Tweeting Away while America’s Reputation Burns

If we are paying Mr. Trump’s presidential salary based on the number of tweets he sends, we are getting our money’s worth. If it is on the quality of the tweets, not so much.

nero-fiddling

“Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country. Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border. It is historic, with some countries the most dangerous places in the world. Not going to happen in the U.S.” (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1008708576628625408)

Which, duh, is WHY parents are deciding to risk their children’s lives in fleeing the crime and corruption for the sanctuary of America. An American detention center, no matter how horrible it may be to us, is better than the conditions from which they flee.

And like it or not, much of the disarray in many of these South and Central American countries resulted from American policies. During the post-World War II era, when anti-communism was the prevailing mood, America supported right-wing, non-representative governments who used the training, weapons, and resources we provided to suppress dissent.

Which was fine with us as long as it was anti-communist.

We do not bear sole responsibility for these conditions. People must seek democracy through their own efforts, not just with American assistance. But, these people risking everything to make it to America should be treated according to the law.

The policy of separating children from parents who illegally enter the country is not new. It has been in place since long before the Trump administration. But the current zero-tolerance policy takes it to an entirely unintended level.

I won’t presume to know the motivation, but I suspect it is less than honorable.

Zadvydas v. Davis (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/533/678/case.html) is a 2001 United States Supreme Court case which clarifies and limits the time an individual may be held pending a deportation hearing absent any other circumstances or when no country will accept their return.

If those coming here, illegally or not, cannot return to their country of origin or face the possibility of execution or torture if they are sent back, the case sets the limits on their detention. One analysis puts it this way

Does the post-removal-period statute authorize the Attorney General to detain a removable alien indefinitely beyond the 90-day removal period?

No. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the Court held that “the statute, read in light of the Constitution’s demands, limits an alien’s post-removal-period detention to a period reasonably necessary to bring about that alien’s removal from the United States” and “does not permit indefinite detention.” “Based on our conclusion that indefinite detention of aliens in the former category would raise serious constitutional concerns, we construe the statute to contain an implicit ‘reasonable time’ limitation, the application of which is subject to federal court review,” wrote Justice Breyer. (“Zadvydas v. Davis.” Oyez, 18 Jun. 2018, www.oyez.org/cases/2000/99-7791)

Previous administrations separated children from newly apprehended illegal aliens. They then complied with the court decision. Absent mitigating circumstances, and subject to federal court review, the individuals were processed and reunited with their children. If returning them was not practical or if it was likely to result in civil rights violations they should be released, but they still face the legal obligation of applying for asylum or other lawful means to remain here.

Here’s a perfect opportunity for the President to force the Democrats hand by seeking their cooperation in finding a solution to those who cannot be returned but are guilty of only one thing, seeking safety for their children.

It is also a perfect opportunity for those who espouse the Evangelical Christian philosophy that purports to care about their fellow humans. Let’s see how many of those organizations step up to sponsor those families in need. If protecting the unborn is the work of the Lord can embracing those already on this earth be any less so?

Perhaps Joel Osteen and the other money-grubbers wrapped in Biblical clothing can re-task their mega-church money machine and put the resources to better use than buying jets and building huge temples.  Turn the sincere but sad gullibility of their contributors to something of actual value.

The right-wing Christians who support the President can welcome those in need into their homes as the Bible so instructs. In Leviticus 19:33-34,

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

You gotta love the Bible, there is a saying for every occasion. It’s like the original Hallmark card. I’m sure if I look hard enough I can find some chapter and verse that instructs us to offer illegal aliens up as burnt offerings that are so favored of the Lord.

Clearly, the government of the United States must control and prevent illegal immigration. Drug cartel members, other criminals, and those who seek to harm the United States and the American people should be apprehended and returned, when possible, or detained if necessary.

But that is not the case with the overwhelming majority of individuals fleeing with children.

To read Mr. Trump’s tweet, he makes it seem as if every person crossing the border with children is a diabolical criminal. He ignores the reality that most are desperately seeking safety for their children from conditions which most of us could never imagine. If recent history tells us anything, it’s those cages hold a host of future valedictorians and potential academic excellence. They appreciate the opportunity of America in most cases. They add to the quality of America.

He gets part of it right when he says, “Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border. It is historic, with some countries the most dangerous places in the world.” That, Mr. President, is precisely why they come here, to escape such conditions.

ct-children-border-patrol-facility-photos
Image from Chicago Tribune

Follow the law, and the court decisions, as they are intended. Screen the individuals within the 90-day period then reunite them with their children. The specter of uniformed border control officers guarding children in cages is not the image we want the world to see of America.

If you want to flex your Presidential muscle, point it towards the countries where these conditions exist and threaten to cut foreign aid unless reforms take place. Use the bully pulpit for something other than castigating the FBI, the Justice Department, your predecessors, or the failed campaign of a former candidate whose time has passed.

We do not blame victims of crimes, we seek to help them and target those who perpetrate the crimes. Most people coming across our borders with children are victims, not criminals, and we should remember that when we enforce policies. If we can’t separate the chaff from the wheat in 90 days something else is gravely wrong with our country.

It would appear someone in the administration came to their senses and convinced the President to issue an executive order. After spending weeks trying to find an excuse that worked and blaming the Democrats and Obama for the problem, the President did what he said he could not do.

Which sparked this gem of a tweet,

My Administration is acting swiftly to address the illegal immigration crisis on the Southern Border. Loopholes in our immigration laws all supported by extremist open border Democrats…and that’s what they are – they’re extremist open border Democrats…Democrats want open Borders, where anyone can come into our Country, and stay. This is Nancy Pelosi’s dream. It won’t happen!” (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1009844059211366401)

Among other things, Mr. Trump and I have a vastly different definition of swiftly.

No one wants people to enter this country illegally or with intent to do harm.  Nor do we want people to come here for the sole purpose of taking advantage of our generosity. But, this country has usually found a way to absorb those with little hope in their own countries. We’ve not always done it, the refusal to accept Jewish children before our entry into World War II is one glaring example, but to say categorically we should have a zero-tolerance policy is inhumane and contrary to the spirit of America.

How this all plays out, and whether Sessions and the Justice Department can renegotiate a settlement in the Flores Decision (Reno v. Flores507 U.S. 292 (1993), remains to be seen. But if empathy and a humanist approach to dealing with these matters are scarce with this administration, follow-through is exceptionally rare.

Sessions proclivity to use Biblical references as legal arguments will fail in a court founded squarely on the principle of separation of church and state. If ever there was proof needed for the wisdom of the forefathers in this matter, nothing better has ever come from the words or actions of a government official.

P.S. If we are going to use the Bible as an authoritative source for justifying these “zero-tolerance” policies, I offer this., another Biblical gem from Leviticus 20-10,

“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”

I have a suggestion for where to begin. We can sell tickets to “cast the first stone.”

(Please click the links below to share this. Whether you agree or disagree, the more we discuss this, the faster we can seek common ground for a solution.)

A Tweet a Day, Keeps Rationality Away

In the latest tirade from the Commander-in-Chief, the President whined,

Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!”

Aside from the blatant inaccuracy and disingenuous nature of these words (let alone the second-grade grammar), there is something more troubling on display. In the words of William Shakespeare, a man who knew the power of words, there is this,

“There is no darkness, but ignorance.”

words-have-powerThe mark of a person is not made by their words but by their deeds. Yet, words offer a window on a person’s character. How one expresses yourself—the tone and timbre of the language—is an elementary part of one’s approach to life.

With emotional and intellectual maturity comes the wisdom to understand the necessity of choosing words carefully. A rational and respectful person learns to make a point without resorting to infantile name-calling.

It would seem with the president we see evidence of intellectual dystrophy and emotional immaturity. Not generally a concern for most who have little international influence, frightening in the case of a man with sole determinant authority to launch nuclear weapons.

History is the arbiter of success and failure. When history reviews the Trump Presidency, the self-serving blaming of others for all things he’s failed to accomplish or been taken to task for will rise to the surface as one of his most glaring defects.

To stand idly by, wringing his hands in-between writing sophomoric tweets, as children are torn from their families is the epitome of disingenuous cowardice. If he seeks to be perceived as even the least bit Presidential, issue a Presidential Executive order halting the policy of separating the children and see who challenges the order in court.

I can guarantee it will not be a Democratic challenge.

The one truth is nothing is permanent. This too will pass.

The President, for all his braggadocio, claims of success, and superlative laced tales of his performance, along with his constant complaining about everybody not on Team Trump, would do well to heed the admonition of Ozymandius by Shelley.

Ozymandius

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

Notorious Ain’t the Word for Her

If you haven’t seen the documentary, RBG, do yourself a favor and see it. The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life from her birth (as a first-generation daughter born to immigrant parents), to her perseverance at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools when women were not considered intellectually or emotionally “strong” enough to be lawyers, to her appointment to the United States Supreme Court is remarkable.

Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg_2016_portraitShe argued six cases before the United States Supreme Court, prevailing in five. Each case brought gender equality closer to a reality. One case she argued concerned a man denied Social Security survivor benefits for his deceased wife. She took the case and argued successfully before the court, demonstrating that discrimination based on gender is always wrong.

The most striking point of the documentary was the deep and abiding friendship and affection she shared with the late Antonin Scalia. One would be hard-pressed to find two more diametrically opposed legal points of view. Scalia, the strict constructionist conservative, and Ginsburg, the progressive liberal, often clash in their opinions. Yet, they maintained a genuine friendship. Among the many things they share, Scalia was also the child of an immigrant parent.

Their ability to argue their positions forcefully, rationally, and with reason, yet separate the personal from their professional responsibilities, epitomizes the best balance of what a Supreme Court should be.

They perfected the art of compromise. Not of their legal approach to the law, but in their recognition it is the consensus of legal thought that produces the most sound and beneficial law.

Our Declaration of Independence derived from a consensus

Our Constitution derived from a consensus

Our Bill of Rights derived from a consensus

In the current political climate of demonizing those with whom we disagree and idolizing those with whom we agree, we deny the one thing that preserves our system of government, the art of compromise and consensus.

The case Ginsburg argued before the court where she did not prevail (cases are not won and lost, it is not a sports contest. Even the final decision is called a Majority Opinion, not the final score) concerned equal pay for women. The court decision was based on the status of the law at the time which limited the time in which a complaint could be made.

Despite Ginsburg’s argument that victims of such practices do not learn of the problem for many years, the court took a strict interpretation of the law and ruled against the plaintiff and Ginsburg.

Recognizing the inherent inequity of the law, Congress passed legislation addressing the issue, and President Obama signed the bill into law. Congress reached a consensus, and the President concurred.

The system worked.

Every party in power tries to “stack” the court with those who hold similar legal views. Often, it has been the case that justices turn out to be neither as liberal nor as conservative as expected. That says much about the character and quality of the members of the court.

If “Democracy is the worst political system, except for all the others,” consensus is the foundation for our continued survival.

A Supreme Court comprised of those with the same political leanings would do more damage than good to America. As the friendship between Ginsburg and Scalia shows, our consensus of differences makes democracy stronger.

Anything else is a recipe for totalitarianism.

On another note, President Trump once again showcased to the world his fundamental misunderstanding (at best) or his “just doesn’t give a sh*t understanding (at worst) of the Criminal Justice system.

In a Tweet regarding Paul Manafort’s bail being revoked because of a new indictment for witness tampering, Trump wrote,

Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!

Is it too much to ask that the President of the United States understand the difference between a bail revocation hearing and a criminal trial? Something most high school freshmen could explain.

Then again, how can we expect that a man who can barely form a sentence would understand context and meaning in a legal setting?

I’d suggest the President watch RBG but, with his limited attention span, he’d miss the point.

Could This Be the One?

Under the Heading Giving the Devil his Due.

President Trump has potentially achieved two things no President has ever done before. He’s created an opportunity for the formal end of the Korean War and the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But, as history shows us, this is not the first time this has been tried. Let’s hope the formal negotiations come to a swift, successful, and verifiable conclusion.

As Mark Twain (allegedly) once said, “History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes”  We can turn to history for a perspective on negotiations with the Hermit Kingdom.

The number of agreements with North Korea that have been successful.

One*

*(The Armistice ending open hostilities of the Korean War. Technically, the war is still on-going.)

The number of agreements, in particular, those seeking to prevent the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, that have succeeded.

None*

*The number of agreements made, and broken, by the North Korean are too numerous to count.

This piece from the Arms Control Association (www.armscontrol.org) gives an interesting chronological perspective on negotiations and agreements with North Korea.  I’d include it here, but it would run to almost forty pages.

Click here for the full article https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/dprkchron

If I were inclined to bet, I’d say the odds ain’t good for the world’s greatest dealmaker.  There is hope, and we all should embrace it in the interest of world stability, but the hope is tainted by the reality of this administration.

All we have so far is our unilateral decision to end joint US-South Korean military exercises (a decision that surprised both South Korea and our own Pentagon and Defense Department.)

ChosenI suppose Kim Jong-Un can argue the first step to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would be the withdrawal of US forces. He seems to have maneuvered us into the first stages without giving much up except an offer to continue talking. (Remember, the peace talks at Panmunjom took two years to reach a conclusion that paused the Korean War in 1953 with a promise of a formal end that has never happened.)

Somehow, in the last few weeks, our new BFF is Kim Jong-Un and North Korea and our new worst enemy is Pierre Trudeau and Canada. This is the frightening reality and mindset of those who are negotiating this agreement.

A success here would be a major accomplishment for this administration. A failure here will make the Iran Nuclear Agreement look like an unconditional surrender by Iran. If it does succeed, we can move all those troops from the 38th parallel and put them on the Canadian Border.

 

Here’s the Policy of the American Business I Would Run

EagleIf you support the president, welcome.

If you despise the president, welcome.

If you pray to God, welcome.

If you wonder if there is a god, welcome.

If you love a person of the opposite sex, welcome.

If you love a person of the same sex, welcome.

If you oppose abortion, welcome.

If you had an abortion, welcome.

If you want a wall to keep people out, welcome.

If you tear down the wall to let people in, welcome.

If your skin is white, welcome.

If your skin is brown, welcome.

If you speak English, welcome.

If you speak Klingon, welcome.

If you embrace the baby Jesus, welcome.

If you worship Allah, welcome.

If you stand for the National Anthem, welcome.

If you take a knee, welcome.

If you carry a gun, welcome.

If you wish all guns gone, welcome.

If you follow the law, welcome.

If you seek to change the law, welcome.

If you see no prejudice in the world, welcome.

If you see it everywhere, welcome.

If you believe in something, welcome.

If you doubt everything, welcome.

There is only one kind of person I would never welcome to my business. Any person who cannot or will not understand that it is our differences that make America great or would deny anyone the right to hold a different opinion is not welcome.

We need not make America great again, all we must remember is what has always made us great.

Remember that, and the America we all love will endure.

A Murderer as Victim:  The American Blame Game

In all the vitriol, anger, and twisted logic in the debate on guns and violence in America, one vital aspect is kicked to the side, ignored and discounted; personal responsibility for one’s actions.

theymademedoitblogIn our single-minded focus on trying to explain why these things happen, and how to prevent them, we gloss over the one common element. Absent unmistakable evidence of mental incapacity–and almost every shooter who survives a mass shooting is judged competent to stand trial—the individual who pulls the trigger is responsible for his or her actions.

The fact is we may never understand why. We may never find a way to prevent it from ever happening again. We may never come to grips with America’s inexplicable fascination with guns.

We may never accept the demise of the balance of power between our early government—the one without a standing army– and an armed citizenry. Our embracing a concept no longer grounded in reality is one of the stumbling blocks to addressing part of the problem.

But that’s not the point of this piece.

The most important thing we can do is insist on personal responsibility for one’s actions. We need to focus on this from the earliest age, so the practice becomes second nature. Instead, we have parents suing school departments when their kids are taken off a sports team or barred from graduation for violating the rules.

“Oh, my poor (son/daughter) didn’t mean to break the rules, everyone else was doing it, it’s not fair they won’t get to play soccer/go to the prom/attend graduation.  I’ll sue.”

A tremendous parental example there.

The dearth of personal responsibility in America is illustrated by our penchant for blaming everyone else but ourselves for our actions. The most startling example of this is from the father of the shooter in the Santa Fe Texas school shooting.

As part of the idiotic media frenzy, which contributes to the problem, the father of the “alleged” killer said,

“My son, to me, is not a criminal, he’s a victim,” he said. “The kid didn’t own guns. I owned guns.”

A victim? The victims are the ten dead, the wounded, and their families left to suffer because of the cowardly act of a self-delusional individual without one shred of human decency or compassion.

The father said,

“Something must have happened now, this last week,” he told the station. “Somebody probably came and hurt him, and since he was a solid boy, I don’t know what could have happened. I can’t say what happened. All I can say is what I suspect as a father.” (https://apnews.com/70ba9b2e83194fbab13bb26819aed045)

The father says his son was bullied. Bullied? When did bullying rise to the level of justifying homicidal provocation?

By this logic, someone being bullied now has cause to take a gun and kill another human.

Very few people are born evil, but we all have the capacity for evil in us. Raising children to be responsible adults is the ultimate purpose of being a parent. When you fail, the darkness within can rise to the surface.

If you don’t instill personal responsibility early, self-control fails and bad things happen. It may not be the only reason these shootings happen, but it is a significant factor.

This infatuation we have with turning everything into a “syndrome,” giving it a name and using it as some terrifying boogieman is disheartening and self-destructive. Bullying has become almost as frightening as a diagnosis of cancer.

I understand there are horror stories of “bullying” that drove some to suicide. That is a tragedy. But adolescent behavior, that often includes “bullying” of others, underscores my point.

The failure of personal responsibility, by the parents and the children engaged in such behavior, is the problem. Part of this is the false courage instilled by the wall of technology. It’s easy to be cruel and demeaning in the comfort of one’s own home when texting or posting on social media. Tweets and emoji and SnapchatInstagramTwittering is a shield to cowards.

It doesn’t negate the responsibility of parents to pay attention. In our 24/7 technologically connected world, the burden is heightened.

One of the most brilliant philosophers who ever lived, my mother, summed it up in six words,

“Life’s not fair, get over it.”

We learned from her that one had to deal with life, not whine and cry, and adjust to it. Blaming others for your own circumstances is the childish way out. As one matures, you come to understand that no one has power over you unless you let them.

By the time you reach high school, one should firmly understand personal responsibility.

I know this may not be politically correct, but the way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. Homicidal violence is never a solution, but a well-placed punch in the nose, even if you ultimately lose the fight, might go a long way to preventing a minor problem from becoming a bigger one.

I may have lost a few fights growing up, but I got my point across.

In Texas, the only person to blame for what happened is the shooter. I won’t dignify him with using his name. Making killers famous for their actions is part of the problem.

There is also the personal responsibility of the father for leaving the weapons open and unsecured. He may be suffering because of his son’s actions, but he also bears criminal liability for it.

If the law applies, he should be charged. If he had any sense of personal responsibility, he’d plead guilty. My defense attorney friends may differ in this but there is a difference between “not guilty” and “innocent.”

Like it or not he has blood on his hands, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for him to acknowledge it. He needed the guns for personal protection. That was important to him.

When his son turned them into offensive weapons and murdered innocent men, women, and children he hid behind excuses. Wasn’t my son, they made him do it. It begs the question about priorities.

That’s what lack of personal responsibility is, blaming the world for your own choices.

It’s time for that to change.  We can do this without changing one law, limiting any perceived Constitutional right, or infringing on anyone’s liberty.

Acknowledging your own actions, not blaming the rest of the world for your personal failures, would be a good first step.

Heel, don’t Kneel

The First Amendment protects us from government restrictions on the free expression of one’s personal and political views. It is different within the private sector.

Employers may limit the exercise of free speech when it directly affects their business.

No one can argue this. To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“An employee may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be employed.”

Aside from the legal arguments, there is a more significant issue at stake with the NFL ban on players taking a knee during the National Anthem.

While most Americans, regardless of their political leanings, freely stand during the National Anthem in gratitude for those who fought to preserve our way of life, implicit in that sacrifice is the right to do otherwise.

I often chafe at the inattentive, text-addicted, hats still on idiots who either stand because everyone else is or sit drinking beer when the anthem is played before a game. But it is their right to do so.

Ignorant, rude, or just downright asinine as it may be.

But I wouldn’t want to see uniformed police officers roaming through the crowd and hauling them off for it either. (I might find it momentarily amusing, aside from the serious constitutional issue.)

The NFL situation is different on two levels.

First, if this was an intrinsic element of the game, then the owners have every right to insist players comply.

It is not. It is a moment at most public venues where we pay homage to this nation. Which implies the right to express a different political opinion.

Second, and more critical, this wailing and gnashing of teeth that the constitutional guarantee of free speech has limitations in the private sector and players must comply with a workplace requirement is all a smokescreen to the real issue.

Americans do not like the very public reminder of the persistence of bigotry and prejudice. They do not like their sacred sports game marred by such a divisive issue. They prefer to keep it in the closet on game day, and then ignore it for the rest of the week.

To further illustrate the point, the protest must be working in raising the issue otherwise no one would care.

Which makes the restrictions put in place by the NFL, albeit legitimate under the most common interpretation of the Constitution, more troubling.

While the NFL owners have much latitude in controlling the players when they are “working,” to insist they can regulate free speech, during a ceremony that honors free speech, for the benefit of their bottom line, is troubling.

If it is that important an issue, fire them.

Remember, the first act of American patriotism was to challenge the King’s government for the right of freedom of expression.

Do we seek to return to the times of pledging loyalty to the government as a condition of being an American? Is it that some people miss the days when the government would ask “Are you, or have you ever been, a communist?”

While the NFL issue is minor in the big scheme of things, it is the conglomeration of little things, chipping away at liberties, that cause real damage. This issue may be nothing but a single termite, but termites are never alone.

Let the players take a knee, do backflips, or whatever. When the anthem plays, focus all the cameras on the Stars and Stripes flapping in the breeze above the flag-draped Bud Light advertisements.

Trump’s Brief Shining Moment

For the briefest of moments, I almost believed. The strategic opportunity of the century seemed with grasp. The official end of the Korean War and a denuclearized North Korea rejoining the world are elusive goals.

The moment shattered by the reality of this Presidency.

North Korea was never serious about abandoning its weapons. They played the “master deal maker” for a chump. They essentially bypassed the US to deal with South Korea directly and maneuvered themselves out of sanctions with the Chinese and potentially the rest of the world.

All without giving up anything except a few well-placed explosives to offer a technically meaningless “coup d’état” to their already collapsed nuclear test site. They know, even if Mr. Trump might not, what the Libya-model means.

How did the “hermit” kingdom manage this? Because they understand Trump better than we do. Those of us who disagree with Trump’s policies and those who agree with them share common ground in one respect.

We all think he acts intentionally from a perspective of beliefs and deeply held philosophies. The difference is in our view of his motivation.

Some think him intrinsically evil and bigoted others seem him as a political outsider who cares little for the diplomacy of politics in favor of accomplishing goals and changing the fundamental nature of government.

Both positions give the man way too much credit. He is much simpler to figure out and to predict.

President Trump is consistent. His life has been one persistent crusade for self-aggrandizement and personal satisfaction. He is neither a bigot nor a buffoon, does not demonstrate savant business acumen or financial wizardry, nor does he follow a deep-seated philosophy of life.

He is a man incapable of empathy, devoid of feelings for others, and unable to concede the reality that everyone, including Donald Trump, makes mistakes.

Trump embraces a sort of twisted Buddha-like philosophy in the way he can ignore the past (as if it never happened) and hold no attachment to anything that does not suit him at that moment.

Trump lives in the now. Anything he said, or did, yesterday does not matter. His thought process, when confronted with past statement or actions, creates a three-pronged self-delusion.

I never said (or did) it.

I was misquoted (or they are lying)

It’s fake news.

And with that, he moves on without another passing moment to consider his actions. Each day for him is like a reboot with the same bug in the operating system.

In personal matters between a President and his wife, I do not believe them to be matters of national concern. They are private matters best dealt with in a private setting. But when the President tries to ignore legitimate questions of his truthfulness, such issues are a concern.

A person of character, when facing a personal crisis, takes responsibility for their actions. When Trump was confronted with a threat to unveil an affair outside his marriage, he opted to buy his way out. Had he addressed the issue within the confines of his marriage, and the story still broke, it would be a quick splash and then fade away.

Instead, it serves as another illustration of the man’s character. (For those of you who will feel the need to point out Bill Clinton did the same thing, yes he did. And the same standard applies. Still waiting on a similar episode with President Obama.)

Trump is neither a bigot nor a white supremacist. If Mr. Trump thought embracing MS-13 would help or enrich him, he’d be flashing gang signs and sporting tattoos.

If Mr. Trump thought for a moment that the “horde” of illegal aliens would support him with their vote, he’d disband the Border Patrol and send buses to the Mexican Border.

If Mr. Trump thought he could find a kindred spirit in Black Lives Matter or Alt-right groups, he’d invite them to the White House (but not the Trump Tower, those people don’t belong there.)

Kim Jong Un understands this. They share the same philosophy. If it’s good for me, it’s good until it’s not, then it’s wrong regardless of the cost.

With North Korea, Mr. Trump saw the shiny Nobel prize and wanted it. Even he might admit he is never getting a Nobel Prize for economics or science, so this was his one chance, Kim Jong Un was his opportunity.

And then it wasn’t.

Even when it appeared Trump had awoken to the realities and complexities of geopolitics and canceled the summit, in his letter to the North Korean leader he couldn’t help but turn it into a juvenile pissing contest.

“You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/24/politics/donald-trump-letter-kim-jong-un/index.html)

The US would prevail in a nuclear war. Mr. Trump also knows the personal cost to him would be minimal. He and his family ( maybe Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as well) would be safely ensconced in the bunker.

But the cost in human lives would be unfathomable. This is immaterial in Mr. Trump’s mind. Collateral damage is insignificant if there is a net benefit to Mr. Trump.

The hope those surrounding Mr. Trump bring sanity and a bigger world-view to the administration is fading. The John Boltons of the world are not known for rational and reasoned policies with any nuanced understanding of global complexities.

The Chief of Staff, John Kelly, despite his admirable record as a Marine, has been reduced to nothing more than a doorman at Trump Tower. He has the power to keep most out but can do nothing about those who have bought they way in.

The concept of Mr. Trump being a complex personality of deep thought and contemplation is a false one. He is a nuclear-armed sociopath with severe ADHD. The trick is to make sound policy attractive and, once it is set in motion, divert the President’s attention with something else.

I wonder if Stormy Daniels would consider helping us out, as a matter of patriotic service?

Somebody Give Me the Words

I like to think of myself as a writer. Words have always come easily. Often, it seems I couldn’t stop them even if I wanted to.

But today I have no words. Today, I must ask if someone, anyone, can give me the words. Help me.

How do I find the words?

How do I find the words to comfort the next parent of a child they sent off to school and had to pick up at the Medical Examiner’s office?

How do I find the words to comfort a seventeen-year-old girl whose biggest concern one moment was the color of her shirt and the next moment seeing her best friend’s blood staining the once perfect color?

How do I explain to a group of high-school seniors that their most memorable moment in school will be their terror at the sound of weapons firing, people screaming, and the coppery smell of blood and death?

How do I find the words to explain to the world how great America is when we let our children die for a concept no longer grounded in reality?

How do I find the words to make people understand our unwillingness to seek a solution to the violence that plagues this nation?

How do I find the words?

The truth is there are no words, no prayers, no political slogans, no constitutional arguments that will do this.

So, we have a choice.

We can either find the will to seek a solution or accept the reality it will happen, again and again and again, until we become so numb to the horror we no longer notice.

Then our lack of words, like our inertia in finding a solution, will say it all.