With this column I am beginning an occasional series of what I will call "Short Takes." That is, instead of a lengthy column on a single theme, I will be offering a series of thoughts, briefly stated, on a variety of themes. In length, they will more often than not be like Tweets, but fully spelled out, which Tweets by myself and others often are not. Some of them, actually, will be expanded versions of recent Tweets of mine. And so, here goes.
1. On Trump, what would we political writers do without him? He provides endless fodder for the political gristmill. But since he doesn't do much that is Presidential in the traditional sense, and shows absolutely no interest in learning about either the form or content (especially the latter) of that role, he does have to fill up his time somehow. Doesn't he?
2. That is except when he fills it up by having affairs while married, then paying off the affairee to attempt to keep her quiet. Which tactic is not working too well right now. Has Las Vegas yet set up odds for how many more such women will be coming forward? At least so far, those Hillary supporters who had to stand by while Hillary got it from both Right and Left for standing by her man, can point to Melania for doing the same thing.
9. And as for the NRA, every rational person in favor of gun control blames the whole mess on the NRA. What has to be understood is that the NRA is just a shill, for three very profitable industries: the gun manufacturers, the ammunition makers, and the gun-show operators. On the latter, there was one scheduled very near to Parkland, at this time. The operator was asked if he had thought to postpone it. Well no, he said. His company runs about 40 shows gun-shows around Florida every year, they are scheduled far in advance, and to cancel it would have been very costly.
10. On the Food Boxes, for food stamp recipients, which many would regard as demeaning if not totally humiliating. (We are not getting into the massive administrative nightmares and potential for larceny on a grand scale here.) The first laws to take care of "the poor" were enacted in England during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Part of the legislation developed the concept of the "undeserving poor." When 250 years later, as capitalist-bound England faced an increasing number of poor who could not find work, the "poor-house" system originally created in Elizabethan times was vastly expanded. At its core was the principle of "less eligibility." That is, if one went to the Poor House, life there had to be worse than anything one would experience on the outside, that is "less eligible". With the Food Boxes, the Trumpites would return us to this era.
11. When Trump is mobilizing an organization like the National Parks Conservation Association to opposed his policies, which he is, strongly, you can get an idea of just how far to the Right this man, and the people who are really running the Executive Branch on the policy side like the Tea-Partier Mike Mulvaney (the Budget Director) and the White House Counsel Don McGahn (the Federalist Society's man in the White House), are.
12. Is the Republican Right finally getting fed up with Trump and the constant embarrassment to them he has become? After all, he has accomplished the two major Republican goals that have been on their plate for the last 30-plus years: further cutting taxes on the rich and, in Steve Bannon's term, "deconstructing the Administrative State." When Rep. Trey "Benghazi" Gowdy begins to turn on the President, in this case for the massive potential security failure the White House "policy" on security clearances has created, that could be a straw in the wind.
13. Finally, for a bakers' dozen, on the "Russian interference by trolling" indictment, I haven't heard any commentator, on MSNBC or elsewhere, mention that it remains to be seen who the guilty-pleader Pinedo was working for and directed by, and who supplied him with the money to troll for the Russian trolls and bots and employ them (perhaps Trump's lawyer, Cohen, out of his own pocket?) Given that guilty plea, one must assume that Mueller's team knows the answers to these questions. No wonder Trump is wrapping himself up ever more tightly in tweetstorms. You know, the old Roy Cohn/Lee Atwater dictum: "Always attack; never defend." But Trump does know what's coming. The closer it gets, the louder he screams. It remains to be seen just how well his WMD (Weapons of Mass Distraction) work for him.
And on that note, just a bit of a funny. A "White House official" was quoted as saying that Trump/Kelly/and etc. have a "cavalier" attitude towards the whole concept of White House security clearances. I think that that characterization is actually an insult to those super-cute dogs, the most widely illustrated ones in history, the Cavaliers of the Restored Stuart English King, Charles II.
(Article changed on February 22, 2018 at 18:16)