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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.

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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.

thank you for your service, Omarosa

August 14, 2018

Eighty-three.

Thant’s how many days are left until the mid-term elections, and Trump is choosing to spend them assuring a curious nation that a producer of The Apprentice told him that no tape of The Donald spouting racial slurs on the set exists.  Why say it that way instead of “I never said such words”?  To be fair, Trump has categorically denied ever saying them, recently asserting that no such words have ever been in his vocabulary.

That seems much more feasible a defense because his vocabulary is so limited.  But even if that tape surfaces, it’s not going to move any political needles.  It would just be a cherry on the bottom of a lengthy trail of evidence of his bigotry.  The Central Park Five and other distant transgressions aside, just this month Trump has called Don Lemon and Lebron James dumb and renewed his attacks on NFL players protesting police brutality.

You can’t really blame him for attacking Lebron.  James had the nerve to open a school for at-risk kids.  Uppity.

As Michael Avenatti struggles for headlines these days, Omarosa has taken up the cause.  She may be an even better match for Donny J.  They’re cut from the same bolt of faulty fabric.  Both are immeasurably insecure, so any airtime is –well — oxygen to them.  Neither has any discernible scruples.

So they parse and parse and parse as climate change has California in flames.  It’s not that Trump would do anything about a solid blue state anyway, but his obsession with Omarosa also keeps him from doing little else as he eyes the Mueller probe and waits for a shoe factory to drop.

Omarosa’s ego is sturdy enough to feed this story for weeks.  Maybe we’ll still be hearing about it in 84 days.

the growing threat at the border

August 6, 2018

As we enter the dog days, nearly all the Canadian provinces and territories are celebrating a holiday today.  It’s called by various names: Heritage Day in Alberta, Natal Day in Nova Scotia, Terry Fox Day in Manitoba and New Brunswick Day in New Brunswick.  I would normally scoff at New Brunswick for lack of imagination, but here in B.C., we’re honouring British Columbia Day.

Plus, it’s unCanadian to scoff.  And too hot.  Not Tunisia or Death Valley hot, but we hit 90 degrees F. recently.  This nonexistent climate change mirrors the heat Trump is starting to feel from the equally nonexistent Trump Tower meeting.  As the U.S. steams toward a constitutional crisis, I’m reminded more and more of Watergate because of the relentless incompetence of Those Who Should Know Better.

Based on the thinning of Don Junior’s smarmy smile, I’m guessing that Don Senior will soon be firing Mueller and/or Rosenthal, and/or pardoning Junior and/or Manafort.  If he does, we’ll need one of those wind tunnel fans to disperse the tonnage of shit that will hit it.

Which brings me to the problem at the U.S. border.   CBS reports that illegal crossings into America are up 142% this year.  That’s the Canadian-U.S. border, mind you — a 5,525-mile-long boundary that has 400,000 people and $1.6 billion in legal goods cross it daily.  It’s the world’s longest and busiest border.

Last year, 1,489 Mexicans were apprehended near this border.  Canada does not require a visa from Mexican citizens.  One-way flights to Montreal or Toronto cost just $300.  There are thousands of motion detectors and cameras.  And part of the line between Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec, is marked by a row of potted plants.

If that’s not enough, Trump may insist that Canada pay for a wall.  If so, he’ll get the politest “fuck you” he’s ever heard.