Trumping America

I think I have figured out the Trump phenomenon. His success in the primaries comes from supporters who behave at the maturity level of 15-year-old boys and 13-year-old girls. They are not quite children, not quite adults, and driven by raging emotional responses to anything they cannot or choose not to understand.

They are willing to sacrifice civil liberties and constitutional protections in the pursuit of fighting terrorists. They are willing to employ torture as a means justified by their mistaken belief it will protect America.

They support a candidate who said targeting families, including children, is a worthwhile military strategy. One he is prepared to order our military to carry out. Trump, with all his pride in his Ivy League education, must have skipped history and ethics. His was a poison ivy education.

Here is a quote Trump and his supporters could adopt in support of effective genocide.

Raymond D’Aguilers, a witness to the victorious end of the Crusade of 1096-1099 in Jerusalem, wrote

‘Men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers.’

Men, women, and children not of the Christian faith dead at the hands of the faithful. Unbelievers meaning those who believe differently than the one holding the sword or the launch codes for nuclear weapons.

Trump must believe My Lai was the most successful operation during the Viet Nam war. Unless he missed the story on TV.

Trump’s idea is not even original. Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheik Mohammed thought it a good idea. If we follow Trump’s logic, flying planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon was brilliant.

This country is in a lot of trouble if anyone, let alone a candidate for the Presidency, takes such policies seriously.

They risk destroying the very freedom and moral character that built this country.

Trump screams he will lead us to Making America Great Again. By what measure? By what means? He wraps himself in the flag, portraying himself as the ultimate patriot.

To quote Samuel Johnson, “Patriotism is the refuge of the scoundrel.”

Trump’s idea of patriotism encompasses all the evil of nationalism that no rational American should condone.

Out of this fire of ignorance, Trump emerged as the poster boy of xenophobia.

This pseudo-tough, swaggering, ne’er do well spouting invectives and threatening anyone not in lockstep with him. An American version of ‘das Herrenvolk.’

A schoolyard bully picking on the weak while his “fans” stand around with their cell phones recording and posting their childish voyeuristic nonsense, afraid to stand up for what’s right.

We face the real specter of a President whose policy platform consists of acting like a junkyard dog.

During the last debate, where supporters considered jokes about the size of appendages high humor, there was only one adult on the stage. Trump was not it. Yet his supporters are okay with that.

The reality that people are fooled into believing Trump represents the best of America is frightening.

Nevertheless, he is winning the primaries. True, he is winning Republican primaries under a system rigged to favor the lead candidate; designed to minimize the chance of a brokered convention. They never imagined the rise of the Donald and his living, but brain dead, hordes.

Keep this in mind; he is winning with at best 35% of the vote. Which means 65% of the vote went against him. Many of these are winner take all contests.

Staunch conservatives, like the Tea Party and others, deserve some of the blame here. As Stephen King so aptly wrote. “Conservatives who for 8 years sowed the dragon’s teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon.”

We can only hope a St. George will arrive on the scene to slay the dragon before he incinerates us all.

If Trump wins, he will have at least given us one thing of value. We will need that slogan, Making America Great Again, once his Presidency ends. I fear, if there is a Trump presidency, we’ll be singing the line from the Paul Simon song, America.”We’ve all come to look for America…”

 

Neither a Democrat nor a Republican Be…

Not all that long ago, there was a time in this country when people defined themselves, politically at least, as either Republican or Democrat.

Voters took pride in entering a voting booth and pulling the master handle to vote for a candidate not for their positions on issues, not for their record of achievement, not for their ideas or proposals, but for their party affiliation.

Party affiliation.

Sounds eerily similar to the politics of the Soviet Union or Mao’s China instead of the promise of the Constitution and the brilliance of the Founding Fathers.

Which brings us to the politics of 2016. While in many places the master lever is a fading memory, the propaganda (there is that similarity again) of the parties is the same.

Depending on your political leanings, either the Republicans, representing a conservative approach, or the Democrats, representing a progressive approach, are the ONLY choice.

There is NO room for compromise, no room for a blending of ideas, no chance that anything proposed by one party will gain support by the other.

I have a friend who had an opportunity to have a private discussion, in a setting far removed from the media or public eye, with a former Speaker of the House. My friend lamented the lack of cooperation across the aisle and the seemingly endless process of erecting roadblocks to cooperation.

The Congressman assured her it was not as bad as it seems. This is good news, at first blush.

But upon reflection, it is one more indication of the dishonesty, disingenuousness, and outright lying that goes on for the sake of getting elected and, more importantly, staying there.

Either the politicians think so little of voters’ ability to recognize the necessity of cooperation and compromise in Congress and play to that ignorance or they have come to understand if you give the voter what they want to hear, they vote for you.

Then, you do what you want.

All parties have their heroes, their bright shining beacons that represent the best the party has to offer.

The Republicans had Reagan. Held up as the standard-bearer of less government. His famous quote during his first inaugural address, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” touted as the best example of wise policy.

Reagan then went on to lead the biggest increase in government spending in decades. His Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which ultimately failed, led to enormous increases in technology research. This policy almost single-handedly built Silicon Valley and the technology corridor outside of Boston, Ma.

Reagan expressed his despise of big government. His legend used as the example of getting government out of the way. The reality is his SDI program, a holy crusade against the evil empire of the Soviet Union, was a huge government funded program.

Moreover, it worked. Contrary to all his vaunted statements, government programs worked.

Do I even have to mention Richard Nixon?

We ignore the truth for the sake of a slogan or false premise.

The Democrats have had similar icons. John F. Kennedy, whose short time in office created such hope and promise, also set the stage for our entering into the war in Vietnam. His promise of “we shall go to the moon…” stimulated a generation of optimism that we could do anything we choose to do.

President Clinton, his presidency marked with much success, supported and signed the ridiculous Defense of Marriage Act. His boldface lying to the American people corroded the many good things he accomplished.

Yet each of these Presidents, none of them perfect, succeeded by compromise. They sought cooperation to blend a solution.

Which leads us to today. The same, perhaps wider, chasm divides this country. Sanders is a socialist. Hillary is a liar. Cruz is a religious nut. Rubio cannot balance a checkbook. Trump is… I am not sure there is a word for it.

Each of these candidates has something to offer. Yet it seems the politics of this era compels us to pick one path, one philosophy, one political policy.

We deserve more.

If the reality of compromise and cooperation does exists away from the cameras and 24/7 media storm, the American people deserve to be trusted with that knowledge.

In our everyday lives, we make choices; we balance the things we want against the things we need. That is being an adult.

Those that scream the most about the evils and dangers of those they disagree with are like schoolyard bullies, trying to shout down and intimidate.

Standing up to a bully is the right thing to do.

A politician who claims to have all the answers, offers nothing but disdain and criticism of opposing views, and insists his (or her) policies are the only choice is not what we need. It is what we have been afflicted with for the past few years and it is time to seek a better solution.

Once Again, it is Obama’s Fault

 

New Author Photo

The disaster that is the Obama Presidency has struck again. His abject failure to improve on the robust economy handed to him on a silver platter by the Bush administration has caused the loss of more jobs.

Carrier Corporation, a division of United Technologies, is closing its Indiana plant and putting 2100 workers out of a job. The company cites labor costs and their inability to compete with other companies that made similar moves south of the border.

They did not say they would find better, more qualified workers. They did not say it was a shortage of workers. They did not say it was for better business prospects (they fully intend to sell things in the US, just not make them here.)

What they said they would find is cheaper labor. I bet they will.

Of course, this is Obama’s fault. Obama’s economic policies have not improved the economy and have hurt business according to his critics.

Odd, since the numbers do not reflect that. According to Factcheck.org, an independent non-political organization (http://www.factcheck.org/2015/01/obamas-numbers-january-2015-update/) under Obama:

  • 2014 was the best year for employment growth in 15 years (6 million more jobs since Obama came into office in 2009. Under George W. Bush the country suffered a loss of 4.4 million jobs in his last year)
  • Overall inflation under Obama has been moderate, 11.8%
  • Real weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) has risen 1.7%
  • Corporate Profits have soared under Obama, after-tax profits are running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.9 TRILLION
  • Stock market is up 156% since Obama came into office.

There are some negatives as well. Long-term unemployment (those out of work for more the 27 weeks) is higher than before Obama. The number of families on food stamps is higher as well. Much of this is the hangover from the 2007-2009 recession.

I wonder if these negatives are compounded by business decisions like Carrier Corporation moving to find cheap labor in Mexico.

Now if I understand his critic’s positions, Obama has not done enough to improve the economy. What he has done has not worked and the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster. How can finding a way to provide health care to all Americans be a disaster?

If there are problems within the economy, I think much blame goes to companies that put profits before people. Some would argue that a company has an obligation to stockholders to seek cost reductions and increase profits. At what cost? It would seem at the expense of loyal employees that helped build the company in the first place.

We should not only accept but also applaud their narrow-minded, single purpose pursuit of profits over people. This is what made America great according to some. They would contend that is Capitalism.

Now I am not advocating socialism or any artificial redistribution of wealth. The opportunity to pursue the American dream IS what makes this country great.

What I am advocating is reinvigorating the essence of American capitalism. A capitalism with a heart for those that provide the bulk of the energy for that economic engine.

Funny how the same people that approve companies running to Mexico to avoid paying fair, negotiated union wages and benefits are the same ones with bumper stickers proclaiming Buy American.

I bet many of these same detractors of Obama also trumpet the idea of building a fence to keep the Mexicans from coming to the US.

Take heart, if Americans continue to support companies that flee the US to avoid paying fair wages, it will be Mexico building a fence to keep the unemployed Americans out of their country. Maybe Mexico can hire the unemployed Americans to build the fence as a form of foreign aid.

Somehow, that will be Obama’s fault as well.

Oh, and by the way Mr. President, since you haven’t done anything to help the economy why don’t you take the rest of your term off and NOT nominate anyone to the Supreme Court either. We got this.