Sunday, October 27, 2019

Terrible Infant waddles his way into history

          Don't you know that every day when he looks at his morning news feed, Lindsey Graham wishes he could just send Donald Trump to boarding school until the noisy little irritant grows up?

          The South Carolina scion wouldn't have to go before the cameras on a sorry Tuesday morning, for freakin' instance, and explain why "lynching" is a proper term for what the Terrible Infant is trying to say with his words.

          Graham wouldn't have to explain why the "quid pro quo" threat to Ukraine which he, Lindsey Graham, said would justify impeachment, isn't quite a quid or a pro or a quo -- though the acting ambassador to Ukraine describes it as just that.

          Graham wouldn't have to explain away children in cages, or border detainment without soap, or the daily dose of unconscionability from this president.

          He wouldn't have to explain away meetings with Russians bearing dirt, or Team Trump's engagement with Russian conduit Wikileaks, or the plenitude of clear obstruction authenticated by Robert Mueller.

          The only problem with the boarding school idea: Such institutions are for those who graduated from diapers.

          Trump isn't there yet.

          Trump and his presidency are still in the Terrible Twos, where a slobbery tantrum is the highest form of expression.

          Sadly, his fellow partisans have joined him. Nothing else could explain Republican congressmen storming a closed House hearing room as investigators are getting a handle on what Trump did regarding Ukraine.

          Secret hearings? That would be true only if 47 Republican committee members were not part of them, which they are. In fact, 12 of the 30 congressmen who "stormed" the committee already had permission to attend meetings.

          I imagine these very same congressmen would storm a grand jury and order pizza. They would if Trump asked them.

          Trump has dumbed down his party's discourse to the point where any procedure that might cause a dyspeptic fit in the White House is called illegal.

          But, of course, one doesn't need to go many pages into the Constitution – no further than at Article 1 -- to find the legality of what's transpiring: the first steps of impeachment.

          Of course, what the House is doing is entirely legal, wholly appropriate and supported by most Americans. Check any poll you desire.

          It looks bad for Lindsey's custodial case. So, let's all throw a tantrum. It will get Fox News' attention and render sympathy from a base that has lost any sense of shame but seems to thrive on high drama.

          Those base-liners no doubt are convinced that Mexico must have annexed New Mexico while they slept, and so, by gum, we do need to build that wall at the Colorado border.

          They, and his enablers in Congress, will put up with anything the infant says. After all, "We're building a wall in Colorado" drew applause from his hand-sorted audience.

          The feedback Trump gets from his flock is like the youth sports I once heard conservatives deride. You know, when every gesture wins a ribbon.

          The Trump story is assuming the look of Monty Python's "Life of Brian," in which a sad-sack walking around with but one shoe somehow comes to be perceived as the savior and his followers start limping around with one bare foot.

          Life imitating art, we see Republicans saying and doing things that respectable people never did before the Terrible Infant became their savior.

          Build a moat with alligators. Shoot refugees in the lower extremities. Dissolve families that brave a border crossing. Trump's supporters are all in.

          Any Republican openly embarrassed by these ideas and more, says the great leader, is human "scum."

          Big word for a little man.

          Whatever the diaper-powder chorus says to keep Trump comfortable, this is not what history will say.

          What history remembers won't be tax cuts or the (temporary) carving back of environmental protections, Trump's sculpting of a court system in his own image. It will remember the horrible rhetoric, the misspelled tweets, the infantile threats.

          Come to think of it, I went too far with my toddler analogy. To compare this man to a 2-year-old is to insult every child on the threshold of 3.

          Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado:


Sunday, October 20, 2019

So our guy's corrupt; so get over it!

            Behold the new rallying cry of Donald Trump, his enablers in Congress and his evaporating coterie of con men.

            Just get over it.

            Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the latter three words after acknowledging that Trump withheld your tax dollars from Ukraine for political purposes. Mulvaney then used what appears to be the "Everybody Does It" defense.

            Everyone, he means, who believes he has the power to withhold $400 million from a desperate nation under siege by Vladimir Putin's forces.

             Behold the new rallying cry of Donald Trump, his enablers in Congress and his evaporating coterie of con men.

            Just get over it.

            Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the latter three words after acknowledging that Trump withheld your tax dollars from Ukraine for political purposes. Mulvaney then used what appears to be the "Everybody Does It" defense.

            Everyone, he means, who believes he has the power to withhold $400 million from a desperate nation under siege by Valdimir Putin's forces.

            It's fascinating to see Trump's enablers assert that his cause in Ukraine was just -- just doing his job to root out corruption way over there. What a claim, particularly since it seeks to absolve one who's as corrupt as his tie is long.

            A number of legal experts have said that were Trump not president, the concerns listed by Robert Mueller would have wrought multiple indictments for obstruction of justice.

            Whatever Mueller's case, and it was mighty, the impeachment inquiry should have begun the moment former Trump fixer Michael Cohen opened his mouth before Congress.

            We aren't just talking here about sexcapade hush money – a check with a sitting president's name on it.

            We're not talking about the "catch and kill" arrangement reportedly made with the National Enquirer to buy a story just to bury it alive.

            We're not talking about Cohen's threatening universities not to spill the beans about Trump's scholastic record.

            That's all peanuts.

            Most serious are Cohen's statements that Trump evaded taxes with deceitful claims about his holdings, and that he committed bank fraud and insurance fraud.

            We all know that Republicans weren't inclined to listen to a word Cohen said, as he was being sent to prison in part for lying.

            Republicans looked right past the fact that the lies were made on behalf of Cohen's boss.

            They cupped their ears to not hear the central truth in Cohen's testimony, that Donald Trump is as corrupt as his tie is long.

            One group of onlookers took Cohen's words seriously: New York prosecutors.

            The long battle to un-shield Trump's tax records appears to be coming to a close with court victories on behalf of the people who employ him -- you and me.

            ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news source, reports that those records show much that would fit neatly into a criminal trial, such as fraudulent numbers to lower Trump's property taxes and insurance premiums, and to boost his chances to obtain loans for his properties.

            For those assuming this all pertains to things Trump did as a civilian, and "everybody does it anyhow," ProPublica reports that in 2017 Donald J. Trump, while serving as your president and mine, told a lender that on one building that year, he got double the rent he reported to tax authorities.

            If true, New York Times reporters would affirm it is a continuation of Trump's life story, or at least his life harvesting and hiding his daddy's millions.

            The Times last year reported how Citizen Trump used a host of highly dubious tax schemes to shield $400 million in inheritance from the IRS.

            It's good work if you can get it. Imagine, then, that Daddy's boy went on to file bankruptcy six times.

            Hmmm -- $400 million: the same amount dangled before the eyes of Ukraine's president. Good leverage if you can wield it.

            Republicans have framed Trump's now-impeachable deeds as acting on concerns about "corruption" in Ukraine. So lofty a matter.

            Corruption? If Donald Trump is truly concerned about that, he should look within his own house. And tweet his resignation.

            Then, maybe, the people can get over it.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Trump v. Every Law Ever Made

           Chief Justice Roberts: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Donald John Trump.

            Donald Trump: I, Donald John Trump.

            Roberts: Do solemnly swear.

            Trump: Do smirkingly swear.

            Roberts: That I will faithfully execute.

            Trump:  What is this "faithful" garbage?

            Roberts: The office of the president of the United States.

            Trump: The operations of the Trump Organization.

            Roberts: And will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend . . .

            Trump: Wait. What? I have a draft deferment.

            Roberts: The Constitution of the United States.

            Trump: Oh -- that legal BS. Whew. Saw myself in uniform for a moment there.

            Roberts: So help me God.

            Trump: So help myself.

            We cannot go verbatim here, not without an actual thought-stream transcript. However, I dare anyone of any stripe to counter this depiction.

            Because from the very moment he strode into the light as the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump has performed according to this script.

            He is the president to whom no laws would apply, no moral standards would affix; no shame would ever tarnish his gold leaf.

            Impeachment is in his future, written into that Constitution for when a president does unconscionable things. No problem. Trump says impeachment is unconstitutional.

            He's going to resist it – the Constitution -- every step of the way, though obstructing Congress would be an article of impeachment in and of itself. It was for Richard Nixon.

            As with the scores of actions he's taken that have defied the law, he trusts that he can hide behind the black curtain he and Mitch McConnell built – the robes of a GOP-stacked Supreme Court majority.

            We shall see.

            It's just one of many Supreme favors he'll seek to cash in for his patronage now that one court orders his financial records surrendered to Congress, another says he can't defy Congress on funding his "beautiful wall," and one says he can't make refugee status contingent on one's bank balance.

            As it is, Trump will continue to misappropriate Article II of the Constitution to assert that he can do anything he wants.

            Judges who owe him nothing are having none of that.

            In ruling that Manhattan prosecutors could proceed with their request for eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns, federal Judge Victor Marrero called Trump's assertion that he is immune from prosecutorial review "repugnant to our nation's government structure."

            "Consider the reach of the president's argument," wrote Marrero. Trump's claim of immunity "would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings."

            The Trump Standard, he wrote, "would encompass any conduct, at any time, in any forum whether federal or state."

            Well, yes, say Trump and his enablers. And they'll go looking for any court that'll say so.

            We stand on the precipice of a Supreme Court ruling that would affirm – or unimaginably cast away – the 1974 ruling under which Nixon was ordered to hand over the White House tapes.

            Brett Kavanaugh didn't know he was auditioning for elevation to the nation's highest court in a 1999 roundtable discussion when he said:

            "Should U.S. v. Nixon be overruled on the ground that the case was nonjusticiable intrabranch dispute? Maybe so."

            We can assume that right after their handshake, Trump's first question to Kavanaugh was, "Now, explain that word 'nonjusticiable.' I like that word."

            Or maybe, "Any dirt on Joe Biden? OK. Hillary?"

            His defenders say the Democrats want to relitigate the 2016 election. But listen to Trump's rallies. The man our Electoral College chose has yet to turn the calendar from that Election Night.

            These concerns all depict and summarize Donald Trump's chief priority in office: occupation.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Team Trump and 'consciousness of guilt'

            Doris Kearns Goodwin's 2005 book about how Abe Lincoln chose a Cabinet of intellect, integrity and independence is titled "Team of Rivals."

            A good title should she ever depict the Cabinet of Donald Trump would be "Gang of Weasels."

            Before getting to Individual 1 and the latest activities that have delivered him to impeachment's door, some questions about that coterie of con men:

            First, has William Barr contacted you?

            He went to Australia seeking political dirt. He went to London. He went to Italy.

            Where in the world is Bill Barr now? Is he at your house? Please advise. I have a "no soliciting" placard and dogs. Will either deter him?

            Mike Pompeo: Our secretary of state feigned ignorance about the phone-call transcript that had Washington convulsing. Then after a press report, he admitted that -- come to think of it -- he was on the call.

            Mike Pence: For a while, he kept silent on the extorting of Ukraine with tax dollars. True to his short-legged mammal nature, he hugged the ground and sought shelter in the wind storm.

            Finally exiting his burrow, Pence said the issue is not an illegal shakedown of a foreign government. The issue is the character of Joe Biden. Or so says the GOP talking-points memo.

            And wouldn't you know? The departing Rick Perry, the least consequential energy secretary since the invention of kerosene, now flees the flames just as Trump intimates that the call to the Ukrainian president was Perry's idea.

            Anyone looking out for the nation's best interests, guys? Not a chance.

            Does our secretary of state have time to attend to, um, matters of state when serving as a tag-team intimidator of Ukraine's new president?

            (For a moment the image of Trump and Pompeo in red Spandex WWF tights visits me; I shake it off.)

            Let us now return to the focus of all of this, and it's not Joe Biden.

            Donald Trump is in deep. He has committed what one observer called the "mother of all campaign finance violations," leaning on the Ukraine for a political favor with $400 million in taxpayer dollars dangled on a string.

            Oh, yes, that's a quid pro quo. Texts provided by former Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker confirm that Trump wanted a probe of Biden as a condition of a meeting with the Ukrainian president.

            For police, the term "consciousness of guilt" kicks in when a suspect keeps changing his alibi or attempts to take a demonstrable narrative to the off-ramp and into the ditch.

            As this scandal blew up in his face, Trump said the freezing of aid to Ukraine wasn't about attempted extortion but about being tight-fisted on aid to Europe. Sure it was.

            What other nations had their funds frozen? None? Curious.

            Readers should know, however, the real reason Trump was so furious last week.

            It's not just because he's about to be impeached. It's because Team Trump planned to unveil this Biden red herring months down the road. A "vicious" whistleblower ruined it.

            Yes, the October Surprise – "Ukraine fingers Biden" – that Trump wished to spring on voters at just the right time must be sprung one October too early, thanks to "spies" he has hinted at executing.

            This means Team Trump had to speed up the slime and pump out the cash: a hastily concocted, $2 million, totally fallacious anti-Biden ad campaign. CNN rejected one ad based on its utter bogus-ness. Watch for it, however, on Fox News. It's already circulating online.

            Did Putin give Trump an advance on his advertising allowance?

            New polls show a firm plurality of Americans supports Trump's impeachment.

            What? Don't they care about corruption in the Ukraine?

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: