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Thoughts on Events the Week of March 12

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 21, 2018

Trump Tweets Tillerson: I have this comedic vision Rex Tillerson going home every night and beating his wife for talking him into taking the job of Secretary of State under President Donald Trump. Last night, I hope he went home and gave her a big hug, now that it’s over.

His wife was right, of course. When a president asks you to serve at the highest level, it is almost a patriotic duty to do so, even if you already hold an extremely important, and lucrative, position. That’s what qualifies you as Cabinet level talent. But Tillerson knew about Trump. We all did. Tillerson should have known better than to get within a mile of this president. Was he fooled by living in the far right wing echo chamber that is Texas?

The mystery is less why Tillerson joined than why he stayed so long. He had been the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world. He had more influence on national and international affairs as CEO of Exxon Mobile than at Trump’s State Department. Let’s face it, Tillerson was unsuited for this job, but a man of his stature I would expect not put up with Trump for one minute.

It’s ironic that Trump, who hosted a “reality” TV show in which he bluntly told underlings, “You’re fired,” doesn’t in real life have the cajones to dismiss people to their face, if at all.

Tillerson learned about his firing third person, from a Trump tweet to his base. James Comey learned about his on TV. Trump does his firing indirectly, preferably with his target out of town; ideally out of the country. This is who Trump truly is – a bully on TV, but in fact a cringing coward.

House Intelligence Committee Fin: This committee ended its investigation into whether Russia interfered in our national election just like it began: as farce. It is just as well. Nobody believed anything serious or credible would come out of this committee anyway. The news was taken with a yawn.

Stephen Hawking: Passed away.  He lived a remarkable life, both physically and mentally. At the age of 76, close to normal life expectancy, but diagnosed with ALS at 21, he lived 52 years longer than predicted by his doctors. It is a gift to us all that he lived long enough to give us his brilliant thinking, and his inspiration.

Mentally, he was a mega-thinker, about black holes, the beginning of the universe, and the “theory of everything.” He was also a brilliant writer, though with great physical difficulty. A Brief History of Time is among my favorite books.

Conor Lamb: (D-PA) won the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th House of Representatives District. This is remarkable, because the 18th is a blood red Republican district, gerrymandered to make it impossible (until now) for a Republican to lose it. President Trump won this district by 20 points in 2016.

The analyzing and spinning has been intense as to why this happened and if it is significant harbinger of future success or an unimportant one off; whether Lamb was a Trump-like candidate at the right place at the right time, or whether his opponent was an incompetent boob who ran a disastrous campaign.

Given the result and the place, the unmistakable fact is that a Democrat won an election that no Democrat was ever supposed to win, in Trump-owned territory. Republicans are in serious mid-term electoral doo doo.

BTW, regarding Lamb in the 18th, look quickly or you’ll miss it. The 18th is so gerrymandered that it will be demolished before the next election,  and Lamb will have to run again in November, though in a more honest, and therefore probably more favorable, new district.

Russian Sanctions: President Trump finally, under serious political pressure, slapped some sanctions on Russia. These were sissy sanctions, symbolic, but not genuinely punitive. Trump isn’t going to punish Putin. One might wonder why he even bothered. I suspect it had to do with pressure from McConnell and Ryan after the Pennsylvania 18th election results.

Status of the States: Kansas gets the cup this week, because Mike Pompeo, a product of Kansas, will likely become Secretary of State. Pompeo is an enigma. He is a very intelligent, well-educated man, yet he espouses primitive, atavistic views. In this regard, he is like Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Perhaps they both figured out that if you are willing to say really far right wingnut things in public, you can get elected in Kansas.

 

 

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