Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump’

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:

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.

Not MY President

“He is our president and we should rally around him.” “Good Americans and Democrats should attend the inauguration to show our solidarity in the peaceful transfer of power.”  Bullshit.  More like, “All hail Caesar and we are taking names of those who don’t.”  Let’s start with the basics.  He lost by an almost record margin of popular votes but because of the gerrymandering of slave states back in the Founding, we have an electorial college weighted to rural states.  Second, let’s really look at the Comey email fiasco which according to many analyses did swing the election.  Third, let’s add in the Russian hacking, and Wikileaks being their tool while no similar leaks on the Republican side and clearly the election was stolen.  This leaves out the fickle role of the press that chased after every morsel of email news to try to create a false equivalency between Donald and Hillary.  So yes the election was fraudulent based on lies and innuendo.

But even if you don’t buy that or say politicians lie all the time (and our press is supposed to pick them off), my president would not be a small mean bully.  He would not go after the unprotected in our society to blame all its ills upon.  He would not deny science and try to dismantle the very agencies that try to protect our environment for our children.  He would not be cozying up to a dictator who has murdered thousands as a good business opportunity.  He would not suggest that maybe other countries should get their own nukes. He would not be dismantling healthcare for millions and throwing the health insurance industry into chaos.  He would not denigrate women and pretend he respects them.  He would not throw millions of immigrants out of the country when all our ancestors were immigrants.  He would not put a person in charge of education who has done more to damage public schools than just about anyone else.

And we are not talking partisan politics here, we are talking about destroying American values.  He has demonstrated that he has very little understanding of the Constitution or the great debates our Founders had.  He has no appreciation for due process or free speech and has started a very authoritarian approach to the press refusing to answer hard questions.  He has shown amazing ignorance on a multitude of issues both foreign and domestic.  His understanding of economics borders on non-existent.  And his ethics and morals are in the gutter.

So no, he is not my president.  He may be the president, but we cannot trust a thing he or his teams says.  America has sunk to a new low of crass I got mine, screw you.  People who voted for him ignored fact, data, and science, or the march of time.  They demonstrated how dumbed down America has become.  But they were the minority and they still won.  So again, no he is not my president and I will do whatever it takes to obstruct his destruction of America.  That starts with ignoring the inauguration except for the sadness of seeing the Obamas leave public life.  Even that may be too painful to watch.  So don’t enable this monstrosity America.  Fight him every step of the way.  No, he is not my president.  Like John Lewis, I will be staying home and turning off the TV.

Speculation, Mine

I don’t think Trump will last six months.  I think he will be removed.  Of course Mike Pense is no brilliant light bulb himself, but the keys to the nukes will be safer.  I think we are headed for a giant head on crash with reality.  Even before the press conference his approval ratings were slipping badly except with the 30% who is his base.  Historians tell us that as long as we have had polls, a president does not fall in the polls during the transition.  The Donald is:

53 – 39 percent that he is not honest, compared to 52 – 42 percent November 22;

49 – 44 percent that he has good leadership skills, compared to 56 – 38 percent;

52 – 44 percent that he does not care about average Americans, compared to 51 – 45 percent who said he did care;

62 – 33 percent that he is not level-headed, compared to 57 – 38 percent;

71 – 25 percent that he is a strong person, compared to 74 – 23 percent;

68 – 27 percent that he is intelligent, compared to 74 – 21 percent.

American voters give President-elect Trump a negative 37 – 51 percent favorability rating, compared to a divided 44 – 46 percent favorability rating November 22. Vice President- elect Mike Pence gets a split 37 – 34 percent favorability rating. First Lady-in-Waiting Melania Trump gets a 29 – 22 percent favorability, with 43 percent who don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.

Donald Trump will take the nation in the right direction, 45 percent of American voters say, while 49 percent say he will take the nation in the wrong direction.

His policies will help their personal financial situation, 27 percent of voters say, while 27 percent say they will hurt and 42 percent say they will make no difference.

A total of 44 percent of voters are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that Trump will make things better for them and their family, while 53 percent are “not very confident” or “not confident at all.”

American voters disapprove 40 – 30 percent of the individuals Trump has nominated for his cabinet, with 28 percent who say they haven’t heard enough about them.

Trump’s election makes them feel “less safe,” 45 percent of voters say, while 27 percent say they feel “more safe” and 27 percent say they feel “just as safe.” 

Okay why did you elect him again?  And note all of this is before his press conference on Wednesday. Let’s see.  There are more questions about the legitimacy of the election with an inspector general looking into FBI Director Comey’s action during the election.  Meanwhile in a Congressional hearing they ask him if he will tell us about a newly revealed FBI investigation into Trump and his team’s possible connections to Russia and Comey replied that he could not comment on an on-going investigation.  Democrats noted the hypocrisy here. Apparently if it is Hillary Clinton it is okay.

Next we have both Trump and Kellyanne getting picked off lying about what the Intelligence Briefing did and did not include relevant to the two page unconfirmed summary of allegations of damaging information the Russians might have.  Apparently Clapper pulled Trump aside and explained to him that this is what was out there, but was totally unsubstantiated.  He also turns out that it was gathered by a respected intelligence agent although, again no confirmation.

Then we have the “Press Conference” where Trumps presidential turning the corner was on full display and now everyone is convinced there will be no turning the corner.  The nut job and pathological liar we saw on the campaign trail is exactly who we are going to get.  At least there was truth in advertising which our press media missed, but they are catching on fast after watching him decide which news medias he will talk to and which he would ostracize depending on whether he like the coverage.  And what we saw was a small vindictive dangerous autocrat. As one pundit said later, it is sad when if you are looking for the truth, it won’t be from the Trump Administration.

Then there was the wall, we will build it, and send them the bill later.  Makes perfect sense if you are a nitwit.  And of course it will bust the budget.  Wait, don’t forget Repeal and Replace, which he said would be almost simultaneous while the Republicans in Congress go about repealing Obamacare without a net (no replace).  Oh, they have plenty of options they haven’t settled on yet, BECAUSE NONE OF THEM WORK!  You have to have an individual mandate and tax the rich to afford the good stuff.  If they really want to replace it with something better, it would be a single payer plan.  Think that is where they are going?

There are more and more questions about the legitimacy of this president, his numbers are falling, and more and more we are seeing that he has no plan, his appointees are nutjobs, and the nation is waking up to the nightmare of Donald Trump.  No I don’t think he will last 6-months.

Democrats and Populism, or is it Populism and Democrats

Populism is getting a very bad rap in the press.  The fools describe what Donald Trump is about as populism.  Of course it is not.  Donald Trump used populism to get elected (while the Democrats ignored it), but he has no plans to actually help the common man and woman unless you consider the common man and woman corporate heads.  There is this whole connection of populism with racism, ignorance, and mob rule and that is totally wrong.

A Populist may or may not want what is good for the people, but they want what the people want.  Donald only pretended to want what the people wanted and they bought it.  Democrats on the other hand were labeled Elitists, just as the establishment Republicans were. That means they thought they knew what was best for the people regardless of what they wanted.

And you know, that is okay, because a lot of times what the people want in the short-term could be damaging in the long-term, but the other side of that coin is that you have to actually understand what the people are clambering for and then deal with it straight up, instead of ignoring it.

Now I do not have much more to say about the Donald except that he is anything but a populist, so don’t smear populism with Donald Trump.  Donald Trump could care less about the people other than to use them to get elected, and like Brexit, populism while expressing real problems, jumped on the wrong band wagon for their solutions.  We will now have conservative economic theory on steroids and that precludes any populist solutions.

So that turns me to the Democrats.  How did the party of working man become so elitist?  Well I am going to refer to the arguments made by Thomas Frank in his book, Listen, Liberal:  Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People, as they are quite convincing.  But first I would like to point something out.  There is a very large difference between a Democratic Elitist and a Republican one.

As I will argue in a minute, Democrats have decided that education is the solution to all problems, and the best and brightest should be our leaders.  Through them we can discover the best solutions to our problems.  On the other hand Republican Elitists are focused on conservative ideology, the only solutions are those that follow conservative ideology.  Those that hold most tightly to those principles are the Elitists of the Republican Party, the Establishment so to speak.  So one is focused on finding the best solutions based upon their perception of the problem, and one is focused on finding only ones that meet an ideological test.

Now with that firmly in the back of our minds, what did happen to Democrats and how were they perceived as out of touch with working white America?  Well Frank argues that the party has become the party of the professional managerial class, lawyers, Doctors, engineers, scientists, programmers, even bankers, and left the common man behind.  This has happened over many many years and Obama is part of the problem.  Basically he does two things, he describes the rational that got us here and then tracks the actual evolution of the party to reject the New Deal Democrats.  So let me try to summarize.

Democrats, as I do, believe that government should be run by the best and the brightest.  But here is where, according to Frank, we lost our way.  The best and the brightest all came up through education and because they have surrounded themselves with clones of themselves, they see the answer to everything as access to education.  It is also a society of meritocracy.

Again nothing wrong with that except that blaming the victim easily enters into the mix.  If you are not educated and smart you only have yourself to blame.  It is very similar to the Republicans fatal flaw, the belief that if you work hard and have discipline you will get your just rewards.  If you don’t, you will be poor and deserve your fate.  Therefore no action is required and any action taken is self defeating and rewarding failure.  Sadly, in many ways the elitism of the Democrats can be used in the same way to write off the Rust Belt and white middle class America who wants their guaranteed jobs back.

He, Frank, then takes us on a history journey showing how FDR was in fact one of the best and brightest, yet he brought many people into his administration who were not part of the clique, but understood the real challenges of working people.  Contrast that with the Clinton Administration which really did in the unions.  While Bill got elected talking a populist agenda, what he then did was to favor the professional class and stiff the working class.

Frank gives us a test.  He asks us to name Progressive or liberal things Bill Clinton got accomplished that were important to improve the lives of working people.  Yeah, he did get the minimum wage raised, and raised some taxes, but then there was NAFTA, cutting off welfare, deregulating the banks, tough on crime, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  What we remember of the Clinton days were the great economy, but that was really the result of the Dot Com boom that had little to do with anything Bill Clinton did. Frank does not look kindly or either Bill or Hillary during this period and it would seem that he has the facts to back up his view.

In many ways, Frank tells a story of the Clinton Administration moving purposely away from New Deal Democrats to embrace the professional managerial class.  The world was changing and either you evolved with it or you deserved your fate.  Unions and working class were old and needed to be jettisoned.  But can everybody enter the professional managerial class, and in case you haven’t noticed, that no longer guarantees success either?

My thoughts here are that true the world is changing, and I too feel that the white middle class is going to have to evolve as the global markets and automation impact their guaranteed jobs. But education, while it will help some and should certainly be available to all, is not really going to solve the problem.  The Democratic Elites isolated themselves from their working class root thinking and those white working class workers had no other alternative, then along came a Trump to rip the rug out from under them.

I personally think Frank has nailed it.  We became elite boobs just like the Republicans, our solutions informed by our bubble in which we filled it with other elites who had profited and succeeded from the existing system.  It was too easy to cast off those outside our bubble as deserving their fate by not moving with the times and all becoming programmers.

Bernie Sanders tapped into that feeling that Democrats no longer represented the working man.  He understood that as Republicanism and their conservative economics actually rewards economic inequality as an end in itself, Democrats were doing the same thing with meritocracy and the belief that education solves all problems.  They were tone-deaf to problems of white middle America who were looking for a champion.  Sadly they did not get Bernie, but the snake oil salesman.

I would say, that as a Progressive I probably fell into that trap of looking down at white middle class America.  No, their jobs are not coming back, and their attraction to a Trump type candidate is horrific in and of itself. On the other hand education would help, but what about automation and the real pressures of the global economy?  Their choice was bone head stupid, much like Brexit, and self-defeating.  They have put America in a very dangerous place.  But they also had real concerns everyone was writing off and sent a strong message that establishment Democrats have failed, and no longer represent their interests.  You want our votes, you have to earn them.

What is required of Democrats is not to pander as the Donald did to populist demands, but to take those real populist concerns seriously and sell solutions that really work, not time travel back into the past.  That will require political courage because you can’t do like Trump did and promise them you can turn back the clock. You have to come up with a more egalitarian solution that preserves capitalism, but capitalism that works for all of us.  Heard any of those solutions yet?

I think Bernie really did have it right, whether it is trade, jobs, minimum wage, education, you name it, the real issue is economic inequality and how to make sure we all share in the wealth of the country.  Democrats really haven’t addressed that and their moves to the left looked like shallow pandering which drove white America away from them. Can’t wait to see where Mr. Frank takes me next.