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Thoughts on Events the Week of September 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 21, 2017

Ironic end to the end of the American Century?: It could be argued – I know; I’ve seen me do it – that we have been stuck in a (grid) locked Port-a-Potty since the beginning of the 21st Century. Said another way, The American Century, as Henry Luce dubbed it, may have ended right on schedule.

First, we elected a high functioning moron president in 2000, the worst in history, pending a final grade for Donald Trump. George W. Bush began immediately to ruin ours and the world’s economies and was largely successful.

In 2001, we suffered the 9/11 terrorist attacks (did you see Bush, sitting like a dunce on an elementary school stool when he got the news?), and promptly lost our minds.

Bush responded to 9/11 by exploiting our fears rather than quieting them; adding another layer to our already bloated security apparatus; invading Iraq, an innocent bystander (admittedly a rare occurrence with Hussein); and screwed up the entire Middle East by taking our country back to the Crusade of 1095 CE, as any moronic born again Christian might do.

Meanwhile, the legislative branch was completely unnerved by 9/11 and voters’ reaction to Bush’s fear mongering, and hid behind the bushes, so to speak. Congress has abrogated and/or abused its responsibilities ever since.

In 2008, we elected a sane and intelligent president, who managed to right the sinking economic ship and did what no other president had succeeded in doing since Harry S. Truman first tried in the 1940s – enact a working model toward universal, single payer healthcare. Though based on a Republican plan introduced in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, Republicans fought it tooth and nail for a year and a half, and have tried to repeal it more than half a hundred times ever since, in lieu of actually governing.

In fact, the Republican legislators opposed everything President Obama proposed for eight years, regardless of its merits. If it offended their principles, they opposed it, naturally. If it was a good idea, they still opposed it. If it was their own idea and Obama supported it, they immediately opposed it. Republicans put the country in utter gridlock, even after the country elected Obama to a second term.

Then in 2016, we elected Donald Trump, a known charlatan, unreliable and possibly corrupt businessman, a narcissist, and soon to be recognized as a sociopath, who ran on a campaign of bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, insults and a ridiculous wall. He not only won, improbably, but carried both houses of Congress with him.

Trump began immediately to dismantle everything Obama had done by executive authority with his own. Again, there was no regard given to merit. If Obama did it, it had to be undone, no matter what. (If Trump undoes Obama’s Iranian nuclear treaty, it will be the biggest mistake of his presidency, which is really saying something.) He also placed a Secretary in each cabinet department whose views are inimical to that department.

Oddly, even with one party in control of the White House and Congress, the gridlock did not cease. It turned out that Republicans are effective at blind opposition, but couldn’t govern the country across the street with a green light.

This failure to govern is due to three problems. First, Republicans have crappy, mean-spirited, unpopular ideas helping no one but wealthy donors. Second, during eight years of reflexive opposition, Republicans smeared and demonized some really good ideas, and now they are stuck with having to oppose them still. Finally, Republicans are splintered into factions along the spectrum of bad to worse to worst. They couldn’t agree on gravity.

So, here we are in 2017, with a president so unprincipled and unconcerned with the common good that he would sign any bill without even reading it if it would get him a “win” (When did we start thinking a governance as a zero sum game? Somewhere between 1980 and 1992, I think.), and a Republican Congress that passes gas, but can’t pass a bill.

And then, astoundingly, this president improbably does something that hasn’t been done since before Denny Hastert went to jail (Google Hastert and the “Hastert Rule”). Seeing that he won’t get a “win” with only Republicans, he gets together with some Democrats and knocks one out in an evening.

We can speculate as to Trump’s motives. I know; I’ve seen me do it. (See a reprise of my thoughts on his motives from last week’s blog, below this article.) But an intelligent agreement was reached on an ostensibly bipartisan basis. Ryan and McConnell arguably “lost,” but they were defending the indefensible, so screw them.

Lo and behold, it appears we are going to have another agreement regarding the Dreamers. This one should be easier, as helping the Dreamers is almost universally liked by Americans. Not to do so seems unfair, unjust, illogical and offends our sense of values.

Trump adamantly proposed sending all the Dreamers back home during the campaign. But, of course, he is a pathological liar without a principle in his body, so he will agree with anything to get a “win,” regardless of his previous positions. Like I said, easy peasy.

Could this be the re-start of an idea that has been out of favor for more than a decade: legislating on a bi-partisan basis? Maybe; but maybe not. On the one hand, we have a president who will sign a piece of toilet paper if there appears to be a bill on it. But on the other hand, we have some issues coming up on which the parties’ principles are truly at odds. It will be more difficult going forward. We’ll see. But, we have been reminded of the basic principles of representative government. Wouldn’t it be nice if it caught on again?

Excerpt from last week’s Blog on possible motives for
Trump’s Deal with Democrats

“In this case, there are a number of possible motives. Most likely, Ponzi had a tee-off time and didn’t want to miss it, so he took the quick out. Possibly, he was pissed at Republican Congressional leadership for being so incompetent. Possibly, he decided he could work better with Democrats than Republicans because the Republicans are go divided they can’t agree on gravity. And just possibly, the meeting lasted so long that, with Ponzi’s short attention span, he lost track of which position was held by which Party and took a (wrong) guess.”

Cassini: This week, the astounding voyage of the spacecraft sent to explore Saturn almost 20 years ago, and fully 1.4 billion kilometers away, came to its end when it was deliberately plunged into the planet to take its final pictures before burning up in Saturn’s atmosphere.

When the Cassini-Huygens space probe was launched toward Saturn in October, 1997, the scope and audacity of the plan exceeded science fiction, but the program accomplished more than could ever have been hoped. It was an engineering marvel, and a monument to human ingenuity.

Sudden Thought: Have you noticed that all the late model cars seem to have a vestigial dorsal fin near the rear of their top, just above the rear window? Maybe some of their forebears were fish.

Football: I didn’t watch as much football as I hoped to this weekend. My Oklahoma Sooners played Tulane, such a mismatch that it wasn’t even carried on television, only pay-per-view. I was not going to pay money to watch lions eat Christians, so while I was able to read the box score and get the storyline – OU started sluggishly, but pulled away steadily throughout the game – I have not seen a single image from the game, which OU won 56-14.

That evening, OU’s football nemesis Texas took #4 USC to the brink in a double overtime loss – 27-24, in what was the best game of the weekend. Their freshman quarterback – Sam Ehlinger – and their defense looked unexpectedly good. They have improved significantly since their first game loss to Maryland, damn it.

The Dallas Cowboy game was too painful to watch, so I stopped watching it. It was as poorly as I have seen them play in a couple of years. The Denver Broncos exposed their injuries and suspensions masterfully. (It would be nice if the Cowboys could keep more of their players out of the NFL penalty box.) Dallas had no apparent game plan, they couldn’t cover anybody and they couldn’t tackle anybody. They looked ready to lose from the kick-off.

I did enjoy seeing the Falcons dismantle Green Bay, but it was cold comfort Sunday.

Status of the States: Arizona, my own personal state, gets the cup this week. On sites in Arizona, Motel 6 employees, it was reported, ratted out guests they thought might be illegals to ICE. This was done without the chain’s approval. Questionable customer service.

 

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