Wednesday, March 22, 2017

King of Distraction and Little Else

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Al Franken (again).  I've met him a few times before.  I asked him one substantive question, probably shouldn't have, he's trying to relax on a plane ride at the end of the day, but I couldn't help myself.  My question was, "Does the Democratic Party leadership recognize that the claims against President Obama are merely a distraction, an intentional distraction, by President Trump to take focus off the very serious allegations about collusion between Trump and Putin?"

His answer was essentially, "Yes, it's clear to all of us."

I was pleased to hear it and in watching James Comey's testimony, specifically the questions and the answers to those questions, it was clear that the Democrats finally seem to be showing some wisdom regarding Trump.  They still (incorrectly) blame the FBI for Clinton's loss, they still (equally incorrectly, imho), think Trump won because he's a man and she's a woman.  They didn't realize that feeling "trumps" fact when people vote and Trump made people feel like they were winners, like they'd "win" their jobs back, like they'd be prosperous if the prosperous man won.  That he's mostly just playing a confidence game wasn't something they wanted to believe.

And then along came his rather obvious association with Vladimr Putin.  Trump is an inveterate blowhard, he demeans anyone and anything he feels he can get away with in order to pump himself up.  We're not "winning" in Iraq, demean our military leadership, John McCain doesn't like his comments on torture, demean McCain's military service.  So, when Russia is involving itself in propping up Bashar Assad, normally a man like Trump would have been all over Obama, he never restrained himself before where President Obama was concerned, but with Russia, with Putin, all you ever got was crickets.  He clearly had been to Russia, he certainly has ties to that part of the world (he has a large hotel in the capital of Azerbaijan, a dictatorial state run by a Putin puppet).  That didn't happen out of thin air nor coincidence.  He had reputed/alleged ties to Russian "suppliers" of concrete at a time when those suppliers shut down every other construction project in Manhattan.  In fact, the list of ties to Russia for Trump is so long, this post would be three pages before I stopped naming simply the first and second tier (ties through an immediate family member or close associate) between Trump and Russia. 

And then there's the fact that Trump was SILENT on the nature of the Wikileaks attacks except to at one point encourage them.  This may have telegraphed his myopic understanding of the law and of the gravity of any collusion which may exist.  Remember, the first thing he said was (paraphrase), "If Russia can find those missing e-mails, be my guest."  Perhaps he wasn't even aware such attacks weren't just an illegal attack on Ms. Clinton but would rightly be seen as an attack on the United States.  He's flouted the law in the past, perhaps he felt cyber attacks, which happen all the time, are no big deal.  After he was admonished, his line then became, "Well, you don't know it's Russia." A line he continued up until recently when he was advised and it was made very public, that we in fact do know.  His mockery of our intelligence community on this point undoubtedly was a catalyst which lead to the leaks he so despises, for undoubtedly that intelligence community took a look at the man and decided if he was going to attack them for doing their job correctly, they had ways of letting him know they knew his secrets. 

The story at this point goes then to this.  Trump has close ties to Putin and Russia and the various ex-KGB, oil oligarchs who surround Putin.  Those ties are deep, they include Mike Flynn (taking payments from Russia during the campaign it is alleged) and Paul Manafort, his campaign chair until the news about Russia started to leak and Trump fired him to save himself and for no other reason.

All of the things that have come up, from investigating leaks to blaming Obama for the investigation, they are all distraction, distraction meant, vainly tried, to take the focus off of Trump himself, off of what may well prove to be collusion between Trump's senior staff (and so almost certainly Trump) and hackers, hackers very likely directed by and employed by the Russian government.  If that turns out to be true, it would make Trump a guilible tool, a useful fool to use the Russian/KGB  terminology.  It would make him facile and feckless, a pawn to be exploited.  If true, Trump will be guilty of something for which he not only should be impeached but should be in prison.  Some might even call him a traitor, and if it proves to be true he helped Putin either before or after the break into DNC servers, if he colluded after the fact with Putin's men, then I'd be one of those looking long and hard at what we call treason and whether we should apply it to Donald John Trump.  The man who may well have the shortest Presidency in history where he did not die in office, and rightly so, if true.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The alternative reality of the right collides with the real world

Trump and GOP members want Americans to believe they have a better plan for health care and health insurance.

They don't.

For starters you don't rationally use an increase in the cost of insurance after a lapse by making that insurance more expensive.  It is likely that the increase in premiums will cause people to lose coverage, and Trumpcare makes it much harder to regain insurance, only adding to the numbers of uninsureds, not cover more people or make it more affordable.

The idea they embrace is to screw you and enrich themselves and the special interests who own them. The obscenely rich jerk, the hedge fund manager, by the name of Mercer, who holds the leash to Steve Gannon's collar, openly believes the amount of money you make is the only important measure of human worth.  To him and those rich bastards on the right like him, ordinary everyday Americans are of little or no value, expendable and disposable.

According to the CBO and the Census Bureau, while somewhere between 20 and 28 million people currently insured under Obamacare will become uninsured, with overall uninsured numbers rising to 52 million Americans, higher than the previous high under Dubya in 2001, of 52 million.

Don't believe Trump, don't believe the GOP; don't believe in leprechauns and unicorn magic solutions. People won't be insured by cutting taxes for the wealthy, and giving cuts to corporations either.

Wake up, you are going to be more screwed than under Dubya's economic collapse.

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring, news in brief

Trump is still a liar, and looks ridiculous; Trump has a problem with Russia being behind his silly Brit spy surveillance claim, and the hearings in Congress show it never happened. It looks more every day as if Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians to cheat in order to win.

In other news more and more Americans disapprove of Rump, and more Americans view Rump as illegitimate. (I do too.)

In other news Trump continues to fail on promises and performance, playing golf and pissing away the goodwill and loyalty of our allies.

And last but not least, Trump wants to fund the military on the backs and wallets of children, the old and the poor.  At the same time Rump advantages and gifts the wealthy even more than the failed Dubya tax cuts and other more devils means that harm a majority of Americans.

Neil deGrasse Tyson summed it up when he noted the Trump budget leaves the nation weaker, sicker, and more stupid.

Friday, March 17, 2017

It's another Friday Fun Day: more Rump schadenfreude

And like the week before, we have another round of Trump failures to enjoy.

Trump's bigot ban trying to fear monger Muslims has been blocked from going into effect. Good join again AG Lorie Swanson, another good example of successful Democratic governance that correctly understands and applies the proper function of government in action.

We see tremendous push back against the horrific failure in healthcare and insurance that is Trumpcare. This as much as any other initiative could hand the state and federal government back to the adults in the room aka the Democrats.

Cutting money to schools, hurting grandma and grandpa more than those fictional death panels ever could, defunding big bird, planned parenthood, and ending many if not all meals on wheels programs, enabling the harm to our LGBT population, enriching the rich at the expense of the middle and below....and endangering the nation by diverting resources from needed security.....it is not going to play well.

The Russian scandal looms larger every day, Rump's popularity falls lower and lower every day, "their president" is caught lying more and more every day.

The pace of Rump's decline and fall is slow but inexorable. And it has the virtue of a faster pace than the fall of Nixon.

In the interim it is a joy to see the mini-me Trumps being rejected in the EU, beginning with the Dutch.  Hooray for unity and strength and stability, hooray for a turn away from chaos and superficial ignorant thinking. Hooray for the choice of adults and good, thoughtful governance.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Happy St Urho's Day

St. Urho doesn't exist, never existed.  He is, in a way, fake news, more St. Ersatz.

St. Urho is a joke created here in Minnesota.  There is some disagreement as to where in Minnesota the joke started.  Minnesota has a good sized Irish population. We also have a large Finnish population in this region.

St. Urho is the Finn answer to St. Patrick, stealing just a little of the thunder of the man who was reputed to have driven the snakes out of Ireland, by having a holiday the day before the better known St Paddy.

St. Urho's holiday celebrates the driving out of grasshoppers from Finland where they were destroying the grape crop which was the foundation for the Finland wine industry.

WHAT Finland wine industry? Now you get the joke. It is very much in the low key what you might call Prairie Home Companion-esque variety of humor.

Although.... with enough global warming there might be a real need for a modern Urho to save the day, and to reinvent the culture of saunas and rolling in snow with growing grapes and stomping them into juice for wine making that far north.

After all, we have a burgeoning wine industry right here in Minnesots where we used to be known as the icebox of the lower 48 contiguous states of the USA.

Happy St. Urho's Day, hug a Finn and have a chuckle. And watch out for drunken grasshoppers.