Friday, May 27, 2016

Why Mitt Needs to Run

I know, I know. You're sick of my Mitt-mania. That's ok. You don't have to read this, you're choosing to do so.

Mitt is obviously holding out--as it looks like Jeb is going to do also (and his big brother--Hero).  Holding out is very cool--the second coolest thing Mitt could do. The first is to run--and here's why.

I think Hillary is going to be indicted, and if not, mortally wounded, by this email issue. The next few months will not be kind to her, and the inevitability of Trump will only increase as Democrats begin to lose hope.

If it is only Trump and Hillary, Trump could very well win. This is unacceptable.

If Mitt gets in the race (I know, I've said this before), he could win a handful of states and throw the election into the House of Representatives.

I think he would win there.

Think about it Mitt. Announce July 4th. Put a chunk of your own cash in the kitty and get the band back together. Go HARD for four months--work free media like Trump has taught everyone'll grab 20-25% of the vote EASY and maybe win Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, who knows.

At this point--the most relevant question is, "why not?"

Marco Rubio Bends the Knee

Trump is the Liege Lord of House Rubio
To the delight of Trumpkins everywhere, Marco Rubio has done what he pledged to do in the campaign--and that is to support the nominee of the Party. On that ground, and on that ground only, he is doing an honorable thing. Note the article I chose there though--"an". It is clearly not the only honorable thing, and in my view, is not "the most" honorable thing. The most honorable thing would have been to draw the logical conclusion from his experience campaigning with Trump, and that is that he is unsuited to be President. Therefore, he should withhold his support--let alone speak for him at the Convention.

I Tweeted at Rubio earlier today the following:  "Worked my ass of for you. You said he can't be trusted with the nuclear arsenal--how do you "unsay" that?"  Yes--I wrote "ass of" not "ass off". How Trumpidian of me. The problem is, by the time I noticed, it had been retweeted 266 times. So the error is out there for eternity. My point however was this--when he said that he couldn't be trusted with the nation's nuclear weapons, I believed him, because I thought the same thing. When he called Trump a "con man" over, and over and over again, I believed him--because he was right.

For him now to pledge fealty, while it clearly fulfills the pledge he made during the primary, it also raises serious questions about judgment, honesty, and opportunism. Let's face it--if you do trust him with the nuclear arsenal, why would you have said what you did in the campaign? That is dishonest. If you don't trust him-yet are supporting him for President, well, that's illogical at best and insane at worst.

The bottom line is that I screwed up. I believed the words of the guy I supported for President. I believed that he considered Trump unsuitable for the nation's highest office. Furthermore, while Rubio ALSO made it clear throughout the campaign that he considered Hillary "disqualified" to be President, I don't recall him ever indicating a lack of trust in her ability to steward the nation's nuclear stockpile.

Let's hope (against all hope) that Paul Ryan holds out. Here's the deal--these folks bending the knee to Trump are betting he'll lose. This way, when damage control is underway, they can say they were loyal to the party. There is simply NO UPSIDE to being loyal to the party if Trump wins....because if Trump wins, there won't be a party to be loyal to.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trumpkins, Trump Apologists, and Black Lives Matter....Perfect Together

Living happily as I do in my (establishment, RINO, DC insider, GOPe) bubble, I am rarely in contact with Trump supporters, a situation I believe good for both sides. My main interaction with Trumpkins--and a growing class that can only be referred to as "Trump apologists"--is via social media, where their presence on Twitter is ubiquitous, and their posture on Facebook is growing.

My familiarity and exposure to the Black Lives Matter movement is also remote, and to the extent that I have a familiarity with the movement it is through social media and news reports. So given my remove from the heated mass of both movements, I have been able to study them unemotionally, and I'm sure you'll agree, without bias.

I've concluded that there is a good deal in common across these groups, but especially among those who attempt to explain the movements--Trumpism and BLM--to the rest of us.  These are the apologists.

The Black Lives Matter apologists start by telling us that they don't agree with BLM tactics, that the violence is unacceptable. Having then established their bona fides as the right kind of person, they move then to the discussion of the conditions that give rise to the movement. Police oppression, income inequality, lack of opportunity, and racism top their lists, although they seem unable to afix responsibility to any real degree to the denizens of these communities. This leaves personal choices, industry, and culture at best unexamined and at worst, off the table. The concern and understanding displayed by those who apologize for and explain the BLM movement is palpable, and they always end on the "while I don't condone their actions, it is easy to understand and have compassion for their grievances."  This view is of course, an version of condoning their actions. Comedian Chris Rock effectively parodied this approach in a great bit on OJ Simpson's having murdered his wife.

Enter the Trump apologists. These people were once clear-thinking individuals, men and women of the Right who appeared to adhere to conservative principles and who were in many cases, supportive of candidates other than Donnie Trump. Principle having been dishonored in the GOP nominating process this go around, they are now turning their analytical eye to the reasons for Trump.  They begin their analysis by telling us that Trump is not their cup of tea, and that his conduct is unacceptable. Having then established their bona fides as the right kind of person, we are then treated to a discussion of all the conditions that led to the rise of Trumpism. Craven politicians, "open boarders (sic)", bad trade deals, failure to shut down the government to show how mad they are top their lists, although they seem unable to fix responsibility to any degree to the Trump voters. This leaves personal choices, industry, and culture at best unexamined and at worst, off the table. Their analysis often returns to the "I don't support Donald Trump, but I understand where he came from and what he is appealing to".  This view is of course, a version of support for Trump.

Which brings me to the irony of this somewhat long-winded treatment of these groups. I would suggest that the logic and approach of Trumpkins to explaining away the rise of and conditions for their man's popularity IS NOT extended to their view of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Put another way, you'd be hard pressed to find a Trump apologist who had even a moment of understanding for or compassion toward the issues that matter to the BLM movement. To the Trumpkin, this is straightforward bad behavior, that if people in the black community stopped killing each other, preying on each other criminally, and married the mothers of their children, much of the dysfunction would go away. Yet these Trumpidians would have us believe that the grievances of Trumpnation are imposed upon them from the outside by bad government, the depredations of greedy corporations, and the scourge of illegal immigration.

Trumpkins look at violent demonstrations fanned by BLM and point out that they do nothing to solve the problems that the demonstrators are angry about. Fair point. But then, one is forced to ask how electing a man without coherent policy ideas to solve tough problems is going to advance the lot of aggrieved Trump supporters. This inconvenient question is not only unanswered, but it is avoided altogether.

And so, I will return to my soft, country club bubble, where I can be foolishly consistent and believe that the BLM movement is doing little to solve the problems that it is attempting to address while also believing that not only does Don Trump not have a clue how to solve the problems of his followers, but that he is uninterested in doing so.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

On the Road Again

Or, almost on the road again, as I am in the ManCave typing this little ditty before hopping in the car for the airport. Today's travels take me back to San Diego, via Denver. Since I last wrote about my travels west, United has jacked up the non-stop from Dulles to San Diego, and so I now take the BWI-DEN-SAN route out there, and SAN-SFO-BWI home. I've got a conference through Thursday afternoon, and then will he redeyeing it Thursday night.

For those who follow such things, I am in standard travel rig: green long-sleeved T-shirt, Adidas track pants, white socks, trainers and blue blazer. My rig is specifically designed for comfort, convenience, and passing quickly through security. The blazer has pockets that I can jam phones, keys, change, pens, etc into and by wearing it, keep it nice--the track pants have no belt so I don't have to remove one. The sneakers kick on and off without tying and untying. It's all about efficiency folks. But there is no question I cut a fine, chic-ly shabby figure as I traverse our nations airports.

Which is of course, NOT what our government is all about these days, apparently, as our friends at TSA are not achieving ace results in moving us through security lines with dispatch. Ah...government.

It is raining outside, but then again, if you live on the East Coast, you know that, as apparently it has rained for much of the past month. The forecast is calling for a dramatic improvement this week, but I will of course be in San Diego where the outlook is--as is customary for May and June--sorta blah.

The big news in the McGrath Family is that we have another blogger to claim. That's right, big brother Jim has begun a blog/travelogue/diary of his journey to and from Alberta, Canada, where he has gone to aid folks suffering from a series of wildfires. This is quite a journey from North Carolina--but when I read about it, I thought two things: 1) that I was proud of Jim for being a man of action and 2) it sounds like a trip that I would love to take. Drive across the wilds of Canada, eh?  I'm in!

My quest for the perfect place to stay in San Diego brings me to a return engagement with a spot in Mission Valley that has a gym, free wifi, and breakfast included in the "gubmint" rate. It must have been a happening spot in 1978, but now it just is sorta out of place and a bit dark. Don't get me wrong--it is clean and well run, the bed is very comfy, and the customer service is top-notch. They could just use a bit of a spruce up.

I intend to -- as is my custom -- remain on East Coast Time whilst on the West Coast, though this could be tested this evening as I attempt to stay up long enough to watch it on its "West Coast HBO feed" time of 9PM.

I'll post again on the trip if something interesting pops up, or if the muse moves me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Old Dogs and New Tricks

I began drinking coffee when I was nine, a move to dramatically raise my game when it came to the quest to disavow childhood in favor of assuming my rightful place among the adults. My parents used an electric percolator, a green-handled number with a glass carafe into which the percolating stem and top-mounted vat of coffee was placed. My mother would assemble and prepare it each night, and then turn it on first thing the next morning, as time-activated pots were yet in the future. After what now seems like an ungodly amount of time, a full pot would be brewed for the two people who drank from it--Mom and Dad. Always, there would be at least an inch worth of the mysterious brown liquid in the pot which would be poured down the sink, or (heavens) consumed by my father some ten hours later after dinner.

One day, I asked my mother if I might have that last bit in the pot, and for whatever reason, she agreed. In retrospect, feeding caffeine to a slightly hyper little punk may not have been her wisest decision, but who are we to judge lo these many years later. I was hooked. Soon, I was granted privileges to drink from the pot BEFORE it had sat and burned itself down to the dregs upon which I started out, and my love of coffee continued.

In high school, Mr. Kunz was my senior history teacher. Smilin' Jack. He had a little storeroom in the back of his classroom where he kept a Mr. Coffee Machine (it now being eight years later) to feed his own habit. One day early in the year, I walked into the storeroom as my fellow classmates were filing in, and I grabbed an extra cup he had there and poured myself a stiff brew. Then I sat down at my desk. Remember people, this is 1982...long before it became de rigueur to enter every meeting or class with a venti frappacino in one's hand. Smilin' Jack came marching over (he had an identifiable stride) and upbraided me for taking the coffee. I asked if he wanted me to return it. He said no. And then I basically did the same thing most days for the rest of the year.

It is now 2016, and I am not only addicted to coffee, I enjoy it immensely. To that end, I--like many of you--have owned a series of Keurig coffee machines into which you place an individual little pod of coffee and seconds later, you are gifted with a perfectly brewed cup of (in my house) Tiger People, dark coffee. The Kitten has always asked me to hold onto the used pods so that she can add the grounds to her compost, but she very seldom does so and they begin to pile up. And so I throw them out. Over the years I must have consumed and thrown away thousands of these pods.  Until today.

You see, I'm not the world's greatest environmentalist, but I really have begun to worry about the amount of plastic that I am consuming just to have a cup of joe.  And so, I have--for the moment at least--put aside the accumulation of little white pods in our nation's landfills and turned to instant coffee. That's right. Instant coffee. Brother Tom will tell you of my great love of instant coffee, something he observed during our trip to South Africa a few years ago. When we went for breakfast the first morning, I was positively beside myself with joy at the prospect of a cup of Nescafe Gold instant, and I raved about it for the remainder of the trip. Frequent readers of the this blog may even recall other posts extolling the virtues of a good instant.

What put me over the edge on this momentous decision was a little excursion this weekend. The Kitten's boarding school chum's mother passed away recently, and so we drove out to the wilds of Virginia on Saturday for her memorial service. We decided to make a night of it and chose to bed down in Old Town Alexandria.  Before leaving town on Sunday morning, we made our way up and down King Street and poked our snoots into a few stores, including a kitchen store. There, we espied a little electric tea kettle like the one to the right. When I awoke this morning, there one was, sitting next to my Keurig machine, shaming me. Had I any instant coffee on hand, I would have made a cup, but this lack was addressed later in the day. Three cups into things, I am happy with my decision, though I am not sure if it will be permanent. We'll see.

Monday, May 16, 2016

On the Bus

I live 75 miles from the Pentagon and 72 miles from the center of Washington DC. I know this because I make these drives several times a week. In January of 2010, I purchased a brand new car upon which as of today I have put approximately 190,000 miles. That's a lot of driving.

One way to mitigate the miles and the driving has been to use the Metro system.  If I drive (63 miles) to the most remote station on the Orange Line (New Carrollton), I can park ($4.00) and then ride Metro the rest of the way. This has been an acceptable alternative, and also somewhat enjoyable, as the last ten miles of the drive is always the worst. When Metro works, it works well. But Metro isn't working all that well these days; there are a lot of unscheduled outages and recently, management put forward a one year plan of rolling service reductions meant to provide time to perform critical repairs and maintenance.

I recently took the repair schedule and wove it into my calendar for the next year, in order to ensure that I avoided Metro routes that would cause problems. In the course of these preparations, I remembered that the Maryland Transportation Authority has a bus service into downtown DC from the Park and Ride on Kent Island, a mere 27 miles from my house.  There are two routes with multiple departures before 0700 (the last bus), and then a number returning in the afternoon. At $6.00 each way, the cost seems better than that of either the drive option or the drive and metro option--both of which also involve an afternoon $4.00 toll over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. So, I ordered a ten trip ticket online and decided to give it a test. This blog post has been written and will be transmitted while in transit.

The bus (posh motor coach, comfy seat) arrived right on time and left on time. I aimed at the 0700 bus, waking at 0450, coffee, 30 minutes of treadmill, shower, dress, depart. All the while, I knew that I would be ahead of schedule, but my efficiency provided the opportunity to hop on the 0630 departure--which I did. Will likely not move as fast in subsequent trips....maybe stay in bed another 10 minutes.

This is a commuter bus, and the patrons are professional and well-turned out, not the kind you sit next to on a Trailways bus who pulls out a can of Colt 45 at 0930. People are quiet, and cell phone conversations are kept very brief and quiet, if at all. There appears to be a well-understood system of etiquette, which I applaud.

Fortunately for me, were I in my automobile right now, I would be somewhat perplexed, as there was an accident on the westbound span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which has traffic snarled for miles. I however, am sitting comfortably on a bust talking (typing) with you. The actual bus portion of the commute is scheduled for 97 minutes each way, and the drop off/afternoon pickup point is a block from where I have a project for the next couple of months. The prospect of gaining three hours of productivity each day that I commute thusly has me joyous. I make phone calls while I drive, and that helps with business, but in general, my extended commutes have been a net loss. I see goodness coming from this. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Paul and Donnie Have a Chat

I have a great deal of admiration for Paul Ryan, and I cannot even conceive of how hard his job is. He deals with a restive and fractured group of Republicans in the House, and now he has to deal with a Democrat as his party's standard bearer in the 2016 Presidential Election. Today, that man--Donnie Trump--headed up to the Capitol to call on The Speaker.

From the reports, it seems Donnie was on his best behavior, that he showed once again that he has the capacity to act like an adult for sixty minutes at a throw. If he tries really hard. The bar is set low.

It is a sad thing to watch first Marco Rubio, and now Paul Ryan begin the slow march into the Trump Train headed to the political death camps (I am sorry--that's a bit of a strained metaphor). They believe they are doing the right thing in making furtive steps to "unify" the party, but these are simply cosmetic acts. The party is divided, irreparably I fear.

If Donnie wins, there is no more Republican Party. A Party has core ideas, at least a conservative one does, and Trumpism has little but demagogy and idolatry. He may succeed to the White House, but in the process, he will have killed a Party. This is of course, just fine with his most faithful adherents.

The only chance the Republican Party has is if Trump loses, and even then, it's a thin one. If he loses, they have to hold the House (at least--though I think the Senate is increasingly a foregone conclusion. Thank Trumpkins for Chuck Schumer), and Paul Ryan needs to survive as Speaker. But the schism may be so deep, the Party may be in such disarray, as to be unable to make it even in this circumstance.

But as a (former) Republican, it does my heart no good to see these men "make nice" with a true threat to the Republic.

If he wins, I will be watching, thinking, and writing. Of course as a patriotic American, I hope that I am wrong about the threat he represents to our liberty, prosperity, and security. I do pray though, to be fair enough to recognize if I were wrong, and to be honest enough to admit it here. I hope to have the obligation to do so, I suspect I will not.

Note to Readers on Comments

One of the things that drove me over the edge with the blog a few months ago was that I had an automatic forwarder of comments to my email account, wherein I could very easily accept or reject them. Not only did it drive me to my smartphone on a much greater basis, but the content of the comments often just pissed me off.

So now, I only occasionally go to the comment adjudication page. Keeps me from spending as much time on my phone and from being pissed off. But it does mean a little gap between when you comment and how long it takes to go up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

West Point Cadets Should Know Better

There's a bit of a kerfuffle on the interwebs these days, as this photo has become something of a litmus test for liberals and conservatives:

In it, a group of female, African-American Cadets pose (as many groups of students do) to recreate iconic old style photos. Except, in this one, the most iconic aspect of the photo is the raised fist, which most believe to represent "black power" or more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement.

You can read about the issue from the perspective David French at NRO, most of which I agree with. Or for a more sympathetic view, try this from the Wall Street Journal. 

Bottom line: this is an overt, political statement made while in uniform, and so it is thoroughly inappropriate, irrespective of how many other photos were taken, how "young" these women are (soon to be 2nd LT's, in the Army and THEY KNOW BETTER), or your sense that it shows "strong, proud women".

Ask yourself--what would be the reaction if pictured were a bunch of white, male, cadets, but with a Confederate Flag hoisted on the two swords in the middle? Would you try to explain it away as a sign of their strength and pride?
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