Showing posts with label president. Show all posts
Showing posts with label president. Show all posts

Friday, March 06, 2020

There's a spot on Donald's head where all the crazy flows

NASA
This is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. It's a helluva storm that's been there a long, long time.

It's the biggest storm, the yuuuuuugest storm in the solar system. You wouldn't believe what a storm it is -- and it extends 200 miles into the gas giant's atmosphere.
Fox News
THIS IS the Great Gray Spot on Donald Trump's head. It's a helluva . . . well, we don't know exactly what the hell it is.

But given its similarity, except in color, to the massive storm on that other gas giant in the solar system, some might infer that the Great Gray Spot also is a massive storm, which may account for much of the erratic behavior, lack of focus and general covfefe of America's head case in chief.
Fox News
Other possible explanations for the unnatural phenomenon include a horrendous comb-over or a Russian remote-control device.

Unfortunately, a more precise answer concerning the origin and effects of Great Gray Spot requires better data than we have with these images. That will have to wait until NASA can send another interplanetary probe to that region of head space.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Didn't we all see this coming?


The most staggeringly unfit man ever to be president of the United States looks for all the world like he's trying to start the civil war he's been tweeting about this week.

I'm starting to think he might succeed. If you don't think that's enough of a possibility to be much afraid right now, you either are in denial or haven't been paying attention.

God help us.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

President Donald J. (for Jim Jones ) Trump


This is what the president of the United States posted on Twitter about two hours ago as I write this, after a day that saw compelling evidence surface that he engaged in a Mafia-style shakedown of a foreign leader to obtain dirt on Joe Biden.
It came a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened an impeachment inquiry against him over that same incident, which prompted a reportedly damning intelligence whistleblower report that one congresswoman termed "jaw dropping" when asked to characterize its contents.

"I describe it as explosive and jaw-dropping," Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said Wednesday night on CNN's Don Lemon Tonight. "I could not believe what I was reading."

ON A NIGHT such as this, I couldn't believe what I was seeing on the president's Twitter feed. Given what we've already seen from the tweeter-in-chief on his Internet Id-fest, that's saying something.

It's clear that we have come to such ruin in America that we no longer have a president, but a cult leader instead. And like Jim Jones, I fear the only way we'll remove him from the White House (God forbid) is feet first -- rather like the way Jim Jones left Jonestown in 1978.

No doubt, the crazy will be turned up to 11 in Trumptown as the end -- one way or another -- draws near.
That leads us to another horrifying thought, one we dare not admit but which surely haunts us nevertheless: How many Americans will this particular cult leader take with him down that highway to hell.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It's beginning to look a lot like Pyongyang


Donald Trump tweets yet another president-for-life meme, then retweets the House minority leader's "Dear Leader" obsequiousness.

Today is the 18th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on America, which ushered in the War on Terror. Maybe we ought to have been just as committed to a War on People Who Want to Turn Us Into North Korea.

Seems I picked a most appropriate day to schedule a colonoscopy.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Calling Jake and Elwood: The Iowa Nazi edition

Truth in politics?
Rep. Steve King, National Socialist-Iowa, is at it again. No doubt, our national appetite for wallowing in political pig poop is fathomless.

The Washington Post is there with a shovel, as usual.

"We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody’s looking around saying, ‘Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?’” King said, recounting what he said officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, had told him about the relief effort, in which he said he had participated. Yet, he was also one of 11 members of Congress to oppose a bill providing federal aid to Katrina victims in 2005.

In his home state, he said, residents looked after one another without government handouts. Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has declared a disaster in more than half of Iowa’s 99 counties because of severe flooding and is seeking a federal declaration that would free up funds from Washington.

“We go to a place like Iowa, and we go see, knock on the door at, say, I make up a name, John’s place, and say, ‘John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you,'" King said. “And John will say, ‘Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It’s Joe that needs help. Let’s go down to his place and help him.’”
THE NORMAL human response -- or what one would hope is the normal human response -- to the question "Who's going to help me?" is "I am."

King seems to admit as much by lauding Iowans' willingness to help their neighbors without hesitation. So, I suppose the only thing he finds offensive is that people would ask for help -- particularly from, one supposes, the federal government. Particularly the majority-black population of New Orleans.

Something tells me the right dishonorable white nationalist from Kiron will not be pressing FEMA to withhold aid from those of his constituents affected by flooding on grounds of "We can take care of this shit ourselves." This leaves us with the explanation that's left for what King said Thursday.

Steve King is a racist piece of that in which we've been wallowing since 2016.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Land of the Pee (Tape), and the home of the depraved


I fear war is coming to America.

But you want to know what's even worse than that? That I think civil war no longer is the worst possible thing that could befall this benighted land.

The triumph of this is the worst possible thing that could happen to the United States of America. I call it "White Trash Fascism." And Donald Trump is its prophet.

Because that's exactly what it is, and no further explication is necessary. None. Not a goddamn bit.

Friday, January 12, 2018

. . . and Trump knows 'em all


From The Washington Post:
President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 
IF SHITHOLE IS as shithole does, the United States might have become the biggest shithole of them all on Nov. 8, 2016.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Chief Sh*t for Brains strikes again


With a couple of intensive years in charm school, Il Douche (pronounced "DOO-shay") could possess enough tact and social graces to join the Ku Klux Klan.

This, America, is what we have elected president -- a deeply cruel, stupid, bigoted, tactless and mentally unstable fascist man-child. This is who represents the United States to the world . . . and who the United States comes to more closely resemble with each passing day he sullies the American presidency.

Donald Trump is a vile man and a worse president. If this is not what we are as a people -- yet -- it apparently is what the Mortal Minority would have us become.

From Politico:
President Donald Trump mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren at an event Monday honoring Native American veterans, invoking his “Pocahontas” nickname for the Massachusetts Democrat as he talked about how long Native Americans have been in America.

Trump hosted Navajo code talkers, who were recruited into the U.S. Marine Corps to communicate in the Pacific region during World War II, at the White House.

“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said to the group. “You were here long before any of us were here — although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special.”

Trump — who spoke in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the former president who signed the Indian Removal Act — did not mention Warren by name. But he frequently mocks her by calling her “Pocahontas,” a nickname he created during his 2016 presidential campaign. The derisive sobriquet pokes fun at Warren’s claim of Native American heritage when she was a law professor, which became a campaign issue during her 2012 Senate run.
REPENT, America. The end of us is nigh.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Diary of a mad white president . . . or just another day in hell


Donald Trump is the devil. And the devil is lord in America.

Since its founding, the United States has been a country with a guardian angel sitting on one broad shoulder and a demon on the other. Sometimes, we listen to the angel.

Other times, we invade Mexico because we can . . . and to grab some land. We go to war in defense of slavery. We pal around with Mr. Jim Crow. We decide 58,000 dead American soldiers is an acceptable price for not losing face in Vietnam. The list goes on.

Tiny hands and all
Now, one could be excused for believing that Americans have decided to skip the middleman altogether and just install the devil as president. Donald Trump, to be fair, is not the devil. But he is a devil. The difference is only a matter of lowerarchy.

The devil presides over his people from an oval office in which there are no corners to hide. Like the real deal below, he wouldn't think of harming a hair on our chinny-chin-chin -- directly. That, he convinces us to do ourselves, to ourselves.

Our devil in Washington is not the persecutor we're all looking for -- or at least the one the alleged Christians among his minionish base have been expecting forever. Ol' Devil Trump is the subverter we never saw coming.


Check that. Trump is the subverter we damn well saw coming, but kept trying to pass off as something else entirely.

In our nation's capital and in Anytown, the subverter-in-chief bids his victims forward one by one to tell each how he must offer up his immortal soul this day. One of today's dead men walking was retired Gen. John F. Kelly, White House chief of staff and Gold Star father.


"General," sayeth our demonic majesty, "you gotta get me out of this." "This," as we all now know, is the matter of what the president said to the young widow of Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson. Johnson was one of four soldiers killed in an ambush while serving as advisers to troops fighting Islamic extremists in Niger.

Kelly's mission, should he choose to accept it -- and he did -- would be to somehow normalize the grossly ham-handed, insensitive thing Trump said to Myeshia Johnson about her KIA husband, whose name he couldn't be bothered to utter. Probably because he couldn't remember it.

Trump's idea of comforting the stricken is to tell an Army widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for . . . but when it happens it hurts anyway.”

Kelly's idea of selling that to the American people as perfectly normal is "Why, that's exactly what my buddy said to me when my boy got killed in Afghanistan!"


That's a paraphrase boiled down by me. Here is what he actually told the assembled White House press corps. In this extract, Kelly starts out by explaining Trump had a question for him:
And he said to me, what do I say?

I said to him, sir, there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families. But let me tell you what I tell them. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me, because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we're at war.

And when he died — and the four cases we're talking about Niger, in my son's case, in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends.

That's what the president tried to say to four families the other day.

I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing, a member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion that he's a brave man, a fallen hero.

He knew what he was getting himself into, because he enlisted. There's no reason to enlist. He enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.

That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this earth. And you can always find them, because they're in Arlington National Cemetery.
I DO NOT doubt that Kelly, the career military man, found comfort in his friend's words. I also do not doubt that Kelly's preferred script for these difficult conversations is entirely too complicated to be followed by "a fucking moron" with an emotional quotient measured in negative numbers.

So . . . here we are. Trump botched a script most people -- because common sense, sensitivity and basic human compassion -- would not follow when attempting to console a young war widow with two young children and a third on the way. Trump's words not only were heard by Mrs. Johnson, but by everyone in the funeral-home limousine as family and friends traveled to the airport to receive the body of Sgt. Johnson.

One of the family friends happened to be a member of Congress. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) had known the Johnson family for years. She also had been a mentor to Sgt. Johnson and his two brothers. She was his father's school principal years before.

And she was outraged by what she heard on speakerphone.

Too bad for her. The only unforgivable sin in the Church of Satan -- Trumpistan is to shine light on the sins of our father below.


When one disses the devil, the sulfurous one has any number of acolytes who will try to snuff out the light as they snuff out their own self-respect. In the case of Wilson, the Church of Satan lowerarchy -- at least in my viewing of what it's trying to pull off here -- went full-bore for racist stereotyping with no hesitation at all.  Let's review:
It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred. 


IT TAKES little effort to read between those lines. After all, the Trumpian base isn't that bright, and its attention span isn't that long. That said, the multitude of Trump's minions are outdistancing the there-are-none-so-blind White House press (who maybe need to get out more) on this one.

Briefly, the White House is sending the nearly unmistakable message that Frederica Wilson is just another crazy, angry black woman who's simply out to stir up shit and lay waste to every social norm precious to proper white Americans.

We're to see the congresswoman as some sort of malevolent Madea, out to throw a potful of hot grits in the face of the Great White Dope Hope, then cold-cock him with the empty pot. Right before she tears up Arlington National Cemetery via unlawful use of a front-end loader.


That's the message our government wants to send to alt-white America, which is the only one that matters to the devil.

Not so long ago, which seems like a lifetime ago, presidents didn't talk like this. Presidents didn't send staffers out to pull stunts like this. Richard Nixon, for God's sake, would not have been so brazen or so emotionally stunted -- and that's saying something.


 That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There are worse things than taking a knee

'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.'
-- Donald Trump
speaking to pregnant
widow of Green Beret

I am from south Louisiana. When I was growing up, there were certain colorful words you might have used to describe such a "man" as Donald Trump.

One who just said what he said to the pregnant widow of a Green Beret killed in combat in Niger.

"Goddamn son of a bitch" would be where the description began. The rest I must leave to your imagination.


The tragedy of my home state -- the tragedy of my country -- is that so few still have the moral imagination or the moral vocabulary to call a goddamn son of a bitch a "goddamn son of a bitch" when they see the goddamn son of a bitch.

Worse, we elected the goddamn son of a bitch president of the seemingly God-damned United States of America.

CBS News continues where I no longer can:

Sgt. La David Johnson
President Trump told the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger that he "knew what he was getting into," said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami), who said she was in the car during the phone call.

Myeshia Johnson was on her way to the airport to greet the remains of her husband, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, when she received the call from the commander-in-chief, CBS Miami reports.

"David was a young man from our community who gave his life for our country," Wilson told CBS Miami. "He's a hero. I was in the car when President Trump called. He never said the word hero. He said to the wife, 'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.' How insensitive can you be?"

*  *  *

CBS Miami reports that after it reached out to Wilson a second time, she repeated that the president told Myeshia that her husband knew what he was signing up for when he enlisted, adding "it still hurts." Wilson said Myeshia was livid and "cried forever" after Trump's call.

Johnson was killed Oct. 4th with three other soldiers in Niger. U.S. officials said they believe extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were responsible for the attack.

The U.S. and Niger forces in a joint patrol were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders and were in trucks. They were ambushed by 40-50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Nailed it: A vulgar talking yam


The really noxious stuff was all that simpering about how the rest of the world is playing us for suckers and laughing at us, as though the rest of the world doesn't think we've lost our mind as a nation simply by electing a vulgar talking yam.
CHARLES P. PIERCE
Esquire

The onslaught of vile, stupid acts by the (gag) president of the United States is such that mere mortals soon run out of words and descriptions worthy of the bile boiling up from the depths of our tortured, twisting guts.

Donald Trump's latest civic sacrilege was enough to leave even the wordsmiths among the American people straining in their speech and at their keyboards for something fitting to the occasion -- apart from the vilest obscenities one could summon from the darkest corner of the id. In repudiating the Paris climate agreement, the existential threat in chief -- elected by civic suicide bombers making a stupid and futile gesture on America's behalf -- declared war on Earth itself, as well as generations of humanity yet to be born.

The withdrawal was an act as deeply ignorant and foolish as it was spiteful and aggressive.

This is the point where my words collapse into screams and speakable, but unprintable, curses against Trump and those who brought him into this world.


So, this is where I leave it to Esquire's Charles P. Pierce, whom words did not fail in the face of This Present Darkness. And, boy, did his words not fail.

In fact, he summed up the Stage 4 cancer consuming our body politic in just three magnificent words. Enjoy.

It used to be the young bucks and their T-bones, or the welfare queen with her Cadillac, who were leeching off good, hard-working Real Americans. It turns out Ronald Reagan was modest. On Thursday, in a speech that was such a towering pile of complete horseshit that it may well reach the moon, President* Donald Trump told the country that the rest of the world is now the craftiest welfare queen of them all.

I didn't think he could top his ghastly American Carnage inaugural address for sheer fact-free and paranoiac mendacity, but he managed to do it on Thursday. By announcing that the United States was withdrawing from the groundbreaking Paris Accords regarding the world climate crisis, the president* wallowed in rank, xenophobic victimhood while basking in the scattered applause of the otherwise unemployable yahoos whose self-respect is sufficiently low that they still work for him. Any doubt that Steve Bannon is running this White House now, either personally or through his finger-puppet, obvious anagram Reince Priebus, now has evaporated. The transformation of the American government into a Breitbart comments thread is complete.
It was appalling. It was condescending. It was awful content delivered by a dolt who wouldn't know the Paris Accords from a baguette without the shoddy talking points that someone put in front of him. For example, he read off a fanciful list of "consequences" for adhering to the Paris Accords down through the next decades. Afterwards, Ali Velshi, a welcome addition to the MSNBC cast of regulars, pointed out that the president* was reading from a debunked report that presumed in its analysis that the U.S. would fulfill every one of its agreed-upon conditions while no other participating country would fulfill any of theirs. This is not surprising. The president* would have read a commercial for hair-replacement if someone had put it in front of him.

The least objectionable element of the speech was its utter internal incoherence.

The United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian economic and financial burden the agreement imposes on our country.
Paris was a non-binding and ineffective agreement, but it was "draconian" nonetheless. The economy is booming under his leadership, but the Paris Accord was destroying it at the same time. This was a speech written by a fool, to be delivered by a fool, with the presumption that a great percentage of its target audience is made up of fools.
But the really noxious stuff was the attempt at transforming a worldwide agreement to combat an existential threat to life on this planet into what he stupidly called a scheme to redistribute our wealth to China, as if we're all not going to be buying our solar panels from China for the next 50 years because of this cluck. The really noxious stuff was all that simpering about how the rest of the world is playing us for suckers and laughing at us, as though the rest of the world doesn't think we've lost our mind as a nation simply by electing a vulgar talking yam. The really noxious stuff was all his crocodile tears about the Forgotten People, as though a lot of them are not suffering through drought, or losing their houses to floods and to landslides, about which he and his people care nothing at all.
 THAT perfectly sums up Trump: A vulgar talking yam.

May this vile expression of the American id be known as the "vulgar talking yam" so long as the stars and stripes fly over this land. Which, at this rate, will be until the Thursday after next.

If we catch a break or two.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Meanwhile, at the Russian Embassy. . . .


That Donald Trump. He's such a card.

You say covfefe, I say covFEEfay

Click for full size
Things have come to a pretty pass
Our patience is going fast,
For you tweet this and the other
While we sit here aghast

Goodness knows what the end will be
Oh, your shit is just so bat
It looks as if our POTUS is quite plowed
Please, God! Not a mushroom cloud!

You say covFEHfay and I say covFEEfay,
You say GAMMA RAY! and I say YOU'RE CRAY-CRAY!
CovFEHfay, covFEEfay, gamma ray, you're cray-cray
Let's call the whole thing off!

Monday, March 20, 2017

There was this today


We cannot make any judgments on whether or not the campaign of the man elected president of the United States of America was in cahoots with a hostile government to rig the election in Donald Trump's favor. We just don't have all the facts yet.

We don't know for sure whether there indeed is a fire or where it is, exactly. We do know there's a hell of a lot of smoke, and it's blowing in from that direction.


And we also know this: That we're even suspecting what we suspect means the republic is in mortal danger. That Trump is governing how he has thus far -- via a weird mix of basic incompetence, a fundamental skepticism of the American narrative and a vindictiveness toward his political enemies, the poor, the Other and even some of his own supporters -- only adds to our peril.

Can the United States survive this? No one knows, not really. We have no experience in this; the closest analogy would be an investigation into Leonid Brezhnev ordering the KGB to break into the Watergate on behalf of Richard Nixon . . . who was allegedly in on the plot.

Facing South. Courthouse, Denison, Iowa.
This crisis comes to a nation as divided as it's been since the South seceded in defense of slavery. The Union was preserved at the cost of the Civil War and nearly 700,000 corpses. Robert E. Lee couldn't even have dreamed of the kind of weaponry your average, solitary American gun nut possesses today.

Or, as newsman Dan Rather said today on Facebook:
If you are a praying person, today is a day to pray for the future of your country. I have seen a lot in my decades in the press, but I have never seen a day like this. This is a stress test for our democratic institutions and one can only hope that the system of checks and balances we hold so dear, can indeed hold.

The statements by FBI Director James Comey in testimony today about Russian interference in the 2016 election were jaw dropping. It should be also noted that both he and NSA director, Adm. Mike Rogers, categorically denied that there was any evidence to support Mr. Trump's repeated allegations that Trump Tower was wiretapped by President Obama. That we do know. But it must be noted how much we do not know. We cannot afford to back off on investigating, fully, completely, and openly, allegations that are anathema to the spirit of our republic. But we cannot also afford to jump to conclusions. We want answers. We want to know more. That is natural. But patience will be required. It is better that this plays out in a systematic way. It is for all these reasons that I think a careful bipartisan investigation is essential.
RATHER, who covered Watergate as tenaciously as anyone at the time . . . and has more than 60 years of journalism under his belt, said that as The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza was writing this in the newspaper's The Fix blog:
Given Comey's flat denial of any evidence of Trump Tower being wiretapped, there will be increased pressure on both Trump and Republican members of Congress to back off that position and apologize for it. Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Will Hurd (R-Tex.) have already called on Trump to apologize to Obama. It's hard to imagine that other GOPers won't follow that lead in light of Comey's testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday.

Trump is another matter. His offhand remark at a joint news appearance Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that perhaps he and she had both been wiretapped by the Obama administration suggests he isn't planning to leave the issue alone — much less apologize for it.

And we know that for 35 to 40 percent of the public, that will be enough; they simply trust Trump more than they trust any intelligence official or media outlet.

But that's sort of beside the point. Trump is the president of the United States. There is now ample evidence that a very serious accusation he made about a former president is simply not true. Standing by it now is simply irresponsible.
TO ME, the most frightening thing is that 35- to 40 percent of the public thing. Those folks, at this point, are either delusional, white supremacist dead-enders or stone-cold fascists -- even if they're too self-unaware to recognize that fact.

Trust me on this; I'm in my 50s, and I'm from the South. Back in the day, probably half of the biggest flag wavers in Dixie would pick Brand B in a blind taste test where Brand A was the United States of America and Brand B was Nazi Germany.

Whether Trump stays or goes, we're going to have to deal with that 35- to 40 percent of Americans who are every bit as un-American and subversive as unreconstructed white Southerners were in the 1950s and '60s.


It will get ugly, and our country may not survive it. Assuming it survives Trump.

I'm with Dan Rather. Today is a fine day to pray for the future of America.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves'


Sixty-three years ago tonight, Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly went to war in defense of an idea. That idea is the United States of America.
 

That defense on CBS Television's news program See It Now necessarily meant declaring war on one of our occasional demagogues who rise to the level of existential threat. In 1954, that demagogue was Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R, Wisconsin). His particular -ism, involving a witch hunt that exploited people's intense fear of communism early on in the Cold War, came to bear his name -- McCarthyism.

McCarthyism looked to be a war on communist subversion by any means necessary. What McCarthyism actually was was an assault against our American foundational idea.


We always seem to forget that America is not a nation -- it is a country and an idea. A country organized around an idea.

NATURALLY, we never exactly (or even roughly) live up to the idea -- the ideal -- but the point is that we keep aiming for it. In that respect, it's like Christianity. Yes, you're a sinner, but you repent and keep trying to do better.

The times when this country truly is in peril is when we lose the narrative. With McCarthyism, we twisted the narrative and used that idea against itself, as a justification for cynical subversion. The Reds weren't the only subversives in this national morality play. Who knew?

Now we struggle for control of the narrative of another American morality play. McCarthyism has become Trumpism, after our latest existential threat, President Donald J. Trump.


And I wonder whether this time we've thrown away the script -- the founding ideal -- altogether.

As Ed Murrow said, our defense is not of one party or another, but instead it is of the truth. I think we have a steeper hill to climb than that of 1954. In 1954, Americans had many questions, but No. 1 on the list didn't seem to be Pontius Pilate's -- "What is truth?"

I'LL CLOSE with Murrow's final words on that historic telecast. They're better than any I'll ever write. Apply to our present national emergency as needed.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it -- and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

Good night, and good luck.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The lights are going out across Washington


The truth will set you free.

Trump, not so much.

How doth he use thee? Let me count the ways.


In case actually watching Donald Trump deliver up this staggering act of cynicism would bring on projectile vomiting that might never end, here is a transcript of what he said in an address to a joint session of Congress.

When you put your hand on the Bible and swear to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God," and then you lie, that is perjury -- a felony.

When you take political cover behind the corpse of a dead serviceman, then (in all likelihood) lie through your teeth before Congress and the American people as you use his grieving widow as a stage prop . . . I have no idea what words would be sufficient to describe the enormity of the moral offense. I do, however, have an idea of the words that might describe a commander in chief that shameless and foul.

None of which I dare use here.

Another thing I have some idea about is why Trump is so desperate to delegitimize the mainstream news media -- moments like this that are exposed for the cynical propaganda they are by reporting like this, from NBC News:
Last month's deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a U.S. Navy SEAL and a number of children, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News.

Although Pentagon officials have said the raid produced "actionable intelligence," senior officials who spoke to NBC News said they were unaware of any, even as the father of the dead SEAL questioned the premise of the raid in an interview with the Miami Herald published Sunday.

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into [President Trump's] administration?" Bill Owens, whose youngest son Ryan was killed during the raid, said. "For two years prior ... everything was missiles and drones (in Yemen)....Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"

A senior Congressional official briefed on the matter said the Trump administration has yet to explain what prompted the rare use of American ground troops in Yemen, but he said he was not aware of any new threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda affiliate that was targeted.

(snip)

The White House has repeatedly called the Yemen mission a success. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Feb. 8 that anyone "who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens."

"We gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil," said Spicer.

A Defense Department official also pushed back Monday afternoon, saying the raid has yielded "a significant amount" of intelligence.

But the only example the military has provided turned out to be an old bomb-making video that was of no current value.
SOMEONE is lying. Given the track record of Trump and the track record of the press, my bet is on the usual suspect: Donald J. Trump.

Just in case the last 30 or so years isn't sufficient to tell you what kind of man we have elected president of the United States, Tuesday night's shamelessness at the Capitol should, at long last, be enough.

Enough. Interesting word, that. It indicates that you've had your fill, that you want no more. It means you're done.

I suppose that some day we'll have had enough of Donald J. Trump's presidency. I fear that when we have, we will be in no condition to do anything about it, rather like Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens -- may God rest his soul.


And may God have mercy on ours.