Musings from George


On the Anniversary of a Bad Decision
November 7, 2017, 8:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Great article in the NYT by Michelle Goldberg captures my emotions this month. A year ago I was surprised by, and distressed by, #DopeyDonald’s election. As we note the passing of a year and the unprecedented chaos that is the man’s administration, it is critically important that we not go silently into the night accepting his travesties as the new normal. Michelle summarizes it well — a narcissistic megalomaniac who declares that he is the new king (who needs the State Department? bring me crooked Hillary’s head!) shouts schoolyard taunts at nuclear-armed foes.

Ignorant, incurious, oblivious to social norm and established law. #DraftDodgerDonny is as excited to be the leader of the most powerful military as we was to drive a fire truck and to pretend to be a long-haul trucker. A man who detests getting his hands dirty toys with the hopes and dreams of coal miners; a man-child who has abused immigrant laborers his entire life upends the hopes and dreams of people brought to this country illegally years ago as children.

#DisgracefulDonny is a travesty, and we cannot just sit idly by and watch the EPA being dismantled (allowing toxic waste to be dumped into streams by coal mining operations is a crime against humanity; approving known toxins for use in agriculture is unthinkable). We cannot watch attempts to dismantle health care for 20 million people, nor can we accept a new tax package that awards 20% of the benefit to 0.1% of the people (yes, the estate tax will *really* benefit about 5,000 people including a number of Trumps).

So, what can we do? We can continue to protest, out loud and in our own hearts. We can get involved with the organizations that are fighting back. SwingLeft.org is working to organize voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts in those districts where a Democrat might be able to win back a seat held by Republicans — enter your zip code and figure out where you can help. https://www.indivisible.org/ has a game plan that mirrors the Tea Party, calling for many local actions targeting elected officials — if they actually have to hear about your anger and pain, they just might change the way they vote. You can donate time or money to help a local politician, and the most important thing you can do is to ensure that every person who has been aggrieved by #TakerTrump votes in the mid-term election. If every woman who has ever been assaulted votes, if every woman who lost insurance coverage for her contraception votes, if every black- and brown-skinned man who has ever been stopped by a Joe Arpaio-like sheriff votes, we will see a better result. If they all stay home, Trump has won.

My question for all — if you had $1,000 and you could spend forty hours helping some political cause, what would it be? Help me figure out how to spend my time and my money to achieve the greatest results in the coming year to ensure that we return to some sense of normalcy in Washington DC.

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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.



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

 



Postcards from the Ledge
January 21, 2017, 10:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

While I choose not to go protest Trump’s ascension in public (did any good come from blocking Uber’s HQ or preventing commuters from going to work?), I am a flawed human who cannot find anything to be hopeful about in Trump’s words. His press conference was a train wreck, where he demonstrated that he cannot speak in complete sentences. His statements after meeting with knowledgable, respectable sources (including Obama and the generals soon to be in his cabinet) reveal how little #DopeyDonald has actually thought about real issues facing the US today. Ignorant about what Obamacare actually is, unaware of our nuclear assets, blind to the complexities of the relationship between Taiwan and China (yes, it takes more than 140 characters to capture that complexity).

So, we are each tasked with the difficult decision as to whether we want to actively oppose our new president or if we trust in democracy and sit silently. As an old white guy, it is easy to take the approach of “not my problem”. Yet how can we not hear these words from Martin Niemöller echoing from 1937, when he was arrested for protesting the ascension of the Nazis (they too enjoyed 32% support in the polls of their citizens):

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

So, #DonaldPorkPie, you have divided and insulted the vast majority of our nation. Rather than the broad brush used by your opponent (“deplorables” doesn’t deserve its own hashtag), you have singled out Muslims, Hispanics, war heroes, Hollywood stars. You doubled down by insulting the parents of a slain soldier, several sitting Senators and a handful of sitting Congressmen, a disabled reporter, and citizens brazen enough to challenge you for the highest public office.

#DodgerDonald has broken with tradition in so many ways, and many enjoyed the lack of common courtesy and the rejection of political correctness so much that they are willing to overlook the many troubling things he has said. #GropyDonald on tape, celebrating sexual assault AT WORK … Bush got fired, and Trump should have been fired too (he was at work that day).

#LyingDonald hides behind an audit to say he can’t release his tax returns, while everyone knows that is patently false — the IRS is not restricting him from doing so. #CheatingDonald deducted a billion dollars from his tax bill that … wait for it … were not his dollars. He borrowed and spent a billion dollars of other people’s money, then cheated to declare that a loss on his taxes. #FraudulentTrump should be locked up, just as Al Capone was, for tax evasion.

Ignorance is not a virtue. Tweeting hateful and divisive things is not a skill. Breaking glass when you have never glazed a window in your life is just destructive — Trump’s new campaign promises are all about what he is NOT going to do (he will not enforce Obama’s policies, he will revoke rules to protect the environment, he will pull out of trade deals). These are the actions of an obstructionist and Luddite. What does he actually want to build? A wall. And he can’t even make that happen.

The powerful forces that prevented Obama from closing Guantanamo are now arrayed to thwart #PowerlessDonald. Congress won’t pay for a wall, and Mexicans laugh every time it comes up (build a thirty foot wall, and they will build a thirty-one foot ladder). What does #OrangeToughy plan to do about Guantanamo, Syria, ISIS, and the loss of jobs to automation? He has given no indication.

#DandyDonald now owns the broken glass of health care, and chooses instead to celebrate 2,700 manufacturing jobs that are staying or being created (Macy’s will lay off 10,000 workers before those manufacturing jobs are staffed — Obama created more than 2700 jobs every day of his administration). Ford, Carrier, and GM did not reverse course because of an election, they gave in to coercion and $700M in tax incentives and payments. We can’t afford to buy jobs for $200K each that pay $40K … but #DummyDonald is not an economist or mathematician, and he doesn’t even play one on TV.

People say that #DandyDonald is deeply tied in with #PowermadPutin. People say that his empire is riddled with Mob ties. People say that Melania is the real Manchurian candidate, deployed years ago with a plot straight out of Orwell’s 1984 (her secret was safe, since Trump doesn’t read books … only right-wing and alt-white blogs).

My virtual poster, which I am not holding aloft in Washington DC or San Jose today: “Trump is what happens in a democracy when people stay home.” And for now, he is our President. I last felt this sense of alienation when #43 was re-elected in 2004, understanding that so many in America don’t have the same dreams and hopes that I do.



I just can’t keep quiet – Trump is a buffoon
January 21, 2017, 12:42 am
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized

Others are more poetic, others are better spoken. But I feel the need to try to capture my emotional state right now, with Donald Trump’s ascendancy.

I fully understand that Hillary Clinton lost, and I understand why. She has none of Obama’s charisma, and is dragging a semitrailer full of baggage from her three decades of public service followed by eight years at the feeding trough of celebrity (huge speaker fees and the Clinton Foundation = wow, you are so 1 percent).

But today, a uniquely unqualified man ascended to the most powerful position in the world. Donald J Trump, of  #DaffyDonald / #DeceitfulDonald / #DodgerDonald (something is going to stick) is now our President.

Canada gets a good-looking, young, athletic political scion. We get a sclerotic, weirdly orange-hued misogynist who supposedly would have kept his second and third wives (yes, they were from countries with Islamic troubles) from coming to America. I can overlook the sex tapes of Melania in eastern Europe (we have all had bad jobs), and I can overlook the gag order that Trump forced on Invanka. But … not publishing your income taxes, and not even pretending to comply with guidelines from the ethics office? Really? How absurd is that.

So, I’ll go Trump. His wife worked in the US without a work visa (breaking the law) — she should be deported (no amnesty, right?). Many of his employees are illegal immigrants, and we should enforce the legal penalties  … (wait for it) … against the EMPLOYER. Trump and Mar-el-Lago should be sued by the INS. Tax evasion is a crime, and there’s a reason Trump has been audited every year since 1995 … he is a crook, and he took tax deductions for others’ losses (he should have to repay). Let’s drag his lies out into the light. Bill Clinton was impeached over less than truthful statements he gave in depositions about his sexual wanderings — let’s multiply by twelve and invite #GropyDonald and #GrabPussyDonald to the party. Maybe we can “speed-date” with the ten plus women who have accused him of impropriety, and they can split Gloria Allred’s legal fees (contingent, of course).

And last, let’s explain the difference between conflict of interest (which the constitution says cannot exist for a president) and THE APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest, which #LittleFistDonald appears not to recognize. 2017 lawsuits may have to stick to emoluments, but voters are very attuned to APPEARANCE. That explains #DopeyDonald’s cratered approval ratings right now. #DinosaurArmsDonald can’t reach the check, so we just have to sit and watch him wave his paws.

We have insisted on much higher standards of performance and behavior from our past public servants (notably John Kerry and Hillary Clinton), and it is time for the current powers-that-be (all Republican) to hold their own party to the SAME STANDARDS they insisted on for the last eight years. Make #theDonald share his tax returns before you vote for a single motion that he proposes. Else, you own it suckers.

Yes, we expect more. See you in 2020 either way!