A Master Class

In the space of a week, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have given us a Master Class in  cluelessness (Trump) and servility (Pence).

Pence was at his smarmy best when he dutifully defended Trump’s lunatic assertion that murderous “Middle Easterners” were part of that scary Caravan making its way to the border from Guatemala. Talking Points Memo named Pence their “Duke of the Week” for that one.

Every lackey willingly floating in President Trump’s orbit is handed their fair share of flak for their regular defense of Trump’s latest fallacious musings.

But Vice President and Trump hype man Mike Pence is the aide most often recruited to step in it. And this week, he dove in deep, defending Trump’s unfounded — and racist — claims that “Middle Easterners” were part of the caravan of Central American migrants heading to the U.S., spouting false statistics and then being forced to shove his tail between his leg and publicly walk back the comments.

Ever since Fox News began its non-stop coverage of the group of immigrants traveling toward the U.S., Trump and his flunkies in Congress and on TV have seized on the issue to get Republican voters worked up ahead of the midterms. Trump blamed the Democrats for “open borders” and tweeted threats to Mexico and Guatemala, signaling he’d cut U.S. aide to the countries if they didn’t block the group from approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. According to multiple on-the-ground reports, the migrants were escaping violence and poverty in Honduras and hoped to seek asylum in the U.S.

Pence insisted that during  the last fiscal year, authorities had apprehended “more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our Southern border. from countries that are referred to in as ‘other than Mexico.” With a straight face, he insisted that “countries other than Mexico” meant from the Middle East.  It also turned out that those apprehended were attempting to enter the country illegally at all ports of entry, not just the southern one.

So he’s a liar like Trump. (And don’t get me started about his attempt to use the term “Rabbi” to describe the Christian he trotted out to offer a prayer for the real Jews killed in Pittsburgh.)

Eventually, of course, our demented President had to admit he had “no proof” that there were people of Middle Eastern decent tagging along with the caravan. (“There’s no proof of anything but they could very well be,” Trump said, after he let Pence and others spend more than 24 hours defending his bizarre assertions).

Sure, and I could “very well” be a Martian…

Lest his “base” (in both senses of the word) miss the point of his attacks on those brown people trying to escape poverty and violence, Trump has promised to issue an Executive Order ending automatic citizenship for children of immigrants born on American soil. That’s ludicrous, of course–such a change would require a Constitutional amendment. The evidence suggests his base is too ignorant of the American Constitution to know that.

Of course, it’s entirely possible Trump doesn’t know it either–he’s given no hint of familiarity with the law or the Constitution.

Trump’s ignorance of law, facts, science, geography and the way the world works is more than equalled, however, by his inability to understand even the most basic obligations of the office he accidentally holds. I can’t say it any more plainly than Vox, in an article titled “Trump Has Passed Every Chance to Unite the Country during the Pipe Bomb Crisis.”

Once again, he has proven to be completely incapable of providing sober, mature, responsible leadership in a time of crisis.

After initially calling for “unity” in scripted remarks on Friday, the president turned his appearance at the White House’s Young Black Leadership Summit into a campaign rally.

He did his usual thing: He slammed Democrats, bashed the “fake news” media, and lambasted so-called “globalists.” Never mind that most of the bomber’s targets were top Democratic politicians, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and that one was CNN, one of Trump’s favorite targets for the “fake news” label.

Trump is a terrifyingly un-self-aware person; he is absolutely unable to take responsibility for anything. In a conversation with reporters, he refused to accept any blame for his rhetoric.

“Not at all, no. There is no blame. There is no anything,” he told reporters.

Asked if he would commit to toning down his rhetoric for a few days, he responded, “Well, I think I’ve been toned down. I could really tone it up. Because as you know, the media has been incredibly unfair to me and to the Republican Party.”

And when he was asked if he would call any of the targeted individuals–especially former Presidents Obama and Clinton–he said “probably not.”

In other words, he doesn’t even want to do the bare minimum a president is expected to do here: speak with the people targeted by a terrifying bomb threat and tell them he’s happy they’re safe.

Trump wasn’t interested in making a phone call–after all, that doesn’t generate media exposure. But he was insistent on going to Pittsburgh, a trip that would be covered by the media he pretends to despise, despite requests from the mayor and the community that he stay away and refrain from distracting from the funerals.

Like I say–a Master Class.


  1. I agree with your portrait. Somehow it is all positive to the Republican base. Maybe Giuliani was right: Truth is not the truth.

  2. Your spelling is horrendous this morning, Sheila…let me correct it for you. Trump is a Master Ass!


    For the folks who contrive that I advocate for not voting- this is not what I’ve been saying. What I’ve been saying is neither capitalist owned political party in this country is willing to work for you because their donors call the shots.

    On Twitter, Nancy Pelosi was outlining her immediate issues and “reforms” once the D’s reclaim Congress. I’d call her an idiot but I think she is merely out of touch. She’s a Boomer who has served Wall Street for so long she no longer has any empathy or compassion for the hard life the American people have endured over the last 40 years of Neoliberalism.

    People are coming together in large swaths to vote because they are ticked off with their economic situation…not civil rights. Wall Street is throwing boatloads of cash to moderate D’s like Pelosi to keep the Progressives away from Wall Street reforms.

    Both parties shifted to the right in the 90’s after Reagan began our Neoliberal slide. We need more than soft D’s like Donnelly and Pelosi to correct the damage done. It will take a hard turn to the left. I see this on both coasts and as always, the middle states will be dead last (Indiana).

    There are signs in GA and TX that young voters have increased their participation by 500%. They will implement the changes we need across the country. For those stuck in the middle states, you might want to look into a Canadian dual citizenship if it still exists. 😉

    As for Delaware County, Indiana, members of the D Party were indicted for stealing taxpayer money. One accepted a plea deal. NONE of the D’s running condemned those actions.

    So, do you vote for racists who dodge debates or thieves?


  3. Sheila, I think there’s more fodder for you in Trump’s recent assertion that the Fake News is underestimating the size of the caravan crowds. After all, Trump asserts, he’s good at estimating crowd size. (Like the Inauguration Day crowds???).
    Maybe next a Master Class in Math?

  4. Let me play Pollyanna today by pointing out we haven’t heard that Trump, with Pence’s full support, will be sending our military troops to the polls…where their real enemies will be gathering on November 6th.

    “Trump’s ignorance of law, facts, science, geography and the way the world works is more than equalled, however, by his inability to understand even the most basic obligations of the office he accidentally holds.”

    I will ask again; “whose minding the store” while Trump and Pence are campaigning across the country? And; what is going on behind our backs as we track the campaigns, surely the White House administration is not sitting idle while the bosses are away. Another question; where will Southport put those usual 25,000 to 30,000 screaming fans Trump claims attends his rallies? Add to his ignorance, that of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, the fact that his own three oldest children would qualify for deportation without their birthright citizenship.


  5. At this point in the Trump/Pence Administration one has to ask “what are Pence’s motives?” Why, after over two years of association, would a man with an education, a law degree no less, still be groveling, lying and helping Donald Trump? Is it his delusional evangelical thinking? Does Trump have something scandalous on him? Is he playing along to gain the presidency for himself? Is he culpable in the Trump crimes of collusion and its cover up and so figures that, like Trump, the best defense is an offense?
    To this old woman, who believes herself to be rational, Pence’s behavior makes no sense.

  6. Pence is an obsequious ass who has found his “daddy” in 45. I’m sure he and the rest of his evangelical crew are looking at the President and picturing the end-times. They all thought Obama was the anti-Christ they had been waiting for. Now they’re worshiping at the feet of Beelzebub, because he seems likely to end the world as we know it. Can the rapture be far behind?


    Please run for County Chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Party.


    Repudiate hate. VOTE BLUE!

  7. Theresa; who in this current administration does make sense? Pence is being dragged along behind Trump like an incomplete abortion.

    Watching MSNBC this morning was exhilarating during the interviews with Max Rose and Andrew Gillum; the fire in their bellies is what is needed in the full Democratic party…and those of us still upholding it. Indiana has either Demolicans like Donnelly or democrats like John Gregg who was almost as invisible on the campaign trail as Pence’s brother Gregg currently is. My City Councilor, David Ray, was upset with my question “Where have you been since I voted for you before?” when he asked for my vote on Facebook. Warren Township has deteriorated steadily, real estate values now range from the low average of $54,000 to the highest average $112,000 in a once proud area of Indianapolis. Sheila has pointed out before that these local elections are the vital starting point for change. Keep that in mind when you vote; the weaklings can be strengthened only IF they are elected. We NEED their numbers right now. Look at the strength neo-Nazi, White Nationalist and KKK organizations have gained by showing up to vote for any and all Republicans. There is a lesson to be learned with that set of facts; do the math.


  8. As I often write elsewhere, when all the finger-pointing and posturing is over, elections are decided by arithmetic, aka turnout, and believe it or not, there are still millions of “undecideds” out there, and the way they turn may well decide who is elected, especially in congressional districts where the polling shows ties or near-ties within the margin of error. Thus this is no time to settle down and wait for the results early next Wednesday morning; it is rather a time to double down on getting turnout, i.e., calling friends, relatives, finding excuses to talk to strangers et al. about the importance of voting in this election, our most important since 1932.

    Parenthetically, and within the last 24 hours, Trump has now admitted (and it’s on tape) that he has weaponized truth; that he tries to be truthful but circumstances change etc. So two and two are four (but only if convenient to serve a larger purpose) and the law of gravity (my apologies to Newton) may or may not work in all cases. Really? This is more than weaponizing; it allows “larger purposes” to substitute for reality, and that’s not the way it works. You cannot say the Romanov dynasty was not erased by Lenin; it was, and you cannot say Central Americans marching through Mexico legally seeking asylum in our country are infested with criminals, drug lords, Middle Easterners et al., not so. We allow Trump to come up with conclusions sans facts, but in his narcissistic Otherworld facts are either unnecessary or alt, and he imports them to our world. Insanity? Well, probably, but insufficient for institutionalizing its adherents – so far.

    Return to topic – Let’s do everything possible to insure turnout Tuesday, everything, because this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s D-Day for America and our democratic values, and nothing is more important than their preservation and (if we win) expansion. Nothing.

  9. In addition to all of the things in your list that he is ignorant of, you should add business practices. Anyone who had to declare bankruptcy six times cannot be called a successful businessman. And four of those bankruptcies were for casinos. Think about that. Owning a casino is like having a license to print money. But he couldn’t even do that – four times.

  10. Just thinking about Pastor Pence and the word sycophant pops into my head.
    Synonyms of a sycophant is: : yes-man, bootlicker, brown-noser, toady, flatterer, flunky, lackey, spaniel, doormat, stooge, cringer, suck, suck-up all these words describe Pastor Pence.

    Pastor Pence is totally pathetic. His one total purpose was to bring the Evangelical-Bible Thumper’s into Candidate Agent Orange’s tent. No matter that Agent Orange is the exact opposite of all the “family values” the righteous right has trumpeted (pun intended) since the marriage of convenience between the Right Wing Reactionary Republicans and the Bible Thumper’s.

  11. Yes, Trump/Pence are a disgrace to our country, its Constitution and its people. BUT the 5th Avenue crowd will just follow along blindly as their heroes fill their empty spaces with false pap and nonsense. I call them the 5th Avenue crowd because: “I could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and I wouldn’t lose any votes.” — Donald Trump.

    Todd’s broad brush painting both major parties as abjectly corrupt is absolutely the wrong approach here. We have a country to save. We have a rogue president to repudiate. We have a Congress that requires cleansing. Even though Democrats are not perfect, they are also NOT Republicans in any way. Politicians, in this age of Citizens United, must go to where the money is. The Republicans, lacking any real purpose except power, corrupt that system even more than what’s on its face. Democrats still hold some values that will restore our democracy and pull it from the clutches of horrible people passing themselves off as governors: Republicans.

    Keep your eye on the ball. Vote for Democrats at EVERY level.

  12. may i have a ear here,thanks, ive worked with many a latino,and central american,and many others, i had a haul by contracts from southern florida to the north west,hauling nursery stock,plants and trees.. the people who loaded me,were mainly of central american decent. and if anyone who has been lucky to work with such people,it couldnt be a better crew. hard working,few breaks,hot,humid,and fast paced. they smile,they are extremly polite,and never say a negitive word. if these people who are traveling north from central america,they are escaping,its obvious,the past war never left the area,and only has been repleced with economic war,and gang warfare. these people,are trying to better themslves,and future generations. just a fact,most are under 5’6″ tall to. so if trump sees this mob as invaders,well, let em in,and change things for the better,because we damn sure screwed our own country up worse than they will ever do.. If anyone from bobbies crew is reading this, thanks for the help. and ill play that santana c.d. again for ya.. while we loader up.

  13. Trump is, in a word, incompetent at being human; a sociopath even to the average observer. Pence is only marginally capable of acting human. As they lurch around the country apparently the last Republicans capable of firing up their deplorable base people react to their inhumanity and when they’re at a tribal meeting egg them on. Non tribal people gasp in fear at the level of incompetence on display and recoil at the reality that they represent us to the world.

    Just a few days now before recovery can begin.

  14. “Trump is, in a word, incompetent at being human; a sociopath even to the average observer. Pence is only marginally capable of acting human.”

    Pete; I had to laugh when I read your comments, for some reason I decided this morning to get out my oldest dictionary to look up definitions for the words “trump” and “pence”. Trump; “an influential factor of final resource”. He has certainly influenced every negative group in this country and is without doubt the Republican’s final resource. The word “pence” translates to “penny” which about what he is worth on the open market.

    Regarding this “Master Class” and the current election; I received an Absentee Ballot application a few days before the article in the Star reported there were errors on it and to check to see if it could be used. I did receive the Absentee Ballot and mailed it in; now am must hoping it was – or will be – counted. My 59 year old daughter who lives here in Indianapolis and has voted in every election since she became of age, received a message in the mail telling her they missed her voting at her poll. She is still registered at the same polling location. My 25 year old granddaughter who lives in Flat Rock, IN, had church members show up at her door asking if she was registered to vote, they did not have her name on the list. When she told them she had already voted they asked “which button did you push?” to be sure she pushed the correct button. She was told she did. Larry Kaiser’s nightmare visit to vote early was a horror story; thankfully he was determined enough to cast his vote that he went through their endless, insane process. All here in this Republican owned and operated state prior to the most important mid-term election and decades. WTF is going on?

    VOTE BLUE! IF you can.

  15. What would happen if Fox spews lost power and couldn’t broadcast? Why is that station still on the air? How many hours a day does IQ45 watch that station? How many lives are being ruined by that noise?

    We had to go to the Embassy on Tuesday and it was like entering Fort Knox. Give up your fit bit watch, your cell phone, your vehicle fob and then you had to talk to someone through a bullet proof glass wall. The worst part was having portraits of 45, Pastor Pence and Pompeo on the wall, ick. I wanted to smash the glass but they would have arrested me. Sorry, got a bit off topic.

    Vote! Blue!

  16. Why are all of us seemingly exempting Fox News and other right leaning new agencies from the “fake news” label and categorization? President Trump does not seem to be out rightly doing so, so why not include them in our understanding of “fake news” groups, then the President would be forced to be more explicit, and perhaps held accountable for liable or some such name calling, on-truth. Perhaps we all need to hold his/their feet to the fire more.

  17. Jack Smith, I am an old white woman and all of your descriptions of the hard working, honest Latinos you have worked with and become acquainted with remind me of 99 per cent of all the Latinos I have come into contact with in my life too. I also have a beautiful Latina daughter-in-law and a precious great grand daughter. I have yelled and screamed for years about the lazy, greedy behavior of many congresspeople when it comes to not taking care of the immigration laws in this country which is why we are now in this horrible mean spirited mess. If we had forced them to work out the details in a fair and logical manner there wouldn’t be so many terrified and badly treated lovely people. This applies also to immigrants from other countries. I am ashamed and angry with the way we have allowed things to progress in this country and hopefully we can pull together and rid ourselves of this dishonest and violent minded group that are holding this country hostage. Just know that as bad as things are right now there are good people out there who know what is right and will do all they can to make things better. Sheila, I am grateful every day for this forum and I thank you for taking the time and making the effort to give us the opportunity to contribute.

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