Tag Archives: Politics

The Shadow of Grenfell Towers

Today’s New York Times long read on the Grenfell Towers tragedy is heartbreaking, maddening, and frightening.

Heartbreaking because those who lived and died there trusted government to have  their safety as the paramount objective; maddening because both Tory and Labour governments put the profits of business ahead of the safety of their citizens; frightening because Tr**p and his  rapacious Randian Cabinet are gleefully taking a machete to all manner of  regulations.

Nearly every time he opens his mouth—after reminding everyone of his glorious electoral victories and executive order signings—he crows about how many regulations he has manfully stricken from the books. Scott Pruitt has turned the EPA into the “Excessive Polluters Association,” the mentally ill have their inalienable right to buy firearms restored, and every federal agency has been directed to look at regulations with an eye on meeting his campaign promise of cutting 75%.  At the moment, United States housing codes are strict enough that a Grenfell-type tragedy is unlikely here.

But safety rules are already in Tr**p’s sights. He’s already rescinded The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules put in under President Obama.  As Brian Martin, the top UK civil servant in change of drafting building safety guidelines said, requiring that builders make sure the exterior of a building non-combustible “limits your choice of materials.” And when Il Douché laughed at the size of the scroll charting the rules and regulations he says builders have to follow “just to build a road, “how many of those have to do with safety? I mean, building a highway that can withstand earthquakes, storms, droughts, and the wear and tear of gas guzzling SUVs riding over them also limits your choice of materials.

So it can’t happen here…yet. But in the world that Il Douché and other “free marketers” imagine, Howard Roark wouldn’t have to blow up a housing project to protect the purity of his design; he’d just have to make sure they use the cheapest, most flammable materials  possible, and wait.


The Three Scariest Things We Learned About Tr**p today…

Every story about this White House is frightening, but here are the three scariest things about this Washington Post story on Il Douché’s mulling a White House purge:

1—In the constant, Tudor-like  political roiling of the White House waters, the bloated body of Steve Bannon has floated back to the top. Setting up a “war room” to do battle with the government that Tr**p leads has his fingerprints all over it. What makes Bannon dangerous  is his lust for chaos and disruption. It’s all about “The Fourth Turning,” a potted history that Bannon reveres.  The book argues that history unfolds in 80 year cycles, each made up of four 20-year “turnings.” We are now in the midst of the fourth, or “destruction” turn of the Post-War era. (The book even uses the term “winter is coming,” so you know every time he turns on “Game of Thrones,” he sees confirmation.) But he’s not content with letting the destruction happen. If the times aren’t going to conform to the book, he’s going to make sure they will. Also back is his spirit animal, Kellyanne Conway.

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2—Il Douché is quickly on the road to becoming America’s first Potemkin president. What to do when Tr**p’s not feeling so good about himself? Throwing things at his “enormous” big-screen TV, yelling “Fake News! Fake News!” even when Fox is on?  Why, throw a few rallies. He can take Marine One directly from the White House lawn,  put a cordon around the landing zone, have a friendly crowd on the road, let him grab a few dignitaries’ hands, put him in front of a few thousand of his fans, and it’s all good!

3—They actually use “Godfather” quotes to describe their actions. Two people “close to the [War Room] discussions” said they were “going to the mattresses.”


Is That The Other Shoe I Hear…?

Russian Ambassador Told Moscow That Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With Moscow.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

You read that correctly—Russian Ambassador Told Moscow That Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With Moscow. Now, before we start bringing out the Champaign to christen the good ship Impeachment,  let’s take a breath.

This could just be Russia toying with us, throwing yet another pailful of dezinformatsiya  to the mainstream media like so much chum, roiling the water just to show they can. Putin might have tired of Il Douché, and decided to throw a shot across his bow, stepping on the relatively good news of his foreign trip.  Who knew he’d be so high-maintenance? The constant preening, and having to be in the front row of every picture?  (The most Tr**piest part of that shove? The East/west nods and the tug on his jacket as he took his place, a bullying narcissist’s show of importance that wouldn’t look out of place on a mob boss.) And he just won’t shut up. Being an ally of Il Douché is like hooking up with every nightmare relationship you ever had. You couldn’t blame he if  Putin decided he’s not worth the trouble, and cut him loose.

Or it could just be they’re really that stupid. Right now, that option seems the most likely.

According to the story, Kislyak

was reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

 And that sounds like something Tr**p would demand. You can imagine him telling Jared to demand a secret office in the Russian Embassy. It’s the kind of Maxwell-Smart-meets- the-Sopranos style of governing coming from the White House.

Whatever the reason, this takes the story right to the heart of the Tr**p Administration. If true, you can’t imagine that Kushner, the most trusted man in the White House, made that demand without approval from the Boss. And it’s illegal, even if they’re going to claim this was some ninja-styled negotiating move. Can’t wait to hear Jeffrey Lord try to defend this steaming pile of crap.

 


Peggy Noonan Needs A Hug….

Peggy Noonan is the dotty, slightly out-of-touch grandma of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. She shows up on the Sunday morning chat shows, her voice soft and breathy, a little sing-songy, offering conservatives a lap to climb up on, while she coos gauzy, comforting platitudes. Famous for coining the phrases “a kinder, gentler nation,” and calling forth “a thousand points of light,” she also attempted to calm GOP fears during the 2012 election, predicting a Romney win because of the optimism she sensed a rallies and saw more Romney lawn signs while driving through suburban communities. Given the awful track record of other right-leaning pundits, she has kept her job, continuing do dole out optimism scented like home-baked cookies while scary uncles such as Charles Krauthammer darkly warned of Tr**p’s deficiencies and the ranting brats of Breitbart were undisciplined second cousins, running through the halls, gleefully knocking over display cases.

But in Friday’s Journal, she’s concerned. Before the election, she wrote “Imagine A Sane Donald Trump,” a  nostrum as syrupy as patent medicine, and nearly as effective.  Sure, he’s nuts, but look at his good side:

…his broad policy assertions, or impulses, suggested he understood that 2008 and the years just after (the crash and the weak recovery) had changed everything in America, and that the country was going to choose, in coming decades, one of two paths

Those paths: the Yellow Brick Road of moderate populism (Tr**p), or being left in the forest of socialism, where a witch who looked suspiciously like Hilly Clinton would toss you in a caldron of universal healthcare and relative stability.

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Il Douché, she discerned (always a dangerous word in Noonan’s hands) understood what she understood,  that America wanted government

supportive and encouraging of business but willing to harness government to alleviate the distress of the abandoned working class and the anxious middle class; strong on defense but neither aggressive nor dreamy in world affairs; realistic and nonradical on social issues while unmistakably committed to protecting the freedoms of the greatest cohering force in America, its churches; and aware that our nation’s immigration reality was a scandal created by both parties, and must be redressed.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it—except for the church part. While I’m not as dismissive as religion as Bill Maher or the late Christopher Hitchens (I love gospel music too much for that, and the food is usually pretty good, too) the last forty years has shown the power of religion to be divisive.

But he’s disappointed her. Like an indulgent grandma she was willing to overlook his twitter-storms, his lack of politesse,  because he was fundamentally right. It took  the heath-care debate for her to realize this.

And what was it that tipped her off? “He doesn’t understand his base (nevermind that , according to some Republican legislators he met, he didn’t under the bill).

But she doesn’t understand Tr**p’s base either. Because he doesn’t have a base, per se. He has bases, with different desires. The working class voters in West Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the bloc who put him over the top, electorally, saw him as a right-win Roosevelt, a man of wealth (if no taste) who had the common touch, and would work for their interests, regardless of the fact that he was a Reality TV version of a billionaire, a serial scam artist who had not previously shown the slightest understanding of their plight. But the Breitbart true believers have no interest in helping anyone. The site’s stories cheer on the “Freedom” Caucus, and even a short time reading the site’s comment section is enervating. It’s an unkempt nursery where the smell of soiled diapers is overwhelming,  anyone showing even the slightest doubt about Tr**p is booed down as a troll, Alex Jones and Sean Hannity are lauded as truth-telling deep thinkers, Sarah Palin and Louis Gohmert are looked to for political guidance, and the conservative bona fides of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio  are rudely questioned and branded as RINOs.  It’s aroom filled with tinpot revolutionaries,  a mob whose only interest was upending the furniture, tearing the house down, salting the fields,  with no interest in rebuilding. They view themselves to be potential tenants of Galt’s Gulch, but irony is that, in  Randian terms,  Steve Bannon is their Ellsworth Toohey, the mooching architecture critic in The Fountainhead who demands the mob take down the flawed tabloid publisher, Gail Wynand, after his paper supports the hero, Howard Roark, who selfishly blows up a housing project.

But for Noonan, their biggest problem is that…they’re not Peggy Noonan. In speaking to them, she realizes

…(we) brought different experiences to the table. I had worked in a White House. I had personally observed its deeper realities and requirements. Their sense of how a White House works came from news shows and reading, and also from TV shows such as “House of Cards” and “Scandal.” Those are dark, cynical shows that more or less suggest anyone can be president. I don’t mean that in the nice way. Those programs don’t convey how a White House is an organism demanding of true depth, of serious people, real professionals.

 She worries that Tr**p, when faced with a real crisis (“Maybe the mad boy-king of North Korea will decide it’s a good day to see if his missiles can hit Los Angeles. Maybe a sleeper cell of terrorists will decide it’s a good day to show it’s woke,” she frets) Trump will react like the spoiled child he is. It’s certainly a real concern,  but she worked for the Bush family, who gave us W. And that administration. W, perhaps even more than Reagan, let people believe that the idiot spoiled children of the powerful can occupy the White House.  Instead of placing wagging her finger at her ignorant children, Noonan might want to look inward.


The Artlessness of Dr. Douché

So the GOP decided, once again, not to vote on Trumpcare, or the ACHING, or the “American Care? Hey, It’s Now Gone” act. But didn’t Il Douché run as a man who could make deals, a negotiator so brilliant and tough he alone would break the DC gridlock? How’s that working? When the vote on his first major piece of legislation looks like it’s going down in defeat, his reaction is to act like the spoiled toddler he is and tell Congress that if they’re not going to play by his rules, he’s just going to take his ball and go home. You don’t like his plan—then you’re just going to have to keep the healthcare you got (which is, apparently, what most of the American people wanted, at least if you believe the calls made to congressional offices that were running 48-to-one against).

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I guess we can add “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” to the growing pile of unkept campaign promises, along with having Mexico pay for his beautiful border wall, and draining the swamp of special interests. Can’t wait for the Sunday yak shows to see how the administration spins this.

This shows up the problem with putting a businessman in charge of government. A businessman doesn’t like a deal, he can get up from the table. He he doesn’t put up the building or make that merger, someone else will. Government doesn’t work that way. If this bill dies, it’s not like there’s another congress he can turn to (at least until 2018). No one shakes hands,  the lot stays vacant, and nothing gets done. In this case, Obamacare stays on the books. That’s reason to cheer…for the moment. I can’t imagine the GOP will take much care in managing it; they won’t make the smaller fixes needed to keep insurers involved. Those who fought against Tr**pcare because it helped too many people have no interest in making sure Obamacare works.  They couldn’t kill it by legislation, so they’ll simply let it die on the vine.


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