Tag Archives: MAGA

What happened to the Trump-Kim bromance?

Kim Jong Un must have jilted Donald J. Trump.

The two leaders had exchanged warm greetings. Trump called the North Korean tyrant/despot/dictator/murderer a “sharp cookie” and a “strong leader.” I’m not sure what bouquets Kim tossed at the U.S. president in return.

Then the president made some sort of goofy assertion that he and Kim are “in love.”

Now comes word that the North Koreans have launched short-range missiles into the sea. They’re testing their hardware yet again. Oh, and other reports indicate that the North Koreans are stepping up their development of nuclear weapons, despite guarantees from Trump that they were “denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.”

This is what you get when you throw in with a Marxist tyrant, seeming to believe his vacuous promises.

Trump should have taken the posture of being unable to trust Kim Jong Un as far as he could toss his overfed torso. He hasn’t done so.

He “likes” the lunatic who starves his people while pouring money he doesn’t have into building a military arsenal he threatens to use against South Korea or anyone else who stands in his way.

Ah, but Donald Trump is “making America great again.”

Yep, that’ll do it, Mr. President.

Take your MAGA … and shove it!

You have to hand it to Donald J. Trump. He has produced a slogan that has morphed into an all-purpose acronym that one can use in more than one fashion.

I refer to “Make America Great Again,” which has become MAGA to those of us who comment frequently about the president’s campaign mantra.

Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 while vowing to MAGA.

He uses it all the time to remind his adoring throngs that he is MAGA — or “making America great again.”

I have found the acronym to be a rather creative item to toss around.

I prefer using MAGA as a verb. You know, kind of like this: Hey, let’s MAGA, you and me. We can do this!

MAGA as a noun is a bit more problematic, but it’s not without its uses. Try this on: I am proud to be a MAGA.

Or, how about as an adjective? We MAGA supporters are going to keep the White House when the president is re-elected. Surely, too, you’ve seen the “MAGA hats” sitting atop people’s heads or the “MAGA shirts” that cover their torsos.

I must acknowledge something about MAGA: Trump isn’t the first recent presidential candidate to make such a vow. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton declared during their 1980 and 1992 campaigns to win the White House to “make America great again.” The slogan didn’t morph into acronym form, though, when they said it.

OK, that all said, the president’s re-election slogan presumes he already has MAGA. So now he’s going to run on his vow to “Keep America Great.”

KAG, though, just doesn’t have the same ring.

‘Trump 2020’? Where is VP Pence’s presence?

SLIDELL, La. — Just over yonder at the recreational vehicle park where my wife and I are parked for a few nights is an RV with a tall flagpole. It flies Old Glory and a Donald Trump campaign flag.

The Trump flag says: “Trump 2020 . . . Keep America Great.”

I am struck by something missing from the banner: the name of Vice President Mike Pence. I’ll stipulate that I’ve seen political banners containing both men’s names. So perhaps this Trump 2020 banner is no big deal.

Then again . . .

I’m scratching my head. I won’t ask the owner of the RV about it; he likely doesn’t know a thing about any possible back story. I do remember a moment about a year ago when Trump asked Pence if he would run with him for re-election. Pence said “yes.” Trump applauded in front of the boisterous crowd. All seemed happy in Trump World.

But . . . is it?

I’ve noted that the president and the vice president aren’t eating lunch these days privately, per their custom. Trump jettisoned the personal lunches with the No. 2 man in the government’s executive branch. Atlantic magazine reports that Trump reportedly has chided Pence privately about the VP’s endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz prior to the2016 Indiana Republican presidential primary. Trump won that primary and he reportedly has lorded that over the VP.

I must wonder whether the president is so indebted to Pence that he would keep him on the GOP presidential ticket in 2020. I also am wondering if Pence’s devotion to the president registers with Trump. Does he care that the VPOTUS has stood foursquare with him?

Trump demands loyalty among subordinates. He looks for all the world to me like someone who feels no need to reciprocate.

Thus, I am wondering whether the “Trump 2020” flag portends a big announcement.

Corrupt intent in Smollett case? Just wondering

Let’s see what we have here in the case involving Jussie Smollett, the actor caught up in a growing controversy over a crime in which he was involved.

Smollett tells Chicago police that two white guys assaulted him, hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, tied a noose around his neck and said he was in “Trump country”; they allegedly were wearing Make America Great Again hats.

The cops look into it, smell something fishy and then a grand jury issues a 16-count indictment alleging that Smollett — who is black and openly gay — paid two Nigerian brothers to orchestrate the attack; he paid them with a check, which authorities recovered. Smollett was charged with several felony counts of disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.

Then, mysteriously, prosecutors drop all 16 counts. They wipe the record clean. The files are sealed. Smollett is free and clear as if nothing happened.

Am I the only American who suspects some possible corrupt intent here? What in the world caused the prosecutors — who say they still believe Smollett did what they accused him of doing — to drop the whole thing?

Donald Trump says he plans to get the FBI and the Justice Department to look into this matter. That’s a good call. The folks in Cook County, Ill., need some answers to this bizarre turn of events. If the local authorities won’t provide it to them, then the feds have every reasonable right to look for answers and spill the beans to the public.

These kinds of attacks normally wouldn’t attract such attention. Except the victim/turned perp/turned victim again is a noted celebrity, a star on a major TV show.

It still smells fishy.

Smollett ‘hate crime’ story is inflicting some casualties

The Jussie Smollett Saga is inflicting some serious damage, regardless of how this story concludes.

Smollett is the openly gay African-American actor who said two men attacked him, declaring that he was in “MAGA Country’; Smollett said they assaulted him and hung a noose around his neck. Smollett stars in the Fox TV series “Empire.” The series producers have written Smollett out of the final two episodes of the current season; Smollett’s longer-term future with “Empire” remains unclear.

Then the police started sniffing around and they determined that Smollett orchestrated his own hate crime victimhood. Smollett is now charged with a fourth-degree felony of disorderly conduct.

The damage? It’s going to be inflicted on actual victims of hate crimes. Will actual victims of actual crimes be reluctant now to report them to the police? Will they fear the cops won’t believe them when they allege that someone has attacked them merely because of their race or religious faith or their sexual orientation?

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson seemed genuinely angry the other morning while he announced Smollett’s arrest. He is angry because of the time, money and assorted ancillary resources wasted on an allegedly phony hate crime.

The MAGA reference, of course, deals with Donald Trump, his signature slogan to “Make America Great Again.” To my mind, though, the Trump effect is a minor part of this story.

The bigger part of this saga deals with how the allegations against Smollett — who allegedly paid two brothers to assault him — will impact legitimate hate crime concerns.

Smollett, naturally, denies doing anything wrong. He stands by his initial complaint. The police, though, seem equally certain that he faked the attack.

I just fear what effect this story is going to have on future reports of actual hate crimes. My hope that it won’t inhibit such reporting is waging combat with that fear for the worst.

As for who to believe, I am leaning toward siding with the cops.

VP Pence greeted with . . . silence

I have watched the video several times; it doesn’t get any easier to watch the more I see it.

Vice President Mike Pence stood before the Munich Security Conference in Germany and sought to bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States.

He thanked U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for leading the U.S. delegation to Munich. He got a nice round of applause.

Then the vice president offered greetings from Donald J. Trump.

Silence. Stone-cold silence! The crowd didn’t react.

The VP stood there, looking as though he had just told a tawdry joke at a Sunday school class.

Is this the payoff for “putting America first”? Is this how you make America great again? 

Sad.

The world is watching and likely laughing

I happen to care what the rest of the world thinks of my nation.

Accordingly, I am thinking at this moment about what the world is thinking as the United States of America grapples in the fashion that it is over border security. What’s more, I am wondering how our allies in particular are feeling about this great and powerful nation functions with only part of the federal government running.

I find myself wishing to be a fly on the wall in places like Ottawa, Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New Delhi, Nairobi, Jerusalem and Hanoi. What are leaders of these nations thinking today about the quality of leadership being seen in the White House and Capitol Hill.

Are they thrilled to see the United States writhing? Does it give any of them comfort as they watch the world’s “most indispensable nation” engaged in an internal struggle over how — or even if — it can reopen the all the halls of government?

Does it matter? Sure it does! Donald Trump might not give a rat’s rear end what the rest of the world thinks of these matters, but millions of his fellow Americans damn sure do care. I am one of them.

As for our adversaries, what are they thinking in Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, Caracas and Pyongyang?

Are they laughing? Are they using all the publicity brewing in the United States to their advantage? Will they seek to parlay all of this into some game they intend to play on the world stage?

Are our friends and foes just throwing up their hands?

Donald Trump vowed to “make America great again.” Is this how it looks to those around this shrinking world of ours?

2019 won’t see a return of civility

Civility and Politics Political Cartoon

Only the most naïve Pollyanna who ever lived is going to hold out hope that the new year, the new Congress and the looming presidential election is going to signal a return of political civility.

It ain’t gonna happen, man. You don’t need me to tell you the obvious.

Democrats who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives are loaded for bear. The president of the United States, who has hurled insults the way he might toss pebbles into a pond, has opened himself up to an aura of recrimination. Democrats are in no mood to go easy on Donald Trump. The subpoenas will be flying out of committee chairs’ offices quite soon.

A brand new House member has tossed an f-bomb at Trump, declaring the Democrats’ intent — she says — to impeach him.

The government is partially shut down because Trump wants $5 billion to build The Wall along our southern border. He’s accusing Democrats and the handful of Republicans who oppose The Wall of being for “open borders” and for coddling illegal immigrants at the expense of protecting Americans from the hordes of murderers, rapists, drug dealers and human traffickers he says are pouring into this country.

Is this how you make America great again? Is this how you unify a divided nation? Is this how you reach out to those who voted against you, and in Donald Trump’s case that’s more of them than those who voted for him?

I have tried to hold out a flicker of hope for a return to more civility. That hope is all but extinguished. The flicker has been blown out by all the angry hot air that’s been expelled by politicians who call their opponents “the enemy” or “evil” or any other vicious epithet you can imagine.

My hope once sprang eternal. No more.

Wondering if term limits will return to debate stage

With all the hoo-hah in Washington about the battle of ideologies — conservative vs. liberal — I am wondering about the fate of the debate over term limits.

In 1994, Republicans led by U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, campaigned successfully on the Contract With America platform that included a silly proposition: to limit the terms of members of Congress.

Voters seemed to buy into the notion that we ought to place mandatory limits on the time House members and senators can serve. After all, we limit the president to two elected terms, thanks to the 22nd Amendment. Why not demand the same thing of Congress members?

Well, the idea hasn’t gone anywhere. It requires an amendment to the Constitution. Referring an amendment to the states for their ratification requires a two-thirds vote in both congressional chambers. Term limits proposals haven’t made the grade.

Term limits is primarily a Republican-led initiative. Democrats have dug in against the idea, saying correctly that “we already have term limits. We call them ‘elections.'”

I don’t favor mandatory limits. Indeed, there has been a significant churn of House members and senators already without the mandated limits. The new Congress comprises roughly a membership that includes roughly 25 percent of first-time officeholders. That ain’t bad, man!

Sure, there are deep-rooted incumbents from both parties who make legislating their life’s calling. However, I only can refer back to their constituents: If these lawmakers are doing a poor job, their constituents have it within their power to boot them out; if the constituents are happy with their lawmakers’ performance, they are entitled to keep them on the job.

Of course, we don’t hear much from the nation’s Republican in Chief, the president of the United States, about term limits. He’s too busy “making America great again” and fighting for The Wall. He can’t be bothered with anything as mundane and pedestrian as establishing limits for the amount of time lawmakers can serve.

But where are the GOP fire starters? Have they lost their interest? Or their nerve?

I’m fine with the idea remaining dormant. Just wondering whether it’s died a much-needed death.

Does this make you proud of POTUS?

I am running out of ways to express my disgust, disdain and uber-disappointment in the president of the United States.

Donald John “Smart Gut” Trump retweeted this picture that shows some familiar images of men and women behind bars. You have a couple of former presidents, two former attorneys general, two former FBI directors (one of whom is a special counsel examining “The Russia Thing”), a former first lady/senator/secretary of state/presidential candidate and, well . . .  some others.

It galls me in the extreme that Donald Trump would send an image out with the word “treason” under his name. A good number of Americans are wondering the very same thing about the president himself, whether he might have committed the t-word by meeting with Russian operatives who had attacked our supposedly inviolable electoral system during the 2016 presidential election.

This is precisely the kind of thing, the retweeting of such a defamatory image by the president, that reminds us of the kind of man we have representing this country at the highest levels of international relations.

This is the stuff of a bully, the kind of individual who the first lady herself has pledged to combat with her still-unspecified campaign to rid the culture of this hideous behavior.

And yet . . .

The 38 percent of Americans who continue to revel in this individual’s presence as president cheer him on. They continue to refuse to acknowledge the shame in knowing that their president is capable of such hideous public pronouncement.

Despicable.