Musings from George


No respect for the rule of law, ignorant of history
September 14, 2017, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized

Make it stop, please! Trump’s recent act to undermine the Constitution has to offend any conservative, and anyone who mentions the second amendment when explaining their political beliefs should be quite concerned by #DumbDonald and his recent pardon of Joe Arpaio. No respect for the law becomes a dictatorship in the end.

What was Arpaio convicted of that necessitated this pardon? He and his team systematically violated the Constitutional rights of Hispanic citizens in his county. He instructed his officers to round up brown-skinned people on flimsy charges, and they put them in outdoor tents in the desert to punish them without a trial. Arpaio’s actions resemble the round-up of Japanese citizens during World War II, an awful stain on our history and one that Congress recognized as a travesty by Reagan (the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 granted reparations and apologies to those citizens). #RacistDonald is an insult to what the Republican party once stood for — egalitarian opportunity for all to succeed, regardless of their background or ethnicity (founded to oppose the expansion of slavery to new states).

One of our nation’s great strengths is our willingness to debate an issue openly and honestly, and to tolerate differences of opinion that may reflect huge chasms. Reading “A Hillbilly Elegy” AND “Strangers in Their Own Land” was my penance for misreading popular sentiment in the last election so badly, and it was both useful and instructive. A recent opinion piece in the NYT titled I Voted For Trump.  And I Sorely Regret It by Julius Krein was also instructive, because he rather eloquently explains his decision to support Trump based on his merits during the campaign, a voice I chose not to listen to nor hear during the election.

With each assault on decency, democracy, and reason, Trump erodes the nation’s social fabric. #NaziTrump’s defense of the mob chanting “Jews will not replace us” as they gave the Nazi salute marching in front of a synagogue should give every American pause. It is comforting that the total population of neo-Nazis is estimated at 2,200 people, but it is greatly disturbing that our President cannot condemn them categorically. These people celebrate the legacy of a regime that led the world into the most destructive war in history, and these people should be denounced by every American. Without conditions, without excuses. Trump fails that simple test of decency and cultural awareness, and displays his own ignorance of history and nuance.

Last point, #DumbDonald calls the removal of Confederate statues an assault on history and on great Americans. He equates statues of Lee and Davis with those of Washington and Jefferson, because each held slaves. But #IncuriousDonald misses the distinction which is quite clear: Lee and Davis were traitors to their country, who waged war against the US in pursuit of liberty from the Constitution. Just as there are no statues of King George in Boston, nor of Hitler in Berlin, there is no space in the US for a statue of Jefferson Davis.

Robert E. Lee is a hugely respectable, honorable, skilled warrior who did many great things in his life. His legacy lives on at Arlington, his family estate that was confiscated and became our national burying ground. His history includes the honor of being offered the command of the Army of the Potomac when civil war broke out, which he declined because his first loyalty was to the state of Virginia. He was trapped in a Solomonic choice, and he did choose — he chose secession and became a traitor to the United States of America. He deserves to be studied, indeed revered — but no citizen of the United States should have to honor a statue to a traitor, certainly not those whose ancestors were subjugated by the very cause that Lee defended. When #LyingDonald equates traitors with our Founding Fathers, he displays the historical ignorance and inability to recognize subtlety that defines an ignorant person — and an incurious ignorant person is a repudiation of those who built America.

Trump’s recent decision to repeal DACA further reveals his inability to recognize nuance and subtlety, and his inconsistent approach to the law. If he believes Obama’s action was unconstitutional, how can Trump’s threat to do something by executive action in six months hold any credibility? If his attorney general has voiced his opinion that the president cannot do such things, how would Trump protect the Dreamers? He can’t, and won’t — he has just kicked the can down the road, and into Congress’s lap. Because it is a complicated issue, Trump just created another artificial deadline that benefits no one, with no solution to propose.

Behold, the child-king. By fiat, by Tweet, by bluster and by threat, he rules. He cannot author nor shepherd legislation, he can only tear up and rip up things built by others. Neither purposeful nor constructive, simply petty and destructive. We can only hope that Mueller makes it stop.

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Newt’s fantasy article on Fox News
May 19, 2017, 10:19 am
Filed under: Politics, Random walk

Newt wrote another bit of fiction.

The country is divided as never before, but that’s where Newt’s analogy between Trump and  President Lincoln ends. Lincoln was self-made, well-educated, and articulate. Trump … not so much. Lincoln was fighting to unite the country, not to divide it. Trump … exactly the opposite. Lincoln was respected and hated, for the causes that he clearly championed and believed in (what does Trump believe in? that seems to change weekly). Trump is loved by those enamored of his declared causes (reversing illegal immigration, making trade fair for the US, bringing jobs back) but despised by a much greater number of Americans alarmed by his reckless and misguided attacks on the judiciary, the press, and the leaders of the opposition party. Trump has declared war, and now becries the siege. Those who were led into the bunker by Trump (“pay no heed to what they say, they are the enemy!” ; “I have the absolute right to do anything, if a President does it then it is not illegal”) are finally accepting the fact that they have been lied to repeatedly.

The better analogy for Trump is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared himself the ruler of a to-be-built grand caliphate. Promising law and order, he delivered Sharia law. Promising to defend religious values, he enslaved entire populations and institutionalized rape for his troops. As the number of enemies grew, and the number of warfronts increased, his bitter backers retreated back into their swamps to await defeat.

Trumpcare is a travesty, and the nation can only hope that the checks and balances created by our nation’s founders prevent the House’s proposal from becoming law. Trump’s assault on undocumented workers is indeed having the desired effect, accelerating what was already happening over the past ten years — net negative immigration. Banning immigration from entire countries, building bigger barriers on our borders, empowering a broad array of police to target anyone with brown skin will indeed reduce the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. But it has also reduced tourism, and it has impacted our reputation as the best place in the world to get an education. Talented people around the world are staying home or choosing Canada as a destination. Americans facing a potential issue at the border when they return are not going to travel;  foreigners afraid of  being assaulted by our immigration officers and customs officials are going to pass on Disneyland, on Yosemite, and on Broadway.

Perhaps the easiest part of Newt’s essay to criticize is his selection of three statements by Trump to emphasize how reasonable his war on the press is. Independent analysis shows that Trump lies more than half the time, offering the perverse incentive to believe the opposite of what he says. The man given to “people say” attributions of known falsehoods wants the press to name names, the man who cites the Enquirer as the source of his facts wants to finger leakers, the man given to repeating conspiracy theories (yes, if you still believe that Obama is a Kenyan you can thank Trump for that; but it does seem to have played out that the Manchurian candidate actually has orange hair, not black skin). There is sweet irony in citing Trump’s statements as the basis for ANY conclusion.

None of us can know for sure where Mueller’s investigation will lead, but his well-known commitment to finding the truth and to stating facts is going to be a wonderful contrast with the current administration. And if Special Counsel Mueller decides that no crimes have been committed, no misdemeanors have been wrought, then both sides should stand down. Trump should cease his war on the press (as cited by Newt) and his attacks on the judiciary (as he was encouraged to do by Gorsuch); the Democrats should work to pass reasonable improvements to health care, immigration, and the tax system. Obama was prevented from fixing government over the past six years, but that doesn’t mean the right thing to do is to chain the country to the tracks for another two, four, or six years. Let’s work to govern this great country, rather than hobble it. Let’s debate ideas and proposals, rather than simply attacking anyone (or any party) with a good idea.

We are blessed to live in interesting times. I just wish we were talking about the wars we continue to wage in far-off lands (talking about how to end the violence), and the income disparity not just in the US but around the world (a small number of us possess a great share of the wealth). Rather than tearing up trade treaties and reversing environmental protections, no matter how imperfect they are, let’s work to propose better solutions and a cleaner future.



Wow. Just Wow
February 17, 2017, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

TRUMP: Well the leaks are real. You’re the one that wrote about them and reported them, I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake. So one thing that I felt it was very important to do — and I hope we can correct it. Because there’s nobody I have more respect for — well, maybe a little bit but the reporters, good reporters.

Wow. My head exploded tonight as I listened to the video of Trump’s press conference, and read the transcript. Trump, the champion of Russian leaks, feels that real facts that are leaked are not news. The man elected by Wikileaks defends their leaks, while whining about the real facts leaked by … wait for it … people who work for him.

Trump received questions before the debate when he was gifted by Comey and Wikileaks with Podesta’s emails. Yes, that is an equivalence. Flynn was hoisted by his own petard ONLY because he lied to Pence — Trump was perfectly happy to have Flynn commit treason, and to act outside of the government. The only reason Flynn was fired was because Trump saw him as a liability.

Trump, you cannot have it both ways. RELEASE YOUR TAX RETURNS, and recognize that Flynn’s transgression is worse than anything that Hillary did. Slap yourself — you are WORSE than Hillary, worse than Pedesta. You are a train wreck tragedy of a preening buffoon. Resign before they can impeach you.



WTF? Trump has no connection with reality
February 17, 2017, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics, Uncategorized

TRUMP: “I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people our that representatives are representing.”

Is this supposed to be the president of the United States, representing all Americans, or is this the man trying to satisfy the minority of the voters that chose him over Hillary? As he rants about his electoral win (fact: smaller than either of Obama’s), he just keeps proving his disconnect from reality.

He repeals (through executive order) lots of hard work by others who have come before. He creates Chaos, and then decries the chaos. He has done NOTHING positive or proactively for the United States. He apologizes for Russian transgression, dances around Flynn’s crimes, and grandstands about leaks. He begs Russia to leak Hillary’s email, but he cries “treason” when his own actions are revealed in public.

It’s not fake news. It’s a fake President. If our elected leader cannot accept provable facts, why do we endure this clown? Why does he think his golden showers, or his angry phone calls with Mexico and Australia, are going to remain confidential.

Here’s a clue: DON’T LIE if you will be embarrassed by the truth when it is revealed.You are a duplicitous, two-faced liar and history will record (and we will enjoy) your disastrously short stint as a minority-elected leader. You are a loser. You are FIRED.



Betsy DeVos
February 3, 2017, 1:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Betsy would likely be the least qualified candidate in history if she is approved to Trump’s cabinet. She has no experience with public schools (she did not attend, no one in her family attended public schools). Betsy DeVos has spent much of her inherited fortune declaiming (yes, look it up) the state of public education — yet her vaunted solution, charter schools in Michigan, have been WORSE than the public schools.

Call Lamar Alexander, but his voice mailbox is full (imagine that!) 202-224-4944

Then go online and tell him what a charlatan (yes, look it up) Betsy DeVos is:

https://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email

One more sane Senator can give us a better Education Secretary. It is worth the struggle.

George

 



My head exploded again
February 3, 2017, 12:41 am
Filed under: Nonprofit, Politics, Volunteering

As I listen to the “press secretary” tell us that Trump is simply implementing Obama’s decisions and policies, I have to object.

Somehow Trump’s entire platform is about *cancelling* Obama’s actions and orders, yet he uses the odd attribution that he is banning immigration from countries identified by Obama as sponsoring terrorism. So … why does Trump care what Obama said or did in this matter, if he completely disregards what Obama thought about health care or about Merrick Garland? Totally Orwellian.

We listen to Trump’s staff dismissing the “weak” efforts made by Obama to enforce border control, yet they announce restrictions that do not affect the real perpetrators of violence. NEVER has an immigrant from those seven countries committed an act of aggression in the US; somehow the immigrants who did (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan) are still flowing in. HYPOCRISY never smelled as bad as it does with @DopeyDonald

Trump lives in an alternate reality, supported by his alternate facts. We need to recognize that our President is a predator, a narcissist, and a bankrupt fraud. THEN we can react to his rants, Tweets, and self-dealing. The obvious answer is lawsuits and prosecution. Where do we sign up to make that happen?

George



Irony
February 2, 2017, 1:18 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics

My ears hurt each time I hear the Trump minions cite Obama’s decision to label some countries as sponsors of terrorism as the reason to oppress them.

We all knew Nazi Germany was bad, but we didn’t cite that as the reason we should not accept refugees from the countries that Nazi Germany invaded. That stain on our national history persists, and Trump is doubling down on it (and borrowing the clarion call that resonated then — let the poor b**tards burn, we are looking out for our own!)

Trump has been manipulated again by Bannon, who despises Jews and Muslims. As long as our President lets Bannon man the bully pulpit, we will get policies that many Americans abhor. We lost the electoral college, but … “have you no decency, sir?”

My call: we need three rational Republican Senators to defeat DeVos — are there three rational Republicans left in the nasty stew of Bannon and the Tea Party? We’ll know soon.

George