Amid the Smoke of Battle

The mariner hasn’t returned to tracking human events. It isn’t that a return to childish daily news and tragic global news is too distasteful (which it certainly is) but that this time of the year – the first hard frost – is a busy time in the gardens. Mariner has been forced to take his shop lights outside to continue grubbing in the night for buried lily bulbs like a raccoon, moving shrubs and accent plants around to improve the garden, planting new bulbs for next year and finally addressing hardscape issues like new patio features, sidewalks, lighting, etc.

Mariner is thankful for the sympathy of readers, family and friends –most are commiserating as well. But we must, whether victor or victim, don our cultural uniform and return to the fray.

Mariner consulted with his alter ego team, Chicken Little, Prophet Amos and Guru to compile a set of questions to research as we venture back to the fray. These questions are compiled blindly since they have not been vetted by exposure to media.


Will Donald appoint family to significant positions of government?

Who will run whatever TRUMP business exists in the private sector?

How much policy independence will Donald grant to Mike if any? Related, how many secretary positions will Donald leave unfilled?

How many argumentative campaign issues will Donald forego to create a broker position with Congress?

For reasons of complexity and time, mariner will pass for now on international policy and economics.

Finally, for the reason that one can stomach only so much, mariner will ignore Rudy Giuliani, nothing more than a remora fish.

For those who have suffered greatly, like the democratic advocate who worked in the White House whose mother had health insurance only because of the Affordable Care Act but voted for Donald; or the typically uninformed acquaintance talking with the mariner’s wife, confessing she voted for Donald because he said Hillary was crooked: shape up and return to action – we have a Reagan Supreme Court to deal with.

Ancient Mariner



The mariner has not watched television one second since the announcement except for the weather ap. He has not listened to radio or even read the newspapers. He has not scoured the Internet for reactions – except for watching the stock market only long enough to know the daily values. He is lost in his gardens.

He is ashamed for that. Mariner considers himself a stalwart observer of gnashing reality – no matter the gnashing. Still, there is great apprehension over the state of affairs. Putting the power of a President in the hands of an insecure narcissist, totally ignorant of the required processes and nuances of the distribution of power except using it to get even with detractors (Donald will pull every string available to him to get the better of Barack Obama and Hillary because they belittled him; “Little” Marco already knows not to expect any favors for his “small hands” remark.)

Taken in a long, long perspective, Pence will be the most powerful Vice President in History – except when Donald wants to be in charge. That will occur at grossly inappropriate times and circumstances. Donald ignores timing, ignores advice taking longer than one minute, and will build that $@*&% wall just to prove he never loses.

But he is a loser. His base electorate, the wise, sophisticated and insightful among us, enjoyed the campaign season having the luxury of allowing anything he wanted to say as acceptable. But now he has won a term in the most visible, targeted job in the world. His base can’t help anymore. There is no shortage of bruised power brokers, politicians, NGOs and foreign nations eager to bring Donald down – and Donald has left a path littered with opportunities. Then there is the issue of Donald’s international policy fraught with shady relationships and profit schemes – profit schemes not for US citizens but for Donald.

However, the damage has been done. A devastating blow to a nation already fifty years behind global issues. An opportunity for advancement would have been to appoint two or three Supreme Court Justices. Deliberately appointing young conservatives will set the US back at least fifty years. Further, having the entire Congress in old fogey, irrelevant hands will stop progress dead in its tracks.

The mariner believes the first 100 days will not be easy for the nation. What lies beyond 100 days cannot be predicted. Say a prayer for members of his immediate staff.

Ancient Mariner


The Candidates for Nomination

The mariner is watching the early campaign for President with dissatisfaction more than anything else. The press is chasing easy news with Donald Trump. There is little substantive interpretation of what all this folderol means and no one seems to know how republican candidates respond to democratic intentions. So far, the republicans simply are bickering among themselves. It is true that the republicans are stretched across a broad spectrum of conservative ideology; real primaries likely will not unify easily behind one candidate – except perhaps the empty mind of Donald who, at least, speaks what he really feels. The mariner thinks Donald’s popularity is due to the phenomenon of honesty and lack of beholding to lobbies and money. Certainly, an aphrodisiac or perhaps a long needed rain falling on a drought-stricken voter desert.

In the long run, however, Donald is a deal-making pragmatist at best and an impulsive decision maker who will not fare well in international affairs. The mariner often is reminded of Cesar Chaves.

On the democratic side, the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seems to mirror the ideological struggle on the republican side. As far right as candidates like Rubio and Scott are, Bernie is to the far left. It would be a fascinating measure of the state of our culture if Bernie actually wins the nomination to run against a bona fide republican nominee. It also would be scary.

Almost unmentioned are old school republicans and democrats sitting in the midst of new ideological intensity. By the way, Hillary is one of the old schoolers. First, old schoolers are survivors; second pragmatists; and third hide behind the mundane party line. Ideology isn’t really their game. Just give them their paycheck and campaign funds. Bernie’s original intention, the mariner believes, is to keep Hillary as far left as possible but he has been surprisingly resilient and is approaching Hillary’s poll numbers.

The scariest combination is Donald versus Bernie – bullying versus intellect. Intellect has never fared well in the history of the United States. Considering Donald versus Hillary, Donald is likely to lose. His alienation of special subgroups will be his downfall – especially against the first woman President; women are not joining Donald with enough numbers to win. Then there are “the” blacks and “the” Hispanics.

This week, the mariner has begun to hear a speculative press. The fun of catering to empty assassinations by Donald is wearing thin. Further, the republican party is trying desperately to undermine him. Finally, the primary season will come into play despite the meddling of Fox News. Again, Donald’s style will threaten local activists and his results will diminish. The mariner hopes the real conservative will be identified early enough to speculate how well Hillary or Bernie will match the conservative candidate.

Ancient Mariner