I will admit it- I am addicted to the Trump Watch, in whatever form that might take. The reason for this obsession is fairly simple- we are looking for the end to the madness. The madness is of course that the president- previously noted here as mostly unworthy of naming and thusly designated as 45*- is actually the president, and the sooner he is un-presidented the better. What we are finding as we watch though is that, for some reason, not unlike his claim that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City and get away with it, he continues to do just that, in a figurative sense, for now. And so it was that I sat down last night to watch the speech that was to be given by 45* to the joint session of Congress and all the other supreme court judges and cabinet people along with the hangers on and the political tools that can be gathered and thrust in front of the cameras for all to see. In truth, what I was hoping for, since they were all there, was a surprise appearance by the martians from Tim Burton’s ‘Mars Attacks’. Instead we were regaled by the antics of a proxy 45*, an alternative Trump that was toned down and dialed back to the point where the teleprompters almost allowed a civilized version of his essence to transcend the airwaves. The key word in that last bit of course was “almost”.
I generally do not watch these speeches- I viewed them in neither in the Bush nor Obama years- because they mean very little in the bigger picture of things. It is the same reason I mostly ignore the Oscars and any other awards show, and that is because they are there to hand out pats on the back and not much more. While it is true that for the first time since he has been on the presidential stage, 45* looked the closest he has yet to being something close to presidential, there were a few slips and cracks in the façade that let his true self out from the cloak of manipulated speech-craft. The first of these leaks occurred when he said in paced and enunciated precision the three words: “radical Islamic terrorism”, during one part of the speech. Having heard reports from a few days before that 45*’s pick as a replacement for the ousted Mike Flynn, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster had warned against using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” because he felt that it gave religious credibility to terrorists and that it potentially alienated moderate Muslims, it was in a sense a surprise to hear them. What it sounded like to me, though, as 45* made this pronouncement, was that moment in Oliver Stone’s ‘Doors’ biopic when Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison leaned in to the mic on their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan and sang the word “higher”- something he’d been specifically asked not to do by the show’s producer. 45* may have even seen himself as a bit of a rebel in making his Muslim statement, but why have a national security adviser if you are not going to listen to what he has to say?
The second and much greater desecration of decency and decorum to my mind was 45*’s dragging of Carryn Owens into the core of his speech and the unblinking eyes of all cameras on hand. Mrs. Owens is of course the widow of Ryan Owens, the Navy Seal killed in what some have termed the badly botched, recent mission in Yemen that 45* signed off on over cocktails and dinner. Among the other losses listed were civilians and children and a $75 million aircraft that had to be blown up so that it didn’t fall into enemy hands, all of which allowed Sen. John McCain to deem this operation not so much of a success in spite of what 45* called it. What also seemed far from successful, as it pertained to 45*’s speech, was the amount of pain and suffering Mrs. Owens was obviously still working through. It was totally wrong and inappropriate for her to be there, both as a talking point in this speech, and as an emotional spectacle that was sustained and extended by the standing ovation she received from most all who were present. What was inexcusable beyond all of that was 45*’s claim that that ovation had set some sort of chamber record for duration, as if that should perhaps ease her pain or make Ryan Owens’ sacrifice all that much more worthwhile, while at the same time providing some sort of twisted redemption for the bloviating, yellow-haired douche bag on the dais.
There was plenty not to like on full display here, but there were also a few things that came to light in the panels and discussions leading up to the evening’s main event that sent up some signals of things that will perhaps soon rise to the surface. Apparently, earlier in the day in a non-televised signing, 45* put a pen to a bill allowing severely mentally ill people to buy guns without a background check- this was an undoing of a late term Obama bill to the contrary. And what was perhaps many degrees more disturbing was the continued surfacing of even more connections between the Trump White House, cabinet, campaign and transition team and Russia. The most intriguing of these had been aired on Rachel Maddow’s show the night before and was being echoed sporadically throughout the evening. It suggested that 45*’s selection for Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, had been Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, known for its dealings with Russian oligarchs and large transactions of questionable monies. As more is discovered about this particular enterprise and its connections, it will be interesting to see how Mr. Ross and his dealings there hold up to the scrutiny. If 45*’s tax records are ever released, it will also be interesting to see how many of his dots and others might be connected to this well oiled money machine in the Mediterranean.
In the mean time I continue to watch and wait. I also wonder at things- things like Marco Rubio’s staffers being evicted from his office in Miami because the protestors that have been showing up (because he refuses to have town halls with them) are making too much noise and disturbing the rest of the residents in that office complex who are showing up just to do their own work. I also wonder, from reading that article, why Senator Rubio has seven other offices around Florida? It continues to confound me why people who hate the government are so adamant about getting elected to that which they hate, and why, in this case, if someone is an advocate for making government smaller, they have seven offices all over the place supposedly working to make that so? So much to wonder about- so little time. I best get back to it.