POTUS Paranoia

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Rumors out of the West Wing, is that Trump has gone full paranoid in the wake of Bob Woodward’s new book and the New York Times Op-Ed piece.  Anonymous sources, the ones that Trump seems paranoid about, say that he’s growing more and more unhinged about it.  He has apparently disrupted meetings about it, and if someone looks at him in a way he finds out of place, he immediately suspects them of being the author of the Op-Ed.  Don Jr. says his dad isn’t sleeping, and Trump has mandated that staff are to call the anonymous author a coward in public to maybe shame them?  I guess?  And apparently the West Wing is bracing themselves for the climate to get even worse come the mid-terms.  So what comes next?  I don’t know for sure, but I’m placing bets on Trump going full “the Shining” on everyone.  Any takers?

Unsung Victory

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Donald Trump seems to be the only one who doesn’t think that the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria was an unqualified failure on just about every level. Supplies were few and far inbetween, the territory was without power for weeks.  There are still large sections that today don’t have electricity.  That’s not to mention the bacterial infection outbreak, the breakdown of utilities and infrastructure, that left people without basic things like clean drinking water. Oh, the hurricane and it’s aftermath was responsible for almost 3000 lost lives as of today. Now, a big hurricane is always going to be catastrophic to a community that was struck, but Trump and his administrations response to it was and continues to be an embarrassment.  Constant pleas for help were met with lots of public assurance that it would happen, with no real action.  It’s so bad, that Trump himself is publicly disputing the death toll, because the idea that he’s a big fat failure is not an image he wants the world to see…though to that, I would say “too late.” Make no mistake, Trump’s administration and Trump himself did shamefully little to help the people of Puerto Rico.  He thought he could throw some paper towel rolls and call it a day and hit the links, and then expect people to be okay with it.  But people shouldn’t be.  Trump failed those people in a big way, and now he wants to rewrite history and pretend that he didn’t.  But the people of Puerto Rico are still around to let everyone know that when the time came to act, Trump and his team sunk to the challenge.

Nazis are Bad

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Barack Obama has come back to the political scene and he’s finally willing to say all the things a lot of us were hoping he wood.  During a speech he gave to the University of Illinois, he talked about the state of political discourse, and finally was willing to call out Trump by name.  I can applaud his decision up until now to try and stay above the fray, but right now especially, his voice is an important one in remind the country, and indeed the world, in who we were before things got where they are.  That’s not to say they weren’t heading that way during his time as POTUS.  Indeed, I would argue that Trump’s victory was the culmination of years divisiveness finally exploding into what we have.  But listening to Obama’s measured, thought out words reminded me and many that we’re supposed to be better.  And maybe gave me hope that we can be.  Because maybe it is time to make America great again, but not by building walls to keep away the other.  But by building bridges to extend a hand outward.  He also reminded us all that it just shouldn’t be that hard to say Nazis are bad.

Playdates

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So the White House has announced that they are planning another summit with the leadership of North Korea.  And to that I ask…why?  What is the point?  Listen, I think it’s important to continue to dialogue with North Korea, and to try and get them to do what they agreed to do, but these ceremonial “talks” are nothing but theater if all that’s going to happen is a victory declared, and then nothing changes.  And listen, I don’t know what the right move going forward with North Korea is. But it’s clear that neither does Donald Trump.  If the only purpose that an event like this is for Trump to meet with a dictator, and then come back and tell us all what a swell guy he his, and how good of friend they are, then it’s clear to me that there are more effective ways to be spending time.  I don’t know.  Maybe that’s just my opinion.  A summit with a leader of a hostile foreign nation isn’t supposed to be two bros bro-ing out for some bro-laughs.  Not when avoiding a nuclear holocaust is on the table.  It just occurs to me that the taxpayers should have to foot the bill for a glorified sleepover.

Clear Conscience

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That New York Times Op-Ed from an unnamed staffer from inside the White House undoubtedly riled up everyone across the administration.  We all saw Donald Trump publicly melt down over the piece within minutes of it’s debut.  But I would imagine it wasn’t smooth sailing in the West Wing for anyone.  With the anonymous source in the wind, trust was likely shaken between co-workers, and with an already notoriously catty, chaotic West Wing.  A weird amount of speculation has fallen on Mike Pence and his office as the source of the Op-Ed, based on some word choices in the article.  Of course Mike Pence vehemently denies involvement, and for what it’s worth, I don’t believe he was.  But identifying the “traitor” (or patriot, depending on your personal context) is clearly a high priority for Trump.  He’s pushed his Attorney General to open investigation, and rumor came out that lie detector tests were perhaps on the table.  Mike Pence, the stalwart tall drink of water of course jumped at the chance to prove his innocence.  Take a polygraph test?  No problem!  Of course, when I watch Pence offer to take a polygraph, I have no doubt he’d pass it even if he WAS responsible for the article.  I don’t know that has emotional reactions, feels fear or…you know…has a pulse.

Crowd Control

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Donald Trump likes to control the narrative.  He likes people to know that he’s not just a President.  He’s a rock star!  In his rallies, he’s never on stage alone.  The crowd is never JUST in front on him.  He always has people behind him.  People to look excited, impressed an hopeful.  Because that’s the narrative.  He’s the great leader that inspires the people! So when someone behind him isn’t enforcing that narrative, that can be a problem.  If someone were to stand RIGHT behind him, and look incredulous and mystified by something he said, something contentious…that might give the impression that maybe his leadership isn’t so great.  That maybe he doesn’t have all the answers.  I mean, if someone who was put on that stage as one of his supporters doesn’t read as “convinced”, his word might not be gospel.  Which brings us to a rally in Billings Montana last Thursday. A young man in a plaid shirt seemed a little taken aback by remarks Trump was making.  His unfortunate position right behind Trump clearly didn’t send the best optics, at which point, he was escorted off the stage by a young lady, who then replaced him.  Then for good measure, two other people standing right beside the young man were also replaced by more “enthusiastic” women.  According to the young man, he wasn’t simply removed, he was also held by the Secret Service and questioned.  For doing nothing more than reacting to a speech.  Because as Trump knows, you can’t ever lose control of that narrative.

Extended Vacation

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Trump has spent 153 days on his golf properties during his presidency.  For those keeping count, that’s 25% of his whole time as President.  Now, I don’t know that I’m one to criticize on this issue…But Trump himself sure is.  Trump spent an awful lot of time criticizing Barack Obama for not being at the White House doing his job, for going on vacations and golfing.  Well Trump has spent 196 days at his resorts, which doesn’t even figure into the 25% figure mentioned above.  On this count, Trump hasn’t done a great job at explaining how his criticism of Obama, who spent less time vacationing and golfing than Trump by orders of magnitude.  At this point, Trump is lapping his competition in terms of vacation time over and over.  It’s so prevalent that there is literally a website that tracks JUST this.  It’s actually a really well kept site too.  You can visit it yourself.  Trumpgolfcount.com.  It’s a thing.  So tell us Mr. President.  As you said before you were elected, a President should be too busy with work to have THIS MUCH TIME for leisure.  SO where do you find the time, eh?

Keep America Great!

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Donald Trump is shifting strategies for the midterm elections.  He wants all the people of the country to know that he has, in fact, made America great again.  Half way into his first term, it’s mission accomplished.  America is great again!  As proof, he points to a constantly shifting, but strong economy, a bizarre, less than transparent new relationship with North Korea, trade wars and black unemployment.  Other than the trade wars and tariffs which are worrying a great many Americans and our ill defined relationship with North Korea, it’s hard to really point to any of his contentions as being Trump’s doing.  And yet, it’s apparently those very things that was keeping America from being great…again…or something. Something I can point to, that Trump is DEFINITELY responsible for, is that people seem more scared and divided than ever.  Bigots feel more empowered to voice their destructive opinions and behaviors, and the political divide is wider than ever.  The rich are getting massively more rich, and our country’s debt and deficit are crawling toward unprecedented highs.  Are all those also apart of America’s newfound greatness?  Because all things considered, it doesn’t feel that great…

Never Forget

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The internet is having a field day with the prospect of Donald Trump campaigning for Ted Cruz.  After all, their rhetoric during the 2016 election wasn’t EXACTLY friendly.  In fact, Donald Trump dubbed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” and accused him of doing nothing for Texas and his father of conspiring to kill JFK which…I mean HOLY HELL! How does someone get away with that. Trump also attacked Cruz’s wife, his politics, and his heritage.  I mean, you don’t see that level of mudslinging at someone in the opposing party much less someone who is technically on your side!  So when Trump announced he was going to stump for the guy in the biggest stadium “they could find”, the internet took Trump to task about the terrible things he’s said about the guy.  Let’s face it, it’s hypocritical to go to bat for a guy who said was a terrible senator who did nothing for his state.  The question is whether Trump will be able to escape that past when campaigning.  And maybe he will. It’s not like there’s going to be a big billboard with his Tweet sitting outside of Kyle Stadium, right?  Right?

Congressional Homework

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The confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh as the newest Justice of the Supreme Court started on Tuesday morning.  And, I think as most people expected, it was a rather raucous affair.  Protestors were abound, desperately trying to throw a wrench in the works of Kavanaugh getting confirmed. The Democrats were also attempting to delay the whole affair, and frankly, I don’t mind.  Kavanaugh is kind of awful.  But in total fairness, their reason for attempting to postpone the confirmation is pretty legit.  You see, just a few hours prior, over 42,000 documents pertinent to the career and character of Kavanaugh were released to the Senate.  Now, maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I feel like it’s unfair to expect people to read tens of thousands of documents in a few hours.  The whole thing stinks of a runaround, so yeah, I feel like the Democrats had a legitimate cause for postponement.  But of course the Republican majority wasn’t having it, Chuck Grassley especially, seeming completely baffled that there was an issue.  While they weren’t successful in lobbying for a continuance, the protestors and bickering certainly slowed things down, which I suppose is something…