Conduct Unbecoming

It’s a low moment when one realizes that the term “conduct unbecoming” technically does not apply to the president of the United States.  But there it is: it does not.

Currently the qualifications for the office are lower than those for local school-board members, I believe.  This accounts for much of the GOP field in the last two elections.  Many were nothing more than vanity candidates.

What concerns me is that the most obvious vanity candidate of them all was able to steal the office.  (NO, HE WAS NOT ELECTED.)  Now securely there, he is being held to no particular standards of conduct and execution of duties, simply because there aren’t any.

Things have come to a new low point now; this morning he was revealed on national television to have blackmailed two popular talk-show hosts.  Don’t get excited; nothing will happen to him.  Remember what I wrote in the previous post.

However, this came directly on the heels of yesterday’s revelation that…let’s see if I can get this straight…a Republican operative contacted Russian hackers for Clinton’s emails, somehow for or through Flynn.  This is huge, folks.  This indicates collusion.  The only choking point is determining Flynn’s exact role in the scheme.  Someone might also like to take a look at just how it was that the Republican operative in question died just days after revealing this story.  Yes, he was 81 years old, but still — that’s a big coincidence.

Meantime, remember Carter Page?  It’s been revealed that he spent much of April — roughly the last time we heard anything about him — talking to the FBI without a lawyer, which indicates that either he’s stupid (but we already guessed that), or he has flipped.  This revelation seemed to make various satellites in the Trump orbit rather shaky.  One of them suddenly did what he’d been resisting doing: he registered retroactively as a foreign agent.

Left wing Pied Piper and right-wing operative Louise Mensch suddenly withdrew from Twitter this morning, claiming Trump is done (he is not) and because of that her work is done for the time being.  Those who have been following her for a long time claim that she has done this before.  I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that Mensch has been under pressure from various Twitterers for a few months now, one of them being Seth Abramson, about whom I still have serious questions — although I’d believe him before Mensch any day.  Another person she’s been tussling with is the highly credible Preet Bahara, with whom Mensch presumed to argue the legal point of whether a sealed indictment against a sitting president is possible.  I’d say she lost; at least, nothing has happened to prove her right and the attorney Bahara wrong.

It’s gotten particularly intense recently, with claims that she’s been doxxing people (doxxing basically means making private information very public; it’s not always illegal but it is always unethical).  Certainly she seems to spend more time lately issuing denials and threats of legal action than she does inventing conspiracy theories and making wild claims.  Her announced disappearance this morning comes just after the very latest charges of doxxing; there seems to be a new victim coming forward every few days.

So it seems stuff is going down, folks, in various arenas.  Unfortunately Trump is not one of the things tumbling down, and that brings me back to the point.

As I said, you probably need more qualifications to run for the local school board than you do for president, and once you obtain the office of president, you are under no particular obligation to your oath or to anything else (definitely not true of school-board members).  Trump has taken and is taking full advantage of that.

Because of that, I’m writing to my senators to ask them what they think of raising the standards for those who run for the office of president.  I know it’s the last thing we have to worry about right now, but think about it — it’s part of what got us here.  It’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

The Reality Gap

A video is circulating today of Trump’s…is it the first?…full cabinet meeting, during which he boasts of all his achievements (ahem), and then demands oaths of loyalty from his cabinet members (or at least, effusive praise).

Actually he has no achievements.  Yes he’s signed approximately 50 million executive orders, many without bothering to read them, but no — those don’t count.  Executive orders are not legislation; he is not a king, he cannot do things unilaterally — not many things, anyway — and all of his major legislative initiatives to date have failed.  That’s not to say they will continue to fail forever, because the Senate is currently working on a super-secret healthcare-destroying bill that they are going to try to push through without any of us mere citizens being able to read it (which means the Koch brothers probably paid for it, which means we’re screwed).  Trump, however, will probably add pizza to his beer party in the Rose Garden once it’s passed…which is to say that he has no idea what’s in it or how many people it will imperil or kill, and he doesn’t care.  He’ll be destroying Obama’s signature achievement and that makes him happy.

Which brings us to the subject of these loyalty pledges.  Of course all his cabinet members pledged their troth to him — they’re all just as sullied by Russia as he is, and are probably viewing him as their protector.  This is because if he goes down, they all go with him, so they may as well make sure he takes a long time to tumble (the article linked above states that Trump is mentally ill and this meeting was designed to lift him out of a depression, which is even less reassuring).

In fact, my guess is that Trump has few or no political allies anywhere who do not have Russia hanging over their heads in some way, shape or form.  That is to say that he has no real friends on Capitol Hill.

But then there are Trump’s actual true believers, none of whom are politicians.  I know a few of them.  One is a very elderly shut-in who, whenever someone actually talks to him, starts shouting about “socialism” and swearing “Trump will fix it.”

This means that this geezer has no idea, none whatsoever, what “socialism” means.  And he thinks Russia is our friend, which means that he also has no idea what’s going on in the world.  And Trump?  The fact that this monumental idiot has absolutely no clue what a president is or does, let alone the fact he is so insular, vapid and greedy that he has no business being in anywhere near the White House — that’s all lost on the geezer.

It’s a reality gap that is supported by right-wing radio (this old geezer won’t subscribe to cable or satellite and spends his days listening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh), and of course Fox News and various internet outlets.  It’s already proven that the more right-wing media people wallow in, the more ignorant they become.  It’s a kind of brainwashing, because once they’re taken in by this shit it seems they would almost sooner die than stop believing every word of it.  The whole world is wrong and Trump is right, and that’s that.

Oh, by the way, the old geezer has stopped watching network television news (CBS, NBC, ABC) because “they lie all the time.”  I don’t watch either, but the fact that the geezer said this tells me that they are starting to hit on some very unpleasant truths for a change — at least, truths unpleasant to a Trumpsucker.  What truths are these?  Anything negative about Trump.

And the negatives are many.  Leaving aside the facts that he has no leadership qualities whatsoever and has embarrassed our country to no end, he got into this president thing for two reasons: he was intensely jealous of Obama and wanted to obliterate his legacy (same disease that afflicted Palin), and he thought it would be a good way to launder money for himself and his Russian cronies, not that he wasn’t already doing that.

And in his incredible ignorance, he thought being president was something like being a magical Henry VIII: he could just wave his scepter and all his problems’ heads would fly off.  Instead he keeps running into the Constitution and more mundane law, as well as people like Comey who just won’t play along.  And that reality frustrates him.

The only way he knows to deal with it is to create a reality of his own and try to force everyone to believe it with him.  The pols will play along; they have skin in this game too, and think he is their best hope of not ending up in prison — and so they are loyal.

The real victims are true believers like the geezer.  He is one of about a quarter of our population that we have lost to a fantasy-land created by Trump and right-wing media.

That loss is, in a sense, is the greatest crime of all.  And it makes one wonder if going forward we should concentrate on issues of accuracy and bias in media (or let’s just boil it down to generally-accepted truth being reported as news instead of fiction and fantasy being touted as news).

And since so many of us are unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy, perhaps the qualifications for the office of president also need some attention.  How about adding the following:

(1) No one without prior experience in a national political office (i.e. Congress) should be allowed to run for president.  At least one term should be spent in Congress; if less than that, there needs to be prior political experience at the state level.  Governors should be held to the same qualification, as they rarely seem to make outstanding presidents.

(2) More specifically, no entertainer, pundit, businessperson or other public figure without experience in political office can run for president (see rule #1).  Period.  Yes, this would wipe out 90% of the Republican field going forward, but we have to lay the law down somewhere.

P.S. — Sessions is being forced to testify in a public hearing tomorrow.  Be prepared for a lot of flying bullshit if he answers any questions at all.