Tuesday, January 31, 2017

EXTRA: Donald Trump, (a.k.a., The National Goofball, according to Royko)

I’m not about to take credit for that label being affixed to our nation’s new president. Credit for that moniker ought to go to the man who came up with it.
That was Mike Royko, who back when he needed to come up with columns to satisfy his syndicate readers beyond the Chicago Tribune wrote commentary on the 1980s and early 90s antics of one Donald Trump.

BACK THEN, TRUMP wasn’t a political person or a television celebrity. He was a New York real estate developer who lived the Manhattan high life and flaunted his garish lifestyle – which made for good newspaper copy.

The New York Post, in particular, enjoyed having “The Donald” to write about. Even when Trump was engaging in philandering behavior that would make Bill Clinton look like a choir boy, Trump enjoyed the attention, which gave us that ultimate Trump headline “Best Sex I Ever Had” (as in the mistress telling her friends about Donald’s alleged ability in bed).

For the record, “The National Goofball” label came from a column Royko wrote about the public spats Trump had been having with the women who are now his ex-wives.

Although “The National Goofball” is general enough that we could easily resurrect the label and use it to describe just about any of Trump’s behavior during his presidency.

ALSO FOR WHAT it’s worth, a cursory read of old Royko columns (there really isn’t anyone else like him these days) produced these lines by Royko to describe Trump:

n  Ruthless billionaire with an ego the size of a sperm whale.”
n  I finally decided that he was totally loathsome when, in addition to his other flaws, he turned out to be a cheapo” (in reference to the divorce settlement provided to his first wife Ivana).

Then, there was the column in which Royko envisioned what a conversation would be like if he were to merely walk up to Trump, who naturally would be with one of his mistresses of the moment.
Wrote Daley book, what would he say about Trump

Royko “quoted” Trump as saying, “Since it is my duty as The Donald to share with the American public every detail of my private life, my every emotion, my every thought, as banal and tawdry as they might be.”

THIS IS A little taste of what we might be getting if we still had Royko on our commentary scene – instead of it being nearly 20 full years since he died just shy of his 65th birthday.

Personally, I suspect Royko would have been appalled, although not so much at anything Trump did, but at the electorate.

For we did, after all, vote for “The National Goofball” to be our president despite his track record of several decades as not being a serious individual. Why should we be shocked, or appalled, at anything he has done, or will do, during the next four years?


Is Lisa Madigan on right track toward getting state to a balanced budget?

I’ll make one bold declarative statement before admitting I don’t have a clue how the situation concerning Illinois state government and its lack of a balanced budget is going to be resolved.
MADIGAN: Fighting for state budget

That statement is to say that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has the spirit of Illinois law clearly on her side when she and her staff of attorneys argue that Illinois government employees ought not to get paid until the budget mess is brought to an end.

THAT DOESN’T MEAN I believe her legal actions filed last week in the courts are going to be successful. Because having the “spirit” of the law on one’s side is nice, but doesn’t necessarily mean squat.

It could turn out there’s a technical legal interpretation that will be concocted by attorneys somewhere who are able to convince a judge of its merits. The fact that state law intended for the lack of a balanced budget in place to prevent government from operating might wind up meaning less than the 49 percent of the electorate that gave Hillary Clinton a plurality for the presidency.

She still lost! And it’s possible the courts will not think much of the Madigan move that asks the courts to issue an order preventing the Illinois comptroller’s office from meeting state payrolls come March 1.

Some think that Madigan’s real intention is to put pressure on the General Assembly (including the Illinois House of Representatives led by her father, Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago) and Gov. Bruce Rauner to put together a budget.

AS IN HER legal request would become a moot point IF legislators and the governor can put aside their partisan political differences and approve something before Feb. 28.
Will Rauner, Madigan be able to resolve budget,...

Of course, they have been unable to do anything ever since Rauner became governor in January 2015. They did have that tentative spending plan in effect for the second half of 2016, but that expired when the balloons came tumbling down at New Year’s Eve parties all over the state.

Right now, we’re back in the same situation where state tax dollars are being collected and money exists, but it cannot legally be spent because of the lack of a specific plan detailing how it is to be spent.

Which is not an irresponsible idea at all. We ought to be able to see exactly how our tax dollars are going to be used. Would you really want any government officials to be able to spend the public’s money based on their own whims?
... thereby making speaker's daughter moot?

THE ONLY THING that has kept state government going since July 2015 is that some government programs operate under federal court orders that prevent state budgetary requirements from being literally applied to them.

There also was the previous legal exchange in which a Cook County judge issued an order saying the state payroll could not be met, but then a judge in St. Clair County (on the Mississippi River near St. Louis) ruled it had to be met. Although the Illinois Supreme Court came up with a ruling later that poked away at the St. Clair action.

The logic of meeting the state payroll without a budget is that the state, after all, has contracts with its employees’ unions. In fact, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is opposing Madigan’s current legal maneuver. They want state workers to keep getting paid – regardless of the top-ranking officials’ political ineptitude.

That ultimately is what a judge somewhere is going to have to decide – is the long-term fate of the state worth the hassle of the working stiffs getting their paychecks delayed? Which I’ll acknowledge would be a hassle to people who need that money they’ve earned in order to survive.

BUT THERE ARE other people suffering because the government programs upon which their livelihoods depend are being delayed. There are public schools across the state whose aid payments don’t come close to arriving on time. Just listen to your local school officials when they start talking bluntly about what they think of Illinois state government!

Perhaps the reality of being a government employee is that, while there are many perks and benefits to such jobs, one of the drawbacks is that you can be caught in the crossfire whenever people like Rauner and Madigan (Michael, that is) decide to take each other on.

The one plus is that having all these people angered over their incomes being tampered with probably is the only way that Rauner, Madigan and the other legislators will be motivated to give our state a balanced budget proposal.

Which, in the end, is the long-term solution to resolving the financial issues that make Illinois government a particularly laughable entity for government geeks to consider.


Monday, January 30, 2017

EXTRA: Trump literally tells someone “You’re Fired!,” acting AG loses job

It took Richard M. Nixon some five years into his presidency before he gave us the “Saturday Night Massacre” – the Oct. 20, 1973, incident where the Attorney General and deputy were fired for refusing to fire a special prosecutor who dug a little too close into the Watergate break-in for Nixon’s comfort.
YATES: Can hold her head up high

It took Donald J. Trump only 10 days to commit the offense that I’m sure many with a historic or political perspective will compare it to.

TRUMP ON MONDAY ordered the dismissal of Sally Yates, who had been Attorney General since Jan. 20. She took actions Monday saying her office, which serves as the legal representation for federal government, to stop defending the United States against any legal challenges to the Trump executive order that caused so much chaos at airports across the nation, including Chicago's O'Hare International.

The one meant to make it difficult, if not impossible, for people from select Middle Eastern nations to get into this country.

Trump, of course, will take no such insolence – particularly from someone like Yates, who had been a deputy A.G. since 2015 and previously was a U.S. attorney for Northern Georgia.

She only had the top post on an interim basis because Trump didn’t want Attorney General Loretta Lynch remaining in the top post any longer than necessary. She was, after all, a Barack Obama appointee.

I’M SURE THAT as far as Trump is concerned, Yates was someone who came from the Obama era, and he would have replaced her anyway.
NIXON: Not long for Trump to invoke memory

The fact that she was publicly saying a Trump order was wrong? It’s not a shock she’s the first to get a public “You’re Fired!” from Trump, the president. It would be like a gangster firing his attorney who tried to plead him "guilty." Remember how the "Al Capone" character played by Robert DiNiro beat his attorney for doing just that in the 1987 film "The Untouchables" starring Kevin Costner?

Although considering that Yates was merely reflecting the same attitude as a majority of the people who have watched the federal government’s actions this weekend with a sense of shame for their home nation probably means she can now breathe a sigh of relief.

She no longer has to pretend to be a Trump-type person and can now move on with her life. While Trump adds to his reputation as nothing more than a political bully.


EXTRA: Can Trump truly govern? Or good for nothing but barking orders!

It will be interesting to see how President Donald J. Trump handles the naming of his pick to fill a nearly year-old vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States; a move he has said could come on Tuesday.
GARLAND: Never get to see him on high court

Not only will it mean the end of Merrick Garland  (a Chicago-born and suburban Lincolnwood native) as a possibility for the nation’s high court, it will finally put us in a position where we can see if the new president is actually capable of working with government to get things done.

FOR ALL WE’VE seen him do thus far is issue multitudes of executive orders, many of which the Washington Post reports are not really executive orders – but presidential memorandums.

As in Donald J. makes grand pronouncements on various issues, mostly to express attitudes desired by the nativist-leaning ideologues who actually voted for him to be president.

Or also to make statements meant to repudiate whatever had happened during the past eight years. In short, we have seen nothing more than “President You’re Fired!” bellowing like a buffoon. The encouraging part of all this is that nothing has occurred that can’t easily be undone when the day comes that we get a real-live grownup working in the Oval Office.

In fact, it has become the reality of the U.S. presidency that whenever the post changes to someone of an opposition political party, executive orders are issued to undo many of the general principles espoused by the previous administration.

SUCH AS THE “Mexico City Policy” by which Republican administrations have told federal agencies not to do anything that would encourage abortion in foreign nations. Democratic presidents, including Barack Obama, always did away with the policy.

But all this is a matter of making pronouncements, being president at the moments when you speak and people are supposed to just listen. Actually offering their own opinions, or taking actions intended to refute you, hasn’t been a part of Trump’s presidential experience.

Not yet!
TRUMP: Will we ever see him govern?

We’ll see in evaluating his pick for the high court just how much of a legal mind he wants. Or is he looking for someone who will forevermore think of his allegiance to Trump himself. Is Trump capable of making an independent pick, then getting it through the political mechanizations of Congress?

ALTHOUGH FOR THAT matter, it could wind up being a pick that was made by the Republican establishment that spent the bulk of 2016 ensuring that Barack Obama did not actually get to pick three individuals (out of nine total) to the Supreme Court. Because it was bad enough, in their minds, that he got two picks and was able to undermine (with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan) the vision they have of an all-white, male establishment.

Is Trump merely the errand boy the ideologue establishment of Congress plans to use to ram through their own agenda for our society – allowing Donald J’s ego to be bloated even moreso because it will serve their purposes? And take the blame when their ideals are found to be offensive by the true majority of people in our society! Is Trump so eager to be "president" that he's willing to be besmirched by the conservative ideologues amongst us?

Would Trump be willing to speak out if the GOP agenda doesn’t strictly match his own? Would that become the potential breaking point that could make the next four years even goofier than the current conservative mess we have now? Is political civil war what we're in for, the "right" versus the "alt-right," with rational people sitting on the sidelines and trying not to get caught in the crossfire?
Trump about to leave his imprint on this particular hallowed hall.  Will he soil it? Photograph provided by Supreme Court of the United States

Tylenol; as in we’ll all going to be using massive doses for the national headache our society will develop from observing all the nonsense done in coming months and years in the name of partisan politics.


Assuaging Trump backers’ egos create incidents at O’Hare, airports elsewhere

It was a depressing mood that spread this weekend at airports throughout our nation, including at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport. What with the number of people suddenly impacted by the executive order imposed by new President Donald J. Trump.
Welcome to Chicago? More like, Drop Dead!!!!! from Donald Trump, if you happen to be Arab

As in the one that put sudden restrictions on people from select Arab and Middle Eastern nations being able to enter the United States.

THIS WEEKEND BECAME the first practical impact of the new era that our nation has moved into – and which is one that is totally in line with the sentiments of the 46 percent of the electorate that actually voted for Trump to be president.

All across the nation at airports that accept international flights there were people being stuck in customs and detained indefinitely. A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., issued an order Saturday night preventing them from being deported and they eventually were released and allowed to disperse amongst the U.S. populace, but their long-term fate is uncertain.

It didn’t matter that many of these people had relatives living within the United States with valid visas or full citizenship. Or that some of them had dual citizenship with other nations (such as Great Britain) that are full-fledged U.S. allies.

Saturday night, there were reports of some 18 people being stuck at O’Hare for hours on end, with similar numbers being found at other airports across the country. There was bureaucratic nonsense, and some even had their Facebook accounts inspected to get clues as to their political leanings. Activists upset about this had the International terminal blocked Saturday night, complicating the ability of people to get into, and out of, the airport. They didn't leave until the early hours of Sunday.
TRUMP: Appeasing the 46 percent

WHAT A GREAT way for our nation – which likes to hold itself up as the ideal that nations around the globe ought to strive to be like – to greet people.

“Drop dead, rag head!,” is what we might as well be telling them. Barack Obama felt like a long-distant memory Saturday night.

It’s not just people of Middle Eastern ethnic backgrounds who got detained (out of suspicion that they’re Islamic, which just naturally makes them subversive to the U.S. way of life, according to the nativist kooks). There were news reports of anybody coming from Iran getting extra scrutiny, regardless of who they are or what their backgrounds may be.

OBAMA: Did he ever really happen?
All of this is coming about because of the executive order that Trump signed a couple of days following his orders (border walls and sanctuary cities) aimed at harassing the Latino segment of our society.

THESE ARAB-ORIENTED ORDERS are the result of the Trump action that singles out people of seven specific nations – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – who will not be able to legally enter the United States for at least 90 days, and Trump on Sunday insisted his order remains in effect although aides are now talking down some of its enforcement provisions.

In theory, that measure is because U.S. officials will spend the next three months concocting policies concerning immigration and travel back and forth from Middle Eastern nations. Just like they're supposedly abolishing the Affordable Care Act and we should trust them to come up with a replacement policy in the future.

Although I suspect many of those who think healthcare reform was subversive also are of a particularly nativist and xenophobic bent want who want to believe these Middle East nations are producing all the “radical Islamic terrorists” who are a threat to our society’s existence.
Words of advice particularly relevant this weekend
And you had better use that particular “radical Islamic terrorist” phrase to describe those people, or else face the wrath of the ideologues as they concoct a policy to restrict your further existence within this society!

IN THE LONG run, I realize this is a short-term series of incidents this weekend. Although we shouldn’t think these are moments that these individuals impacted now will someday be capable of laughing about. Even though the Department of Homeland Security is trying to downplay Saturday's harassment by saying fewer than 1 percent of international travelers were impacted.

It’s embarrassing to our national reputation. It undermines any claims to superiority we might try to make about ourselves. It really is pathetic that we’re giving in to the most paranoid people of our society and letting their fears dictate our federal policy.

It’s giving reinforcement to the notion that the campaign phrase “Make America Great Again” really means some warped vision of what our nation never was, except in the minds of those with the most nativist of extremes. To which Trump is now working in high gear to appease; and which groups like the ACLU will have to work overtime to combat.

And the sad part will be those people amongst us who not only knowingly voted for this, but fully approve. Because it fits their vision, to which the only phrase I can truly think of to describe it is, “un-American!”


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rauner or Rahm – Who gets hurt the most by Trump presidential presence?

It may seem odd to some that a person who appears to be as clueless about Chicago and as uninterested in learning about its realities as the president is, that he’s going to be a significant factor in two of the upcoming election cycles we will engage in.
RAUNER: Could he suffer more severe blows?

Yet that’s going to be the case – the existence of Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office is going to create headaches both for Gov. Bruce Rauner when he seeks re-election in 2018 and for Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he tries to retain his post come 2019.

IF ANYTHING, THE president may become a bigger pain in the behind for the guy who’s supposed to be his partisan colleague – both he and Rauner claim to be Republicans who want to bring their business-type ways of doing things to government.

While a part of me wonders if many of us who truly want to dump Rahm Emanuel may wind up coming to see his antagonistic ways as being the thing that protects us from the whims of Donald J. in the White House.

I don’t doubt that if Trump himself were asked the question about our political scene, he’d cite Emanuel (the man whose “crimes” in the eyes of ideologue Republicans is that he does not hang his head in shame at the thought of having worked on the staffs of both presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) as the guy who has to go.

The one upon whom he’ll focus his wrath – just as he’s already delivering the first of what will be many pot shots against Chicago during his presidency.

HE’S GOING TO talk a lot of trash meant to make Rahm Emanuel look bad, and perhaps he thinks he’s stirring up the resentment against Rahm for the ’19 election cycle.
EMANUEL: Chicago's defender?

Yet the problem is that Trump’s underlying views on so many Chicago-oriented issues are the exact opposite of what we want to see happen. Rahm and his “Go to Hell” approach to political life may come to be seen as our most solid defender!

As in someone we can’t afford to lose, no matter how much we may despise the man personally. And I don’t doubt that sentiment exists – it already has Jesus Garcia talking in terms of trying once again to challenge Emanuel for mayor.

Yet the kind of people who’d back Trump most likely are the ones who would view Chuy as the absolute worst option for mayor – someone who’d take the city in a direction even further away than what they’d desire.
GARCIA: Would anybody back Chuy in Trump brawl

EVEN TRUMP-ITES WHO reside in Chicago (and I realize their numbers are few, as little as 2 percent in certain wards of the city) may wind up preferring Rahm if 2019 comes down to another Emanuel vs. Garcia brawl like we had in 2015.

Then, there’s Rauner, who ever since the name “Trump” popped up in political circles a couple of years ago has gone out of his way to distance himself. It actually rivals the way Emanuel tried to avoid saying anything during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary that would take sides between Obama and Hillary Clinton – the latter of whom actually believed that Rahm actually belonged on her side.

Rauner does not want to get tied into any of the ding-dong partisan policies that Trump is cooking up to appease the nativist element that was key to his presidential election.

But it also seems that the same elements were largely responsible for the political gains Republicans made in rural parts of Illinois. Rauner may want us to believe those folks simply hate Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, but it’s more likely they love Trump in Cairo, Ill., as much as they do in Jackson, Miss.

SO IF RAUNER tries too hard to distance himself from Trump, will he wind up losing rural Illinois types who could suddenly find themselves in a “shotgun weddin’” with Chicago-area voters who already have their own reasons to want to “dump Bruce” more than any rural voter wants to “dump Madigan.”
TRUMP: Will dumping Donald in '20 be bigger?

Then again, if Rauner doesn’t join in the Trump bashing with Emanuel, he may wind up stirring up the resentment of the more urban parts of Illinois who already are looking at political life for the next few years as crafting ways to keep that orange-dyed goof in the White House from making a complete mess of issues.

A part of me almost feels sorry for Rauner, since I suspect he’s going to get hurt no matter what he does.

Then again, for those of us who are disgusted with the inactivity of Illinois state government the past two years and Rauner’s role in creating the logjam, perhaps getting caught in the Trump crossfire might wind up being the appropriate penalty before we shift focus to a “dump Trump” effort in 2020!


Friday, January 27, 2017

It took less than a week for president to resort to “Latino card” for trash talk

The Latino segment of the electorate was always wary of the concept of “President Donald J. Trump,” remembering that the very first outlandish and irrational attack he made during his presidential campaign was against Mexico.
Parts of the U.S./Mexico border already have barricades. Not that it has done much good.

We realized that if the people truly gave in to their worst instincts and picked him to be the nation’s chief executive, we’d probably wind up being targeted by much of his trash talk.

SO PERHAPS THE only surprise in Trump’s initiatives this week concerning sanctuary cities and border barricades is that they didn’t come sooner.

As it was, Trump signed off on a pair of executive orders related to the two issues within the first week of his presidency. Perhaps we can take comfort these are merely executive orders that a future president will be able to erase with the sign of a pen.

It’s not like Congress did anything to grant approval that would have given the Trump trash talk some government muscle to back it up. It can easily be undone once we have a serious person back in the White House. There also are questions as to the practicality of enforcing either of Trump’s orders for the long-term.

But just as an attempt to revoke the Affordable Care Act because some people don’t want the nation to be involved in providing for the healthcare of its residents is going to harm some residents in the short term, there will be Latinos (regardless of whether or not they’re Mexican, because the ideologues can’t tell the difference and think we’re all Mexican) who will get hurt by this xenophobic focus created by the president.

FOR ALL I know, there are bound to be Latinos who lose their healthcare – taking a double blow because of the partisan nature of this particular president.

I’m not sure which of these two “issues” bothers me more?

Sanctuary cities truly are a worthy concept – it’s a wonder that more places don’t adopt the idea, which basically amounts to the notion that local cops do their own jobs and leave the responsibility of enforcing policy to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who are trained in the nuances of immigration law.
Chicago won't be alone in granting sanctuary city status

The fact that Chicago is a sanctuary city does not, in any way, impede the authority of federal immigration officials to do their job. People can’t “hide out,” so to speak, in Chicago – or any other city with such status.

ALL IT REALLY means is that a traffic ticket can’t evolve into a deportation hearing. Nor should it be allowed to!

Unless you’re the type of individual who wants the police to be little more than the armed thugs of government. In which case, you are the real problem our society faces.

Honestly, though, it may be the border wall (which was the subject of Trump’s campaign-beginning rhetoric) that will make this nation look more ridiculous. If it gets built (and the cost would be stratospheric), it will fail to accomplish its goal of keeping “Mexicans” out of the United States.

In fact, all it may well wind up doing is becoming a graffiti-laden barricade that provides the world with an embarrassing entry point to the nation that likes to boast of the Statue of Liberty and turn her, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” into the ultimate proof that talk is cheap.

TRUMP SHOWS HOW absurd he is with this policy, which merely reminds me of the smart aleck wisecrack often made about how a 10-foot wall can be scaled by an 11-foot ladder. There’s no such thing as an impenetrable barrier – not even the uninhabitable deserts that comprise many of the border region’s 1,900-plus miles.
TRUMP: A failed wall can be his legacy

We may wind up creating the 21st Century’s equivalent of the Berlin Wall, which was built by the Communist regime of the old East Germany to isolate their portion of Berlin from the rest of the world. Just as Trump-ites dream they can isolate the United States from the presence of Mexico.

It's particularly ridiculous that Trump talks of forcing Mexico’s government to pick up the construction tab. A 20 percent surcharge on Mexican imports is pure fantasy, no matter how many times Donald J. says it. If anything, Trump ought to devote his own personal fortune to paying for such construction. We’ll even allow him to put his name on the wall like he does all the other structures he has erected around the world.

A “Trump Border Wall” can be his lasting legacy – a structure that totally fails to achieve its intended purpose of keeping people out, visually illustrates the ignorance of his political talk and possibly bankrupts the man and his family financially in the process.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

EXTRA: Politically-speaking, when does a kid get to be a kid?

Insofar as I could see, Barron Trump was being a 10-year-old, which may be an obnoxious form of the human species, but nothing that we’d consider criminal.
How much of dad's blasts will land on son's shoulders

He fidgeted and squirmed and seemed to talk at times out of turn, but nothing that I haven’t seen many other kids of that age do.

SO I CAN kind of comprehend the offense being taken by some at people who dare to criticize the youngest of the Trump clan. There is a sense that we’re really focusing our ire at Donald J. by going after the most vulnerable of the family.

But I also have to question the motives of those who want to get all upset at anyone who dares point out the behavior of Barron – which from the bits I saw on television did border on the type of antics that, if I had done them as a kid, would have gotten me a threat of the back of my mother’s hand across my face.

How many of these same people all eager to praise Barron Trump and defend his honor are the same people all upset that there weren’t tons of reports about the Obama daughters.

No one could possibly be as clean as Malia and Sasha were during their eight years of living in the White House, is what they want to believe. It has to be a cover-up of illicit activity by the Obama brats, as they want to see it.

OF COURSE, THERE also are the outlandish stories that some people like to spew (and claim that accounts denying their legitimacy are the ultimate in “fake news”) about how the Obama daughters are adopted as part of a cover-up over the phoniness of the Obama marriage.
Would Barron's defenders have protected Obama girls?

In those stories, now former First Lady Michelle Obama is transvestite and “Barry” is just the ultimate freak! Nonsense, to be sure, but I wonder how many of those ideologues willing to defile an entire family’s reputation are now talking about the righteousness of la familia Trump.
Even Chelsea defended Barron

Some will say that protecting Barron is the same as the way that former first daughter Chelsea Clinton was protected from the public eye. Heck, Chelsea herself has issued statements in recent days saying people should back off the Trump kid.

But there are others who will claim it was wrong to keep hands off of Chelsea in those days. I’d wonder how many think only conservative ideologue kids deserve a private life. Which in my mind cheapens the whole issue.
Patrick had his own incident as a kid

BESIDES, THERE ARE times when a political kid’s activities get into the public eye.

I still remember back to 1992 when Patrick Daley, the son of Mayor Richard M., used his parents’ trip to New York as an excuse to have a party at the family home in Grand Beach, Mich.

Like many teen parties, it got out of hand. There was property damage, a shotgun was brandished and one teen wound up getting hit over the head with a baseball bat.

I remember thinking at the time this didn’t deserve all that much attention; how many teen parties filled with stupid antics got coverage. Although I remember being told by some of my reporter colleagues that Daley, the mayor, had a sanctimonious attitude toward others in embarrassing circumstances, and therefore deserved similar treatment.

PERHAPS THAT IS the same line of thinking some are taking toward Trump. Although it may well be that getting that incident so thoroughly out in the open was to Patrick’s benefit. He’s 41 now, and most certainly doesn’t have this skeleton in his closet. It’s truly a thing of the past.
Has Amy outgrown youthful protection?

At what point, however, does a political kid become “fair game” for criticism? I wonder if Amy Blagojevich is about to learn that lesson.

She’s understandably P-O’ed that no one is taking seriously the desire of her father, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for a reduction of his 14-year prison sentence seriously.

But using Facebook this week to say that now-former President Obama was “selfish and spineless” for not granting his request for a pardon or sentence commutation? Those are just the kind of “fighting words” that are likely to make her the target of criticism herself – political “kid” or not.


I don’t think even Trump knows what he means by “send in the Feds!”

President Donald Trump got a lot of people stirred up with his latest Tweet from a Twit, the one this week that said he would “send in the Feds” if there wasn’t a dramatic reduction in the rate of violence occurring in Chicago.
Is this really the image people think would make the streets of inner-city Chicago safe?
I suspect that getting everybody all riled up was his purpose. I don’t think Trump has a clue what the actual problem is with regards to the homicide rate in Chicago, or anywhere else in this country. I suspect he could care less – he’d probably find the details “Boring!” and want to move on to something else.

IN FACT, I suspect that with regards to his blurb on Twitter, the most significant part of it for him was the exclamation point that he put at the end of “Feds!” You’ve got to show excitement and outrage!!!!!

Actually dealing with the problem? That’s much less interesting than engaging in actions that allow you to express the sentiment that someone else is screwing up!

When Trump chose to rant on Twitter this week about the city’s homicide rate, most likely what really bothers him is that Chicago is a place where some 80 percent-plus of us are immune to his rhetorical nonsense. We are never going to be amongst the 46 percent of the electorate who actually think he makes a fit president.

So this is just the pot shot of the week at Chicago – as though we Chicagoans really care what a geeky Manhattanite (not even a real Noo Yawker) thinks about us!

IF IT HADN’T been the homicide rate, he would have found some other issue with which to try to trash us. Which ultimately is going to build up our immunity to his rants – who really cares what the cranky old man with the bad orange dye job has to say when it’s obvious he’s not based in anything resembling real fact?

Personally, I’ve noticed that some people are putting their own spin on Trump – largely because his “send in the Feds!” comment is so vague and has no real meaning.

They’d love it if the federal government were to provide all kinds of assistance in the form of Drug Enforcement Agency or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms specialists to work with the Chicago Police Department. Getting rid of illicit narcotics or firearms would be a significant step toward resolving the conditions in our society that create high levels of urban violence.
TRUMP: Tough to take his talk seriously

Going through Facebook for the stray comments people post, I couldn’t help but notice both former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Rev. Michael Pfleger expressing such thoughts.

BUT I ALSO don’t doubt that strengthening such initiatives is the last thing Trump has in mind, although I also doubt he has thought this issue through to the degree of actually authorizing National Guard troops to patrol the streets of inner-city Chicago and shoot those they think pose a threat.

Which may be the image that Trump backers fantasize about becoming reality, but which is one that is so absurd that I even doubt Trump himself would have the nerve to try to impose it.

He’s along the lines of all-talk and no action!

So what should we think about the facts (as presented by Trump) that there have already been 228 shooting incidents in Chicago during the past three-or-so weeks, with 42 people being killed already. Although it has been reported the truthful figures are 182 shooting incidents and 38 homicides.

WHICH, ADMITTEDLY, ARE not something we ought to be proud about. This is a situation that needs to be addressed, perhaps such as Gov. Bruce Rauner did Wednesday in his State of the State address in which he suggested the need to create more jobs to keep people employed and less likely to resort to violence. An idea that I'm sure Trump would have absolutely no interest in pursuing.
RAUNER: Making too much sense for Trump

Looking solely for a law enforcement crackdown would only aggravate the situation. In fact, I’d argue that ridiculous rhetoric such as we’re receiving from the president isn’t going to do a thing to ease the violence level – which in reality is at its highest in parts of Chicago I suspect Trump could care less about.

Can we blame his apathy for the inability to make a dent in the problem? That might be a simple-minded response, but the fact that some are only interested in Chicago’s urban violence for the purpose of scoring partisan political points for themselves is a reality.

Then again, simple-minded responses that don’t address the problem is probably about all we should ever expect to get from this particular president!!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

With TPP, Trump pleasing some; mostly those who were already satisfied

TRUMP: First Asia, next Mexico?
I have heard from countless labor union locals who, in recent months, have been pushing a campaign to urge local governments across the nation to pass resolutions condemning the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

That is a trade agreement between the nations of North America and Asia, and its pursuit was something strongly desired by now-former President Barack Obama.

SO NATURALLY, THE knee-jerk reaction of President Donald J. Trump is to want to do away with it.

And considering that this was a deal that had not yet been ratified by Congress (which was the point of all those local resolutions – to urge Congress not to support this), it was an easy move for Trump to be negative on.

Unlike the Affordable Care Act which will take significant legal steps in order to back away from because it was approved by Congress and signed into law by a president, this merely took a presidential signature on a document. Which is action he took on Monday.

Now it seems the Trans-Pacific Partnership does not include the United States, which is a major step toward causing it to wither away into irrelevance. It will become the historic similarity to the old League of Nations, which U.S. officials pushed for in the days following the end of the first World War to try to maintain peace, but then never formally joined because of the dominance of the isolationists who prevailed in this country.

NO ONE REALLY knows what will happen in coming years with regards to trade between North American and Asian nations. The agreement was meant to erase many of the issues that complicate business dealings – which often come from people who want their parochial concerns placed above all else.
OBAMA: All his accomplishments must go!

Which includes many of the labor unions that fear these trade deals are meant to further encourage the transition of physical labor jobs to countries where physical labor works cheap.

I get that labor unions are out to preserve existing jobs for their members. But I’ll have to admit to having always thought of the general concept of the TPP as being a sound one – we ought to be working together for our mutual benefits.

Now, it seems that Trump has followed through on his “Make America Great Again” pledge as being the equivalent of turning back time – literally trying to revert back to a sense of isolationism that will wind up dragging our nation into the gutter of the world’s society.

WHILE ALSO UNDERMINING our nation’s ability to assert its authority over the world. Asserting oneself also means making some sacrifices for the benefit of the global economy.
Will Bill Clinton get full NAFTA blame?

I’m sure the labor unions that were fighting the TPP are now pleased with Trump,

Of course, now they’ll move forward to a similar cause – the North American Free Trade Agreement that says Canada, Mexico and the United States work together as one entity on trade policy.

NAFTA has long been an opposition cause of the same labor officials, who resent that former President Bill Clinton approved it into law (stealing the idea from previous President George H.W. Bush who was unable to get it approved during his presidency). Which means revoking it will entail complicated talks almost as detailed as the mess it will take to erase the Obama healthcare reform initiatives that the people want – BUT the ideologues do not.

SO NATURALLY, TRUMP has already begun his efforts there – although there’s no saying how long it will take before anything can be accomplished. For what it’s worth, NAFTA revocation under Trump is likely to focus on the same xenophobic sentiments that Trump-backers express whenever Mexico is the subject of conversation, and Bloomberg News reported that Canada officials are largely focusing their efforts at trying to stay out of the crossfire likely to occur.
Will George Bush share NAFTA blame?

Dump NAFTA and “Build that Wall!!!” are likely to be the simple-minded slogans tossed about by Trump-ites with regards to U.S./Mexico foreign policy. One who tries thinking logically about this might wonder if it winds up hurting Trump with the growing Latino population that might take this cheap rhetoric as evidence they’re being singled out for Trump abuse.

Which, my guess, is something he doesn’t care about. Consider the Washington Post reported that Trump said some 3-5 million people who shouldn’t have been able to vote in last year’s elections did so against him. Meaning in his “alternate facts” mentality, he really won the popular vote.

Meaning he probably thinks becoming “President Xenophobe” will gain him politically. And yes, I strongly suspect that Trump himself would have to have the meaning of that label explained to him by one of his aides who, in his mind, spent too much time with “book-learnin’” and not enough using his methods of chasing girls.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Alternative facts? Lyin photographs? Can’t we see the 46 percent who love Trump know what's best for all of us

I remember back when the government of mainland China held a press conference to publicly announce that all the protests against government back in 1989 at Tiananmen Square never happened.
The Chinese government officially says this 1989 moment broadcast by CNN and the world over never happened. Is that merely a use of alternative facts?

The protests that reportedly involved more than 100,000 people and gave us the iconic image of the man single-handedly standing in the path of a tank?

“PICTURES LIE,” IS what we were told by government officials. The whole tale of people speaking out against their government was just a plot by people who couldn’t accept the wisdom and the success of the Communist movement in China.

It’s laughable. It’s ridiculous and absurd.

Yet it also is what I couldn’t help but think of when we went through the weekend ordeal of being told that Donald J. Trump’s inaugural ceremonies were witnessed by more people live and on television than those of any other president in our nation’s history.

And when people tried to point out the absurdity of such statements, we were told by Trump mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway about the concept of “alternative facts” that will be her political legacy.

CONWAY IS THE one who showed us just how much she, and many of the Trump types who back her, have a touch of Chinese Communist in them. Or perhaps Russian authoritarianism and an appreciation for the strong-arm mentality.
Trump, from 'You're Fired!'...

That may be the reason they feel so at home with the people who run what once was the Soviet Union – which may have given up Communism but certainly still appreciates the approach of telling people when to shut up and do what their told.

Which is so much of what the Trump-type of voters appreciate – the idea of a boss who bellows “You’re Fired!” or barks out other orders, and expects them to be followed.

Now personally, I don’t care how many people actually showed up on the National Mall in Washington on Friday to see Trump take the oath of office.
... to "alternative facts"

THERE MAY BE a point to those people who look at the aerial photographs that compared Trump to the Barack Obama inaugural of 2009 and see that certain areas were blocked out, thereby spreading the crowd out thinner for the Trump event.

Personally, I think it’s mere trivia to worry about an exact figure of how many showed up – just like those people who forever argue against the Million Man March of 1995 by saying there weren’t one million people present on the very same National Mall.

Citing deceptive photographs literally comes down to adopting the Chinese strategy – which is one that no serious person on Planet Earth finds believable.

Just like the concept of “alternative facts,” which apparently is the ideologue response to the concept of “fake news.” Which shouldn’t be a surprise – since the ideologues have made it more and more clear that they’re not interested in hearing anything that contradicts the way they want to view the world.

AS FAR AS they’re concerned, they’re the ones engaging in truth as it should be, and it’s everybody else who’s telling stinkin’ lies – particularly those people who keep harping on Trump opposition or the 65 million who voted for Hillary Clinton, or a few million more who backed alternative candidates.

The fact that only 46 percent of the electorate wanted Trump to be president? That ignores the reality that many of those people who cast ballots against Trump are just ignorant, or had no business voting at all.
CONWAY: Alternative fashion?

A majority of the people who actually matter, as the Trump-ites view it, are totally satisfied with the electoral outcome and are looking forward to the coming weeks, months and years in which the real estate developer with the overbloated ego rams his thoughts down the throats of the American people. All for our own good because the 46 percent inherently know what is best for everybody.

Which sounds like a very authoritarian approach of governing to me! Even if Conway tries to justify it as “alternative facts,” which is a concept even more laughable than that outfit she wore for the inaugural speech.