terror that the Court will swing violently one way or the other rise screeching as a last resort from whichever party looks more like failing than winning.  It is the nuclear persuasion in a campaign, a different nuclear than whose finger is on the “button.”

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TRUMP/COLBERT or COLBERT/TRUMP

Legend has it that Stephen Colbert invented the red-faced, right wing character on Comedy Central in order to mock that same right wing unmercifully, and hence to defang it.

Today’s question: did Donald Trump do the same thing?

Some Trumpistas are claiming that in their experience over “decades” they have never known Trump to be anything less than generous, funny, interesting and interested in, and caring.  To them, the “new Trump, on view since Tuesday last in West Bend, is the old GOOD one, while the earlier version (on view since that ignominious escalator ride more than a year ago) is the BAD one, a character invented by the man himself to make a point, i.e., the same points Colbert reputedly was trying to make on Comedy Central.

It was clear that in West Bend – before the official announcement of Kelleyanne Conway as campaign chair was made – she had leapt into the presidential fray and her words and fingerprints were all over that speech. THAT speech was the one that devoted, for the first time, nearly eight minutes of attention  to African-Americans.  (The speech was more notable for its trolling effect, or bald pandering, if you will.  Every interest group in the country was offered goodness and mercy by Mr. Trump, better lives, better futures, safer schools, etc.  Ms. Conway knows her stuff.)

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Now WE’RE Angry

 

It took nearly a year, but we’ve decided we are not simply angry, we’re enraged.

So, what to our wondering eyes should appear, but this, from the Times’ Paul Krugman on Friday last?

“By now, it’s obvious to everyone with open eyes that Donald Trump is an ignorant, wildly dishonest, erratic, immature, bullying egomaniac.  On the other hand, he’s a terrible person.”

BINGO!

What finally brought us to the edge of mania is terrifically simple:  Try comparing what Donald Trump is selling, and what the thousands of Olympians are striving for.

Nearly single-handedly Trump and his frightened yea-sayers in Congress have been selling not only fear, but the idea that there is no hope for anyone who isn’t Donald J. Trump in terms of self-improvement, earning power, learning, the future.  This from a virtual illiterate who happened to have a rich father.   If you have one, too, that gives you a leg up.  Without, you’re doomed to poverty, ill-health, fires and floods, disease, nuclear abandonment.

Compare that beginner’s list with what the kids and coaches and parents are selling today in Rio:  hope, the future, learning power, physical power, dreams of a better tomorrow.  These orthodontists’ dreams really do want to believe in their own abilities, their own ideas and projects, their own abilities to get over, or at least past, physical infirmities in order to live the life they see all around them in harmony, friendship, cooperation, and safety.   In America!

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OUTRAGE OUTAGE

Each of us has his own favorite quote about the value of writing history.  “The victors write it…”but then again, “the Losers write it,” in a minor key.

Our first plan for this post was to throw up our hands in total disgust about the shenanigans surrounding the fall election. Trump lies. Hilary lies.  Their surrogates lie.  The nation seems to accept this dishonesty with humor and a sense of “why not: everyone does.”

The warp and woof of the country is disintegrating, and in time we come to feel it deserves all the miserable events coming in the future.  We had in mind taking a week off, just to clear our head of all the confusion and mendacity that surrounds us like the rising sea.   How much outrage, after all, can we manufacture in the face of continuing slander, libel, fibbing, spinning, make-believe.   If the nation wants to believe violence is a suitable answer to our times, let it.   Regardless of the value of our candidates (very, very low), they are – people continually remind us – the choices of the voters.

Another Trump conspiracy?  Another e mail excuse? Forget the assassination ploy.   Forget the interweaving of Foundation and State Department. Forget about Bridgegate.  It’s tough being outraged daily.

O.K., we might have said, let the walls fall.  We’re off to Iceland.

Until yesterday, that is, when we heard a revisionist’s retelling of how we got where we are in the Mid-East.

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COULDN’T RESIST

We don’t want to flog a dead horse, but we’re still haunted by Paul Krugman’s column two weeks ago.

After the Donald so very graciously endorsed Ryan, McCain, and Ayotte, he HAD to take that one extra step into the kind of confusion Krugman was investigating.  “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Russians and us…?”  “Wouldn’t peace with the Russians be beautiful?”

The appropriate answer to that would probably be, “Sure, if it’s something THEY wanted.”

As it is, we’re haunted by Trump Junior’s admission of how important Russia and Russian oligarchical money has been over the years to Trump enterprises.

The question: is Donald still doing business with them while running for office? And is this permissible?

More, is Donald’s business interfering with our electoral process?

Put another way:  is Donald’s personal business welfare now driving US foreign policy?

Just asking.

NOT HOW BUT WHO

Generally, US presidents don’t begin making real money until AFTER their term(s) have expired.   (Many other leaders of distant lands cash in from the moment of inauguration.)   The most recent American example being Bill (and Hillary) Clinton, with speaking engagements, memoirs, conference appearances, and their Foundations or libraries.

In this extraordinary year, 2016, that generality no longer holds true.

This didn’t hit us until yesterday afternoon, as we sat overlooking “the back forty,” iced tea at hand.

Why, we wondered, was Donald Trump so “tetchy” about Russia, the Crimea, and Ukraine?

The answer came to us slowly, we regret. But we think we’ve got it.   It comes to us not from the horse’s mouth but from his offspring, a foal named Junior.

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YOU THINK THIS ISN’T FUN?

Why we love what we do.

Having heard the opening salvo on Mornin’ Joe — “why doesn’t the RNC tell DT to withdraw?” asked Mika, whining – the day grins at us as the fog lifts.  Oh boy, here we go again!

The Round Table seems to agree that this isn’t likely to happen and, besides, if it did, who would the RNC get to run in Donald’s place?  Isn’t this approaching pitchfork and tar time?

Well, that’s all entertaining to think about, and we allow ourselves a few moments to fantasize, coming up with no solid scenario that would make both the Republicans, and Donald, happy. Donald has already begun to lay the groundwork for his explanation about why he didn’t win.  The whole election is rigged.  Well, if that’s the case, then of course you’re not to blame, Donald.  THEY are.

A lot of what we hear as we motor around town – doing chores, recording, picking up the papers to read at lunch time – is off the wall.  What people were afraid of discussing with friends and families now is a must activity: trying to parse the Donald and figure out what the hell he’s doing.   You’ve heard all of it, including that he never really wanted to run and win, just show he could if he wanted.

When what to our wondering ears should alight is (to us, at least) a new conspiracy theory.   Donald’s implosions are part of a nefarious Bill ClInton plan to make sure Hillary walks away with the presidency, trounces Trump, and goes into the history books.

Now, it’s important to state that commentators and pundits countrywide – apart from their strings tied into one clique or another which may give them a little extra insight as to probability –  know no more than we do, or you.   All most of us can do is stare in shock from the sidelines and try to imagine  reasonable answers for the thousand questions that each day erupt around the Donald.

So we offer this latest conspiracy as no more likely, no less likely, than any other we’ve all heard for a year.

Bill and Donald go ’way back.  More than golfing bros, Donald has sent not inconsiderable sums for Hillary’s various campaigns and probably to the Clinton Foundation, as well.  As Trump himself has noted, who knows better than he how rigged life is?  Bill and Donald are friends.   And under that guise, Bill has undoubtedly felt free from time to time to advise his old pal.  Why don’t YOU run, Donald?

Donald is vain enough, as we know, to admit this sounds like fun.  Further, it sounds like something he can do without ever working at it. People love him.

Bill agrees easily.  What he doesn’t mention to his pal is that he and Hillary and their staff have decided that the easiest politician in America for Hillary to beat for the world’s most powerful job is also the nation’s ditsiest.

Donald, naturally enough, is captured instantly by the image of himself as King.   Naturally, he is encouraged in his fantasy by the former president.

All it requires on the Clintons’ part is making sure that Donald gets in and stays in.  They know he himself will do the rest.

And he does.

Now, if any part of this fable turns out to be true, you heard it here first.  If it doesn’t, chalk it up as one more conspiracy theory promulgated by the Republicans to wipe all traces of Hillary from their memories.

See why we love all this, distressing and maddening as it may be?