Saturday, February 10, 2018

Trump's Olympian Disasters

With the Winter Olympics in South Korea underway, I was hoping to spend lots of time commenting on that and not so much on Trump.  But it seems that this White House can't stop creating disasters that are so Olympian themselves in terms of awfulness and size - we're talking Sgt. Pepper movie / Heaven's Gate proportions here, folks - that the Games threaten to be overshadowed. Even the Winter Olympiad itself has been sucked into the Trump vortex; Vice President Mike Pence refused to interact with North Korean guests at the opening ceremony in PyeongChang and showed no interest in inter-Korean dialogue going on there, rattling the saber against North Korea and making These States look more like a dumb brute of a nation than it already does.
And then there's Trump himself.  He's done too much in the past couple of days for me to comment on at length, and maybe even in passing, but here we go.  He just lost two White House aides who were forced to leave due to charges of spousal abuse, and he singled out one of those aides, Rob Porter, by saying he wished him luck in the future and thanking him for doing a great job.  Former Vice President Joe Biden said that Trump had no right to excuse Porter for such transgressions just because he was good at his job.
Trump even took Porter's side, saying that his denials of the accusations against him should be taken into account and that the rights of the accused should always be considered.  As the media have pointed out repeatedly, whenever it comes to domestic violence, Trump always sides with the accused men, calling for due process and saying they're innocent until proven guilty, but never takes the side of or even acknowledges the women making the accusations.  Of course, when Trump makes an accusation against someone, say, a woman - say, Hillary Clinton - she doesn't get due process?
Oh, right, Trump knows his accusations are true because he's a stable genius.
He may not be a stable genius, but he sure is an evil genius.  One week after releasing a politically charged Republican memo from the House Intelligence Committee on the FBI and the Russia investigation and angering the FBI, which wanted to keep the GOP memo confidential, Trump suddenly decided that he likes confidentiality and refused to release the Democratic rebuttal memo, citing sensitive information that shouldn't be divulged.  And he announced his decision on a Friday night, when no one would notice, Winter Olympics or not.  This blocking of the Democratic memo after the release of the Republican memo is the equivalent of giving a presidential candidate extra time in a primary debate and cutting off a rival candidate who seeks to offer a counterpoint.  But then, as a Martin O'Malley supporter, I've seen that firsthand.
It all boils down to one simple fact: Trump defends the accused when they're on his team, but not when they're on the opposite team.  If the accused are on his side, they're victims of politics.  If the accused are on the opposite side, they're being political.  And as for the idea that Rob Porter may be innocent of the charges against him . . . well, yes, I suppose that some men accused of rape or domestic violence are innocent, like Gary Dotson, the Illinois man accused of raping a woman who spent time in prison for it before DNA evidence proved that the accusation was a hoax.  But such examples are few and very far between, and even if you accept the idea that men accused of abusing their wives and girlfriends deserve due process . . . they can't all be innocent! Trump defends every man accused of domestic violence - even Rob Porter, despite the photographic evidence against him!  
Given all of these examples of Trump justice, it's no wonder that Rachel Brand, the third highest-ranking member of the Justice Department and a lifelong, loyal Republican, resigned.     
Oh yeah, the budget deal was approved while all of this was going on.  More on that some other time. 
As for the Winter Olympics, well, the opening ceremony was mostly a bore, but when South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim skated onto the pedestal to take the torch from two Korean female hockey players from opposite sides of the DMZ and light the cauldron, that's when it got interesting.  Because the best entertainment and celebrations of Korean culture came after the lighting of the cauldron.  Though, I agree it was moving when the North Korean and South Korean athletes entered the stadium as one Korean contingent in the parade of nations.  But please, please, no more terrible covers of John Lennon's "Imagine" at these things!  If John Lennon were alive today, even he would be sick of it.
Anyway, thanks to Trump and his ongoing dismantling of the American political system, no one cared about the Winter Olympic opening ceremony, and that's a shame.  It's going to take athletic performances that are beyond Olympian at these Winter Games to distract us from the Distracter-In-Chief.  Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, Nathan Chen, Mikaela Shiffrin - I'm countin' on ya! :-O

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