Tag: Trump

A Man Comes In Out of the Weeds

Jay Inslee is the Governor of Washington, and he’s running for President. He deserves serious consideration. 

He’s a Climate Change Warrior. It’s his one  issue, and he knows it well. He’s in the weeds on it, and he can go high when FEPOTUS  goes low. Not only that. He can explain it in a way that even a Luddite Real Estate Salesman can understand. Inslee has the kind of game that could give Trump a run in the red states. That’s a winning formula. 

Inslee is promoting himself as a one-issue guy, although that doesn’t do him justice. He explains that environmental policy is also job policy and education policy. After he opens on the environment, he pivots to these more accessible issues. He comes across like a seasoned, well-rounded intelligent guy who can put some meat on the progressive skeleton. 

Inslee served two terms in Congress. He can speak about the federal government with some authority. His pitch about Congress is that the filibuster has to go to get environmentally positive laws on the books. 

Inslee plays like someone who knows the business and how things get done. If he gets a hearing, he might find some traction. If he is the standard bearer, he has the kind of game to take Trump on. He won’t get bullied, that’s for sure

Getting some traction though is Inslee’s biggest hurdle. He slots into the middle-aged, white guy niche with Beto O’Rourke, who is already establishing himself as a formidable candidate. Beto’s sucking up money like a Roomba, and has some mojo reminiscent of Obama and Bill Clinton. Inslee has more substance, less charisma.

Too bad, it’s not even clear that the middle-aged, white guy will be this year’s model. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris  and Joaquin Castro are off and running.

The glass ceiling division, Senators Warren, Gillibrand and Klobuchar.  Each of them has a strong progressive agenda, with Klobuchar a popular midwestern figure.

Then there’s Bernie and maybe Biden, a slightly more seasoned variant.

A total of 22 candidates so far, and it’s early still  it’s too early to draw any conclusions about who can win beat the Groper. The Democrats must win back Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida to be assured of victory. Whoever runs strongly through middle America will be the Democrat to beat.  In a one-issue race, it’s the only issue that counts.

The Kegger Plays His Trump Card

Yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee predictably satisfied the expectations of political junkies, #metoo activists and garden-variety voyeurs. The crowd also experienced the rare surprise of the cool and collected Brett Kavanaugh putting on his angry Trump face for the galleries and the folks at home. Trump’s Justice in utero wasn’t going to go out without a Trumpian rant.

Kegger spent several days in White House captivity, mastering the Trump playbook. He roared about the Democrats’ chicanery, lamented that his days of teaching and coaching girls’ sports may be over, and raged that the coveted prize, a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court was being pulled out of his hands. He didn’t use the words “rigged” or “witch hunt,” and he wept and cursed his fate. Otherwise, it was unvarnished Trump-speak. Trump’s hand was up the Kegger’s back, moving his lips and waving his arms.

The Republican senators had hired Rachel Mitchell, an able and experienced sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona, to question accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in their stead. Mitchell took each majority members’ five-minute segment in the Ford questioning, and she was scheduled to do the same with the Kegger. However, chairman Grassley and his bloc, fortified by the nominee’s new-found belligerence, decided to take back the microphone.

First up, Lindsey Graham (R-NC) lay the groundwork for the rest of the afternoon. Turning away from the judge, he fixed his pole axe on his Democratic colleagues.

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy!”

His target was his friend, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who bore the brunt of accusations that she held back Ford’s accusation until after Kavanaugh’s first hearing finished.
At long last, the combatants dismissed Ford and Kavanaugh, the proxies for the war between the statesmen. The Repubs were in high dudgeon over the Dems’ treatment of Kavanaugh, and the Dems were tacitly taking their revenge for their rivals’ dismissal of Merrick Garland in 2016 – and for a bagful of other indignities and slights.

The public got to see what kind of shit show we’ve enabled in the halls of government. Blame everybody — we’ve demanded winner-take-all politics, and now we have it. The Democrats led by former Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) set this in motion by eliminating the filibuster in connection with judicial appointments below the Supreme Court level This reduced the vote to a simple majority. When Mitch McConnell (R-TN) extended the rule to Supreme Court confirmation, the nuclear option, the stage was set for extreme appointees who did not require bipartisan support.

In 2016 Merrick Garland was put forward by Barack Obama, a centrist judge who previously had garnered the approval of both parties. He did this to dare the Republican house to gamble on the outcome of the presidential election.  McConnell, in complete control of the Senate, refused even to consider his nomination, rolling the dice that, if Clinton had won, he could always activate Garland’s nomination. With Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in the Senate, McConnell has been rolling sevens, judicially speaking. The Democrats, outmaneuvered, lament lifting the filibuster in the first place.

Dick Durbin (D-IL) had predicted in January that ending the filibuster would be the “end of the Senate,” as we know it. Yesterday, he lamented that his prediction had come true.

“It’s interesting, a Republican senator this morning in the gym raised the same question with me. And I said, ‘I think we’re learning our lesson here.’ That eliminating the filibuster on the Supreme Court at least, and maybe the other federal positions, has really created a much more political process. It is better for us to move toward with something that is bipartisan and try to find more moderate people to serve on our federal judiciary.”

Good luck with that. It’s a great aspiration but no one in this Senate presently will lead the institution out of its quagmire. So much needs to be unwound to return to lower-case d democracy in our politics. The Senate and House must reclaim their preeminent places in our government, and the imperial presidency, begun long before Trump, must be contained. These changes require the Supreme Court to recognize congressional primacy, and Brett Kavanaugh won’t let that happen — unless his puppeteer loses the White House.

Texas Two-Step: DFW Morning News Endorses Clinton

Texas View of U.S.Texas is the hub of American Conservatism, and Dallas-Ft. Worth is its epicenter. Today the Dallas-Ft. Worth Morning News endorsed Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, for President. The endorsement comes one day after the News announced that it could not endorse Donald Trump, the Republican nominee.

Man Bites Dog

Clinton is the first Democrat to get the Morning News endorsement since the 1930’s!   However, the board determined that Clinton was the only “serious” candidate.The editorial board does not love the former Secretary of State but does respect her. Naturally, the endorsement comes with reservations.

“In Clinton’s eight years in the U.S. Senate, she displayed reach and influence in foreign affairs. Though conservatives like to paint her as nakedly partisan, on Capitol Hill she gained respect from Republicans for working across the aisle: Two-thirds of her bills had GOP co-sponsors and included common ground with some of Congress’ most conservative lawmakers.”

No Trump Bid

Trump was rejected as “hostile to conservatism He plays on fear — exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best. His serial shifts on fundamental issues reveal an astounding absence of preparedness. And his improvisational insults and midnight tweets exhibit a dangerous lack of judgment and impulse control..”

Trump’s dismissal one day earlier sounded the alarm that the GOP candidate was a Republican in Name Only.

“We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable, nor in a Republican Party that is willing to trade away principle for pursuit of electoral victory.

“Trump doesn’t reflect Republican ideals of the past; we are certain he shouldn’t reflect the GOP of the future.”

Morning News’ Message

Why the Texas Two-Step? The Morning News published two separate pieces to send a clear signal to its constituents. It denounced Trump as unworthy politically because he does not espouse traditional Republican or conservative values and lacks the integrity to stand by principled positions. Don’t vote for Trump, it cautioned.  But otherwise, Vote Republican!

It endorsed Clinton, because the nation needs a capable, serious person to occupy the Oval Office. Conservatives were encouraged to vote for Clinton for her ability to execute the job, not for her policies.

The unstated message, which is sure to follow, is that Republican/Conservative down-ballot candidates will be endorsed and should have their readers’ support. Furthermore, a vote for Clinton should not be read as a sign of reconciliation over policy differences.

A New Day Dawning?

The most encouraging part of the endorsement can be read as an undertaking to set aside personal attacks toward Clinton and instead to address the nation’s business on the merits.

We reject the politics of personal destruction. Clinton has made mistakes and displayed bad judgment, but her errors are plainly in a different universe than her opponent’s.

If Clinton prevails, which seems more likely with Dallas’ endorsement, the first test of a new cooperative spirit will take place before she takes office.  The Senate Republicans can create political good will and do the right thing for its constituents by confirming Merrick Garland, even if they hold their majority in the Senate.

Make America Gated Again: Trump on Deportation

Immigration Policy

Donald Trump announced his plan for deportation of undocumented immigrants and greater restrictions on immigration. By these means, Trump plans to turn America into one enormous gated community. Unless I miss my guess, tonight Donald Trump was off-script and off his meds. He took time from campaigning in states he has no chance to carry, such as Maine and Washington, to make an impromptu trip to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to deliver his anti-immigration message in person.

It’s not entirely clear what took place. Trump said they never discussed payment for his proposed Wall. Peña Nieto disputes Trump’s account. He said that he made it clear that Mexico would not pay for the Wall. The two men also disagreed on Trump’s assertion that Mexico has unfairly benefited from the NAFTA trade agreement. Trump gave the impression that, despite these minor quibbles, they had a cordial chat. Trump was subdued in their joint appearance following the meeting.

The Hair Apparent then flew to Phoenix, Arizona, and replaced his quiet tone with his familiar face-reddening bluster. There he delivered an off-book rendition of the most recent version of his immigration policy. He clearly has renounced any thought of softening his policy or his rhetoric.

Exit Strategy

• There will be no amnesty. All undocumented immigrants will be deported, where they can reapply for entry. He didn’t mention the fate of their American-born children who by law are citizens.
• Any immigrant caught re-entering illegally will be incarcerated for a very long time – the “mandatory minimum.” Then after the U.S. has paid room and board, it will deport him or her again.
• He will create a deportation task force to deport all dangerous criminals “on day one.” Trump suggested that Hillary Clinton, his opponent, should be part of this group.
• He will cancel Obama’s executive orders, one of which gave work permits to over a half million young immigrants who came to the US as children.
• He will add 5,000 more border patrol officers.
• He will block federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, meaning American cities that provide shelter – not Sanctuary – to undocumented immigrants.
• He reiterated his concept of “extreme vetting,” by which he means an ideological certification, a screening test that has electrodes attached to it.

The Takeaway

Trump still has not formulated a clear plan for dealing with most of the undocumented immigrants; only the criminally dangerous ones. There are a lot of ruffles and flourishes but he lacks a coherent statement addressing non-violent immigrants who are in the U.S. without papers.

In addition, he has reverted to type. Last week he pivoted, claiming a new softness on immigration. Tonight’s speech slammed the book shut on a softer approach and a softer, more “Presidential” demeanor.

In front of a crowd of his impassioned supporters, he spoke again to the nativist strain in America. He and his supporters forget that, at some earlier time, their ancestors crossed into this land of infinite possibility. No doubt they came from a harsher and less promising environment. They were seeking just what today’s immigrants seek – a better life for themselves and their children.

Going Native

 There will always be an England, presumably, and there will always be its Channel, to use as it pleases.  For the past 70 years it has been a conduit to the European mainland and the shared market.  The other day the British converted it back into a moat. The United Kingdom, once a globe-encircling Empire, is shrinking back into the island country of its origin. In the age of globalization, England wants to go it alone. This past June, for the first time, England grew its own tea in Cornwall.  That must have been the straw.

   Pundits liken Britain’s decision to leave the European Union to Trumpism: a populist, nativist movement, focused on taking back the country and maintaining control in white, Christian hands. One look at the platform at a Trump victory rally and you can see it: the Monochrome Coalition. In the UK, the Leavers were lurking in the shadows until the light was shone upon them.

   Tribal ambition is coupled with the guarantee to voters to restore the country to its former glory, although nobody has explained how one thing triggers the other.  In America, the not well-kept secret is that Trump is supported by the many of the wealthiest Americans; not just the disenfranchised working-class which is the target of his pitch. 

     Brexit, and Frexit, the French movement to exit the EU, and Nexit (the Netherlands) are after something else: freedom.   “Victory for freedom!” exclaimed Marine Le Pen, a leader of France’s xenophobic National Front.  “As I have been asking for years, now we need to have the same referendum in France and in the countries of the EU.”

     Dissatisfied Europeans from member countries fault EU handling of the economy.  France’s Thomas Piketty wrote that we are in a period of slow growth, which never favors the working-class, and there is not much that anyone globally can do about it.  Who else is there to blame? You can’t fire all the players, so you fire the manager.

     The nativist streak is most glaring in anti-immigration politics. The native population is outraged to have to share with, let alone support, emigres and refugees.  How short the memory; these same outcasts once were their colonial drudges.

Most surprising, though, is that there is an undercurrent of hostility to corporate welfare, similar to Bernie Sanders’ principal concern.  Europeans believe that the EU is captive to nationless hydra-headed corporations, whose influence dictates EU policy.  

     Why does anyone think that breaking up the EU will put an end to corporate domination of politics? England, France and whoever else exits the European Union will be subjected to the same enticement and threats by companies who are better funded than nation-states to wage economic war.

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