Alden Graves | Graves registry: Taken out at the ballgame

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Beto O'Rourke recently ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Donald Trump, with his usual grace and civility, called the Texas congressman "pathetic." Can you imagine this black hole of thuggish corruption, who has managed to suck every vestige of honor and integrity out of the most hallowed office in our nation, calling someone else pathetic?

Trump decided that he didn't want to throw out the ceremonial first ball at the opening game of the World Series because he was afraid he would "look fat" if he had to wear a bulletproof vest. My God, doesn't he ever wander by a mirror or consider the amount of ground his shadow is covering? The vest, Mr. President, only exacerbates the obviousness of a fact that even your tailor's skill is hard-pressed to cover-up.

The smug, arrogant look Trump sports when he is mingling with commoners melted quicker than an ice cube on a hot griddle when the crowd at Washington's Nationals Park roundly booed him and began chanting, "Lock him up!" The reaction is indicative of the fact that this president is only welcome in isolated pockets of the nation he presides over, where that die-hard base we hear so much about congregate. The ballgame turned out to be a jarring reality trip for a man beguiled by his own magnificence.

The head of the Republican Party in Vermont recently offered a statement to Banner readers of the party's values. It was, basically, a regurgitation of the Grand Old Party's Grand Old Fixations, railing against taxes, stressing individual responsibility, moaning about big government, and bolstering business interests. They regard regression as progress, although they seemed to have jettisoned the Family Values hypocrisy for the moment.

The only thing the statement lacked was a three-word conclusion: At any cost.

I always framed Republican objectives in simpler terms—I call them the Three Gs—God, guns, and greed. The first two factors are skillfully manipulated by the people who benefit enormously by being amongst the select beneficiaries of the third. No one knows the Three Gs better than the current head of the party; the standard bearer for all those aspirations stated in Vermont's party platform.

I know that I haven't stated the goals quite as palatably as they are offered in the official platform, but then I recognize the fact that the Gilded Age is over and we have to live at a time of burgeoning billionaires, Donald Trump, AK-47s, and the Boeing Corporation.

It was stunning to listen to Dennis Mullenberg, the CEO of Boeing, as he told members of Congress that, yes indeed, his company was aware of problems with their 737 MAX aircraft long before 346 people were killed in two separate crashes, prompting the company to jeopardize their bottom line by doing something about it. So, the guys in the thousand-dollar suits all turned to face the grieving families of the people who were killed and mutter "We're sorry." That doesn't cost much.

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Until people like Mr. Mullenberg and his complicit cohorts at Boeing are held criminally responsible for these examples of the egregious elevation of avarice over the value of human lives, people will go on dying.

General Motors, a few short years ago, decided it was cheaper to settle lawsuits with the families of victims killed by a faulty ignition switch in Chevrolets. Let me state that once again: Cheaper to settle lawsuits than to fix a lethal problem they were aware of in their cars. That, folks, is precisely the reason that there should be far more government oversight into corporate machinations than there is today. It's got nothing to do with government interference as the Republicans would have us believe. It has to do with the risk to every one of us that is implicit in depending on corporate consciences to prevail over the lure of money.

Mr. Trump recently offered the words "warmest condolences" to Elijah Cummings' family after the death of the Maryland congressman on Oct. 17 in lieu of cutting into his executive time by attending the funeral services. What the hell are "warmest condolences"? It sounds as disjointed as offering someone a glass of driest water.

Trump tends to skip funeral services for those he knows were better people that he could ever hope to be.

With his typical juvenile logic, the president responded to Rep. Cummings' frequent criticism by claiming that the city of Baltimore was "rat infested." It could very well be that the congressman's family and friends wanted to maintain a certain level of decorum by not inviting Trump to the service. John McCain and Barbara Bush had enough class to request the same.

Warmest condolences is the same phrase Trump used after the Las Vegas gun massacre that killed 58 people, almost enough for Congress to do something about the assault weapons plague in America, but not quite enough it seems. (Did you ever wonder what the actual death toll would have to be?) I think Mitch McConnell is still waiting for the president to give some indication as to whether or not he would sign a gun control bill. And so the killing goes on.

Like the scarecrow walking down the Yellow Brick Road in search of a brain, Mr. Trump has embarked upon the only road he was really destined for: Impeachment Avenue. The cowed Republicans in the Senate will very likely not vote to remove him from office. That obligation will fall to the voters next November, but seldom will millions of them cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate with such relish.

I know I will.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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