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the storm before The Storm

February 20, 2019

Short and brutish February can’t leave the farm too soon for me.  It’s been substantially colder than usual.  We only have 50 or so mm (@2 inches) of rain thus far.  We usually average 250 for the month.  And it’s five weeks before the San Francisco Giants can begin to regain my confidence in them.  They’ve done precious little in the off-season to give me hope.  Thank Random Chance for the Golden State Warriors.

The real problem with this particular mid-winter is, of course, Donald Trump.  As he steams the USS America toward rocky shoals, we found out today that the Mueller report will drop quite soon.  The Don remains unapologetic and uncaring about the course we’re on as he blindly pursues funds for the wall.  We do have a national emergency: him.

His quixotic quest will likely continue to expand in bizarreness until Mueller drops the hammer.  Hopefully Thor’s hammer.  Andrew McCabe is hawking his new book by suggesting that Trump may be a Russian asset.  Roger Stone goes to court tomorrow to explain why he challenged his judge’s gag order by posting a photo of her with a crosshairs symbol behind her.  Stone, a whining bully like Trump, would stoop to the earth’s core to solicit sympathy.  But he made his bedlam, let him steep in it.

Not even at my most fearful can I see Donnie come out of the investigation unscathed.  It has found more smoke than the summer wildfires generated.  But since he has devoted his life to covering his tracks, he may skate a lot.  Maybe the mass of folks he’d throw under the bus would raise it off its axles.

However it plays out, it will be messy.  Constitutional crisis messy.  Pay your satellite bill, stock up on essentials, gather your loved ones near and dig in.

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your papa never told you about right or wrong

January 12, 2019

To honour the 20th anniversary of the debut of “The Sopranos”, HBO Canada has been running condensed episodes of America’s most compelling dysfunctional family.  I can’t be the only one to see the parallels between Tony and Trump.

Both are New York area tough guys with similar accents.  They had fathers who started them in the family business, although Tony probably didn’t get the $400,000,000 that Donnie did.  They had to claw their way to success by deceiving and betraying most everyone in their path.  They put family above all else, unless they were boinking a mistress.

Their primary distinction is that Tony had better staff retention, even though he occasionally killed them.

We’ll never know Tony’s fate, but Donnie’s seemed to solidify this week as the bad news piled up to Mount Everest levels.  It peaked (just for the week) when it came out that the FBI has investigated the possibility Trump has worked on Russia’s behalf.  Let that sink in for a moment.  I’ll wait.

 

 

 

 

If that proves to be accurate, it means that the buck has stopped.  Donnie would be out of scapegoats and excuses, unless he claims he never met himself.  But don’t rule that out.  With the Mueller probe wrapping up and the House Dems back in power, I don’t see how the Trump presidency survives 2019.  (Full disclosure: I was consistently wrong about him winning the election.)

So as mighty forces unfold at the pace they see fit, I will now watch the best weekend of pro football kick off with the Chiefs-Colts game, with a side order of the KU-Baylor basketball game.  And during commercials, I will amuse myself with the Soprano-Trump metaphor.

Let’s see: Melania as Carmela, Ivanka as Meadow, Donnie Junior as Christopher, Eric as A.J., Dick Cheney as Junior Soprano, Mike Pence as Paulie Walnuts, Jared Kushner as Hesh, Omarosa as Livia, Kellyanne Conway as Janice, Robert Mueller as Agent Harris, Lindsay Graham as Big Pussy, Jeff Sessions as Tony’s lawyer . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

did the healing just begin?

January 4, 2019

The most heart-warming sight I’ve seen this holiday season was in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday.  On the Democrats’ side of the aisle: women, people of colour, women of colour and women in colourful outfits laughing and playing with their children.  On the Republicans’ side: glum white men in drab suits.  I took it as a most refreshing sign of the changing times.  And an ominous red flag for the GOP.

Today in the Rose Garden Trump rolled out another inaccurate history and economics lesson as he tried to polish the turd of the shutdown.  Blissfully ignorant of and/or indifferent to easily-checked facts, he managed to whine about being alone in the White House for the holidays without mentioning the actual suffering of 800,000 federal workers affected by his monumental temper tantrum.

At least the dormant rose bushes are well fertilized for spring.  Plus, he was civil to April Ryan and Abby Phillip, two black reporters he had recently insulted.  Let us celebrate these minor miracles if Donnie is seeking salvation in the growing shadow of the Mueller investigation.

Donald, you little Dickens

December 24, 2018

Let’s pause in these two days rife with symbolism to thank POTUS for reminding us of one of their most potent images: Ebenezer Scrooge.  In this season of miracles, Trump served up an irresistible gem.  Honest to Random Chance, he actually started a tweet today with “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House.”

Imagine Melania rushing back to D.C. from Mar-a-Lago, hastily stopping at Costco to buy a economy-sized tub of ego salve.  Imagine Donnie wandering around his empty home, with no one there to hear him rant.  With his kitchen staff off duty, he’s forced to call Grub Hub to order a dozen McDonald’s cheeseburgers.  Those nice Marine guards just outside the White House handle the greasy bag carefully so their white gloves don’t get stained.

The mind boggles.  I thought 2018 could not have been more absurd.

Happy holidays, anyway.  At least we got to the Return of the Light.

 

 

here comes the candy

October 22, 2018

With Halloween and mid-terms nearby, it’s inevitable to see Trump breaking out the sugar.  He announced today that he’ll have a major tax break done before (maybe after) the election, thrilling anyone who knows nothing about crushing national debt or how Congress works.  He topped that off by hinting he’ll be rolling back protections of transgendered citizens.

And Donnie is providing thousands of ghouls for All Saints’ Eve.  The caravan escaping poverty and violence in Central America — aside from being pure evil, even the infants — also contains “unknown Middle Easterners”, according to him.  He did not elaborate on how he could know and not know about them.  No journalists in the caravan have spotted them, either.

The Halloweeniest thing on the global stage, though, has been provided by Saudi Arabia: a House of Horrors, complete with disguises, murder and dismemberment.  The  explanations the Saudis manufacture just keep getting more bizarre.  Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, aged 33, still has a lot to learn about being a despot.  He’s getting so toxic that even Trump is keeping him at arm’s distance.  A severed arm.

Happy Halloween and PLEASE vote!

 

deep breaths, everyone

August 31, 2018

With the solemnity of John McCain lying in state juxtaposed with the joyousness of Aretha Franklin’s funeral, the U.S. and Canada enter the Labor/Labour Day weekend on the brink of a momentous end to 2018.

September 1st has long felt like the start of the new year to me.  The weather is changing, the kids are back in school, and football is back.  We can really do with a restart right now.  The NAFTA reboot is in jeopardy due mostly to Trump’s arbitrary deadline for a deal today.  His tweets are increasingly bizarre.  He’s all but said that Rosenstein and Mueller are gone after the mid-terms.

But Mueller is shrewder and much more disciplined than Individual 1.  He already has put some of the investigation out of Trump’s reach with referrals to non-federal courts.  He has two months to further outmaneuver Donnie.

And how about those mid-terms?  They are already fascinating.  Democrats Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Andrew Gillum of Florida and Ben Jealous of Maryland have a solid chance of becoming the first black governors of their state.  Beta O’Rourke is in a tie in the polls with Ted Cruz in Texas.  The Generic Congressional Vote, a reliable overall indicator, is creeping back into double digits for the Dems.  An ABC News/Washington Post poll released today shows Trump’s approval at 36%, pulling the aggregate rating by Nate Silver’s 538 website down to 40.7.  The gap between Trump’s disapproval/approval is now 13.6, the largest in four months.

So deep breaths, everyone.  Enjoy the holiday, get some rest and drink a lot of fluids.

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One way to enjoy the holiday is to listen to the broadcast of Episode 2 of my radio series “Nuevo Malibu” tonight on cortesradio.ca at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.  After that it will be available there as a podcast.

 

witches: 0; warlocks: 7

August 24, 2018

I’m loathe to admit it, but Trump is right that the Mueller investigation is a fruitless witch hunt.  No women have been indicted or convicted.  But Big Bob just hung two more male pelts on the wall this week, and they were heavies.  Yet-to-be-named Americans and two dozen or so Russians are on his radar.  So some of them may be of the distaff persuasion.  It’s difficult to keep track as new bread crumbs from the investigation drop constantly.  Even Omarosa can’t get any ink.

Indeed, the flipping of Trump allies David Pecker and Allen Weisellberg the past two days are actually appetizer grade.  I used to think that it would be to the world’s advantage for Mueller to make his move before the mid-terms, but now I’m digging the pace as it is.  The slower the facts come out, the weaker Trump gets.  His claim that the markets would crash and everyone would be poor if he’s impeached is just flat out pathetic.  And he thinks flipping should be “almost” outlawed.  What the hell does that mean?

However it plays out, prepare for the worst.  The more desperate Trump gets, the more likely he’ll overreact.  And that could be Avengers’ movie spectacular.

I have been striving to avoid using nicknames for Trump, retiring my favourite, Aging Orange, many months ago.  But a new one surfaced this week that I feel quite adult about using because it’s legally accurate AND insulting.  Henceforth, I will often refer to the Donald as Individual One.

Two stray thoughts:

(1) As John McCain enters his final stage of life, I feel like he might be remembered as the last true Republican.  Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are nowhere to be found as Trump systematically destroys the GOP.  Thanks for sinking Trump’s healthcare bill, John.  That was truly heroic.

(2) With football season starting soon, I renew my admiration of players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.  Individual One tries to rally veterans against them, but this is one former Marine who will take no cues from a coward.