Soundtracking the Resistance - The Healthiest Man Alive

Trump's Doctor Comes Clean; Plus Rudy Giuliani, Stormy Daniels, Death Cab for Cutie, and Haley Heynderickx

May 04, 2018 Web Exclusive By Stephen Mayne Bookmark and Share


Doctors change their story, presidents change their story, the Nobel Peace Prize has a way to make itself even less credible, Death Cab for Cutie return, and Haley Heynderickx channels Miyazaki this week. 

The Big Event

In this topsy-turvy time, no one should be shocked that news Trump's shady lawyer was in fact reimbursed for paying off a porn star rather than footing the bill himself is not even the least surprising admission of the week.

That the admission came from the ex-mayor of New York and concerns the U.S. president is just par for the course these days. If Washington wasn't a well-dressed soap opera already (Steve Bannon aside), it certainly is now.

Rudy Giuliani continuing to ensure Trump's legal defense remains a textbook example of how not to do this whole not appearing suspicious thing can't fail to shock as much as Trump's former physician admitting Trump dictated that ridiculous letter back in those halcyon days before the 2016 election.

Here's a little reminder of the letter from December 2015. Candidate Trump's physician Dr. Harold N. Bornstein stated his medical examination "showed only positive results." In fact, the various test results "were astonishingly excellent." The good doctor concluded: "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

The hyperbolic language sounded like something from a Trump stump speech at the time, and now Bornstein is claiming it basically was. Not that everything he says should automatically be trusted of course. This is a man who either compromised himself professionally by letting his patient dictate the letter or is the idiot who wrote the letter. Neither inspires confidence.

Bornstein isn't a man to inspire much confidence in general. Looking like a cross between an extra from Inherent Vice and Brent Spiner's eccentric scientist in Independence Day, he showed he's cut from the Trumpian cloth by referring to representatives of the president allegedly seizing medical files from his office in February last year as leaving him feeling "raped, frightened, and sad."

Trump clearly has a thing about his health even if it's only one of the many things he has a thing about. When it comes to health, the ridiculous statements are amusing at first and worrying on later reflection. Nor is Bornstein alone in laying on boastful statements.

The now disgraced Secretary of Veteran Affairs nominee and president Trump physician Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson carried out his medical last year and told the world the president has "incredibly good genes" and "if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old."

He's not going to live to 200 years old, lest anyone has nightmares over the century of Trump, but leaders lying about their health is never a good thing. That's how you end up with JFK making nuclear decisions hopped up on odd concoctions to deal with debilitating illness, or British prime minister Anthony Eden veering all over the place while high on Benzedrine (in his defense everyone thought it an A+ treatment back in the '50s).

It helps to know what's going on with the health of the person in charge, so everyone can plan accordingly, and keep an eye out to make sure problems don't arise. With Trump he could be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" even though he certainly doesn't look it, but if he was on his death bed his doctors would likely still declare him fit to lead the U.S. Olympic team in 2020.

Considering how obsessed American entertainment is with people assuming the presidency after something befalls the commander in chief, it's surprising people don't care a little more about these things. Kiefer Sutherland demonstrates in Designated Survivor that president Ben Carson is possible.

And then there is he who must not be named, the shadow in the room, the ghost haunting us all. One Big Mac too many away from the Oval Office is Mike Pence. If Trump is a liability because he seems to hold zero convictions beyond self-promotion and praise gathering, Pence is frightening because he holds convictions. He might actually be able to make the levers of government work as well, rather that spending his days issuing contradictory and quite possibly incriminating tweets.

But as Trump doctors come and go, making grandiose claims and ignoring professional responsibilities, we'll likely never know. In that regard he resembles some of his presidential predecessors, only less competent at seeming like he remains competent.

What's Going On

Trump has changed his Stormy Daniels story, as alluded to above. After Rudy Giuliani told the world the president paid his lawyer back for throwing $130,000 Daniels' way, Trump has now concocted some tale of retainers and completely normal behavior for "people of wealth." No campaign funds were used, that's what he's stressing instead. Tune in again to see where he next takes his excuses.

Winning the award for Most Impressive Sycophants, or perhaps Best Practical Jokers, 18 House Republicans are attempting to get Donald Trump the Nobel Peace Prize. In their letter to the Nobel committee they cite "his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region." As laughable as the idea of Trump winning the Peace Prize is, it's an award dedicated to ruining its own credibility. Obama got it for not being George W. Bush, and Henry Kissinger is somehow a recipient. Trump might not be such a long shot after all.

The NRA has its annual conference coming up in Dallas this weekend, where 80,000 people can gather and presumably misinterpret amendments together. Or defend inalienable rights. The protestors outside City Hall are less likely to fall in line with the second description, although the decision to not protest directly outside the conference hall is meant as a sign it's NRA leadership, not individual members they're against. Maybe there could even be a middle ground between the government seizing all guns and allowing barely restrained access to deadly killing devices.

Speak Up! 

Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has faced multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault recently. His response each time is denying any of it happened. He's now trying to go the other way, doubling down on support for the #MeToo movement by issuing a statement that among other things says, "if we continue to let the masculine energy govern our world without guidance from the feminine forces then men will destroy the planet."

Death Cab for Cutie announced a new tour and teased its next album this week. The band will donate one dollar from each ticket purchased through the band's website to The Aurora Commons, a non-profit organization based in Seattle that offers a safe space to unhoused neighbors. As the last we heard from the band was an anti-Trump song, we'll see how much of that carries onto the tour and new album.

Song of the Week: Haley Heynderickx - "No Face"

A video and song inspired by Spirited Away is always going to be worth paying attention to. That it comes from Haley Heynderickx and is off her very good debut album released this year makes things even better.

Heynderickx described the song in her press release as being "an odd ramble written after witnessing a bar fight in Portland based on racial discrimination." These are difficult times but there is still beauty out there.

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