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The Caligula Presidency: a Weekly Ovi Column - Week 29
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-12-30 13:31:29
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Week 29 - Columns 202-208 (December 24-30)
On the subjects of: Trump as the second most admired man in 2017, mirror, mirror on the wall who the most famous of them all, Trump’s destruction of the judiciary, Pence prepares for Trump’s downfall, a surge of democratic candidates, Puerto Rico’s Neglect, Trump’s 2017 Christmas present to America.


Column 202

President Trump is America's second-most
admired man, poll finds. Who is the first?


Trump trailed former President Barack Obama as the most admired man for 2017, according to a recent Gallup poll, marking one of the very few times in recent history that an incumbent president hasn’t taken the top spot.Gallup has asked the most admired man question 71 times since 1946 and the sitting president has won 58 of those times, according to Gallup.

Seventeen percent of Americans surveyed named Obama as the man they admire most, while 14 percent named Trump, the poll said. Trump must be eating his heart out.


Column 203


Gallup mirror on the wall who is the most popular president of 2017?

“Barack Obama.”

Fake News! You asked the wrong people.

Column 204

Trump’s campaign to reshape the courts


Amid all the punditry and prognostication about the administration’s fumbling attempts to advance its agenda on Capitol Hill, what has been largely overlooked is how successful Trump has been at leaving his mark on a different branch of government: the judiciary.

When Barack Obama took office in 2009, he had 54 judicial vacancies to fill; when Trump took office, he inherited twice that number, thanks in large part to Mitch McConnell’s strategy of halting the judicial-appointments process during Obama’s last two years in the White House. The new president has proceeded to fill these vacancies at an unprecedented rate, and his nominees have been the youngest, whitest, malest, and most conservative in modern memory. As a result, Trump has brought about “a wholesale change among the federal judiciary” that will “have a significant impact on the shape and trajectory of American law for decades.


Column 205

Mike Pence prepares for Trump’s downfall — just in case

In public, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s staunchly evangelical No. 2, is the very picture of deference and loyalty; he has repeatedly demonstrated that he will defend the president no matter what he says or does.

But behind the scenes, Pence is reportedly thinking ahead to a time when he may no longer have to play the good soldier. In May, Pence became the first sitting veep to form a national political action committee at the beginning of his term, a move that will make it easier to campaign for other Republicans now — and later, perhaps, for himself. (Pence’s PAC has gone on to raise more money than President Trump’s.) In July Pence installed Nick Ayers, a sharp-elbowed political operative, as his chief of staff. Pence has traveled to important political events in Iowa, the first caucus state, and opened the vice presidential residence to key conservative activists.

Pence rarely surfaces in the headlines; his boss sucks up all the oxygen. But he’s worth watching. Earlier this month the Atlantic reported that after the “Access Hollywood” tape threatened to derail Trump’s presidential campaign, Pence was “contemplating a coup” — and he immediately “made it clear to the Republican National Committee that he was ready to take Trump’s place as the party’s nominee.”

As Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation digs into Trump’s finances and closest confidants — and as a potential Democratic wave builds in 2018’s House and Senate races — it’s easy to imagine Pence himself preparing for a post-Trump future that could come sooner than expected. It’s not a matter of when Republicans are ready to turn on Trump, it’s about when they decide they’re ready for President Pence.”

Column 206

The unprecedented surge of Democratic candidates


Democratic victories in Virginia and Alabama have already gotten a ton of attention. Less noticed, however, is the fact that Democrats already have 400-plus candidates running for the House in 2018. That’s more than twice as many as either party has previously boasted at this point in the election cycle.

Political scientists say there’s a strong relationship between the number of candidates a party recruits and the party’s win-loss record on Election Day, In a recent analysis for the data-focused FiveThirtyEight website, Seth Masket of the University of Denver plotted the Democratic share of viable early House challengers — that is, candidates who raised more than $5,000 by June 30 of the year before the election — against the number of seats Democrats eventually gained or lost on Election Day.

He found that in every election since 2004 in which Democrats fielded more candidates than Republicans, they also wound up gaining seats — an additional 2.5 House members per each additional percentage-point advantage in early House candidates, on average. The most extreme example was 2006, when nearly 70 percent of the early House candidates were Democrats. That year, the party netted 31 seats on Election Day. Apply the same formula to the 2018 cycle and Democrats will be on track to pick up 93 House seats — the third-largest gain in U.S. history.

The party only needs to net 24 to retake the House. The only way to lay the groundwork for a wave election is by fielding solid candidates for as many flippable seats as possible, then waiting for the national mood to turn in your favor. That’s exactly what Democrats have been doing.


Column 207

America’s neglect of Puerto Rico


In this photo from October, Arden Dragoni, second from left, poses with his wife, Sindy, their three children and dog Max, surrounded by what remains of their home destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP)

The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, whose residents are American citizens, was devastated earlier this year by Hurricane Maria. This didn’t exactly go unnoticed at the time. When President Trump traveled to San Juan and threw paper towels to survivors, or got in a  Twitter was with the city’s mayor, or accused Puerto Ricans who criticized the federal response of “wanting everything to be done for them”,” the mainland press paid attention.

But since then, the spotlight has moved on — while the island continues to suffer. The official death toll is 64, and Trump has bragged about how it’s not “ in the thousands”.” But a recent New York Times investigation has found that it very well may be. According to the Times, 1,052 more people than usual died on the island during the 42 days after Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. Many of these additional deaths are likely attributable to delayed medical treatment or poor conditions in homes and hospitals — consequences of the power outages and water shortages that have afflicted Puerto Rico since the hurricane.

Even now, three months later, only 64 percent of the power grid has been restored; clean water is still scarcer than it should be. At the same time, the U.S. House has included a 20% import tax on products manufactured in foreign jurisdictions in its tax-reform bill — a tax that could cost the “foreign jurisdiction” of Puerto Rico tens or even hundreds of thousands of jobs. The island still receives only a fraction of the Medicaid funding for which it would qualify if it were a state. And so far Congress has approved a mere $5 billion in aid — far less than the $94 billion the Puerto Rican government says it needs to recover. For shame.


Column 208

Donald Trump’s Christmas Present to America


President Trump, at Mar-a-Lago on Christmas Eve, talks on the phone with children as they track Santa’s movements. He can easily compete with Santa Clause: the very picture of happiness and joviality

In case you didn’t know, Donald Trump this Christmas has liberated us all from oppressive forces which had kept Americans from uttering the expression “Merry Christmas.” We should all be grateful to this great emancipator for a noble battle well fought and well won in the bloody War on Christmas; a bogus war and a fake controversy if there ever was one, initiated by that other great emancipator Bill O’Reilley.

Somebody has taken care of the matter by preparing a thank you video, just out. It stars an adorable little girl declaring, “Thank you, President Trump, for letting us say “merry Christmas” again.

Obviously the suggestion is that now we live in a country in which the president can let us say things we want to say.

So now we have a man who uses the power of the presidency to give credence to the War-on-Christmas malarkey. But it does something even more disgraceful: it divides the country into opposing camps. It insists that there are some citizens who are oppressed by other citizens and are made to feel ashamed of uttering the word “Christmas.” Will we have better luck next Christmas, will we be more united, more merry? The answer my friends is blowing in the wind. Let’s stay optimistic.


End of Week 29



Week 1 -Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5 - Week 6 - Week 7 - Week 8 - Week 9 - Week 10 - Week 11 - Week 12 - Week 13 - Week 14 - Week 15 - Week 16 - Week 17 - Week 18 - Week 19 - Week 20 - Week 21 - Week 22 - Week 23 - Week 24 - Week 25 - Week 26 - Week 27 - Week 28 - Week 29 -


Check Dr Emanuel Paparella's NEW BOOK
"The Caligula Presidency: A Satirical Debunking Critique"
is online now and you can download it for FREE HERE!



Check also Dr Emanuel Paparella's other EBOOKS
Aesthetic Theories of Great Western Philosophers
& Europe Beyond the Euro
You can download them all for FREE HERE!

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