Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Reaction to Presidential Debate, the "Other" News and a MLK Quote

The Debate

The afternoon of the Presidential Debate, I sent an email bulletin to one of the several Email mailing lists I maintain which concluded with the following, “And if you are one of those who has not yet made up their mind, listen carefully as to how the candidates enumerate the problems our nation faces and their ideas as to how to realistically address them.  Pay no attention to emotional appeals.  Act on facts.”  I had thought they would be exposed to something close to a normal “debate.”  How naively optimistic I was.

Trump Scowling Between Lies

I had never expected the debate to deteriorate into the brawl it turned out to be because of the boorishness of the person who carries, and daily disgraces, the title of President of the United States.  Totally incompetent in his role as President, Trump proved to be equally incompetent in addressing his opponent (and the millions of viewers), a quite different matter than his speaking before one of his gullible and ignorant mobs of supporters.  More and more he resembles cult leader Jim Jones who led hundreds to their deaths by poisoned Kool-Aid forty years ago, only this time the death will involve the Republican Party.

Ignoring (and sometimes insulting) the moderator and the rules both Parties had agreed to, Trump interrupted whenever he chose to, insulted his opponent and his family, and lied his way through the ninety-minute ordeal.  I think Biden would be justified in dropping out of future debates with a man who is no more than a schoolyard bully or thug at best.

Putting that aside, it is clear that Trump has given up on winning the election, both from a popular and electoral college standpoint.  His performance was not intended to win or change anyone’s votes. In fact, I suspect polls will show it cost him votes.  All he was interested in doing was solidifying his base, a considerable 40% of the electorate.  Even in losing, that number is something with which to be reckoned.  But more about that later.

Clearly, Trump’s aim is to challenge the results of an election he cannot win as fraudulent and litigate them up to the Supreme Court.  That is why he is frantically attempting to get his nominee, or another nominee if she fails to win Senate approval, on the Court giving him a majority, able to overthrow the election results.  That’s the only way he can stay in the White House.

To do this, he needs a majority vote in the Senate.  There just may be enough integrity left in that body, particularly after seeing what they saw and heard in the debate, to keep defeating his nominees until he gives up and accepts the election results. He might acquiesce to such a deal if it kept him from prosecution once he is out of office.  But don’t count on that happening.    It might just be wishful thinking on my part.

Last week’s New Yorker magazine (9-28 issue) included a lengthy article by lawyer Jeffrey Toobin which was subtitled “How Trump’s forces could challenge the election results and turn the country into a battleground.”  Toward the end of the article, Toobin wrote that “It’s unsurprising that, when the Transition Integrity Project, a group of a hundred bipartisan experts, ran a series of simulations, they concluded that ‘the potential for violent conflict is high, particularly since Trump encourages his supporters to take up arms.’ ”  He also wrote, after discussing Trump’s sympathy for anti-Black Lives Matter counter-protesters, that “anything short of a landslide for either Biden or Trump could lead to chaos.”  This will not end well.

 


The Other News

In response to someone posting on Heather Cox Richardson’s daily “Letter from an American,” raising the question of how the continuing West coast wildfires have dropped out of the spotlight, I added the following comment:

“Good point, about the wildfires. I wonder, if the news were not dominated by the election, the Supreme Court, Covid19 and the President's financial picture, what would be the front page stories.



You know, they haven't gone away: the "war' between Russia and Ukraine, ISIS, the Taliban and Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian impass, nuclear weapons in North Korea and eventually in Iran, rising dictatorships in Europe, the Khashoggi murder, unsolved problems caused by poverty the world over, deterioration of public school education in the U.S. and changes becoming necessary due to climate change. Oh, and there's more, which don't make page one because space is needed to report that a Trump aide cracked up. And speaking of "page one," we can't ignore the continuing decline of newspaper and other print media as disseminators of news and opinion. That's a problem that doesn't get enough attention either.”





Words to Reflect Upon 

Mary Sanchez, in a recent Kansas City Star column, quoted Martin Luther King as follows”


“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.  Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions.  Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”

King spoke these words just a few months before his assassination 51 years ago.  They are just as pertinent today.

JL


Hey, I'm still lurking around!


Sunday, September 27, 2020

A "Pretty Lady," a Couple of Letters and Words from Eric

 


Eric Says ...

Florida’s 29 electoral votes may be the difference between victory and defeat in November.   Eric Trump, the President’s son, recently reassured voters that his father would concede if he were “blown out of the water” in the election.  I don't know if his dad agrees with him.  But Democrats should recognize that and make it happen, considerably reducing the likelihood of litigation by the Trumpublicans.






Lady in a Mask

Avoiding Cofid19
The full painting
by Botticelli

In the most recent posting, I included a brief item regarding a pandemic involving the spread of a new virus, the “Monumental Ignorance” which pervades our society.  Let me comment further on that ignorance.

Accompanying the piece was a picture of a young woman with flowing hair wearing a face mask.  Whomever made this used Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting, “The Birth of Venus” as the source of the woman’s face.  (Some refer to this painting as “Venus on the Half Shell.)  The fact that one of most famous faces ever painted, rivaling that of the Mona Lisa, was used to point up the need to wear masks was totally missed by whomever posted the picture on Google, where I found it, well illustrates this ignorance.  The label on the Google image simply was “Pretty lady with a mask.”  I am certain they never had heard of Botticelli and if they had, they probably thought it to be a designer label or a perfume.  Monumental ignorance! Somehow, this bothers me.

 

 


 

Two Letters 

The Palm Beach Post published my letter which appeared on this blog’s September 22 posting.  Here it is again:

 

 

 


“A recent letter writer (Mon. Sept. 21) urged that Senators Rubio and Scott stand up for millions of Florida children and support the House-approved Heroes Act.  In saying that “anyone with two eyes can see that to reopen safely, schools need resources right now,” the writer missed the fact that most Republican Senators, our two included, tightly close their eyes on entering the Senate Chamber, by order of their leader, Mitch McConnell.  It’s a wonder they don’t trip over the furniture there.”


And speaking of letters to the Post, here is one published today which says it all:

“Democrats should stop trying to play by rules that don’t exist.  We need to take the White House, Senate and House.  Make Washington D.C. a state.  Make Puerto Rico a state and add a couple of justices.  Time to get real and make real change.  Enough being ruled by the minority!  Republicans received far less votes overall than Democrats.  The president lost the popular vote.  Time for the   majority to take back the control of our government.”


I applaud the writer!  I agree with this letter and hope it brings out Democratic voters, although an overwhelmingly clear-cut victory for them might make that nuclear option (two more States and more Justices on the Supreme Court) not yet immediately necessary.  Eventually, yes, but not immediately. Those issue might confuse an already confusing galaxy of 2020 issues.



JL

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Criticizing Democracy, The Hand We've Been Dealt, Another Pandemic? Patriotic Songs





Criticizing Democracy

I want to make a distinction regarding how ‘Democracy’ is subject to criticism. 

Donald J. Trump was elected to the presidency in 2016 in an entirely legal manner, following the rules laid out in the Constitution.  That the crucial electoral college votes which gave him the victory came from states with many gullible and ignorant voters doesn’t matter.  That is an educational problem, not a political one.  In 2016, Trump won ‘fair and square,’ or pretty close to that standard, even though he may have had ‘a little help from his friends.’  (In the early days of the Republic, the French and the British tried to be ‘helpful’ to candidates they favored in our elections.) Some may not like it but that’s the way democracy works.  It is up to us to fix it, rather than dwelling on it as evidence that ‘democracy is dead,’ as strong as that evidence may be.  It’s a taut tightrope to walk, but we must try to walk across it.

Opponents of democracy in other countries, non-democratic ones, feel an autocratic, if not a dictatorial, government is a better solution.  They take pleasure in criticizing the failures of our ‘democracy’ as evidence of this.  While they are happy with the autocratic tendencies of the president our ‘democracy’ elected in 2016, they take his election despite a majority of Americans opposing him and his programs, as evidence that ‘democracy is dead’ here.  How else could that have happened.  What the people got wasn't quite what they thought they had voted for.


We should distinguish our thoughts concerning the demise of democracy in the United States between (1) those endeavoring to fix, or resuscitate, it and (2) those following the idea that its flaws, as shown by Trump’s election, and possible re-election, prove it to be an inherently failed system of government.  That latter idea is what the Russians would like Americans to believe and are spending big bucks to promulgate through social media, playing both sides of the street, sowing dissent wherever the field seems fertile.




As I said, it’s a taut tightrope we walk. 


 JL



The Hand We've Been Dealt

But getting back to where we are today, just a few short weeks before we elect a president, a full House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate, let’s look at what’s on the table.

 

As I see it, the only way Trump can be kept out of office for four more years would be for an enormous repudiation of him and all he stands for to take place in the election.  Ideally, it would be very helpful if Biden won the popular and the electoral vote on Election Day, even before those states which will accept mailed in ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within a stipulated (varying by State) number of days after Election Day are tabulated.  That would give him a strong argument for claiming victory.  (There are fifteen such States plus D.C. but all but three are either solidly Republican or Democratic to the extent where mailed in votes received after Election Day are unlikely to change anything.  They might, however, make a difference in Texas, North Carolina and Virginia.)

 

If such a Biden victory (or one dependent on the delayed tabulation in one of those three States) occurs, the Republicans will contest the election results with litigation, ultimately before a politicized Supreme Court and/or the turning over of the electoral college to State Legislatures after a specified deadline passes.  By then, Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ginsberg on the Supreme Court will have been approved by the spineless Senate, and Trump will be declared the winner. 

 

Remember that whomever is ultimately chosen to be president, or even the continuance of Trump in office without a resolution of the election results, millions of those who disagree will be out there demonstrating in Washington and  throughout the nation, and I don’t think it will be entirely non-violent, on either side. At this moment, it doesn’t appear that this will end well.

That’s the hand we’ve been dealt.  Now play it … and always expect the unexpected to happen.

 


 




 

Another Pandemic







The other day, someone asked me about how the Covid19 pandemic would end.  I replied that eventually, its spread would be stopped by our finally and seriously following the rules (social distancing, masks, handwashing, avoiding crowded venues and crowds, etc.).  And then, I added, we will have to deal with the other pandemic threatening our country.  “What disease is that?” I was asked.  I smiled and responded, “Monumental ignorance, my friend, monumental ignorance.  Were it not for that, Covid19 would be history by now.”

  




 

Patriotic Songs 



Think of all the patriotic songs you know so well.  “My country, t’is of thee,” “Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light,” “Glory, glory, halleyulah,” “You’re a grand old flag,” and finally, these less frequently sung verses from "America the Beautiful."

“Oh beautiful for pilgrim feet whose stern impassioned stress, a thoroughfare for freedom beat across the wilderness! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law! …

“Oh beautiful for patriots’ dreams that see beyond the years, thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea! 

                                                    *   *   *

And this man doesn't understand any of these words and wants to destroy them!

JL

.


Mmmm, smack, chomp, mmmm, yum ...











Tuesday, September 22, 2020

More on the Supreme Court Appointment, Those Southern Monuments, GOP Eyes Closed and TV Delays






Democrats Need a Humungous Victory 

It is clear that Trumpublican trickery will get a Supreme Court Justice to replace RBG nominated and approved by the Senate in short order, probably before the election.  Republicans can be counted on to ignore their own prior statements (regarding the Merrick Garland nomination) and what their consciences tell them is right.  That’s why they’re Republicans. They’re truly low life.  It’s part of the package they got when they continued campaigning under the now reprehensible GOP label, sort of like the Faustian legend.  They sold their souls to Trump to get the votes of his base.  

The Democrats will scream and holler, but really will be able to do nothing until they win the Presidency and both Houses of Congress.  This is likely to happen were it not for the pending Trumpublican trickery, which will call for litigating the election results all the way up to the Supreme Court … where they will have a controlling majority as soon as the Senate approves the new Justice.  That’s why they want a vote quickly.  (Votes against the nominee by Senators Collins and Murkowski, and by a hopefully-elected Mark Kelly whose immediate seating in the Senate will not have to wait until January, would still not be enough to stop confirmation of Trump’s choice.)

Trump wants immediate control of the Court in order to litigate and invalidate a total Trumpublican debacle in the election.  He may succeed in this unless the results of the election produce so overwhelming, so massive, a Democratic victory for the House, Senate and the presidency, on a popular basis as well as in the electoral college, a victory of such proportions that even the most rabid Republicans crawl back into a corner and turn the country back to the real Americans, taking it away from the ultimate ‘oligarch wannabe’ in the White House.  I don’t know if that will happen, but I certainly hope so.

If Trump doesn’t succeed in invalidating the election, even with the Court on his side, the Democrats will immediately add Justices to the Court and perhaps add likely Democratic States to the Union.  Either way, Trump or the Democrats coming out on top, the streets will be filled with demonstrators for the next decade. That is the where the real issues like abortion rights, real racial equality, immigration, health care, gun violence and climate change will be resolved.  Wrongly or right, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, with the government reacting to the demonstrations, either directly or indirectly.  And all of this going on while the Covid19 pandemic, essentially ignored by the Trumpublican administration, remains a great influence on the nation's health, both physical and economic.

Does anyone actually believe Roe vs Wade can be reversed and the Affordable Care Act emasculated without a demonstration by millions on the streets of Washington?  And the struggle for racial equality would be nothing without demonstrations.  If the government uses force to quell such demonstrations, there will be a response.  And supporters of the causes the President seems to espouse have shown their power in demonstrations in places like Charlottesville and in Washington, against Roe vs Wade.  The next decade will not be a peaceful one.


JL

 

 


 

 

 Tearing Down Monuments Dedicated to Traitors


When you read about and see demonstrators fighting to keep the monuments dedicated to the traitors who fought the government in the Civil War from being taken down, you realize that war is still being fought.  Most of them were erected almost half a century after that war and did not commemorate individual heroes of the war.  They really celebrated the South’s success in negating the result of the war with Jim Crow legislation, voter suppression and groups like the KKK.  Those who fight to preserve these monuments would have been rebels during that war, fought over the issue of allowing slavery to spread throughout the nation’s westward expansion. Post-Civil War “Reconstruction” of the South failed, betraying the freed slaves, when the impeachment of Andrew Johnson failed. Lincoln had chosen him as Vice President just to show he was not an anti-Southern radical.  Big mistake, Abe, and the Senate, not unlike today’s Senate, proved it.




Unpublished Letter

Trumpublicans in the Senate haven't voted on the House-approved Heroes Act providing relief for problems, particularly schools, arising out of the Covid19 pandemic.  They feel it goes too far.  A local Florida resident wrote a letter to the Palm Beach Post urging our Senators to support the bill.  I followed it up with a letter of my own, still unpublished, which went as follows:

"A recent letter writer (Mon. Sept. 21) urged that Senators Rubio and Scott stand up for millions of Florida children and support the House-approved Heroes Act.  In saying that “anyone with two eyes can see that to reopen safely, schools need resources right now,” the writer missed the fact that most Republican Senators, our two included, tightly close their eyes on entering the Senate Chamber, by order of their leader, Mitch McConnell.  It’s a wonder they don’t trip over the furniture there." 

JL



Watching TV

I was watching a baseball game on TV the other day (Marlins vs Nationals) when they had some trouble with the transmission for a few minutes. I immediately tuned my radio to the AM station carrying the game and followed it there.  When the TV transmission problem was corrected, I was surprised to find that the TV feed was running about ten seconds behind the radio broadcast.  In some situations, I knew what was going to happen before I saw it on TV.  (Example: From the radio broadcast, when the count on a batter was three and two, I sometimes … but not always … sometimes they ‘dawdled’ more than ten seconds … was able to know whether he walked, struck out, hit a foul ball, got a hit or made an out, before  whatever happened appeared on the TV screen. I suppose ten seconds is too short an advantage to be monetized, except maybe in a sports bar with the radio broadcast coming in on an earplug.)  So remember, what you see as presented on TV as “live” is sometimes not always “live.”  This might be a function of what kind of TV set you have or the way your cable company transmits its signal … but seeing something after a ten second delay, is not quite seeing something “live,”  although it rarely matters.  This kind of delay sometimes is intentional in newscasts when the editors want the opportunity to eliminate something violent or indecent from their broadcast of something “live.”

JL

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Where Do We Go From Here and Some Thoughts on How it Used to Be ... before

 

A subscriber to Heather Cox Richardson’s daily “Letter to Americans” quoted the following piece which originally appeared on Facebook.  Americans should think of the questions it raises when they vote for a president shortly.  

If you are not reading Professor Richardson’s daily “Letter,” you are missing a lot.  Get to it by CLICKING HERE.


Professor Richardson’s eulogy on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, posted on September 18, must be read,  It says it all.  Read it at the link provided above.
   Or just CLICK HERE.

 

And here is the item which appeared on Facebook:

“I’ve been wondering why this entire country seems to be under a cloud of constant misery. 

Why we all seem to be Russians

Waiting in line for toilet paper, meat, Lysol.

Hoarding yeast and sourdough starter “in case we can’t get bread”.

Buying stamps so that one of our most beloved institutions might survive.

Why we all look like we are in bad need of a haircut, or a facial or a reason to dress up again and go somewhere.

Anywhere.

 

There is no art in this White House. There is no literature or poetry in this White House. No music. No Kennedy Center award celebrations.

There are no pets in this White House.

No loyal man’s best friend. No Socks the family cat.

No kids’ science fairs.

 

No times when this president takes off his blue suit-red tie uniform and becomes

 Human, except when he puts on his white shirt- khaki pants uniform and 

Hides from Americans to play golf. 

 

There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment

of relaxation.  No Obama’s on the beach in Hawaii moments, nor Bushes fishing in

Kennebunkport, nor Reagans on horseback, nor Kennedys playing touch football 

on the Cape.

 

I was thinking the other day of the summer when

George H couldn’t catch a fish and all the grandkids made signs and

Counted the fish-less days.

And somehow, even if you didn’t even like GHB,

You got caught up in the joy of a family that loved each other and had fun.

 

Where did that country go? Where did all of the fun and joy and expressions of 

Love and happiness go? We used to be a country that did

The ice bucket challenge and raised millions for charity.

We used to have a president that calmed and soothed the nation

Instead dividing it.

And a First Lady that planted a garden instead of ripping one out.

 

We are rudderless and joyless.

We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make America great.

We have lost our mojo. Our fun, our happiness.

The cheering on of others.

The shared experiences of humanity that make it all worth it.

The challenges AND the triumphs that we shared and celebrated.

The unique can-do spirit Americans have always been known for.

 

We are lost.

We have lost so much

In so short a time."       




Back to Politics

And now some thoughts brought on by the day's events.  I would not bother including them at this point, but it looks like the President's gracelessness demands that I do.

Our fool of a President, Putin’s “useful idiot, didn’t have brains enough to wait at least until after Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s funeral to announce that he would be naming a replacement Supreme Court Justice soon and hoped it would shortly be voted on by the Senate.  This is a man raised in a household where love was absent and it is reflected in his every action.  Necessary to such an action would be Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who very well may be a defeated lame-duck Senator by the time the nomination comes before the Senate for a vote.

I fully expect Trump to make his nomination.  Whether his stooges in the Senate will go along with him in sufficient numbers is another question, considering that many fought against even having  a vote on Obama’s Merrick Garland nomination because a presidential election was coming up within the year, and fairness demanded they follow the dictates of that election.  This was the position of Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham among others in 2016.  The shoe is now on the other foot, requiring them to become hypocrites out of loyalty to Trump.  Will they?  Particularly if they are running for re-election.  It works both ways.  And how about the female Senators, who would not even be there were it not for Justice Ginsberg’s lifetime of work?  And there are those that to whom a quick nomination and vote, as Trump desires, is morally repugnant.  It was Justice Ginsberg who had, in anticipation of her passing, wanted a replacement named only after the presidential election.  Some may want to respect those wishes.  No, confirmation in the Senate of his nominee is not a sure thing.

But Trump wants it badly, and done quickly, since it is likely that the results of the presidential election will result in litigation which will end up before the Supreme Court where another conservative Justice on the bench would suit his aims just fine. 

If this happens, and that is where we end up … a Supreme Court infused with new conservative blood handing the presidency to Trump for another four  years … because of an unclear election result, made possible only because of Trump’s baseless attacks on entirely legal “vote by mail” balloting and his sabotaging of the Postal Service, the efficient operation of which is essential to voting by mail, it’s time for a new issue to be raised for Americans  And that is Emigration.  No, that is not a misspelling.  It might be time for Americans still devoted to the democracy which has flourished in our country for 231 years to consider picking up stakes and moving elsewhere.  I hope that doesn’t become necessary.

Meanwhile, it is likely that Joe Biden will get more popular votes than Trump, and if the Electoral College votes fall into place for him, and he survives post-election Trump litigation, Joe ultimately will become President and have a Democratic House and Senate to support him.   

But possibly, he still will have to deal with an ultra-conservative Supreme Court, as described above.  I see no alternative other than his going back to FDR’s failed effort to expand the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, perfectly legal if the House and the Senate go along with it.  The Constitution does not stipulate the number of Justices on the Supreme Court and a President Biden should not hesitate to nominate four or five additional Justices.  Nine is not some kind of magic number and there has not always been that number of Justices on the Supreme Court.

JL


                                                             











































Thursday, September 17, 2020

A Maureen Dowd Column, A Compaint to Google and to Apple and Our Corrupted Attorney General's Latest

 


Here’s a recent column by Maureen Dowd which Trump haters will enjoy, even though it won’t convince any of his supporters to desert him.   I note she mentions “Stella Dallas.”  Gawd, I remember listening to that radio soap opera when I came home from elementary school for lunch or late in the afternoon years and years and years ago.

 JL

 ALL THE PRESIDENT’S INSECURITIES

 


Maureen Dowd - As printed in the New York Times

WASHINGTON — During his 2016 bid, Donald Trump would sometimes pause from bashing elites and the media to speak with awe about a phone call he had with a Very Important Journalist.  Trump puffed up with pride as he told the story to bemused rallygoers, who only moments before had been jeering at the press.  It was, to say the least, a mixed message from the phony populist.  During an interview in June 2016 at Trump Tower, Trump bragged to me about the call with the journalist, who turned out to be Tom Friedman. Lately, Trump has been boasting about Tom’s praise for the White House’s Israel-United Arab Emirates peace plan.  

Like Stella Dallas standing in the rain outside the gates of the mansion where her daughter is getting married, Trump has always had his nose pressed up against the window of the elites.  “For a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity,” former Ambassador Kim Darroch wrote to his colleagues in London, in a leaked cable.  Steve Bannon once told me that Trump was much more concerned about CNN’s coverage than Fox’s. Trump was not seeking affirmation from the nighttime slate of Fox knuckleheads; they were in the bag. Unserious though he may be, Trump covets praise from serious people. And serious Sean Hannity is not.

Fresh off his win in 2016, he was eager to come talk to The New York Times. I’ve never seen Trump happier than in that hour with the “failing” New York Times. (He even got to upbraid me in front of my boss.) As we wrapped up, he told the assembled editors, reporters and Times brass: “It’s a great honor. I will say, The Times is, it’s a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along.” 

That same eager tone was echoed in the audio of Bob Woodward’s tapes with Trump, as the president warmly spoke the name “Bob” again and again, yearning for acceptance from the very establishment that he had denounced to win the Oval Office.  Even though Woodward keeps writing books about Trump with titles that sound like Hitchcock horror flicks — first “Fear” and now “Rage” — Trump somehow thought he could win over the pillar of the Washington establishment. 

“I brought something that I’ve never shown to anybody,” the president told the writer in December 2019. “I’m going to show it to you. I’ll get you something that’s sort of cool.”  He had an aide bring photos of him with Kim Jong Un, including some capturing the moment when the two leaders stepped over the line between North and South Korea.  “Pretty cool,” Trump gushed. “You know? Pretty cool. Right?” He added, “I mean, they’re cool pictures when you — you know, when you talk about iconic pictures, how about that?”

 In a later interview, he gave Woodward a poster-size picture of himself and Kim, saying: “I don’t even know why I’m giving it to you. That’s my only one.” He trumpeted about Kim: “He never smiled before. I’m the only one he smiles with.” 

Trump also bragged to the man who helped break the Watergate story, which sparked an impeachment inquiry, that he handled impeachment with more aplomb than his predecessors.  “Nixon was in a corner with his thumb in his mouth,” Trump said. “Bill Clinton took it very, very hard.  I don’t.”

 Woodward once told me that every president gets the psychoanalyst he deserves.  But at least with Nixon, Woodward had to follow the money to expose the venality. With Trump, he simply had to turn on a recorder.

Trump is his own whistleblower.  As the Times' Nick Confessore put it on MSNBC: “Trump is the first candidate for president to launch an October surprise against himself. It’s as if Nixon sent the Nixon tapes to Woodward in an envelope by FedEx.”

Trump fiends for legitimacy even as he undercuts any chance of being seen as legitimate. He is fact-based and cogent on the Woodward tape talking in early February about how the coronavirus is airborne and deadly and dangerous for young people. But he vitiated that by publicly downplaying the vital information for his own political advantage.

 For more than a week, instead of focusing on his peace deals and his nomination for the “Noble Prize,” as a Trump campaign ad spelled it, everyone has been focused on a story that contends he called Americans who died in war “suckers” and “losers.”

Trump desperately wants approval even as he seems relentlessly driven to prove he’s not worthy of it.  He may be ludicrously un-self-aware, but even he sensed that his tango with Woodward would end badly. It was fun for a while, bro-ing out in the Oval with his fellow septuagenarian big shot, batting around the finer points of white privilege. But it could not last.

 “You’re probably going to screw me,” the president told the writer. “You know, because that’s the way it goes.”  Even so, the unreflective Narcissus will never drag himself away from his reflecting pool.  You know, because that’s the way it goes.

c. 2020 The New York Times Company

 

 


Listen Here, Google and Apple

The folks at Google who manage Blogspot through which this blog is published apparently believe that all change is good.  Well, it isn’t.  Doing things differently for the sake of what is improvement in some people’s mind does not necessarily make them better.  Recently Google changed some of its formatting in recording the statistics regarding how often blogs were accessed, and by whom in terms of country and internet server.  When they instituted the changes and asked for opinions, I gave them mine and they were not favorable.  Unfortunately, among other shortcomings, I can no longer determine how many “hits” the blog is getting from places like Russia and other refinements the old system provided. 

In a related area, recently, my mobile phone started misbehaving doing stuff on its own it had never done before.  After five years, it was wearing out so I replaced my IPhone7 with an IPhone11.  Apparently, Apple’s engineers operate like those at Google.  They think any change must be for the better.  T’ain’t so, McGee!  (Can you identify the source of that remark? I am sure those engineers I mentioned are too young to recall that.)  To clear the screen on the new model, all one has to do is swipe upwards, instead of pushing a button at the bottom which the old model had.  It’s different,  but is it better?  I bet that some future model (IPhone 15 or 16?) will replace the upward swipe with something revolutionary, like a button to tap.  And in signing on, a fingerprint has been replaced by facial recognition (which doesn't work when I wear a face mask or use my phone in the middle of the night from my bed.)   But in five or six years, some genius will come up with the idea of using fingerprints instead of facial recognition.  

 

 

 Our Attorney-General - An American Disgrace

The New York Time’s recently reported some frightening news from our frightening Attorney General, the first few paragraphs of which are is reported below:


Barr told prosecutors to consider sedition charges for protesters


By Katie Benner

The New York Times

 

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition, according to two people familiar with the call.

 

The highly unusual suggestion to charge people with insurrection against lawful authority alarmed some on the call, which included U.S. attorneys around the country, said the people, who spoke on the condition they not be named describing Barr’s comments because they feared retribution.


The most extreme form of the federal sedition law, which is rarely invoked, criminalizes conspiracies to overthrow the government of the United States — an extraordinary situation that does not seem to fit the circumstances of the unrest in places like Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere in response to police killings of Black men.

 

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment

 

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A friend recently moved, always a taxing experience.  Exhausted by it, she commented regarding her move, “This is it.  Never again.”  In view of items like that published above, and the possibility of Trump’s re-election in November, or a violent reaction to the election’s results, I implied to her that another move might be needed in the future, once another country in which to live in were determined.  This is the way bad things started in the first half of the Twentieth century.

JL

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