ONE OF THE WORST…

… …weeks experienced by the entire world is ending.  We don’t have a lot of hope for the one beginning Sunday/Monday.  The best we can report is that, as far as we know, there is no bubonic plague sweeping any portion of the civilized world.

Just Donald Trump.  Hurricanes and floods.  Earthquakes.  Nuclear gamesmanship.  Ethnic cleansing.  Gigantic grass fires on three continents.

Anyone with electricity, cell phones, or basic literacy skills, by now, regardless of the cause, has to see that the world’s climate is changing.   Even Secretary Pruitt.  No discussion is needed.

Anyone even with an impaired historical memory has to realize that Mr. Trump’s behavior and words are 99 percent beyond any pale we can remember.   His promise to “let us know” how he decides upon re-certifying the Iran nuclear agreement really puts a cap on his demonstrable attitudes towards the citizens of the United States.  He doesn’t trust us.  He doesn’t like us.  He thinks we are child-like in our realization of his importance and power.   “Only I can…” is actually the disease from which he, and we, are suffering.

Continue reading “ONE OF THE WORST…”

Advertisements

HIGHWAY REST STOP

As Americans, we are often told how short our attention span is.

Accept or deny it, sometimes we do need to get off the speedway.  This is as good a time as any.

Dear One seems to be resting between spasms of energy.  This is a great relief to us all.

True enough we still have Russia, and Junior, Jared and Ivanka, Ukraine, Belarus, sub-saharan African famine,  Asia’s Dear Leader flexing, Mitch and Paul, Chuck and Nancy, Harvey and Irma, Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing, football, Hillary and Comey, Ken Burns, and Sunday’s Emmys.

But Congress hasn’t remounted since its vacation.   The Market, for unknown reasons, is holding.  And today’s terrorists in London seem not ready for primetime.

Big breath.

Some things, however, are still with us.    Here’s one: ADVERTISING.

Continue reading “HIGHWAY REST STOP”

EGGHEAD

 

Dear Leader’s eight minute introduction to the topic at hand – what do we do about Afghanistan – was convoluted, unnecessary, and full of misapprehensions, purposely.

It was yet another opportunity for Mr. Trump to show us all what a swell fella he is by once more adjusting his script to cover the possibility that he really was sorrowful and adult and concerned about what happened between neo-nazis and “the good people” of Charlottesville.

Irony is not Dear Leader’s strong suit.   After reacting honestly (for him) to the events on UVA’s campus, and having taken at least four further shots at trying to sound wise and sorrowful at the same time,  Trump stopped sticking his thumb in the air, stood on his little flat feet, read from the teleprompter very well indeed – having lowered the tone of his voice to one approximating  that of a grown-up – and presented the nation with the kinds of soothing sounds it should have heard days before, as president of all the people.

It was enough to convince Paul Ryan, seconds later on CNN, that Mr. Trump was really really trying to do a good job.  (Ryan was able to excuse Trumpian remarks by suggesting that the president had “messed up.”  Oh, yes?)

What did we learn about Dear One’s plans for Afghanistan?

Continue reading “EGGHEAD”

HAPPY NOW?

So, we “let Donald be Donald.”   And what did it get us?

We’re not going to tabulate the number of executive orders specifically designed to erase the idea, presence, and effectiveness of President Obama.

Nor are we going to list those liberties and privileges we’re held for 240 years that – thanks to the Donald and his blue ribbon cabinet – seem to be blowin’ in the wind.

Even the energy to oppose, counter, demonstrate against what’s been happening these past seven months has dissipated.

Many of us who voted against Donald decided, one by one it appears, that at least he isn’t Vladimir Putin, an outright dictator.   Although he may be an admiring acolyte of Mr. Putin’s, Trump has so far found that to be president is NOT the same thing as being KING.  He may not like it, but he seems to be adjusting.

So, “we let Donald be Donald.”

That, alas, seems to have been a mistake.

We cannot have been the only old codger, wrapped in Dickensian night cap and scarf, blankets to his chin, who found sleeping impossible Wednesday night.  Even as we told ourselves we were being alarmist, fretting over nothing that could conceivably happen.  Realizing that Donald had boxed himself in to action of some kind kept us awake as we actually tried to imagine some way out of the puzzle into which Mr. Trump had ad-libbed us all.

Not having been to Guam did not keep us from imagining the death and destruction of its inhabitants.  Or from picturing the horrendous conflagration of Seoul.  Which might well have led to list-making: potable water, toilet paper, duct tape, tuna fish, peanut butter, medicines.  Remembering the duck-and-cover fifties we found those lists to be unchanged and as reassuring (hah!) as they had been before.

We couldn’t feel quite so optimistic as we had years earlier.  SEATO had disappeared; NATO was unlikely to leap into a fray so far from its base.  The subcontinent of India is otherwise occupied.  Australia is unhappy.

We’re out there all alone.  Our military establishment seems to be letting Donald be Donald, and as he “doubles down” it’s clear that the president has neither information, a sense of history, respect for diplomacy.  Rather than bombing the —- out of ISIS, we’re going to bomb the —- out of North Korea.

To millions, Donald is THE MAN.   Members of Congress have lined up behind him as they usually do in international crises.   Criticism of a president stops at the water’s edge, we’ve been told.

It doesn’t make us feel better to acknowledge that the threat to the US is not from the Donald but from North Korea.

So we look around and keep our ears open.   The stock market seems largely impervious to what may or may not occur.   Businesses and people throughout the country are still making plans, to expand, to vacation.   Our infrastructure remains on a list of things “to do.”   Our nuclear arsenal has been growing.  The “alt-right” is rolling gleefully.  The Democrats are nowhere.   Women are underpaid.  Blacks and Hispanics are still the most honored guests in our prison systems.  Drugs are being consumed at record levels.  Babies are having babies.   Food stamps continue to be worth their weight in gold.  Corporations continue to make promises of research and development.

Donald is still being Donald.

What’s changed?

How foolish we feel to be alarmist.   To criticize our own Dear Leader seems pointless.

Yet at the back of our minds, in our memories, are days of sunshine and baseball,  scholarships, the NIH, intellectual curiosity, brilliant scientific achievements, great books, family reunions.  Pride in our armed forces.  Helping to feed the world. Helping to heal the world.  Helping to educate the world.  Electricity, Google, cellphones.  Space exploration.  Lemonade stands.  Voting rights.

It may be that Donald is going to get away with it.

Then where are we?

BLAME…

…the Constitution.  “High crimes and misdemeanors” deals not with ineptitude, lack of talent, intelligence, vision.  Nor is there any word of cruelty, conceit, deceit.   Nor of ignorance, purposely maintained.  Nor of pomposity, threat, megalomania, disloyalty, or failure to protect and preserve the nation.

Blame us liberals (Democrats, moderate Republicans) who refused to believe that the norms of behavior could possibly include a chief executive like the one we have now, a man so self-enamored that he cannot see (let alone sense) the damage and real harms (in economics, diplomacy, honesty and trust) he is causing around the world.

Blame us for assuming that people in this country would, sooner rather than later, come to their senses and vote for a system of government (regardless of its leader) with which the nation had prospered for 240 years.

Blame us for DOING THIS TWICE: in 2004/5 when George Bush was re-elected, and all Europe muttered “How could they do this again?”

Blame us for lazily assuming common sense would save us all.   For allowing a charlatan to busker his wares , marketing them to the neediest, the least sophisticated, the already dumbed-down citizens of 21st century America.  For allowing him to present bread and circuses rather than ideas, policy, truth and concern.

Blame us for thinking that our fellow citizens were smarter, more savvy, more on to the incredible.

Continue reading “BLAME…”

THE CZAR

 

THE CZAR

Perhaps because we feel that the United States is tougher and stronger and more blessed than Donald Trump, we find a sneaking and growing sympathy for the man who is currently doing his best to destroy the nation.

Rather than just screaming every week “Enough!”, we awoke recently to an ironic allegory…no, a parallel in fairly recent history of which even he should be aware.

Russia had never been considered by her neighbors, allies, enemies and friends as a nation of first rank.  Since the time of Catherine the Great, and even before, Russia herself was aware of this.  As a nation, it fought and struggled to make its influence and importance internationally grow to parity with Great Britain, France, and Germany.  Behind every battle it fought, behind every war, was the need to expand, the need to dictate, the need to become sophisticated and cultured in the same way her European neighbors were.

The Great Bear, until the nuclear age dawned, was always half a dozen steps behind everyone else in scientific accomplishment, in building an empire, in sitting as an equal at the table of nations.

The last czar of Russia (the very nation Mr. Trump seems to idolize) WAS above the law on his throne.  When World War I erupted, Russia went to the barricades against Germany along with his more stable colleagues. But Russia’s war was a disaster.

Continue reading “THE CZAR”

DOUBLING DOWN

After last week’s podcast, our “director, cameraman, advisor” and more-Republican-than-we-are friend, said to us, “You know, you’re getting boring.  It’s too much, week after week, hearing you go at Trump, his crew, his ideas.  You’re going to lose your audience if you can’t talk about some positive things.”

We thought seriously about this.  But then we remembered that the other half of our weekly endeavors for WHDD.FM included five segments each week called ”Good News,” wherein we found items of general surprise and interest: health concerns, elephants, dogs, happy children, veterans rising above their injuries.

In a moment of madness we thought about combining the two programs: Good News Amid the Bad, something like that.  And instantly we knew that the good news would overwhelm the bad, because people really DON’T like hearing bad news all the time.   It has already lead us all to Trump fatigue, administration fatigue, Russian fatigue, even if you are part of Trump’s base.

We think Americans believe that nothing that comes from Russia can do us harm (except of course the ultimate bomb).  Which is why Mr. Trump’s followers have, nearly to a man or woman, decided to can the Russian talk and to worry about it later.  What concerns THEM most, as it should we think, is their health care plan.

Continue reading “DOUBLING DOWN”