Halfway – Still Seeking Solace

As we approach the halfway point of the Trump administration, I think it’s worth re-iterating the message from two years ago, as we anticipated this mess.

Today is the big day. An new era full of uncertainty starts with the inauguration of Donald Trump.

God save the Republic.

I firmly believe it is critical to take the long view on this, since we are about to settle in for what is likely to be a tumultuous four years. We will have to pick our battles, declare victory where we can, and always keep our eyes on the prize. For this reason, and to keep our sanity, the wisdom of the ancients should be a primary source of comfort. Today’s readings are from the Tao Te Ching, as translated by Stan Rosenthal.

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It’s a Bear Market

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I’ve been slow to write about the stock market for two reasons. The first is that it would ruin the holiday cheer, and the secondly this is a long developing story that I have written about for a year now and will probably write about for the next year.

But we’ve reached an important threshold. It’s now down 20% off the peak, meaning that we are in a Bear Market. We haven’t been in one for a decade, and there hasn’t been a nasty one for at least two decades, so let’s run down what that means.

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Endgame?

The endgame is approaching. The truth about Trump is being revealed. After disastrous midterm elections he is weak and has the stench of a loser attached to him. The most recent revelations are going to be the the last straw, and his part will finally abandon him. This week showed us why.

Of course, this has nothing to do with what’s been said in court. Nevermind that his longtime lawyer has completely turned on him, or the man who buried his secrets for decades. The Republican Party doesn’t care about illegal activities now any more than they did before the election – when it was just about as obvious as it is today, as chronicled here.

It’s the steep decline in the stock market that is the unforgivable sin.

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Constitutional Crisis

Throughout the day, rumors have been circulating that Assistant Attorney General and overseer of the Mueller probe Rod Rosenstein was about to resign or be fired. The decision has apparently been put off until Thursday.

This is the beginning of an actual constitutional crisis, a conflict within the republic but outside of the Constitution itself. It does not automatically lead to the firing of Mueller, but it makes it much more likely. This is a time for all Americans to be ready to act to preserve freedom as we know it.

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Trump’s Minority

So far, approval ratings for Trump are staying in the 35-40% range no matter what happens. We have an identification of his solid base, and it’s quite large. Larger than many of us would like to see, and large enough that removing him through impeachment is going to be traumatic unless something changes.

The media concentrated on economic issues through the election and beyond, but it’s clear that they have little to nothing to do with the situation. They are excuses, code words, and easy answers for the media who assumed we were in ordinary times, but that’s just plain wrong.

So who are his supporters? What motivates them? I’m going to take a stab at this based on what I have seen in the media which appeals to them (ie, Fox Breitbart, et al) and their general response to events. My purpose in doing so is to help us through the coming impeachment, and I do think it’s coming. The nation is divided enough, and if we don’t at least understand each other things are only going to get worse.

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Not-Journalism

Long before there was “fake news” there was the National Enquirer.

It’s not as though obviously false stories written for entertainment, and to make a buck, were anything new. The Enquirer, however, gave the form a brand name. Anyone stuck behind a person with a full shopping cart came to know Bat Boy, Lobster Boy, Bigfoot, and a parade of celebrities doing awful things. It was a chuckle usually wrapped around a sneer – “Who reads this stuff?”

Though this rag was known for publishing nearly anything, what it deliberately didn’t publish turns out to be much more interesting.

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Judgment Time

Sometimes it is best to judge a nation by its worst moments, not its best. Only through trials do we learn the strength of its commitment to law, its character, and its compassion for healing. My nation is only beginning that test.

After the conviction of Trump’s campaign manager and new accusations by his personal lawyer, the end is coming quickly. As a wannabe mafioso, Trump has always surrounded himself with gangsters. While none of them wanted to be the first to “rat” to the authorities, there will now be a rush to not be the last. It’s typical behavior, and we can expect it.

Lost in all of this is the future of our Republic. How will we get through this? What will come after our darkest hour? Like all history not yet written, it’s up to us. But make no mistake – history, and the world, is watching.

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