Monday, November 19, 2018

Short attention-span theater

The four unions that represent postal workers, with the backing of many members of Congress, are fighting a scheme to privatize the postal service.  Because private prisons have been such an outstanding success, and because private mail delivery is working so well in Britain (higher prices and worse service).  If this happens, guess who will be the principal losers?  Yes, the rural white people who still support Trump.  It's almost poetic.

Maybe Betsy DeVos wouldn't need round-the-clock bodyguards if she would stop making it easier to get away with sexual assault on campus.  Maybe she's just paranoid.

Because it has nothing better to do and no other legal problems, the White House is still fighting to get Jim Acosta of CNN permanently banned from the premises.  Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, has told them to stop violating Acosta's Fifth Amendment right to due process, so expect a deranged tweet directed at him.  And possibly an executive order abolishing the Fifth Amendment.

Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal and What's the Matter With Kansas? is the expert on how America hates progressive politics.  I look forward to Bedtime For Bonzo:  How the Republican Party Got Its Ass Kicked Out of Orange County, California.  The epicenter of Reaganland is now bluer than the bonny blue flag.  Mr. Frank?  (By the way, Laura Kelly defeated Trumpite voter-suppression ninja Chris Kobach and will be the next governor of Kansas.)

The Defense Department has just been audited for the first time, and has failed resoundingly.  It seems there are millions of dollars nobody can account for.  (As Everett Dirksen liked to say, "A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.")  Could take years to track it all down.  Will this give Trump the excuse he needs to fire James Mattis?  The general has been the only effective brake on Cadet Bone Spurs, and the only member of the Cabinet Trump fears, possibly because he actually seems to understand/care about his job.  Holiday weekend distractions notwithstanding, this would not be a good time.

On November 10, the Trumps flew all the way to Paris to display their contempt for the few remaining allies of the United States and the dead of World War I.  This week Trump decided it was a good time to revive his feud with retired Admiral William McRaven, who has called him "the greatest threat to democracy" we face.  McRaven led SEAL Team 6, which killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, but no one deserves any credit for that:  "Wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner?" Trump asked.  (Perhaps in the 1980s, when he was our man in Afghanistan, standing up to the Evil Empire.  Or during Bush II, when we declined to lay siege to Tora Bora.  Just not during the Obama Administration.  What a mess that guy left.)  McRaven is a tool of Obama and Hillary, and Trump would absolutely have run into the Abbottabad compound alone and unarmed.  He's just that awesome.

This morning a "bipartisan threesome" of retired Army colonels, Gordon Adams, Lawrence B. Wilkerson and Isaiah Wilson III, published an op-ed in The New York Times condemning Trump's deployment of troops to the Mexican border, "an unprecedented use of the military" as a political stunt just before the midterm elections.  Veterans are waiting years for their GI Bill benefits because the DVA's computers are still running on punch-cards, and somehow neither Jared Kushner nor Trump's country-club pals are close to fixing the mess.  Out of sight of the fire-obsessed "news" media, American sailors are very much in harm's way in the South China Sea.  Is there any branch of the military Trump hasn't shat on?

Yes, the fires burn on, more than seventy people are confirmed to have died horribly, hundreds are unaccounted for, towns are gone (including one heartbreakingly named Paradise), thousands are living in tents and shelters -- at least one infected with norovirus, as if it couldn't get any worse -- the scope of this disaster is too much for a normal mind to take in.  But the proprietor of a deeply abnormal mind dropped in this weekend and immediately put his finger on the problem:  California keeps having fires because nobody rakes the forest floors.  The president of Finland told him that.  (No, he didn't.)  I have to give credit, I didn't think there was anything to laugh at here.  Well, there it is.  We laugh to keep from going mad.  #RakeAmericaGreatAgain!

I have come to the conclusion that the only pre-existing condition recognized by Trump is his own congenital syphilis.    


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