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Welcome to the year of the Dog
Bob Franken
Bob Franken is an Emmy-winning journalist. - photo by File photo

2018 is the Year of the Dog. That is, if you’re Asian and follow the Chinese zodiac. It rotates between the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. And as I mentioned, 2018 is a Dog year. That’s a good thing, particularly when us Westerners remember Harry Truman’s bromide: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

But I was surprised to find out Donald Trump’s birthdate also had the Dog as its sign, considering my affection for puppies. Obviously, he was so mistreated that he turned dangerously ferocious. His Christmas Day astrology fortune, by the way, was, "The Year of the Earth Dog 2018 is a good time for lifestyle changes (time to quit smoking or change residence) and for the start of new business ventures."

He doesn’t smoke, but while the Chinese are probably happy with his ineptitude in the face of their intimidation, millions of Americans might embrace the "change residence." For those who haven’t given up on impeachment, perhaps they’ll be fascinated to know that Robert Mueller’s Asian birth sign is the Monkey. His 2017 Christmas Day horoscope was: "Stay on track today. Refuse to quit or be distracted. You know what’s important no matter what others think or say. It’s important to not let the words or actions of negative people discourage you." That will be music to the ears of Trump’s enemies, although it’s probably advice that’s wasted on Mueller, who is already known to be methodically relentless in every pursuit he’s undertaken. His latest pursuit, of course, is that of Donald Trump, or certainly those around the president.

He’s not only investigating the possibility of campaign collusion with Vladimir Putin’s Russian government chicanery in contributing to Trump’s victory, but any crime that arises as he’s fact-finding. Already he’s drawn enough blood that Republicans are trying to discredit him. They’re using every trick they can muster to leave an impression that Mueller’s people are too politically biased to be fair.

What Bob Mueller has demonstrated is a persistent prosecutor’s bias, which is to say that everyone is suspect until they show otherwise. But Trump’s supporters are really trying to manufacture a public case against him. It’s obviously an attempt to clear the way for him to fire Mueller if the flames get too close to Trump or family members. The president says repeatedly that he has no such plans, but Donald Trump is not known for being a man of his word.

The whole firing scenario is so transparent to many of POTUS’ adversaries that they’ve awoken from their stupor. They are advance-planning street protests. Former Attorney General Eric Holder calls any ouster of Mueller a "red line," but there have been so many red lines that Trump has crossed that it’s unclear whether Holder’s declaration holds any significance.

Actually, 2018 is not just the Dog, but it’s the year that every governing process will be dogged by the elections. It’s the midterm that will preoccupy Washington, D.C., with tentacles stretching to many states and also every congressional district in the land. Thousands of politicians will be forever calculating all things Trump. Like it or not, he’s the big dog in this year’s campaign.

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