Sunday, March 26, 2017

Backstabber-In-Chief

Far be it from me to feel sorry for Paul Ryan, he is a mean spirited jerk who never met a working class American he didn't want to fuck over. Still, how Trump treated Ryan on Saturday is horrible.
Ryan worked his ass off selling TrumpCare, staking his reputation and influence on the bill. Trump repaid him by specifically promoting a Fox talking head he knew would call for Ryan to resign as Speaker of the House.

This is what loyalty gains you in the Trump universe. Win and he'll claim all the credit. Lose and he'll kick you to the curb with cutlery sticking out of your spine. The fact that he'll need Ryan's loyalty later never enters his mind.

The question before the court is whether Ryan will debase himself and take the abuse like a vassal or stand up like a man the next time Trump demands his servitude.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump Wimps Out

I remember it like it was only yesterday (Shit, it was only yesterday). House leadership and Trump spokespeople were demanding a Friday vote on TrumpCare regardless of the outcome. They were using the analogy of Hernan Cortez burning his ships to give his men no choice but to conquer the Aztecs.
Actually, Cortez scuttled his fleet.

For poor Trump, his troops responded to the suggestion by murmuring even louder about mutiny. It was a public vote that Steve Bannon openly wanted so he can create an enemies list of Republican congressmen but, faced with a humiliating defeat with forty to fifty defectors, Trump retreated. He has withdrawn the bill and announced he will have nothing more to do with health care issues.

Interestingly, Trump did not call Fox News or Sean Hannity or Breitbart. He gave the scoop to the Washington Post and New York Times. It's like he is hiding from his supporters.

Trump has done something no leader ought to do. He has threatened retaliation and retreated. He has let Congress taste their independence and let them win. Trump has weakened himself for the future, he squandered what little little mandate and influence he has with Congress for nothing.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trump Tries to Bully Congress

The threat is stronger than the execution. ~ Chess Grandmaster Aron Nimzowitsch
There were Presidents that knew how to bully Congress. Lyndon Johnson was a master of the art. But they were all experience politicians who knew just how hard to squeeze congressional balls to get results without losing the ability to do it again next month.

Donald Trump, (tiny) hamfistedly, has gone all Vito Corleone on congressional conservatives, threatening to kill their careers if they don't vote for TrumpCare. The problem with existential threats is that they can't ever fail.
If the horse head in the bed doesn't scare them no lesser threat will. If you are already committed to destroying someone you can't threaten them again. Death is a one time thing. And if you forgive them, this time, no future death threat will be credible. You've already proven you'll back down. Then there is the Bart Simpson school of mutual defense.
What if nobody goes? He can't kill all of us.
Individually, we are weak like a single twig.
But as a bundle, we form a mighty faggot.
~ The Simpsons
If, as seems possible, the Freedom Caucus emboldens moderate Republicans to also oppose TrumpCare and Paul Ryan is forced to pull the legislation then Trump will be faced with having to slaughter a couple score of Republican legislators or be proven to be a toothless paper tiger.

Whatever, tonight will be entertaining. Either Trump and Ryan will be left trying to save their pie smeared faces or the Freedom Caucus will fold like cheap lawn furniture.

Update: After the vote was delayed White House staff hauled a big toy onto South Lawn for Trump to play with so he wouldn't throw a tantrum.

Monday, March 20, 2017

What Is Comey Up To?

What sort of infinite dimensional chess is FBI Director James Comey playing?
In late October, Comey announced an investigation of Hillary Clinton. An announcement that unquestionably threw the election to Donald Trump. A man he was, at the time, investigation for a criminal conspiracy with Russia to pervert the election. Now, two months after Trump was inaugurated, he announces the investigation of the treasonous conspiracy by the now President is ongoing.

Look, I have no doubt that Trump was and is involved in a criminal conspiracy. But, why did Comey deliberately help elect a man he was planning to seek indictments and impeachment against a few months later? What is Comey's plan?
  • Is he seeking to incite a Constitutional crisis? 
  • Is he trolling for bribes from Russia to make the investigation go away? 
  • Is he trying to post himself and the FBI as the defacto head of the government? 
  • Is he plotting to install Paul Ryan on the throne after both Trump and Pence are impeached for treason?

Or is he simply an idiot with the political skills of a baboon?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trump-Merkel Diplomatic Body Language

Want to know what happened in the private meeting between Angela Merkel and Donald Trump? Just study their body language.

At the presser before the meeting things were awkward but diplomatic. They even shook hands.
Then they had their private meeting where, like a stern schoolmarm, Merkel gave Trump a harsh lesson in the realities of NATO and the European Union.

Then came the post-meeting photo op where Trump pointedly refused to shake Merkel's hand. In this photo you can see Merkel leaning towards Trump while Trump, reflexively, leans away, avoiding eye contact like a chastened puppy. The body language screams Trump's fear.
It wasn't a hostile meeting but Trump had been humbled and embarrassed. His ignorance had been stripped bare. He had been schooled by the mean German lady. She had said "no." He desperately wanted to get away from Merkel, from the press, from those clicking cameras. That is the body posture of a loser.

Friday, March 17, 2017

What War With Korea Will Look Like

While visiting South Korea Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened preemptive war with North Korea because the idiot doesn't understand what the word "diplomacy" means.
Camp Humphreys, Korea
As is America's war habit, it will start with extensive conventional aerial bombardment that will destroy half of North Korea's twenty bomb nuclear arsenal in the first 48 hours. Kim Jong-un fires off the rest of his nukes before they are all gone.

The missile fired on Okinawa falls harmlessly into the ocean but one aimed at Tokyo explodes a half-mile above the Japanese capital. Three nukes hit Seoul, two others strike the largest American base at Camp Humphreys thirty miles to the south. The rest are successfully shot down but the damage is massive.

Over two million civilians die along with almost 40,000 American soldiers and dependents. An enraged Trump carpet bombs North Korea with nukes, killing over 10 million people in an afternoon.

China mobilizes its two million man army and places their 260 weapon nuclear arsenal on alert. Russia uses the ongoing chaos to invade the Baltic States. Israel drops nukes on the Iranian capital then denies they are responsible and says it must have been the Americans.

Through it all Steve Bannon is seen wandering the White House repeating the same word.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Humpty Dumpty Theory of Health Care

Paul Ryan has said TrumpCare will develop in three steps.

Step One: Blow up America's health care system into tiny little pieces.

Step Two: Have Tom Price apply band-aids to the shredded corpse.

Step Three: Ask Democrats to fix it.

The TrumpCare plan was crafted with less thought and planning than a sneeze. The headline aspect should be that TrumpCare will save Social Security $3 billion by the simple expediency of prematurely killing off millions of retired people.
"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
I suspect Ryan and Trump are thrilled by this unintended consequence. But the goal of rest of the plan is destruction for the sake of destruction and chaos for the sake of chaos.

There are no plans for hearings in the House so this pile of congealed snoot will sail through the House on a party-line vote with little debate. In  the Senate it will either be debated into oblivion or railroaded through using a combination of threats and  dictatorial legislative tricks.