Sunday, July 29, 2018

Reading the Sunday paper

Reading the Sunday New York Times is a stream of my subconsciousness. It directs me where it desires, it answers questions only slightly posed, it has definite likes and dislikes and it avoids those parts of my brain that are deeply and perpetually undernourished.

It has now started to advise me, after a long period of obstinate denial, that my heart and my head belong first and foremost on the sports pages of your paper. No longer does it allow me the fantasy of contemplating my ascension to a universe of vital considerations of the rise and fall of humanity. It is painfully obvious that I am not at that advanced state of being. Thus, this morning I began by investigating the plight of my favorite team temporarily deprived of its most astounding star, the sudden disappearance of superiority of its most transcendent arm, and the compelling tale of the nonagenarian spending her waning moments sitting endlessly in her appointed place in the stands (like Horton hatching an egg) pencil and scorecard in hand, a reminder of an era in dire threat of extinction.

Only reluctantly do I gravitate to the section that is denominated a review of the week but is truly more of an insight into our preferences and prejudices. Here I learn why baking sourdough bread is a mystical experience, wonder whether it is better to die all at once or little by little and cogitate about the possibility that the fate of the world may one day rest on the talent, or lack thereof, of a single translator.

Ultimately though, even as my conscious being is pleading with me to go read that book about Obama and Biden as a detective duo,  I am drawn to the topic that causes my brain to swell as near to explosion as a brain can come. I stare at the image of the Vice President inside the face of the President and read how for every bad there is a worse. I am told that young people don't like lousy governing policies and I wonder how my generation, once made up of young people, grew old and politically crotchety. I reach inside the head of Mr. Trump to learn that our leader is really a bad Mafia Don. Although in this universe, bad may be the ultimate compliment.

And here I rest, and take his opportunity to write to you, before I move on. Wondering where this exercise has taken me, what have I learned of myself and my world. Am I different than I was but an hour before, has my being become more advanced, does my heart beat grow stronger? Or am I as I was when first I awoke, just a little older, a little more cluttered with information crammed into a brain already many years into the overload cycle, a little closer to the end than the beginning?

So concludes, at least for now, my treatise on the exercise that is, for most of those meandering through existence at a forever advancing stage, our most consistent form of workout. Pushing our brain left and right, back and forth, up and down, and somehow landing in the same spot we started. Winded a little, fatigued in the molecules that bounce off the insides or our brains, in need of a moment's mental rest.

For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. The Sunday paper, til death do us part. Or at least until Mafia Don shuts down the failing New York Times.

Friday, July 27, 2018

On Mr. Trump's Re-election in 2020 and the Eight Year Itch

("How Trump Won Re-election in 2020")

After the 2008 election there were serious suggestions that the Republican party was dead. I am sure that in the archives of even your own paper there were learned treatises indicating this party had lost focus and was being abducted by alien forces (no, not those aliens but right wing tea party radicalism). The Democrats held the Congress and the highest office in a firm, and seemingly, impenetrable grip.

But by 2016 the world had shifted on its axis and the Democrats were now on the outside looking in. Alice in Wonderland? No, it is the eight year power cycle that has controled our political universe, almost without exception for nearly three quarters of a century.

Since the changing of the guard in 1952, when Mr. Eisenhower and his party wrested the power of the presidency from the Dems, the Oval Office has been on a two term and out cycle as regular as the waxing and waning of the moon, except for the one term of Mr. Carter followed by 12 years of Republican rule (two for Reagan and one for Poppy Bush).

So, history and precedent is on the president's side in 2020. No matter how aberrational his behavior, how unique his perspective on how to conduct himself, short of self immolation (which is clearly an omnipresent possibility), there is a very strong likelihood that Mr. Trump will wear his thorny crown for two full terms.

I have predicted such a result from the first moment of his ascension and neither revolting incendiary tweet, Robert Mueller, Elizabeth Warren nor any self inflicted wound will likely keep this most unseemly serial prevaricator from his appointed rounds.

For in the end, the fault lies not in this self imagined star but in ourselves. We find comfort in wearing the same clothes for multiple rinse and wash cycles until we finally decide they are now but old rags to be discarded. And after four years we have a pronounced tendency to believe everything still fits well enough to continue to wear.

Mr. Trump, despite his bizarre actions, his seemingly daily descent into the recesses of a warped cranium, no matter his strange hairdo or ridiculously long ties, is the wrong man at the right time. For a long time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Twelve Billion Subsidy to Farmers - Heckuva job, Donny

("So Now Trump Wants to Protect Farmer's From Trump's Trade War?")

Wait a minute. Twelve billion to subsidize farmers?

You mean Canada, Mexico, China did not raise the white flag in surrender? But you told us this was easy, simple.  

Explain to me like I don't know anything about tariffs. I know you are an expert because, well you are an expert on everything. If we are handing out money  because your self inflicted trade war screwed our own in record time, how is that a good thing? Oh, because you say it is. Now I get it.

Funny how winning can look a lot like losing. Heckuva job Donny.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Black and White and Red All Over

("The Heartbreak of Raising a Black Daughter in a Red State")

Those are not Trump signs that remain on the lawn long after their purpose has passed. They are statements of intent.

There is a pervasiveness to the hatreds of our President that permeates and infects our nation. A permission slip to be your very worst. To take pride in your prejudices, to make bad virtuous, to live in a world broadcast in black and white, viewed only in color.

This the America we hoped we had outgrown, but now fear is growing out of control. This is the America that Mr. Trump has unleashed upon us.

Black and white and red all over.

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Nation on High Alert as the Highest Office Resides at an All Time Low

There is a sense of dread that attaches to this presidency. It is the unshakeable feeling that tomorrow there will be some disaster, almost always manufactured from the brain of Mr. Trump, that will serve to lessen our democracy, imperil the well being of our country, diminish our standing in the global community and generally give me a headache and/or a stomachache.

So now we have extended an invitation to Mr. Putin to come play in Washington. After this past week's debacle, why is Mr. Trump doubling down? To undo the humiliation, to prove he is immune to criticism, to suggest he is the master of a universe in which the first word that comes to mind is dunce?

But it is not only here that the President's incompetence is so staggering. It is in everything he considers, from the tariffs, to NATO, from Canada to Mexico, from the first Amendment to the second, from white supremacists to mass black incarceration. His total lack of preparation, of judgment, of insight combined with all the wrong instincts as immigrants get treated like a disease and morality is considered a four letter word, creates a nation on perpetual high alert.

This is a dark moment in our nearly 250 year experiment. Led by an arrogant fool, the next crisis merely a stray thought and a tweet away. 

This is not how the Founding Fathers drew it up. The highest office now uncomfortably residing at an all time low.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Our Double Negative President. Because One Negative Is Not Enough

Is there anything worse than that tricky double negative? Am I saying what I mean or not saying what I mean or not not saying what I mean? Sometimes I think my head will literally explode from not not thinking about this riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a conundrum inside a Russian nesting doll.

I don't not understand what Mr. Trump didn't mean yesterday. I mean I do not understand him but that doesn't mean I don't comprehend him. He said what he meant and he meant what he said and an elephant is faithful 100 per cent.

Mr.Trump tripping over his words? Don't tell me he doesn't lie. Or do tell me he does lie. I don't know what is fake anymore. Or I do know what is true. I am so confused. Or maybe not, not at all.

Mr. Trump, our double negative President. Because one negative is not enough.

PS - Here's a bad/good joke for you

What do you get if you mix Donald Trump with Vladimir Putin?  A double negative.

Or maybe it's not a joke at all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Russian Roulette

It turns out that Sarah Palin was correct. We can see Russia from here.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

If We Are Cut, Do Not Yankee Fans Bleed (Pinstripes)?

("The New York Yankees Are A Moral Abomination"). 

I believe I am deeply offended by the few words I could comprehend in Mr. Hart's piece. As a long time Yankee fan, I suffered gravely through the entire hazy period from 1964 to 1976 until free agency bought us, I mean brought us, back onto our rightful seat on the throne. And who can forget the wasteland of 1982 to 1994? If you cut a Yankee fan do we not bleed? Well, it may not be red, but pinstripe is a kind of color, isn't it?

Look, I sympathize (but clearly cannot empathize) with the Orioles' present dismal plight. But our riches come not from overflowing coffers but merely astute observation of raw talent. Search your own soul, or more appropriately, your own squad's front office, for the source of your consternation.

And the deepest cut of all in your unmitigated assault upon my senses? Never, and I mean never, criticize Derek Jeter as to his range or his Gold Gloves. And don't even contemplate reminding us of his treasonous act of latching on to another squad seemingly mere moments after his last futile stab at a grounder a foot or two out of reach.

Mr. Hart (or should I refer to you as Mr. Heartless) there is no room on my bookshelf for your petulance, your boorish behavior, your relentless attack on all that is good, decent and American. Make America Great Again may be but a ridiculous note scribbled on a red hat that served as catalyst for the descent of this nation into Hell, but Make the Yankees Great Again is a tattoo forever emblazoned on my heart and embroidered on the Armani suits of all who toil for the mere love of the game for my favorite team.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Dangerous Time to Be a Friend to America

He does not trust friendships, always looking for the angle, the opening that his ally is utilizing to try to stick a knife into his back. He finds cause for concern in virtually everything in this universe, not seeing anything but the worst of intentions.

For those who admire this man, this behavior is refreshing, uncovering an unvarnished ugly truth. For the rest of us, it is but a mirror into the dark soul of a person without an ounce of morality, someone whose psyche is deeply damaged, who finds only the gravest danger whenever and wherever the hand of kinship is offered.

As for the Putin's around the globe whose avowed goal is to destroy our beating heart, he finds little fault. To him, there is honor in hatred, in cut throat practices, in the very art of trying to beat the other guy to a pulp. It is this warfare that draws him in, as it speaks to the essence of his own being. There is, in his warped vision, a nobility here.

So we are forever more to watch this President denigrate those who stand side by side with us, while at times giving effusive praise to the ones who would leave us bleeding by the side of the road. We are trapped inside his mind, his vastly disturbing beliefs playing out across the globe.

It is a dangerous time to be a friend to America. It is a dangerous time to be America.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Wild Boars and Mr. Trump

The Wild Boars were saved this week, but unfortunately one escaped and was seen wreaking havoc in Brussels.

We can only request one miracle a news cycle and to expect Mr. Trump to treat allies as anything other than mortal enemies was asking for a second transcendent moment.

We watched in awe at the cooperation, skill and ingenuity of cave divers from Thailand and abroad acting in concert to demonstrate what the best of humanity looks like in crisis. And then there is Mr. Trump, demolishing relationships and making America a four letter word around much of the globe.

The rescue of the boy's soccer team revealed the heights of which we are capable, showing our bravery and courage, our hope and determination, our creativity and the incredible genius with which we are endowed, allowing us to solve the most perplexing and daunting riddles and overcome even the most seemingly insurmountable obstacles. And then there is Mr. Trump.

It was the best of times. And then there is Mr. Trump.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Supreme Being

Merrick Garland is clear testament to its ill effects. So too is the very ascendancy of Donald Trump. And we pray daily for long life for Notorious RBG because of it. It is far past time that we deal with the elephant in the room. Lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court should be Constitutionally prohibited.

What would Mr. Trump suggest is his biggest accomplishment in office? Likely that with his second nomination to the highest bench looming, he will bend this nation's arc for decades to come, long after his small hands have been taken over the steering wheel.  Why should we as a nation permit such an outcome, left or right? How can we square limited duration terms for the legislative and executive branches and yet find no compulsion to put time constraints on the power wielded by the judiciary? 

This is, to be certain, not the mark of other democracies, where defined lengths of stay or mandatory retirement ages prevent power remaining firmly entrenched in one's grasp until death, or at least the right successor, do them part. 

We have long since rid ourselves of the fiction that permanent seat on the highest court assures independence from the political winds. In fact, the glee with which one party treats an opening and the gloom of night descending on the other is now maybe our most compelling demonstration of the clearly contemplated entanglements of this position.

If you believe that the extended vacancy on the bench after Justice Scalia's death was intended to allow the voice of the people to be heard that November, I have a bridge to sell you. 

And if you think that the warp speed with which Mr. Trump will thrust his replacement for Justice Kennedy upon us is not direct response to keeping even the possibility of the voice of the people from being heard this November, well I may be able to locate a second bridge for you.

I fully understand the futility of contemplating a Constitutional Amendment in this toxic environment. That the weight of our political wars will surely sink this ship before it leaves port. But we cannot turn a blind eye to the damage lifetime tenure is doing to the very fabric of our democracy.

Maybe in the days and years to come sanity can be restored and we can begin to seriously consider and act upon what is now a clear stain upon our nearly 250 year old experiment. 

        For the sake of the long term health of our nation, lifetime elevation to the Supreme Court should die a Constitutionally mandated death.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

What is the Democratic Call to Arms?

Is it this nation's unbending cruelty on immigration the issue that will move mountains this November? Or guns and the multiplying horrors in our classrooms? Or the Supreme Court tilting ever farther right? Maybe it is the mistreatment of allies and an affinity for autocrats? Then there is the long standing Mueller investigation and the possibilities of what this will reveal. And how can the boorishness, the vulgarity, the lies and  the ugliness of the President not be our first and last thought when casting a ballot? The phantom tax cuts for all but a few? The spiralling debt? The trade wars that threaten the stability of our economy? Roe v Wade under attack? The continuing economic uncertainty of the have nots? The list is as long as the first day of summer.

There are so many avenues to go down, or maybe it is none of the above. Tomorrow may lead us on a different journey, to a different conclusion as to where the bottom rests.

As the mid-terms creep ever so closer and world spins even further out of control, we are as confused and uncertain as ever as to the most persuasive and compelling mantra to stop the Republican runaway train in its tracks. Every day brings yet another cause for us to mobilize against. Every fortnight we rise in anger at yet one more step towards our own destruction.

There is grave danger in attacking too many demons. Too much diffusion, too little consensus. The Republicans are utterly void of rational, fact based policy but strong and focused in their drum beat message of fear and hatred. The Dems are left at the starting gate here, their loudest voice reserved for the call to get out and vote. Where is the gravitational pull in such an entreaty?

We have everything to fear when fear itself propels our adversary while casting a ballot is our call to arms.