Revolted Colonies

U.S. Politics and Culture

Month: June 2017

The Bully’s Pulpit

Bully

On Wednesday, June 28, at 9 a.m., Future Ex-President Donald Trump was watching TV when he should have paid attention to – take your pick: the environment, jobs, health care, Putin and the upcoming  G20 summit, the Middle East, North Korea, to name a few top-shelf issues. Instead, he washed down his breakfast with a cup of Morning Joe. Feeling ill, then he disgorged it via Twitter.

I heard poorly rated ‪@Morning_Joe‬ speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika [Brzezinski ], along with Psycho Joe [Scarborough] came..to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

Media outlets, the political establishment and women and men of all ages have responded with outrage, disappointment and, of course, resignation. They’ve scolded Trump but there are no consequences. In fact, the public’ s impotent rage emboldens him.  Trump won’t or can’t change his bullying behavior. Why should he? It’s worked for him so far. His perception is that Mika and Joe should be kissing the tip of his long, red necktie after all he has done for them. Instead of fawning, they are critical. Worse than disrespectful, they are disloyal. There is no greater crime in Trump Nation. Just ask James Comey.

A billionaire, even a pseudo-billionaire, answers to no one. He can buy loyalty or he can coerce it. A billionaire as President, this one at any rate, is not a public servant. He serves himself, not the citizenry. He approaches his office as he approached his business empire, Trump 24/7, surviving on instinct, impulse and intimidation.  Not only is Trump unrepentant; he remains indignant. He sent forth his new de facto spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to pistol-whip an infuriated press corps.

I don’t think you can expect someone to be personally attacked day after day, minute by minute, and sit back…When the president gets hit, he’s going to hit back harder.

Her message is that Trump was elected because he is a fighter. He answers to no one. He is a victim, and he will visit retribution on those who seek to question anything he says or does. When asked if she would point to her misogynistic boss as a role model for her children, Sanders sidestepped the question, citing only the Almighty as worthy of emulation.

Mika has urged her colleagues at MSNBC to treat the contretemps as a news story – search engine optimization to be sure. Let’s take her up on it. Morning Joe tripped over itself during the campaign to deliver airtime to candidate Trump, prospering from the ratings spike that came with it. They weren’t alone. Many political/news shows fed at the trough. Trump capitalized on the feeding frenzy, getting free coverage while his Republican opponents remained invisible.

After the election, the media took a big hit for helping elect this case of arrested development. As for Trump, the tiny gloves were off.  He complicated matters by spurning his newsy chums, people like Mika and Joe, whose backs served as stepping stones for his way to Washington. He attacked the industry, trivializing  their reports as fake news and countering their stories with his own version – what he calls alternative facts, formerly known as lies.

The conventional wisdom is that his tweets are part of a distraction and deflection strategy, drawing attention away from the crippled Healthcare Un-Initiative. That’s probably true, but Trump’s renewed personal attacks – low IQ, psycho, bleeding from a bad face-lift – are disgusting in a way that sickens his erstwhile allies.

In a model of understatement, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “What we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone and civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn’t help to do that.” Of course, it is vital to maintain a civil tone while stripping 20 million or so citizens of healthcare –  a kiss before dying.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not comment on the brouhaha. He tweeted about his Stealthcare bill but otherwise was hiding under his desk.

My suggestion is that we move on now that our collective outrage has been vented. There are existential issues before us, and we’re well-advised to pay attention to those we may influence, instead of continuing to wring our hands futilely over our national embarrassment.

©  2017 Revolted Colonies ™

 

Harold Goes To The White House

Dear Predsient Trump,

Thank you for letting my class visit you at your House. It sure is White!  I’m sorry we did not get to meet you because you were studying TV. But Mrs. Trump was very nice to us, and she is very pretty. 

We got to see many rooms with predsient’s names, like Lincoln, Roosevelt and Map.  The rooms are really great with so many pictures and models.

There were a lot of grown ups in the Blue Room.  Some were Korean, I think, like Patricia in our class. The big drawings and model houses were really cool. Mr. Koenigsberg, our teacher, told us it wasn’t polite to easedrop, but I was so curious about what they were saying.  Can you tell me what golf is?  Also, what’s a molliment? I think it might be a kind of plant because one of the ladies said they need to be kept in the dark. I’d like to try growing one for my next science project.

 I wish we got to spend some more time in the West Wing.  My mom and dad like to watch it a lot, and I wanted to see if it looks the same as on Netflix.  I saw that each room has a TV.  Too bad we can’t have that in our house!

It was such a fun day. I was sad my friend Kumar was out sick.  I had to be buddies with Mr. Koenigsberg’s husband, Mr. Bashir. Mr. Bashir might be somebody famous. All the policemen wanted to talk to him.  

Also, I want to tell Kumar what he missed but he is still sick . I am worried a little because he doesn’t pick up his phone.  Maybe he had to go to the hospital.  Nobody was home when I went over Saturday , and I didn’t hear Layla bark.  Layla is Kumar’s dog.

Thanks for the baseball caps. Red is my team color but Mr. Dixon, our coach and Willie’s father, said we can’t wear them because our team is the Subway Orioles. 

Also thanks for being our Predsient. I hope you get to stay longer than Mr. Koenigsberg thinks you will. 

Very truly yours,

Harold Gray

Class Recorder

Mr. Koenigsberg’s Fifth Grade

Douglass Learning Center 

Rockville, Md.

 

How Many Sorcerers Need Apprentices?

Job

Future Ex-President Trump has rolled out his jobs plan, and he’s proposing – wait for it – an apprenticeship program. I could squeeze two pages of jokes out of that alone, but I wouldn’t respect myself in the morning. In TV land, Trump’s apprentices were actually untrained and lacked the mentoring of a successful apprenticeship. The candidates were treasure hunters without a map – or a clue. But if it worked on TV, he reckons, it must work for the inspiration for all reality shows – the American Dream.

Apprenticeship was a great innovation for the Middle Ages. Bring back artisanry and the trade guilds – wait, no organized labor – and you’d really have something. Good-paying jobs will require skills that so far robots can’t improve upon. Apprenticeship will help in certain industries but will be a hopeless mismatch in others.

The apprentice program targets the retail, health care and hospitality industries, where reprogramming – pardon, retraining – would work. But, this week, Amazon swallowed up Whole Foods like an anaconda inhales a jaguar. The gist is, the prospect of job growth in the retail sector is not especially rosy. Jeff Bezos will automate checkout, and cashiers will go the way of the carrier pigeon. Retail is among the ripest targets for job attrition.

Aside from his treatment of US allies, women, American media and people of color, Trump does know something about hospitality. At  entry level, those jobs are not well-paid. Besides, assuming mining jobs could be turned into hospitality jobs, people would need to move to the jobs (the need for portability of health care). Apprenticeship can help some step up into middle-management roles and better pay because there are relatively few technical demands.  But not every stripped-out mine can be turned into a golf course and resort. How many convention centers will we need when robots are running the meetings?

Health care is a non-starter.  Beyond entry level, good healthcare jobs require skill and education,  even some college.  And college, well, we’ve had enough of that! A semester or two at Clackamas Community College is one thing, but a four-year program to a Bachelor’s Degree is a different covfefe altogether.  Even in the higher reaches of healthcare, artificial intelligence is expected to take over routine diagnosis and treatment.

There is no fast, cheap way to better jobs. We need new industries. More than ever, job seekers will need education, not on-the job training, to acquire the necessary skills.  People’s needs and entrepreneurial innovation will prompt new industries.  Let’s hope people will be needed to run them. 

The Wedding Planner: Strobe Lights in the Projects

Patton

Patton Plans Retro Look for New Developments

Even J-Lo couldn’t have written this into her contract.: “Add a point to Star’s share if a Wedding Planner is appointed to federal office.” As we said on November 9, nothing is unthinkable. When Future Ex-President Donald Trump announced that Lynne Patton, his family’s event planner, would head up federal housing in the New York-New Jersey region, it was another Onion moment. That can’t be real, right? Did they make it up? Did I make it up? Sorry, nobody made it up.

We are staggered daily by Trump’s vision for America. He knows Construction.  Public Housing doesn’t need maintenance and security. It needs Centerpieces.

Why Lynne Patton, you might well ask. The Daily News did.

“The News reported that Patton is a longtime Trump loyalist who’s arranged golf tournaments and handled what she called “celebrity acquisition” for Trump events. She also helped plan Eric Trump’s wedding.

“On her LinkedIn bio, she claimed to have a law degree from the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut, although school officials said she merely attended for two semesters and did not obtain a degree.

“She sent out a tweet late Thursday after The News inquired about the letters N/A appearing next to the entry about a degree from Quinnipiac.

“She said the N/A meant “not applicable,” and wrote, “When did you finish law school but you know you never did, you could answer N/A because it doesn’t apply to you. She added a confused face emoji and the hashtag #neverlied.” Ask her no questions.

Glib as the Daily News is, Revolted Colonies has scored the real scoop.  We have obtained a copy of Patton’s checklist for her first hundred days. You’ll soon see why she was the right person in the right place. Her appointment starts June 20,  but that would interfere with her Weddings schedule, which would choke a horse. She’ll start work in July.  By the way, her only requirement, to which Trump agreed, was that she could keep her day job.  Her check list looked like this:

July 1: Send out invitations for swearing-in after party, book Overkill Caterers, Fleurs du Mal Gardens and Lewandowski Security Services.

July 2: Set party budget- $100,000.00; cancel lead paint  abatement for Camden Housing Authority. savings – $100,000.00

July 3 Party. 

July 4 Start one month Hamptons Survey for new building sites.

August 4 Announce survey results at Tenement Museum Gala. 

August 5 Meeting with NYS  Commissioner to implement new federal definition of affordable.  

August 6 Begin month-long survey of Jersey Shore building sites.  

September 4 Attend Agency Labor Day Picnic-Attendance mandatory.

September 5 Send out discharge notices for all non-attendees.

September 6 Strategic goals meeting with Betsy DeVos.

September 9 Break ground on Trump Digs at Pocantico Hills, first 55 and over project under new Affordable regulations. 

September 10 Begin enforcement of emergency vacate order for Rangel Houses.  

September 13 Change name to Rangel Dacha and begin gut rehab.

September 22 Implement ICE personnel as concierges in all buildings.

And that’s just the first 90 days. It has not been announced but you can expect a party to be held by mid-October celebrating the agency’s acccomplishments. If the agenda seems like a lot of heavy lifting without the usual flourishes, Patton will tell you that government business, like a wedding, is all hard work.   It’s not nearly as glamorous as it seems.

No Place to Hide

National politics has  driven  me crazy. A two-party wreck- I simply can’t turn away.   Hearings on parade: Sessions, Comey, Rogers, Coats, Klapper, Yates, Sessions again. Nunes is in, then he’s out, then he’s in again. Mueller’s in, Mueller’s out. Bharara’s in, Bharara’s out. 

Rachel Maddow needs a vacation, I mean more than her week on the disabled list. Spoiler: Fox is not fair and balanced anymore. The punditocracy has lost its collective mind. The front pages of the Post and the Times are wall-to-wall politics, and no two stories cover the same topic. It’s like election fatigue but even worse. With the election, there was a deadline. The only solid deadline  for this chaos is …2020?

Fortunately, there is escapism, which we need desperately. With the NBA and NHL seasons just ended, I prepared for the languorous summer of our other national pastime: Baseball. No sooner than I’ve exhaled, what do I see? Congress has taken over baseball too!  It’s not enough that they don’t do their Constitutional work. They’re out “practicing” for the annual Congressional baseball game, henceforth to be known as the Midterm Classic.  It’s admirable that Members can find a place where they can enjoy friendly competition for a good cause.  Why not IN Congress?  Surfing the news this morning, I see a picture of a baseball field – with X’s and O’s and dotted lines: the shooter was on the third base line and Rep. Scalise was by the first-base dugout, and….AAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

We as a nation abhor the violent attack on Rep. Scalise, the Capitol Guard and others.  If this tragedy stirs a true commonality of purpose among the political nihilists, then perhaps there is a silver lining. Why does it take a politician being attacked to jolt these twits out of their indifference? Newtown was not atrocity enough? Maybe that meme is right: Strip Congress of its healthcare if you want to see the elephants perform. In the meantime, Members of the House and Senate, keep your mitts off baseball!

 

Making America Great Again

                                          © Evan Sarzin 2017

Breathlessly Awaiting Comey’s Final Chapter

For those of you whose TV viewing will not be disrupted by work today, you will now be treated to a preview of the Soap Opera cum Congressional Hearing known as the Comey Memos.  For former FBI Director James Comey, a pillar of rectitude, a man of unshakable integrity, it’s surprising that his memos read a little like a Harlequin romance.  

Comey writes breathlessly of the first time he met the man he would one day call “President.”

During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.

He gushed about how the President-Elect was like no one he had ever met before.

I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past.

This hardened professional, a survivor of the George Bush administration, who stood up to Alberto Gonzalez, Bush’s personal attorney, who was trying to compromise bedridden Attorney General John Ashcroft, felt his knees buckle when he realized that the President was trying to get him alone.

He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time… It turned out to be just the two of us….seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.

The besotted Director felt powerless, having been cast under the spell of Don Giovanni Trump. Nevertheless, he resisted. Oh, how he resisted the enticements of his pursuer!

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.

 Comey is not like all the rest. He is the product of a strong and supportive home, a disciplined and religious background. He would not cave in like Trump’s earlier prizes. He’s the kind of guy who always keeps at least one foot on the floor.

I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word….

Trump pressed Comey. 

The President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.

Later, Trump again pressed Comey.

Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.”

Normally, at this point, Comey might have stifled a sob or felt a clutching in his throat. 

It is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further.

Instead, he departed, his virtue intact. He retreated to his car, and before driving off, he wrote the entire discussion down, word for word, so as not to lose a single innuendo to the mercy of faulty memory.  Returning to his office, he logged his recollections in and then told his BFFs  about his trying evening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Comey decided that he could never let himself to be left alone with the President.  Yet weeks later he found himself face-to-face with his tempter in the Oval Office, the President having excused all the other meeting participants. Trump moved in, invading Comey’s personal space. He asked Comey if he could see his way clear to let it go – the “Flynn” thing.  

When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.” Flynn had resigned the previous day. The President began by saying Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.

“He’s a good guy,” said Trump.

Comey pulled himself up to his full 6’8″ height, put on his stern face and, mildly nauseous, vomited a little in his mouth. After this meeting, Comey would not face Trump again. The President would not relent. He called, beseeching him to lift the cloud of inquiry over his head, to tell the world that he Donald John Trump, was not being investigated. Comey was wracked, pulled in opposite directions by honesty and loyalty.  He could not say anything because he thought it was possible that he would have to retract it.

In a final phone call,  suitor became tormentor.   Trump asked Comey why did he testify before Congress the week before that there was an open investigation, and why didn’t Comey say Trump was not under investigation.  Then Trump added:

“Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.” I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.

 Less than a week later, while meeting with federal agents in  Los Angeles, Comey heard that he’d been fired, but he did not believe it until he saw the TV news news crawl.  A great deal of confusion ensured about who prompted the firing and the reasons for it. It was Trump, all along, who jilted his FBI director.

Today,  James Comey will come before Congress to tell the rest of his tragic tale. If you decide to watch have a box of Kleenex at the ready.

  © Revolted Colonies 2017

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