Archive for the ‘Donald Trump’ category

Discrimination versus 1st Amendment

August 17, 2019

There runs deeply within American lore that everyone should be free to do what they wish.  I should be able to start my own business, hire whomever I want (presumably the best workers), and conduct my business by my own entrepreneurial methods.  This is the essence of a free economy and unfettered capitalism.

Not surprisingly this unfettered notion ran into problems right away.  Owning property immediately limits where one can conduct ones business.  One can’t operate a business on someone else’s property.  Over the years, Americans agreed that hiring workers could not include workers younger than a certain age or owners could not require workers to work more than a fixed amount of hours per week.  Entrepreneurs objected but in the end society agreed these were just limitations which applied to everyone, that is the rules disadvantaged no specific business.

Along comes a fleet of anti-discriminatory laws and regulations designed to even the playing field amongst those seeking employment.  If someone had orange skin color, purple hair, and three arms but could drive a truck, make a pizza, or pack a carton, their physical condition could not be used to “discriminate” against them in a hiring process.

Now the Trump Administration (through the Department of Labor) is pandering to the worst traits of the religious right (which includes mainstream Catholic affiliated businesses, evangelicals, or any other business which claims to possess deeply held religious views).  In the name of deeply held religious beliefs, the Trump puppets want to allow these religious affiliated businesses the option of not hiring or firing, otherwise perfectly qualified candidates or employees if these religious organizations disagreed with perfectly legal job candidate practices or beliefs.  

For example, the Sisters of the Poor would not need to employ a fully competent accountant if the accountant was gay, was in a same sex marriage, or was active in the pro-choice movement.  These “deeply held religious views” could include prejudicial views on race, religion, or ethnicity too.  And there is not much to separate these reason for discrimination from political party loyalty.

Beyond the crass political calculations, the Government move ignores a basic understanding of the 1st Amendment.  The Constitution guarantees the right of each citizen to practice a religion of their choice.  No mandated Government religion, full stop.  No Government law banning the practice of any religion, full stop.

The 1st Amendment, however, does not convey the right for free religious expression to infringe or violate another person’s similar right to practice their religion or to not practice any religion at all.

The Catholic Church through its affiliated businesses can hold any view on sex, gender, or personal choice and only needed to explain this hypocrisy to its members.  When, however, the affiliate enters the public square, the affiliate must be bound to meet the laws and regulations applicable to everyone else.

Amendment XIV  (passed in 1868)

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

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The Irrationality Of Our Modern View Of The Second Amendment

August 12, 2019

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What is the modern day equivalent of a Militia?  Does Militia mean National Guard, State Police, or the local sheriff or police officer?  If not, does it mean armed citizens coming together for some collective reason.  Would the Hells Angels or The Pagans quality?  Or could a modern day militia also be armed white or black supremacist groups?

Hmmm.

 

  • How far from the original single shot musket can the term “arms” be applied?
  • If bearing arms is for self protection, why do we also need local and State police?
  • If it is legal to outlaw soft point bullets or extra heavy solid bullets, why would it be ok to allow military style automatic and semi-automatic rifles which can injure victims just as severely?
  • What is the rational for private citizens to bear arms more powerful than that of local police?
  • For better or worse, the Supreme Court has ruled that every citizen has the right to bear arms and cities and States have no right to prevent gun ownership.  The Supreme Court did allow that reasonable controls on gun use and possession were possible.  What is reasonable was not detailed.
  • The legislative power to place reasonable controls on gun ownership and use lies with Congress.  Why is it Congress refuses to act?  Could it be the lack of action is related to NRA and weapon makers lobbying activity?  Could it simply be that the NRA and weapons companies have bought legislators loyalty?
  • Following the two most recent mass shootings (Dayton and El Paso), the NRA has once again objected to any meaningful “background” checks.  The NRA says it objects to rules that make it harder for “law abiding” citizens from buying or owning a gun.  Hmmm.  Why can’t law abiding citizens drive a car, pilot a plane, or practicing law without restrictive rules?  
  • Possessing military style assault weapons enables the possessor to kill or seriously injure many  others, far more than the assailant could accomplish with a baseball bat, knife, or single shot weapon in the same amount of time.  Commonsense calls out that mental illness, person rage, or provocation can lead to far more killing than if one was unarmed (or carrying single shot or limited shot weapons).  

Why is it not reasonable to hold that

  • Assault weapons have no place in society except in “well regulated” army units. 
  • Assault weapons should be outlawed and existing assault weapons should be confiscated or donated to authorize and regulated “gun sport clubs”.  (Like in former private clubs where ones liquor was kept under lock until the next time someone visited the club, AR-15s could be held for the next time the owner visited the gun club.) 

As our President has offered, if assault weapons owners did not think this proposal was reasonable, they could to move to another country with no assault weapon restriction… Hmmm, maybe a self respecting third world country.   

What Do You Think Of Your Guy Now

August 10, 2019

Recently I was talking with a friend, a catholic conservative who said he had just purchased a copy of the Mueller Report.  My friend wanted read for himself what the report really said.  He thought since there was no collusion found (ie no crime), there could be no obstruction of justice.  He wondered why there had been an investigation at all.  Hmmm.

I told him that I had also read the entire report and said that IMO, “if” Part I of the Mueller report had been about anticompetitive activity charges against an American corporation and similar evidence was presented (company employees meeting and talking with competitors in a way similar to the manner Trump’s campaign workers had met with Russians), there would have been indictments and a strong likelihood that the CEO would also be charged.

The Mueller Report II is even clearer on the subject of obstruction of justice.  Here the President is documented in numerous occasions attempting to stall or outrightly stop Mueller’s investigation.  My friend can read this and decide for himself.

I changed the subject and asked “what do you think of your guy now”?

Shockingly, my friend responded that he liked the President.  Sure he didn’t think the tweets and some of Trump’s rhetoric was good, but overall the President was doing a very good job.  My friend really like Trump’s Supreme Court appointments but was not quick to name other pluses.

I thought but did not say, “forget about Mueller’s Report and think about…”

  • Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.  Global warming not an issue?
  • Ending US involvement in the Trans Pacific Partnership and how it could be usefulness now in confronting China?
  • Renegotiating NAFTA II by threatening to just walk away.  Do you think Americans would like higher prices?
  • Opening trade wars on two fronts (China, Europe).  Oops, I forgot tariffs on India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and Canada too.
  • Personal Diplomacy with North Korea.  How has that worked out?  Hmmm, no other President thought it was a good idea. What’s different now?
  • Abandoning the Iranian Nuclear Deal.  Why withdraw when six other countries including Russia and China were content to remain in the deal?  
  • Relaxed Automobile Fuel Economy standards.  Why do this when the industry did not insist and global warming is becoming more real every day?
  • Tax Cut for the Wealthy.  Why lower taxes and reward the richest, and at the same time, put the increased budget deficit on the credit card (national debt)
  • Fiscal Responsibility. No effort to run a balanced budge government.  Willing to let future generation pay off the debt or live with the consequences of debt.

I doubt my friend has thought much about any of these observations.  I doubt my friend has connected these dots and recognized the “go it alone” standard President Trump is showing the world.  In other words, cooperation is not necessary.  Building upon this, the natural consequence will be a global slowing of economies and higher prices in the US.  Additionally, authoritarian leaders are encouraged when America casts aside its moral authority and leadership.  This picture is not very pretty.

I doubt my friend has considered the consequences of a President who has no allegiance to facts and truth.  Nor do I think my friend has considered the damage to national institutions the turn over in key government officials will have on US stability in crisis in the future.

I doubt my friend has thought very much about “his guy” at all.

Soft Targets

August 6, 2019

The three recent mass shootings (Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio) involving “soft targets” (open festival, shopping mall, Walmart parking lot) beg the question (again),  “what should we do”? 

Thoughts and prayers have not cut it in the past, and tougher background checks, while worthwhile in their own sense, the lack of tough background checks does not seem to have been a factor in these recent shootings.  What can our brave Congress members do?

Taking a page from the Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, a popular recommendation was to train and arm school teachers.  The reasoning seemed to be that potential shooters would be weary of taking on an armed 10th grade home economics teacher.  Hmmm.

Following the Florida logic, it looks like Mall greeters, cashiers, and shelf stockers as well as members of entertainment groups will need to become armed and carry openly.  Hmmm.

There is, of course, no silver bullet solution for mass shootings.  These are complex events and no general solution may exist.  There are, however, plenty of steps that could be taken that will reduce the frequency and severity of mass shootings that do take place. 

The most obvious of all the steps is “outlawing and confiscating” all military style assault weapons, full stop.

Semi- (easy to be made full) automatic weapons have no place unregulated in a civil society.  Background checks, more robust domestic mental health programs, and more restrictions on open and concealed carry would help too.  Thoughts and prayers don’t cut it, however.

Mueller’s Last Stand

July 27, 2019

Special Council Robert Mueller much anticipated Congressional testimony by has come and gone with hardly a whimper.  Democrats who positioned Mueller’s testimony as the grounds for impeachment were frustrated and disappointed when Mueller failed to play their game.  Republicans who feared Mueller might further incriminate the President used their time to underscore the “witch hunt” nature of Mueller’s investigation.  Reading the Mueller Report was all that was needed to understand Mueller’s testimony and there was no witch hunt.

Hmmm.

The Mueller Report clearly shows the Trump Campaign readily received contacts from Russian sources and in a number of instances sought to initiate contacts.  The Special Council, however, seemed either resigned to live with DOJ handcuffs, or chose on his own to limit his pursuit of further Trump Campaign’s (including the President) involvement with Russian sources.  An aggressive prosecutor would have had grounds to consider conspiracy and collusion but Mueller did not pursue.

Obstruction of justice charges is even more obvious unless one thinks the President, as chief law enforcement officer, is immune for obstruction charges.  Mueller seems to have thought he could use the report’s language to inform Americans that the President had obstructed justice and still not charge him.  Mueller did not pursue.

The elephant in the room is “should President Trump face impeachment”.

Given the broad bi-partisan respect shown for Robert Mueller, impeachment shines as a uniquely partisan political act and not tied to a bi-partisan view that the President needs to be sanctioned.  With 2020 Presidential election just about 1 year away, what would impeachment uncover that is not already known today?  Probably nothing.

The image of former FBI Director Mueller testifying was not the most flattering image of a great man who had a great career.  The prosecutorial instinct was not visible and even though the evidence seemed present, the effort to go the last mile was not.

President Trump has won this fight.  As with most other Presidential actions, President Trump has used gutter style bullying to have it his way.  Never the less, reelecting Trump will simply confirm too many Americans are ok with this low life.

When People Don’t Think

July 22, 2019

A common human condition is susceptibility to swindlers.  Human attractiveness to compliments, attention, and vanity make the swindler’s road seem smooth.  Ponzi, pyramid, and plain old fashion “let me give you some advice” schemes draw in countless people all over the world.  Street corners, alley ways, and carnivals have been classic locations for swindlers and shills.  Today one need go no further than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Motivation usually comes in making a “fast buck” on some deal that’s too good to be true.  Victims walk into the trap with their eyes wide open, get mad for a moment, and then seem to forget the lesson they were just taught.

Information swindlers are a special breed.  This cut of humanity willfully camouflage truth behind deceptive claims.  Information swindlers seek to put their “marks” in a false sense of security, either alarmed or complacent.  The objective – theft in “broad daylight” of public trust.

Russian sources have been accused of influencing the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election by publishing false information on social media, and then digitally “liking” and “republishing” the same information for wider circulation.  President Trump has shown a masterful touch for doing similar information swindling (sleight of hand).  Like all good swindlers, Trump is quick to deny the words just said.

Many, probably most, but certainly not all Americans are unsatisfied with President Trump.  Amazingly, there is obvious information everyday that the President has said something which is not true.  More subtle are Trump policy decisions which are setting the groundwork for future unwanted results.  Trade (China, NAFTA, and Europe), undisciplined foreign policies (North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China), and worthless Mexican border policies, to name a few “Trumpian activities” which are being swindled today but whose fruits will blossom sometime in the future. 

When that happens, Americans will get mad and then all too soon, forget.  Hmmm.

Racist Or Simply Prejudice?

July 19, 2019

The “Mouth in Chief”, President Trump if it needed be clarified, has opened his most audacious (to date) verbal assault on common decency.  The President has, from the highest position of moral authority questioned another citizens right to be an American.  The President has used the words “go back from where you came”.

Of the four Democrat Congress women he was referencing, three were born in America.  All are citizens and all were freely elected to the House.  Hmmm.

The Presidents overwhelming bad manners prompts the question, “is Donald Trump a racist or just prejudice”?  Can someone be prejudice against people of color, or women of color, and not also be a racists?  This question may be trying to describe a distinction where the difference is without significance.

One must remember President Trump is first and foremost a survivalist.  For Trump, life is all about him, and anyone or anything that gets in the way, must be eliminated.  The President knows he is on path to be a one term President and that is unacceptable to him.

The President’s reelection strategy foresees a “base” of 35-40% who will vote for him no matter what.  Presently the polls indicate there is greater than 50% of voters who will not support the President.  Trump’s goal, peal away 5% and split the opposition along racial lines.  

Attacking from the White House four American minority women and then repeating the attacks during a campaign rally clearly shows the President is worried and will stop at nothing.  

The President is for sure prejudice against women and people of color.  Whether President Trump is a racists makes little or no difference.  People of color and women must understand the importance of their 2020 vote and a not voting is not an option.  

In a country where for almost every one “home” was another country (except native Americans), go back from where you came is not an option.