Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump’

The Fat F*ck Just Wears You Down

First, why Fat F*ck (FF) instead of Dotard in Charge (DIC). Well, DIC gives him too much credit for being senile instead of just being mean and ignorant. FF kind of captures that. Okay, I started writing this blog to try to put rational thought into the debate with the false notion that if people knew the facts, we might make the right choices. Little did I know that people don’t care about the facts, just snippets to believe what they already want to believe. It makes life so much easier (intellectually lazy) until the consequences of your ignorance comes crashing into to your made up reality. Enter the FF.

Now look, I will be the first to tell you that the Democratic Party lost its way, and may in fact still be wandering in the wilderness. They still seem to be in denial about their basic failure to stand for anything but against the FF. Until they understand that Progressivism is not extreme left, but the only way forward, they are going to be wandering aimlessly. People knew that under Democrats or Republicans, it was still going to be a 1% game. Everyone looks to the stock market for measures of success when for most of us, it does not flow down. Those offering real change got smacked down by the establishment, people did not show up at the polls, and we got the FF. Now you can make the argument, yeah, but Hillary won the popular vote. So what? We got the FF and a lot of people did not vote or voted for change. Boy are they getting their change.

So, here I am trying to explain how health insurance works (you only lower costs when everyone shares the burden), explaining why tax cuts won’t really stimulate todays economy, why walls are really really counterproductive, why striking down trade deals willy nilly is going to hurt us, and why our approach to foreign affairs will be self-defeating, and it is whack-a-mole time. I or others make a rational argument citing loads of facts and data, and the next day the FF is at it again with the same totally false narrative, and you think, do I have to go down this road again? Is it just blowing smoke? Sadly yes. Maybe the only satisfaction is when shit happens, I can tell you I told you so.

Pick up your daily paper, those few of us that do anymore, and there is a ton of data and analysis, no not from left leaning think tanks, but from reliable political scientists, that tell you the tax cut will cost us billions, not create jobs, and run up the deficit, or that the cuts to health care subsidies will hurt all of us and cost more than it saves, or read that our problem is the lack of a flow of immigrants, and all the things we need to know to make smart policy are out there. Then the FF makes up a bunch of lies and we have to go through the whole thing again and it still does not dent about 35% of the population. The FF is lying about the NFL take a knee, or John McCain, or some other personal snit, and then gets called out on the deaths of our servicemen in Niger and then makes up more lies.

Now this is truly disgusting and yet people still try to normalize him and discuss his lies as though somehow they are another reasonable policy position or just of difference of opinion, and once again I pull out my pen, as do most real journalists and try to set the record straight, but it never sticks. Tomorrow, after we have conclusively destroyed his lies, laid out the facts, it is like a new day and we have to do it all over again. There is no stable set of facts that we all operate from and no building blocks to the future. Just a new day with a new round of lies and yesterdays clearing the air made no dent in the chaos. At least that is the way it feels right now. I think I will go play golf.

The Twilight Zone We Now Live In

I get up this morning (West Coast) and I turn on the TV to find out just how bad the damage was in Florida and instead there is Donald Trump, AKA, the Village Idiot in Charge (VIC), talking and waving his arms at the Pentagon making those circles he likes to make with his thumb and forefinger, commemorating 9/11. Say what? Donald Trump, the man who lied about seeing Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attack, and then falsely claimed he had hundreds of close friends who died in the destruction is out preaching to us about 9/11? And we report on it?

Is this where the country has gone? Is this what we think is acceptable. Oh, you can argue he is our President and he is just doing his duty and I am thinking, not my president, and some kind of fantasy acting job is not what I expect of our leader who is a walking talking lying SOB. It is a defamation to all those that died that he is now preaching to the nation on how this pathological liar is going to keep us safe. Wasn’t he just rattling arms about North Korea? Did not his Muslim ban, by most experts, make us less safe? Did he not just turn back the clock of transgender rights, and destroy the lives of almost a million young kids?

First, let’s not think Trump — who invites cops to abuse suspects, who thinks ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio was “doing his job” when denying others their constitutional rights and who issued the Muslim ban — cares about the Constitution (any of the “twelve” articles). Trump says, “We love the dreamers. … We think the dreamers are terrific.” But in fact he loves the applause he derives from his cultist followers more than anything. Otherwise he’d go to the mat to defend the dreamers and secure their legal status. (WaPo)

The fact that we normalize this man, allow him to speak at 9/11 commemorations, or treat this as normal and news worthy is how we as a nation fail. If we have any semblance of exceptionalism that the United States claimed (our diversity and equal rights for all). It is being destroyed. It is how we, like Rome, fall into dust. I proudly where my “He is Not My President” and “Resist” T-shirts. It is time to recognize that America elected a fraud, a fool, a misogynist, a racist, and a pathological liar, and he is not to be normalized. Working with him simply lowers all of us. Enabling him is to become him and make what he is acceptable and to degrade ourselves. Aren’t we better than this? It is time for the majority to take charge of his minority base and throw the man out of office along with the sycophants he surrounds himself with. That would include Mike Pence. It really is time to take our country back from the fools.

Waking Up

I guess you saw where Senator Corker, R-Tenn, said that Donald Trump was a peril to the country:

“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat.”

“He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. And he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. Without the things I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”

Well Bob, it is never going to happen and maybe it is time to recognize that and do something about it. Then there is Mitt Romney this morning:

Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.

 …The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis–who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat–and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.

 This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.

Of course he won’t because on Tuesday he spoke what he really believes. Same as on Thursday when he tweeted that morally repugnant and untrue story of General Pershing in the Philippines. Yes Mitt, this is a defining moment for Republicans, for our moral integrity, and for our democracy. But Trump, the Village Idiot, has already failed that test over and over. Republicans are starting maybe to wake up to this Faustian bargain. But I have my doubts. Here is from a survey yesterday about whether the nation buys the two sides are responsible bull shit (not to mention the statue misdirection):

The majority of the voting rabble in the Republican Party think Trump is right and are oblivious to the reality of what went on there. That maybe why Republican Senators and Congress members will not take action against this demented man. We will soon find out whether they care more about their job than the good of the United States of America.

I experience this moral denial first hand in a Facebook exchange which I described in an earlier post. It went on and on with so many misdirections it was hard to focus on the main issue, if you don’t see the fallacy of the moral equivalency argument, you are the problem. Trump supporters are truly blinded by the light and they try to just tire you out. I was not going to just give up because that is how we got the moron President in the first place. But it backs up what the poll shows, they are blind to the damage this man is doing to the very basis of our democracy. What was sad was all the other readers went silent and did not want the uncomfortable confrontation.  That is how we got where we are today.

When I posted this in the thread, my Facebook protagonist was offended and could not see that this is the argument in it’s simplest terms:

I think we knew who Donald Trump was before he was elected, with the birther lies, then his blatant racism during the campaign, lack of knowledge of history or workings of our government, incitement of violence, attack on our basic institutions (judiciary and free press) and morally depraved (grab her pussy). Yet those GOPers put him in office and hoped for the best.

Well the worst has happened and the damage he is doing to the nation may be irreparable. Maybe they are waking up because Trump is never going to say he is sorry, or learn anything. It will just get worse and worse and Republicans fail to act hoping for their agenda. So here we are, with a real moral test of the nation and Mitt Romney nailed it. The only thing they have wrong is still hoping Trump can somehow change course or get a better or controlled message. What was it Einstein was purported to say, “Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”

Update:  Trump is purported to be pushing out Bannon.  My thought here is nothing changes.  Maybe the generals will be able to cage him better, but he is who he is and Tuesday was not Bannon, but Trump.  And make no mistake, the Republican Party and their base may just go to war.  We live with an unhinged president, and an unhinged Republican party that controls all levers of power in government.  We truly live in dangerous times.

I ‘m Sorry, But…

We all know the problem here. The “but” says I am not sorry and there is justification for what I did, you are wrong. Either you are sorry or you are not. Okay, then we have,

“There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for the country, but there are two sides to a story,” He is really say it was not a horrible moment and both sides are at fault. “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. No one wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now: You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”

See they are both morally equivalent. Now let’s look away and move on. That is what he is saying. He is saying racists and neo-Nazis have the same moral equivalency to people who stand for what our Declaration of Independence states in clear language. Donald Trump is telling us that their ideas have the same validity. I thought we fought a war against that. Actually several. Somehow in his warped brain, neo-Nazis and racists have valid arguments too. Not if you are an American who read and understands the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and history. Oh, and don’t fall for the statue argument. Most the statues do not reflect pride in the South. They were erected in the late 19th century to resurrect white supremacy.

Probably what is most amazing about this defining moment is that Republicans have found no way to really censure President Trump. While they condemn racism and white supremacy, which is just hot air, they do not hold the President accountable, and in effect, enable him and his racism. I got into a Facebook discussion yesterday when one person took issue with my calling Donald Trump a white nationalist. Here is the comment:

That must be it. I wonder if Jesse Jackson knew that he was a white nationalist when he introduced him at the Rainbow Push Coalition. Jackson praised him for 30 years of helping the African American Community and for reaching out and being inclusive.

Now I took the approach that I am not sure what Jesse Jackson’s view has to do with current events*. It might have changed. But here is what we should be focusing on, another enabler for Donald Trump. Somehow he is not a fault. He is not a bad person. I did not make a mistake with my vote. Now the comment itself is insupportable. Donald Trump is enabling white racism and neo-nazis. He sent them a message that they have legitimate ideas. The proof is in their response. This person is an apologist for Donald Trump, and make no mistake, if you enable racism and hate, you are part of racism and hate. If Donald Trump can not see that there is no moral equivalency between the two sides, then he is a white racist. He has no moral center.

But the real point I want to make here is that it time to confront enablers of Donald Trump. We have a President who is enabling the rise of ideas that we thought we had we had put behind us. This will tear the nation apart and lead to violence and the acting out against minorities. It is time to stand up to friends, Facebook, whoever, and not let this enabling stand. We have to stand up and call these people out, not hold hands.

But I cannot say this as eloquently as Heather Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, did this morning at her funeral and I will leave you with her words. But I will warn you one thing. If I hear any enabling of the shit that came out of Donald Trump’s mouth, I will challenge you. No more holding hands and getting along when getting along is enabling hate, racism, and violence. This is just wrong. We need to hold Donald Trump accountable.

You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability. Let’s have the uncomfortable dialogue. It ain’t easy sitting down and say why are you upset. It ain’t easy sitting down and going well I think this way and I don’t agree with you, but I am going to respectfully listen to what you have to say. We are not going to sit around and shake hands and go Kumbuya and I am sorry but it is not all about forgiveness. I know that that is not a popular trend.

But the truth is we are all going to have our differences, we are all going to be angry with each other, but let’s channel that anger not into hate, not into violence, not into fear, but let’s channel that anger into righteous action and that is how you are going to make my child’s death worthwhile. I would rather have my child, but by golly if I have to give her up we are going to make it count.

I will try to do my part.

*”What does Jessie Jackson, an ambulance chaser (black causes) have to do with Donald Trump or with the facts of today that we can see before our very eyes. He made racist attacks on Hispanics, Muslims, and blacks during his campaign. He incited violence. Watch the video, Google it, I am not doing your work for you. His dad was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, and his real-estate dealings were cited over and over for discrimination. So again what hell does Jessie Jackson have to do with anything? Oh, and why is Steve Bannon one of his top advisors?”

Free Speech Versus Hate Speech

Well a sign of our times is the Neo-Nazi/White Nationalist face off in Charlottesville Virginia in a protest to removing a Robert E. Lee Statue. Oh, did I mention the Ku Klux Klan? Wait, there was a militia marching with their weapons. They are all clashing with counter protestors. Welcome to Trump’s America. Also note that as of this morning, Breitbart is not reporting it, I guess because their continuous legitimizing of hate has now broken out. It is the Alt-Right under one banner. And it is the people who elected Donald Trump. And why is a hate monger like Steve Bannon in the White House?

We are going to see a further rise of violence and white nationalism, because that is how Donald Trump won the election, by goading and legitimizing those hates. So in one part of our country we are turning on each other and finding ways to hate each other. That is the America middle America brought us because we did not understand their pain. They wanted change. How’s that change working?

And make no mistake, the Alt-Right is not exercising their free speech rights, they are engaging in hate speech. There are limits. I am appalled that our greatest strength, our diversity and tolerance, is now under attack and that is clearly legitimized by one person, Donald Trump. The man is not just a disgrace to America, but to the human race. And now we see the fruits of stupid people casting stupid votes.

I would like to expand on that, stupid, ignorant votes. The conventional wisdom is that when Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan (roughly just 80,000 votes) went Trump, because he was the only one who spoke to their pain. Horse shit. The word is pander to their pain and they stupidly fell for it. It was ignorance at work. Sure, even I thought Hillary did not bring real understanding of the increasing economic inequality, and was part of a Democratic elite too tied to the status quo and Wall Street. But Donald Trump was a racist liar. That is not an opinion, he displayed it in every campaign rally he spoke at.

So Hillary did not pander to them, and in fact did not even think they were worth listening too, but the Donald did. And what he promised them was a total fantasy, that he would bring back manufacturing and coal. But how? They never asked that. He is a business man and will run government smartly. Really? That is another stupid and uniformed belief that government is anything like business, nor should it be. It is not to maximize profits, it is to protect us and invest in our futures. So without any plans for the future, describing a reality that does not exist, exhibiting misogynistic, racist, white nationalist tendencies, they voted for him. They are fucking idiots. Now we have the rise of white nationalism, and hate everywhere. We may talk ourselves into several wars, and trust me, the economy is going to crash.

So do you think the Democratic Party should pander to their stupidity and racism? I don’t think so. Don’t move to the middle if that is what moving to middle means. Certainly they have problems and they should be addressed in a more holistic manner in policies to deal with economic inequality. Hillary would have been so much better for them, even with all her faults. But they were mad as hell and stupid as a block of wood. And now we live with what they delivered to us. I tell you who is mad as hell…

So I am doing my part. This is what stupidity and ignorance bring us. We should not pander to it, but educate it, shun it when it won’t be educated, and be a Party and a people who stands for diversity and equal rights, including fixing our economic system so it works for all of us. Hillary did not get that the system is fatally flawed, but she might have eventually, and certainly steered a course that would not give rise to hate, and further violence. We would not be having a legitimized alt-right today.

We are in such dangerous times, both from the bluster abroad and the rise of armed alt-right here at home. This is squarely on Donald Trump. What we need to do as a People and as a Party is to reject both and show a level of intolerance to the hates and fears that sparks all this violence. Republicans continue to pander and enable what we are seeing. Democrats need to firmly reject all of it. Oh sure, we will get statements of horror from Republicans, but Donald Trump is who they enabled. And now the fate of the nation lies in the hands of Republicans in Congress who could do something about him. So far, we have seen what they are made of.

UPDATE: President Trump on Saturday issued a vague condemnation of violence in Charlottesville in a televised statement from New Jersey.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” Trump said.

On both sides? Maybe someone ought to show him video of his own speeches. Or maybe someone ought to explain to him what the alt-Right is all about, hate, fear, and violence, not to mention intolerance. The Kettle calling the Pot black. What would President Obama have said, or for that matter, President Bush? Oh have we have fallen.

Bernie Responded: https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/896486900416077825

Oh and here is real leadership and pointing the finger at white supremacy and neo-nazis:

 

Another WTF Moment

President Trump, know affectionately here as the Village Idiot in Charge (VIC) and sometimes as the Liar in Chief (LIC), was the honored guest at the Bastille Day events in France.  Now Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the prison by that name and symbolizes a turning point in the French Revolution.  Now let’s just stop and think about this.  The aristocracy had treated the masses in France as unworthy or as the famous quote reputted from Marie Antonette was  about the peasants having no bread, and she replied, “Let them eat cake”, clueless about their real condition.  Okay she probably never said that, but you get the point. So now the VIC is the honored guest at the symbol of bringing down the aristrocracy and establishing democracy in France (albeit a cruel and out of control democracy, see A Tale of Two Cities). 

Now here is the WTF moment:  Donald Trump is probably the most ignorant man we have every had as president, clueless about the real condition of the masses, and disrespectful of our Constitution.  He is the leader of a party whose “let them eat cake” moment, is “let them use emergency rooms”.  The Republicans have their own aristocracy of the wealthy whom they serve faithfully.  So does he best represent the guiding ideal of Bastille Day to bring down the aristocracy and become a more democratic country, or does he represent the aristrocracy they brought down.  Lop off his head!  NO I DO NOT MEAN THAT LITERALLY.  WTF!

George Will

George will drives me crazy sometimes.  He is a conservative, meaning small government, low taxes, all debt is bad, and market place solutions.  But George, the consummate conservative, left the Republican Party because they no longer stand for those things and was bannished from Fox News because he questioned mindless ideology.  Different from Republicans today, George bases his philosophy mostly on reason.  You can argue with him because he believes in rational thought and knows what facts are.  He is not an ideologue in the sense that he does see where government might have some solutions (Global Warming).  Fundamentally he and I would part ways, but he would make my arguments better, and be the balance our Founders thought were so necessary for our democracy to work in a reasoned and balanced way. Oh, and he likes and understands the game of baseball which few people do.  That is hard not to like.

So yesterday, George came out with an op-ed on Cheeto-Head that we all should read.  He knows that Cheeto-Head is no conservative, but he also knows that Cheeto-Head has no ability to understand the world as we know it.  I am going to paste the whole short op-ed, and simply say what I have been saying, that the man (Cheeto-Head) is damaged, does not know what it is to really know something, draws the wrong conclusions, we legitimize him, and that puts us all at risk:  Thank you George.

George F. Will: President Trump doesn’t know what it is to know (Commentary)

WASHINGTON — It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about Donald Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence.

In February, acknowledging Black History Month, Trump said that “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Because Trump is syntactically challenged, it was possible and tempting to see this not as a historical howler about a man who died 122 years ago, but as just another of Trump’s verbal fender benders, this one involving verb tenses.

Now, however, he has instructed us that Andrew Jackson was angry about the Civil War that began 16 years after Jackson’s death. Having, let us fancifully imagine, considered and found unconvincing William Seward’s 1858 judgment that the approaching Civil War was “an irrepressible conflict,” Trump says:

“People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
Library shelves groan beneath the weight of books asking questions about that war’s origins, so who, one wonders, are these “people” who don’t ask the questions that Trump evidently thinks have occurred to him uniquely? Presumably they are not the astute “lot of,” or at least “some,” people Trump referred to when speaking about his February address to a joint session of Congress: “A lot of people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.” Which demotes Winston Churchill, among many others.

Trump is susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.

What is most alarming (and mortifying to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated) is not that Trump has entered his eighth decade unscathed by even elementary knowledge about the nation’s history. As this column has said before, the problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.

The United States is rightly worried that a strange and callow leader controls North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. North Korea should reciprocate this worry. Yes, a 70-year-old can be callow if he speaks as sophomorically as Trump did when explaining his solution to Middle Eastern terrorism: “I would bomb the s— out of them. … I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”

As a candidate, Trump did not know what the nuclear triad is. Asked about it, he said: “We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame.” Invited to elaborate, he said: “I think — I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.” Someone Trump deemed fit to be a spokesman for him appeared on television to put a tasty dressing on her employer’s word salad: “What good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it?” To which a retired Army colonel appearing on the same program replied with amazed asperity: “The point of the nuclear triad is to be afraid to use the damn thing.”

As president-elect, Trump did not know the pedigree and importance of the “one China” policy. About such things he can be, if he is willing to be, tutored. It is, however, too late to rectify this defect: He lacks what T.S. Eliot called a sense “not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.” His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.

Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind, a presidential discretion that is largely immune to restraint by the Madisonian system of institutional checks and balances.

So, it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict.knowledge about the nation’s history. As this column has said before, the problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.

The United States is rightly worried that a strange and callow leader controls North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. North Korea should reciprocate this worry. Yes, a 70-year-old can be callow if he speaks as sophomorically as Trump did when explaining his solution to Middle Eastern terrorism: “I would bomb the s— out of them. … I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”

As a candidate, Trump did not know what the nuclear triad is. Asked about it, he said: “We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame.” Invited to elaborate, he said: “I think — I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.” Someone Trump deemed fit to be a spokesman for him appeared on television to put a tasty dressing on her employer’s word salad: “What good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it?” To which a retired Army colonel appearing on the same program replied with amazed asperity: “The point of the nuclear triad is to be afraid to use the damn thing.”

As president-elect, Trump did not know the pedigree and importance of the “one China” policy. About such things he can be, if he is willing to be, tutored. It is, however, too late to rectify this defect: He lacks what T.S. Eliot called a sense “not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.” His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.

Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind, a presidential discretion that is largely immune to restraint by the Madisonian system of institutional checks and balances. So, it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict.

Thanks George.  You reach so many more people than little ol me.

Another One of Those Flashing Lights We Are Ignoring

From the Atlantic Daily email:

The French Election: Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and her independent centrist counterpart Emmanuel Macron advanced to the second round of the French presidential election yesterday. As neither Macron nor Le Pen is from a major party, the vote looks like a clear rejection of the political establishment; it also marks the decline of the French Socialist Party, whose candidate trailed far behind the winners. As the country prepares for the next round, Macron is expected to win by far—yet in expanding her populist party’s influence, Le Pen has already succeeded.

Let’s see, the establishment was rejected in Britain in the Brexit vote, the establishment (both Republicans and Democrats) was rejected in selecting that nitwit Cheeto-Head in the United States, and now the French have rejected their political establishment in both their runoff candidates.  There is something going on here and it is not what you think. It is economic malaise across the board.  The sad thing is that Brexit and Cheeto-Head were elected to attack the wrong targets, change and immigrants.  That is what Marine Le Pen is also running on, but the French may be way smarter than we are.  We will see in a couple of weeks.

Here is what I think, no, know what is going on.  Our economic system does not work for most of us anymore.  It has nothing to do with immigrants, or rapid change, sending jobs overseas.  Okay, they do cause problems, but easily fixable, and yet not much will change.  As long as the wealthy keep sucking up all the air in the room, nothing is going to get better.  That is what establishment politics has missed.

There is a reason for that. I will borrow here from Upton Sinclair via Paul Krugman, “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” They are all part of the system that profits from wealth accumulation.  So they can’t imagine that our economic system throughout the world today is the problem.  They just want to tweak the system, which is why establishment politicians are being roundly rejected.  Nothing changes.

Anybody remember French economist Thomas Piketty?  Back in 2014 he was all the rage when he pointed out that our economics of wealth accumulation is maybe a natural outcome of capitalism and it usually leads to the decline and fall of empires.  He was attacked from all sides.  See Upton Sinclair’s wisdom above.  But Piketty’s data holds and we continue to concentrate wealth.  The chasm between the super rich and the working class is obscene.  There is no coincidence that the two most pressing threats to our survivability, global warming (because it is changing the climate and upsetting economies everywhere) and increasing economic inequality are both disparaged by Republicans.  They got theirs.

Yesterday, or was it Sunday, anyway I blog about what the Democratic Party needed to resolve, what are they really about.  Well the warning lights are on and flashing.  People are turning away from political establishments for new solutions to their problems because nothing ever changed.  The stage was set for the hucksters, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, and Marine Le Pine, selling their fear, hate, and isolationism.  But they are not looking at the real issue, reinventing our capitalist system to more fairly distribute the bounty.  And that has to be the core of the Democratic platform.

That will be a tough message because the moderates do not want to hear it.  That is the Howard Dean crowd, and actually most of the establishment Democratic Party.  Hillary was the classic example. Even President Obama was an establishment Democrat when it came to economics.  None of them really wanted to take on a runaway economic system.  Bernie did and then he got slammed by Black Lives Matter about not considering their interests.  His first reaction was the same as mine, that economic inequality and making the system fairer includes blacks, women, gays, you name it.  But he was a savvy enough politician to try to bring them in.  But it is interest group pandering that gets us nowhere and generally doesn’t really change anything.

The theme that will create a new Democratic party is to recognize that economic inequality is the mother of all the other inequalities.  To start to share the wealth of our economy with all those that participate creates spending.  To do this means taking on the whole establishment.  But if you are seeing all the flashing lights, the establishment is being resoundly rejected.  We don’t need a more tweaked and refined establishment with better tactics and talking points.  They need to recognize that there is a new message altogether and start reforming capitalism.  If they don’t, it will not be pretty.  Brexit and Cheeto-Head were just the beginning.

Democracy as an End State

It would seem that many of us thought that once you secured the blessing of freedom* and democracy, they would be self-sustaining.  That has proven to be untrue and democracy is always a work in progress.  It takes hard work to maintain it, There are small examples like the religious right in America wanting to use their religious beliefs about life and contraception to control your lives.  There are big examples like Turkey recently voting to turn their leader into a dictator. Once the perect example of a secular Muslim nation, religion has again risen its ugly head to quash democratic thought.  Some other grand examples, although not so obvious are Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.  

Brexit was a vote to limit the movement of people and restrict their choices.  Oh, they thought it was to gain back their freedom.  The freedom they were gaining back was to be a small little nation again without all those “others”.  In other words to deny cultural evolution.  Electing Cheeto-Head was a vote against democracy and freedom.  Cheeto-Head ran on so many undemocratic ideas and the base loved it.  “Lock her up” and his Muslim ban are just the more obvious ones.  He decides not to release his taxes, attacking the free press, and now shields the White House visitor log. These are just more transgretion against democracy and the transparency necessary to make a free and informed choice.

Remember the cry of the Tea Party to “take back their country”?  Who took it?  What democratic processes were destroyed so it could be taken away from them?  None.  They lost in a fair election.  The three branches of government survived and worked.  They just did not like the outcome, so democracy must be under attack, their democracy.  Their solutions to save democracy are those that destroy it.  It is called intolerance, the very opposite of democracy.  Think about voter suppression and gerrymandering.  These are all anti-democratic moves to take the right to vote and choose away from people you disagree with.  It is massive these days.

So it would seem that democracy is just fine as long as it gives us the answers we want, but when we don’t get our way, we have little use for democracy any more.  Sadly in the case of Brexit, democracy was used to stifle democracy, but as with the election of Cheeto-Head, it was by creating false scenarios and enemies.  In Cheeto-Head’s case, he actually lost the election, but won because of our very undemocratic electoral college. The famous quote of Ben Franklin comes to mind as he was interviewed after the Continental Convention and asked whether we had a republic or a monarchy?  “A republic if you can keep it.

But I think what is the largest example of how hard it is to maintain democracy and its institutions is how effective Republicans were when the Democrats won both the Congress and the Presidency in 2008, and through the filibuster, stopped government.  They won big in 2010 because people did not vote, another sign of how hard democracy is to maintain, and that allow them to massively gerrymander voting districts.  Then they blocked all progress for eight years including the right of the President to choose a Supreme Court Justice.  But see, that was all okay because Democrats and the popular things they wanted to do were wrong and we just can’t have that.

Democracy is supposed to be about a battle of ideas.  At its core is the belief that when in an open debate the facts are exposed, we will make the best choice.  And if we don’t, we get a do-over next election cycle.  This requires few things really, critical thinking, an informed electorate (that implies outing fake news), transparency in government, and to accept the implicit contract that democracy makes with us, to accept the will of the majority within our Constitutional system.  Today we see the undermining of all of those critical components.  How could a misogynist ignorant liar be elected President?  Because all those critical elements have been undermined. Intolerance is raising its ugly head and that is the death of democracy.

The Founders gave us this amazing form of government.  The Constitution and its fundamental flaw**, the lack of a Bill of Rights, was corrected with open and fair debate to ratify it.  The judicial is now saving our baccon as Cheeto-Head attempts to undercut even those basic rights.  But we have seen how the Republicans in their thirst for power and the arrogance of their ideology are even undermining our highest court.  Winning has become more important than democracy itself.  

There is a lot of blame for this.  News as entertainment and ratings has been a big part of dumbing down the voters.  It still is.  Somewhere along the way critical thinking got demoted to elitest thinking.  Facts got to be things you could pick and choose from or voting on.  Science, if it was inconvenient to ideology, got demoted to politics.  Religion and religious thinking creeped back into our political life.  And it is not just here, it is everywhere.  My point is simply this:  Democracy is not self-sustaining.  It is a work in progress, and it is time we took a hard look at those things I listed above that are critical to them and examined what happened.  It is time to maybe renew our vows to the institution before we go too far.  At the very base of the foundation of democracy is tolerance of different ideas.  Oh, how we have lost our way. Tolerance has been redefined to be you should tolerate my right to be intolerant.  Maybe it is time of a time out before we crash and burn.

*Democracy is not freedom, it is selecting the freedoms and restrictions that benefit the most people, the common good, in a democratic fashion within our Bill of Rights. The obvious example is that you should not have the right to discriminate, and argument still be made by those clammering for “religious freedom”.

**Okay, maybe the orginal sin was to tell everyone that all people were created equal with inalienable rights, and then disenfranchise blacks.  It has cost this country dearly to try to correct that sin and we are still at it.  But the Constitution, without the Bill of Rights would be a hollow document that allowed majority intolerance to become tryanny.  The framers of the Constitution did not think these were necessary, that they were obvious. As we see today, nothing is obvious.
Other Threats and Other Thoughts:  Is Democracy Sustainable?



Where There is Smoke…

A little idle speculation this morning:

  • Russians help Trump Win the election – Our national security agencies released a joint investigation that says the Russians hacked Democratic sites (especially Hillary’s) and released emails with the press’s help to damage her campaign and with the stated purpose of helping Donald Trump.  Did they hack the Republicans and hold onto the data? Nobody is saying and of course the Republicans deny it
  • Donald Trump Cozies up to Russsians – During the campaign Chetto Head makes all kinds of nice comments about Russia during the campaign making us wonder if they have something on him
  • Donald Trump refuses to release Taxes – Is it because he paid no taxes or that he shows that he is liar about his wealth, or could he be indebted to the Russians?
  • Uncorroborated Dossier Brief – President Trump was briefed on a dossier prepared by a reliable intelligence source that contained two uncorroborated major accusations, one salacious (prostitutes and peeing on the bed) and one about contacts with the Trump campaign during the campaign.  CNN now reports that they have information that corroborates the second part of that dossier
  • Gen Flynn in Discussions with the Russians – Although he denied it, apparently the FBI may have recordings of Gen. Flynn, Trumps National Security Advisor, talking with the Russians about the sanctions President Obama placed on the Russians after the hack became known.  In fact they may have recordings of the Trump campaign working with the Russians before the election
  • Donald Claims U.S. No Better than Russia – As President when challenged about Putin and his autocracy involvement in the death of opponents, once again the Donald was not about to say anything bad about Russia and equated them with the U.S., clearly a Putin line

You connect the dots.  Let’s just say for a moment that my wild speculation, based upon a whole lot of facts is true, that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians and the Russians may own Donald.  Now what? Will the FBI and the NSA release the data? Will the Justice Department under Sessions charge the president? If they did, then what? We could impeach the Donald, and if the evidence were clear, even the Republicans would go along, but then we have Pence and an administration that was elected with the help of the Russians. So let’s say the whole administration and the election is called into question.  Then what?  Do we have a process for an interim president and a do over?  Just speculating.