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Putin's Trump card

Spring has technically begun. We are nearing its cruelest month. A Parthian time-traveller recently returned from a near-future scouting foray. His advice is based on his discovery that Double-Agent Donnie’s loyalty to Putin, and his crimes against all women including Lady Liberty, are about to be revealed in detail, together with overwhelming supporting evidence. 
It is too easy to see the finale of Putin’s coup as a saga of crisis, public outcry, and a reluctant but effective reprise of the Watergate story– perhaps ending with actual impeachment this time. The Watergate analogy is far from providing the most plausible scenario, however.
We must ponder the question whether Mueller, Sessions, Mitch, or any other counter-party will be constitutionally available to negotiate or approve a plea bargain (or any other deal by means of which Donnie could exit the public arena while retaining most or all of his loot). Deceitful Donnie is so Supreme, as the head of our government, that he is ber…
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“Its All About Him”

After the Pennsylvania rally last Saturday night, wretched rhetoric saw a chorus of retching reporters and critics sing the hymn It’s All About Him, much to the disgust of a Parthian observer who knew both the lyrics and the score in advance of the stale road show. For all the promises and proclamations decreed in the first person, the identity of the aspiring autocrat was entirely generic. The script he followed was so familiar and traditional, so vile and authoritarian, that he fed cues to his enraptured audience extemporaneously. His claque were like hounds harkening to the hunter’s horn. Our observer escaped utter boredom by putting the performance into verse. If he made it any longer he would have called it Dein Trumpf. A Villain’s Knell
My ego isn’t personal. This self I boast and celebrate Contains no element you might fairly call a “Me.” Evangelist of brand and creed, my soul is celibate.
No parochial partisan am I: I’m singularly great! My followers are loyal. From them I need no …


The 45th incumbent has far surpassed the record set by the late Lillian Hellman in the annals of deceit.  Mary McCarthy said of Hellman that her every word– even “the” and “and”– were lies.  Trump’s mendacity is more extensive, more dangerous, and it percolates like magma from deeper springs. Trump’s oratory pollutes our political discourse all the way down to the punctuation mark. 
Trump shares with other facile mountebanks a trite response to his devotees, by ending his rallies repeating “Thank you, thank you very much, thank you” until the response becomes inaudible, and the exits are crowded with his people. In Trump’s case, the hollow expressions of gratitude begin just before the audience realizes that his speech is over.  Trump is not the only politician to signal a conclusion that way, but most of his rivals are humble enough to elicit approving applause, while Donald demands it.  Trump’s endings are like Tchaikovsky’s emphatic symphonic finales:  just as you start to gather yo…

From Newtown to Florida, Wayne Reigns!

Today's news presents an irresistible occasion to republish a few lines observing the predicament of a prominent nutmegger, whose sold soul gained him a huge discount from Faust's bargain. The devil's presentation speech was transcribed verbatim this time–

Sweepstakes Winner
Congratulations, Wayne! You've won a sweepstakes dream house! Your run of luck has just begun–
Through a canopy of beechwood boughs an avenue meanders to your door, with loads of kids, and your buxom spouse.
Toys and gadgets, amenities galore! A decorator's masterpiece within, (and in case you've not kept score,
you also won an SUV!)  Take it for a spin! Later, you will parse the title deed reciting your payoff for mercenary sin:
You pandered a little bit to greed, selling weapons to deranged psychotics whom you love to feed
tales to make them more estranged, fearful and grandiose. You armed their demons, and happily exchanged
for cash– heedless how you harmed  hecatombs of random victims slain– mendacity for ma…

When is a President a Resident? What would Blackstone say?

How might Trump’s term prematurely end? The issue arises if the parties to a negotiation over the Mueller report want an escape hatch, to cover a Russian agent who may wish to leave Washington for his tower or Dacha without suffering the ignominy of impeachment and criminal prosecution. The best speculative scenario that could resolve a problem that will involve his family members as well as his own job is outlined below. Part of its appeal is that it might avoid trial, and it need not involve either Congress or the Supreme Court. Instead, it would depend upon an Originalist understanding of the language of the Constitution and recognition of a norm effectuating its spirit. For starters, here’s an outline of Constitutional constraints on tenure in Presidential office, apart from the expiration of an incumbent’s calendar term:
[Death]Removal by:Disability (see Amendment 25) – Permanent (contested/uncontested) –Temporary  ““ImpeachmentTreasonBriberyHigh crimes and misde…

All the Elements of a Worst Case Scenario

At long last, political leaders and broadcasters have begun to sound loud alarms about the dissolution of our democratic (Constitutional, rule-respecting) form of government. Roger Cohen’s opinion piece (Open Societies Under Siege) in the New York Times of January 27 is exceptionally insightful about the sources of fear and fury that fuel worldwide Trumpism.  We know that Trumpism is a symptom of an impulse that animates burgeoning right-wing “populism” all over the world. 
At a more local level, Michael Wolff paints a vivid scene of stormy intrigues within the White House. His account (supplemented by his interview on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell) relates many details of the churlish boor’s madness, as it also supports the analysis of Regential governance first advanced here. The vectors of our Constitutional catastrophe are:
The Presidency has nobody presiding. The ostensible incumbent is too crazy to form criminal intentions yet just sane enough to escape the present or potential re…