The Way Forward

It’s Time to Plan Ahead for a Presidency Without Trumpf

Now that the Mueller Report is out, and our Presidente has apparently dodged yet another bullet—for now. I discuss here, in brief, my attempt at a pragmatic look at the way forward.

Impeachment and Conviction

Any concerted effort to impeach Trumpf at this point will lead to wasted effort. Two U.S. presidents so far have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. According to the Constitution, the House of Representatives is charged with impeaching a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But to remove a president, it is the Senate that decides whether the president is guilty. Moreover, a two-thirds majority of the Senate must vote for conviction. Article I Section 3 of the Constitution says: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

When (and if) the vote is for conviction, the president is out of a job and may possibly be sentenced to a jail term.

There is no doubt that Trumpf could be impeached by the Democratic House, but there are nowhere near enough votes in the Senate to convict. The result: The business of this country is held for ransom while a political battle royal ensues. Probable outcome: Trumpf emerges triumphant from this “witch hunt.”

The Election of 2020

The best way of getting rid of Trumpf is to vote him out of office in 2020. He knows that, and that is why he has been trying hard to stroke the egos of ignorant voters in small states, most of whom remain solidly in his camp.

For the Democrats to win, two things must happen:

  • Instead of the usual circular firing squad, the Dems must come together behind an attractive candidate, of which there are currently several possibilities. In the months to come, we shall see who survives.
  • Democrats must engage with the enemy. That involves interviews on Fox News, visiting Red States, and in general going beyond the bubble. That’s why Hillary lost in 2016.

The Electoral College

The United States is no longer a sparsely populated agrarian nation. Of course it is manifestly unfair. The Huffington Post expresses the situation well:

But the biggest vice of the Electoral College is its blatant unfairness to voters in the bigger states. As a resident of the largest state, California, I look at the residents of the smallest state, Wyoming, with particular envy during election season. Each vote cast in Wyoming is worth 3.6 as much as the same vote cast in California. How can that be, you might ask? It’s easy to see, when you do the math. Although Wyoming had a population in the last census of only 563,767, it gets 3 votes in the Electoral College based on its two Senators and one Congressman. California has 55 electoral votes. That sounds like a lot more, but it isn’t when you consider the size of the state. The population of California in the last census was 37,254,503, and that means that the electoral votes per capita in California are a lot less. To put it another way, the three electors in Wyoming represent an average of 187,923 residents each. The 55 electors in California represent an average of 677,355 each, and that’s a disparity of 3.6 to 1.

How do we change that? It is not likely that we can do anything about it. Here is Article V of the Constitution in its entirety:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

I do not think that, as presently constituted, the House of Representatives and Senate could produce a two-thirds majority to say that water flows downhill, let alone amend the Constitution. And as for a three-fourths majority of the State Legislatures—Fuggedaboutit!

 

“Calm in Their Diminishing”?

A Scene from the Series “Life After People”

This poem from the late Tony Hoagland (1953-2018) presupposes the earth in transition from human domination. It appeared in the November 5, 2018 issue of The New Yorker. I wonder how much this kind of thinking is related to a feeling that our noble experiment has failed under a storm of red MAGA hats.

Peaceful Transition

The wind comes down from the northwest, cold in September,
and flips over the neighbor’s trash receptacles.

The Halifax newspaper says that mansions are falling into the sea.
Storms are rising in the dark Pacific.

Pollution has infiltrated the food chain down to the jellyfish level.
The book I am reading is called “The End of the Ascent of Man.”

It says the time of human dominion is done,
but I am hoping it will be a peaceful transition.

It is one thing to think of buffalo on Divisadero Street,
of the Golden gate Bridge overgrown in a tangle of vine.

It is another to open the door of your own house to the waves.
I am hoping the humans will be calm in their diminishing.

That the forests grow back with patience, not rage;
I am hoping the flocks of geese increase their number only gradually.

Let it be like an amnesia we don’t even notice;
the hills forgetting the name of our kind. Then the sky.

Let the fish rearrange their green governments
as the rain spatters slant on their roof.

It is important that we expire.
It is a kind of work we have begun in order to complete.

Today out of he north the cold wind comes down,
and I go out to see

the neighbor’s trash bins have toppled in the drive
I see the unpicked grapes have turned to small sweet raisins on their vine.

I see the wren has found a way to make its little nest
inside the cactus thorn.

 

Hondurans Invade American Space

Honduran Invader Armed to the Teeth

Even as thousands of Hondurans are making a bid to upset the American government, I am planning to invade Honduras. On Friday, I went to the Bretton Woods Foreign Currency Exchange in Brentwood and bought $140 worth of Honduran lempiras. (That’s not a food: It’s what their currency is called.) I checked to see f they had any Guatemalan quetzales, but they were dead out. I’ll just hope to get those at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City.

My Honduran destination is only a few miles shy of the Guatemalan border: The Maya ruins at Copán. It will be the first Maya archeological site for my upcoming trip. The others are Quirigua and Tikal, both in the Petén region of Guatemala.

Five Lempira Note

The Five Lempira note illustrated above has a portrait of Francisco Morazán, the only figure in Honduran history I have ever heard of before. He figures in John Lloyd Stephens’s Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatán as the generalissimo of the Central American Republic, which existed briefly before splitting up into its component parts.

I hope the Hondurans manage to find some place in the world of the Norte after they succeed in overthrowing the Trumpf Dictatorship.

 

Portrait of the American Voter

Villagers with Torches from Frankenstein

It suddenly came to me this evening that, whatever happens with Trumpf, America is in for a rough time of it. Martine and I were at the Siam Chan, a local Thai eatery, and we overheard two elderly couples praising our Presidente’s performance over the first two years of his term. My reaction surprised even me: I toyed with the idea of getting up and giving them a tracheotomy with the fork that had plunged into my stuffed chicken wings. (No doubt, they got their money in the real estate business.)

Sad to say, the American voter is like the villagers in the Frankenstein movies. It doesn’t take much to get them all outraged and go after the monster with flaming torches. Except, instead of the monster, the victim of their wrath is anyone who doesn’t agree with them. I wanted to fricassee these two couples, shove them into their car, and set it alight. Not exactly a rational response, but that was the way I felt.

Now, the other side is exactly the same. I sincerely doubt there is much of a chance of compromise with a MAGA-hat wearer. Just as there was no love lost between many flyover Americans and that nigra Obama.

In this environment, political arguments can escalate to lethal plus in microseconds. This country is going to be riven between two opposing armed camps until we all learn that we inhabit the same land and have to find some way of coexisting peacefully. Is that possible? In time, yes; but in the near term, we’re all in for it.

So when you meet up with that crazy uncle of yours at some family dinner, it’s probably best to change the subject if anything like politics or religion is discussed. I mean, they burned heretics, didn’t they?

 

 

Boldog új évet!

And My Computer Is Now Working!

I will start 2019 with my old office computer, which has been newly updated with additional memory and a new graphics card. Apparently, the computer freezes I described were mostly the fault of the graphics card, which was installed late in 2015.

As long as the Trumposaurus is occupying the White House—or, even, earth, above ground, that is—2019 can’t really be a great year. But we can make the best of things. It’s how we tackle adversity that really counts. We cannot expect to live a live that is devoid of adversity. Real happiness is not the result of living in lucky times: It’s creating our own luck in dicey times.

So, to all my readers, I wish you all the best.

By the way, the title of my post is Happy New Year in Hungarian. All of you, be boldog.

 

Contretemps

Aaaauuugh! I Lost My Passport!

As my Guatemala vacation approaches, I find that I have misplaced my passport. I applied for a new one to be rushed to me, but now it appears that our Ogre President is considering shutting down the government because no one likes him or his moronic policies. At this point, I am not sure that the U.S. State Department is scheduled to close its doors; and there is a chance that I will get my replacement passport before the Friday witching hour of midnight.

If that Marmalade-Headed Horror screws up my vacation, I will do my best to wreak revenge on everything he holds dear, like selling Ivanka to a notorious white-slaver or feeding Don Jr to one of his African hunting trophies.

I will attempt to be patient while visions of revenge rule my thoughts.

 

 

Can the Democrats Come Together?

The New Zealand All Black Rugby Team Performing a Haka

My first introduction to the Maori haka dance was watching a YouTube video of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. According to Wikipedia:

It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Although commonly associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, haka have been performed by both men and women, and several varieties of the dance fulfil social functions within Māori culture. Haka are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals.

The other day, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with the ogre Trumpf to discuss a wall separating Mexico from the United States. It was an interesting moment, fraught with symbolism of a changing order. As a result of last month’s midterm elections, the Democrats were (at least in the House of Representatives) no longer in the minority. If anything, the elections proved that Trumpf’s support was beginning to erode. Even though he gained in the Senate, the gains were in two Republican butt boy states: Indiana and North Dakota. It was interesting to see Schumer rub this fact into Trumpf’s face.

Our president repeatedly threatened to shut down the government if he didn’t get his wall. Then he lied egregiously, as is his wont, that much of the fence was already built. (Not even remotely true.)

I saw the meeting as a haka by the Democratic leadership that the game to follow was going to be different. Trumpf and the Republicans have proven that they are incapable of governing: All they can do is strip Americans of their rights and privileges and satisfy their corporate paymasters.

Then, as the meeting ended, Nancy Pelosi crowned her haka by putting on a fashionable coat and a pair of cool shades, as if acknowledging that, this time, she won; and the Democrats were not merely a circular firing squad. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

OK, Reality TV “Star” Trump Gets Trumped by Nancy Pelosi