Posts Tagged ‘donald trump’

As I write this, it’s the afternoon of 1st December. This means we’re now a few hours short of exactly one month to 2017… just short of one month until we can say farewell to this arsewipe of a year, just short of one month until we all can say farewell to “2017 minus…” blogs. And let’s be fair: that is the most important things, after all. 

But not yet, folks. Not quite yet.


Of the hundreds of fast fictions I’ve written, there are few I remember writing the opening line of, stopping, rereading it, and then going “oh yes”. 

One of them, written almost exactly ten years ago, though… well, the opening line always stuck with me:

Ever since armies had been embedded with news organisation rather than the reverse, the reporters had been waiting for the first attempted coup.

I’ll come back to that in a minute.

There’s not much I’ve found ‘interesting’ about US politics during the past three weeks. There’s been lots that’s scared me, plenty that’s worried me, some stuff that’s concerned me, but very little that I’ve found merely ‘interesting’. 

One of the few things that I guess would have to be included in that category would be the historical precedents. No, that’s not exactly right because there have been precious few precedents for anything that’s happened since November 8th. What I’ve found interesting has been the contrasts to precedents, and because of those precedents, I’ve been relearning and rediscovering a lot of history; the history of how things are usually done.

I’ve learned more about ‘transition’ and how it normally operates. I knew quite a bit, to be honest; US politics and Presidential politics has been a hobby horse of mine ever since my sixth form lecturer John ramm introduced me to the subject. But in the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded of much, and learned even more. I’ve learned what the traditional methods, ways of doing things, are… and have discovered how they have been tweaked previously for specific presidential transitions. 

As I say, much of it I knew before, kind of, but I’m not sure I realised how this bit connects to that bit, how the fact that this thing occurred meant that that thing happened next time. From the huge to the middling. I relearned how and why the inauguration was changed from March to January, and how and why Ronald Reagan was the first to have the inauguration on the West Front of the United States Capitol Building, rather than the East).

I’ve learned how and when security briefings started for a President-elect. I’ve learned about post-election press conferences. I’ve learned about the creation of the National Security Council, and that of the position of National Security Advisor. 

I’ve learned about the negotiations that take place when appointing a cabinet, and how traditionally, people don’t publicly lobby for a specific job. I’ve learned and discovered and relearned and rediscovered the traditional way of doing things.

All of this because pundits and commentators have fallen over themselves to stress that the traditional way of doing things is most definitely not what President-elect Trump is interested in.

Doing something merely ‘because that’s the way things are done’ is never a good reason for doing it. Doing it because it’s a time tested, sensible, rational way of doing things and that doing it another way causes problems all around? Yeah, that’s a better reason. 

In some ways, Trump is of course entirely traditional. He lied to his base in order to get elected for a start. That’s hardly groundbreaking in US politics. OK, the way he lied, the brazen nature and astonishing frequency of his lies may have been, but that he lied is not that unusual, let’s be fair. He’s appointed people to his team, either senior White House aides or cabinet nominees people

  • he owes favours to, or 
  • he thinks – for whatever reason – can do the job, or 
  • entirely traditional right wing

What’s struck me – and others – is how many of the appointees/nominees are or have been correspondents or pundits or have presented shows on Fox News. At least two nominees for cabinet secretaries, his pick for deputy national Security Advisor and others. It’s the Fox Newsification of the Executive Branch.

My friend Mitch Benn years ago said that instead of Fox News being the public arm of the republican Party (as had been the case for years),the Republican Party slowly became the political arm of Fox News.

And now you see the relevance of the quite at the start of this piece:

Ever since armies had been embedded with news organisation rather than the reverse, the reporters had been waiting for the first attempted coup.

Fox News has been embedded within the Republican Party for more than two decades; a little over ten year ago, the Republicans in Congress became actually, if not formally, embedded within Fox News. And now it looks like so is the Presidency.

I wonder when the first coup will occur.

See you tomorrow, with something else. 

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to 1st January 2017. You can see other posts in the run by clicking here.

Thirty some years ago, I knew when the end of the uni term/semester was approaching. I don’t mean I knew by the calendar; like most students, I knew when the term would be ending from the day it started. No, I’m talking about knowing it, feeling it approaching, knowing inside that I had only a couple of weeks until a break arrived.

For my first two years in Manchester, the first indication was always a specific odour: the smell of omelettes and scrambled eggs. I lived in a self-catering hall of residence and those were the quickest, cheapest, easiest to make and most fulfilling meals. So when the place started smelling like cooked eggs every night? You could lay good money that a holiday was near.

But the real sign? That was when I started counting down how many ‘sleeps’ I had left in that bed before I’d be back home in Luton, when I’d think: less than 20 sleeps left before I’ll be on the train, or in the car, back to my parents’, and decent food, a decent bed, seeing old friends.

It’s been a while since I’ve counted sleeps to an event, but I wonder if Secretary Hillary Clinton and PieceOfShit Donald Trump are at the stage, fifteen days before the election, where they’re counting the sleeps. I kid, of course; in the former’s case, she’s almost certainly counting down the hours. In his case, he’s merely counting the characters left in his latest abusive tweet. SAD!

But in fifteen days, it’ll [almost certainly] be over. The caveat is there for a reason. Well, several reasons. Trump might not accept the result – he’s keeping us in suspense, remember? Actually, one of the few pleasures of this election has been the mental image of him on January 21st, trying to gain access to the White House and the secret service dragging his orange excuse for a skinsuit away from the front gates, his ‘hair’ blowing in the winter breeze… But there’s another reason: if, heaven forfend, there’s a suit, and it goes to the still 8 member Supreme Court of the United States, who deadlock, and send it back to a lower court to decide something-or-other…

As it is, I don’t think either of those things will occur; I think Clinton will win; how much she wins by is anyone’s guess, although I hope it’s by a fucking landslide. It’s not enough that she wins; whatever her faults as a nominee for President, it’s important that Trump and his entire attitude, political (for want of a better word) outlook, and supporters are routed, are absolutely shellacked, to use one of Rachel Maddow’s favourite term. I don’t want him just to ‘lose’. I want him to be beaten out of sight.

And, were it possible, I’d want all those in the GOP who’ve supported him, who’ve excused, justified, trivialised and minimised his racism, his sexism, his behaviour, his sexual assaults, his mocking of disabilities, his lies and his… his… being him… beaten, trounced, decried, and similarly routed.   

Four months ago, after Trump said… something or other – there’s been so many, I forget which one this was –  I tweeted the following: 

I wish I could say that I was wrong, that it was solely a joke. But I was pretty sure that it was – and would continue to be – the actual unwritten, unspoken, policy of the Republican Party. And so it’s proved. The list of those (and their supporters) who trashed Trump during the primary season and who later did a 180 would be far too long to list here. Hell, I could probably name one an hour and I’d not be done by election day. “But budgie,” you say, “that’s what happens during primary season; look at Sanders and Clinton…” Indeed, look at them… Sanders has at no point ever said that Clinton is unfit to be President; he merely said that he thinks he’d be a better President and that there’s some stuff she’d do that he couldn’t support. Contrast that with the long line of Republican Primary candidates who flat out said that Trump wasn’t fit to be President… and then changed what they’re pleased to call their minds.

Of course, if you’re going to say that, then you’ve got to exclude Lindsay Graham. (I mean, there’s Jeb Bush as well, but let’s stick to Graham for a minute.) Graham never hid his views about Cruz or Trump; while he said the latter wasn’t fit to br President for any number of reasons, he just does not like Cruz… in any way whatsoever. I’m sure, had he lasted longer, he’d have parodied Cruz’s Dr Seuss filibuster. Maybe:

I will not back him on the stump

He’s just as bad as Donald Trump

Not even in a voting booth

I will not vote for that Ted Cruz.

Maybe not.

But that brings up a fascinating question in respect of the US and the UK systems, since they’re the only ones I’ve any familiarity with.

OK, your party does… something. In the US, currently, let’s say they nominate a racist, fascistic, ableist, lying, cheating, far right pandering utter shit. To take an example out of the air. Or over here, the government votes for a vile, horrible law.

How should we treat the ‘rebels’? Seriously.

I asked this on Twitter. The results so far, as I type this are over there on the side. Because that’s a thing that genuinely interests me. 

Don’t get me wrong; I dislike almost everything this Tory government are doing, and I disliked a hell of a lot the last government did. And thsoe that rebel on a specific issue are still Conservative members of Parliament. They have voted for other particularly shitty stuff. And they no doubt will vote for for other particularly shitty stuff in the weeks, months and years to come. So, why ‘reward’ them for ‘doing the right thing’ this time?

Two answers to that, both meaning the same thing effectively. If they are condemned for the policy/law just as much as those who voted FOR the proposal, then what was the point for them in voting the way they did? In other words, why shouldn’t they think “might as well get hanged for a sheep as for a lamb”? Why should i piss off my party whips, my party leadership, possibly my constituency party, exercising mt conscience on an issue if by exercising it, poeple aren’t going to bother distinguishing between my vote of conscience, and that of ol’ Charlie Farnesbarnes who spoke in favour of it…?

Similarly, while I loathe pretty much everything Lindsay Graham stands for, surely he should be congratulated and celebrated for not falling in line with the other GOP cowards and fuckwits. 

Or, and this is a counter argument, are we in the situation that Bobby Jones, the golfer, found himself when he admitted to a foul stroke (when no one had seen him make it). When praised for his honesty (the resulting two stroke penalty cost him the championship) he was dismissive; “you might as well have complimented me on  not robbing a bank”.

Is that where we are? I don’t know.

I have more to say on the US election, but as I said above, fifteen days to go; there will be plenty of occasions before Trumpocalypse Day.

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to 1st January 2017. You can see other posts in the run by clicking here.