The Shutdown. The short shutdown produced a President who loves the spotlight not appearing publicly for several days and then claiming credit for resolving the shutdown, even though we thus far have seen no evidence of his direct role in the reopening of government. The story is congressional leaders told him "we got this." But, Donald J. Trump enjoys taking credit for things he had nothing to do with, as we’ve learned. As with all shutdowns, this one ended because of politics. Senate Minority Leader Schumer was under various pressures, Majority Leader McConnell too had his pressures. They settled the problem, for three weeks anyway. Now the big question is “will McConnell keep his word” that immigration will be dealt with as long as the government remains open? It will be difficult to weasel out of that caveat-filled promise, but we’ll see. The promise was yesterday, which was a long time ago in this Washington.
The talking stick. When my kids were toddlers, if one, or more, was misbehaving, the threat delivered to them was “don’t make me take out the Bold Spoon!” The Bold Spoon was a wooden mixing spoon. Just the threat of it put terror in my kids’ hearts! Not much has changed. Maine Sen. Susan Collins used a “talking stick” to control the discussion among about 20 Democratic and Republican moderate senators gathered in her office with the aim of ending the shutdown. And, it worked! One could only talk when he or she possessed the talking stick. Maybe she has discovered the way to get both sides talking to each other instead of at each other! Maybe.
For one brief shining moment…Camelot! That group in Collins’ office did spur a compromise to reopen the federal government, for three weeks. But also, for that moment, we saw how the Senate is supposed to operate, talking and debating all sides of an issue but then finding ways to the middle ground. That is what the founders foresaw, somehow, when they created our government –they saw the Congress as a great deliberative body. We have not seen that picture in recent decades. But for the briefing shining moment in Collins’ office, these senators showed it can be done.
The Porn Star and the President. Sounds like a movie title, no? It could be. It’s been discovered that prior to the 2016 election, a lawyer for Trump paid $130,000 to a porn star who says she and the then-not president, had an affair. And the affair came not long after his new wife, Melania, gave birth to their son. You can believe or not believe the story. I happen to believe it, largely because that lawyer is not denying a payment was made and his reputation is as Trump’s fixer, they say. The story fits, too, the image/reputation Trump carved for himself when he was “just” Donald J Trump, alleged billionaire. He was a ladies man, he liked everyone to think. Now, that side of Trump isn’t talked about by himself or his sycophants because that’s not the image he wants now. But, it might be a good movie.
Women athletes confront their abuser. Women who were abused by Dr. Lawrence Nassar, the former medicine guru who was supposedly relieving them of pain from their sports and now is a convicted sex abuser, confronted Nassar during his sentencing hearing. He tried to be excused from sitting there listening to them because of the mental strain listening to more than 100 women testify about his abuses was causing him. The young women, many abused when they were in the low to mid-teens, needed that time to try to begin healing from this abuser’s abuse. The judge, of course, denied his request. So, he sits there and listens. He should thank his lucky stars he only had to bear up to hear their stories, unlike what they endured from their then-trusted doctor.
Business’ ‘largesse’ to their employees. President Trump and his sycophants are praising companies who have announced, since his tax bill passed, that they are giving bonuses and/or increasing wages and benefits. Trump claims this was because his bill is so good. Partly true. The bill may be the catalyst to announce these “gifts” early. According to the New York Times:
“Bank of America’s bonuses will cost the bank $145 million in 2018, or about 5 percent of the nearly $2.7 billion in savings it is expected to reap in 2018 from a lower, 21 percent corporate tax rate. Apple’s bonuses will cost $300 million, a fraction of the $40 billion, at least, that the tech giant is saving from a single provision in the law, which allows it to return earnings held overseas at less than half the rate it would have paid under the old system.”
Also, the bonuses being handed out are a one-time cost to the companies, unlike the affect a pay raise would have on their bottom lines. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see the workers enjoying some benefit from this so-called “middle-class tax cut” but the truth is a little different. In many cases, for them, this is a one-time perc while their employers’ benefit never expires. Plus, some of the companies, according to the Times and common sense, are giving the bonuses/pay raises to curry favor with the President. And nothing curries favor like making Trump look good.