Archive for the ‘Donald Trump’ category

Taking Back My Freedom

January 10, 2021

I wonder whether the irony was lost on the “Stop the Steal” marchers in Washington this past Wednesday.  So many of the marchers when interviewed expressed emotions about “regaining my freedom”.  The implication seemed to be that government, or at least parts of it, was intent on taking, or had already taken away, some freedom or rights this person felt ownership for.  The question might be were these protesters “Sir Lancelots” or “Don Quixotes”?

I know two people who fit this “regaining my freedom” category.  Both are reasonable and responsible in most everyday aspects of life.  Both are productive citizens and have been my friend for many years.  Yet both suspect and fear the reach of government, especially at the Federal level.  Both accept the likely validity of most conspiracy theories.  And both reject the Democrat Party and especially the Party leaders.

Both of my friends view the world as too full of rules and particularly detest rules designed to get people to do what (my friends think) people should already know they should do.  And both feel that if someone did not obey the rule and suffered a natural consequence, then so what, that is their problem.

Both of my friends are well educated and have worked in professions where using facts and data was critical.  Yet when the President began his rants inciting the “Stop the Steal” frenzy, both of my friends accepted the President’s claims that fraud had permeated the elections in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona.  The lack of evidence and the consequential rejection by the courts seemed to make no difference.

To be sure, there is a significant component of illogic in anyone’s political party identification. This is particularly true if one buys into all the political party’s or politician’s statements.  From my perspective, however, the hypocrisies of politicians like Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley seem transparently false and mean spirited.  They should know better.

 President Trump, who for 4 years has described the world as he wished it were, not as it was, has attempted to convince his supporters he is the only purveyor of truth.    My friends have every right to support who they wish including President Trump.  Believing in the President, however, does not make his words factual.  My friends have a further responsibility.

The strength of the American system lies in the fact that not everyone needs to think the same way.  So it is important for me to remember that my friends are entitled to hold views I consider unsupported.  It is also important that when the votes are counted that my friends accept the results, and work towards electing officials who think like them in the next election.  My friends and others holding similar views, however, do not have license to force their views on me other than through the rule of law.  

Who is Sir Lancelot and who is Don Quixote?

Bull Moose Again?

January 7, 2021

It has taken 4 years for traditional members of the Republican Party to realize President Trump is not one of them.  For 4 years the President has handed out favors, kudos, and bluffery to the delight of so many “want-a be’s”.  President Trump seemed unstoppable.  Winning became so repetitive that it became almost tiresome.  But now, it is morning in America, and a jarring assessment of the Trump Administration is unavoidably clear.  Hmmm.

President Trump has been no conservative nor has he been a Republican as most people would understand the party.  President Trump was as likely to champion “Democrat” policies as “Republican” ones if it suited his personal objectives.  Fiscal objectives and sound financial boundaries were things of the past.  Government spending was undertaken without regard to paying for it.  And shameless policies around “pro-life”, anti-gay, and pro-xenophobia were dished out like candy if again it suited Trump’s short term objectives.  What former GOP leader in modern times acted like President Trump has?

Yesterday’s contested electoral college certification vote, and the associated intimidation of Congress by the most zealous Trump “Stop The Steal” rioters… in reality a mob of avid Trump supporters many of who blindly follow his urgings, displayed for all to see how dangerous and misguided Trump philosophy and shenanigans really are.  There is no way Donald Trump can be the Republican Party standard bearer again since big money can no longer ignore the danger Trump represents.

So, if there is no future in the GOP, what then for Trump in 2024?

Donald Trump is for sure his own captain. 

  • Trump could go quietly into retirement tending to his businesses and playing golf. 
  • Or, Trump could attempt to keep his aspirations to become “commander-in-chief again alive. 

One must assume this second scenario would involve a running commentary on the Biden Administration.  When the Republican primaries come around (2023, 2024), the GOP will face a fork in the road.  One branch will be to endorse Trump and in effect have the Republican Party renamed and become the “Trump Party”.  The other branch will be to nominate someone else (main stream republican) and face the risk that Trump decides to run anyways as a third party.

Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 was defeated in his quest for the Republican nomination and left the party. Roosevelt joined the “progressive party” or as it was more popularly known, the Bull Moose Party.  If Trump should take this path, the outcome will assuredly follow Roosevelt’s fate, another loss. 

But what may turn out to be even more significant. Either the renamed Trump GOP or the Trump Independent Party will unleash the rump of the old GOP and these former Republicans will look for where they should express their political beliefs. Could a fractured Republican Party stimulate a similar break up of the Democrat Party? Could one imagine a recombination of center right Republicans and center left Democrats into a centrist major Party?

Donald Trump will certainly be judged by historians as one of, if not the worst President. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Trump inadvertently catalyzed the formation of a new major political party, successor to the current Republican and Democrat parties?

Absent From Civics Class

January 3, 2021

News reports are predicting that as many as 12 Republican Senators plan to object to the Electoral College’s selection of Joe Biden as the 46th President during the January 6th Joint Session of Congress.  This customary rubber stamp which follows the actual vote (reported by news networks), State certifications of the vote, and the official meeting of the Electoral College where each State once more verifies that State’s choice of President apparently will not be customary this year.

Instead at least two groups of Republican Senators will raise dubious objections to the Electoral College results.  It is important to note who these Senators are:

  • Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), 
  • Mike Braun (Ind.), 
  • Ted Cruz (Texas), 
  • Steve Daines (Mont.), 
  • Ron Johnson (Wis.), 
  • John Kennedy (La.), 
  • James Lankford (Okla.),  
  • Bill Hagerty (Tenn.)*
  • Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.)*, 
  • Roger Marshall (Kan.)*,  
  • Tommy Tuberville (Ala.)*
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.)**
  • Senator Elects. ** Separate objection.

While there may be a variety of motivations for these Senators, for example anticipated political support for 2022 or 2024, the fundamental understanding of our democratic system and the razor thin line separating authoritarianism from participatory democracy seems missing. Where were these Senators when “Civics Classes” were held? 

Most pundits also predict these Senator’s objections have (1) no merit or (2) possess a snow ball’s chance of prevailing. This makes their planned objection even more incredulous.

Joe Biden will become the 46th President on January 20 and Donald Trump will become a one term loser also on January 20.  For these Senators to mount objections (without any provable basis) does an enormous disservice to all Americans, including the many ardent Trump supporters.  If Donald Trump can point to 4 or 5 States and say without proof that their election results were fraudulent, why would it not be reasonable to expect any other President to deny the vote results in future elections?

So if Biden is to be the next President, what is the big deal?

Clear Precedent.

  • In a participative democracy, rules are set before elections.  Elections are held and winners chosen. 
  • In third world countries and authoritarian states, winners are incumbents and rules are adjusted (or ignored) in order for the predetermined winner to be announced. 

President Trump has charged that the elections in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia were in some manner “rigged”.  His remedy is to throw out the results and have a “do over”, or simply eliminate votes cast early or by mail in ballots in certain counties.  Hmmm.  Sounds like changing the rules to fit Trump’s idea of who the winner should be.

Most people do not think deeply about the nature of participatory democracy nor are they students of how authoritarian or dictatorship governments come into existence.  When US Senators, without evidence, question the validity of an election they are positing that their view of election rules is superior to those exercised by another State. 

Where is their proof?  Where are the incidents of fraud and why are the election rules suspect now and were not suspect before the election?

During President Biden’s term there will be contentious issues and these same 12 Senators will speak up.   It is unlikely anyone can be as misguided as these 12 are on this issue and then suddenly be correct on some future issue.  History will remember these 12 if they persist in their current position.  

Light At The End ….

December 30, 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, America and Americans can confirm that this year was like no other in memory.  Pandemic, shuttered economy, and social distancing before enjoying life with family and friends marked the year. What will their lasting impact be?  Will these events hasten the decline of America on the world stage?  Will the American Dream fade away?  Will the bridges over the Mississippi suddenly collapse?  Hmmm.

For a nation who has forgotten about the need for infrastructure maintenance (probably a tendency left over from the “disposable society” era or one from the even more dangerous “free lunch” syndrome), the thought that bridges, roads, and ports not to mention factories, utilities distribution lines, and houses all having a useful life, which is shorter without repairs and upgrades, seems a vanishing idea.  Our politicians have helped lead Americans to the conclusion that free lunches exist by running the Federal Government with an ever increasing National Debt.  Why should Americans make choices between current consumption and future investment?  Shouldn’t Americans have it all?

There is so much to be upbeat about 2021.  It would appear the world is turning the corner on Covid-19.  Once the virus is under control, a return to a more normal life seems possible. Old businesses reopen, new businesses begin.  Sports flood local fields and fill television screens.  Eating or having a drink will be unimpeded in local bars and restaurants.  Sounds so good.

Unfortunately these positives are just the surface and the heart of America’s greatness lies dangerously unattended.

It will be tempting for many to think there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  The pandemic has a match with the vaccines, the economy is ready for a rebound, and the Country will have a new, rational, and compassionate President.  With all these positives, let’s hope the country remembers to deal with our chronic underlying problems and not stop with the cosmetic ones.

$2000, $4000 For A Married Couple

December 28, 2020

President Trump, after months of no engagement with Congressional groups attempting to create a coronavirus follow up stimulus package, has suddenly come alive in a most unhelpful manner.  The President has refused to sign the Congressional $900 Billion package claiming the $600 per person is too measly.  The President is demanding $2000 per person, $4000 for married couples.  Hmmm.

Do you think the President is so attached to individual Americans that he will only be satisfied with higher per person payments?

There is little or no chance the President gives a hoot about anyone but himself.  For the four years he has been President, Trump has shown no genuine interest in anyone but himself (and maybe his close family).  So why the $2000?

If you are a voter what would you prefer, $600 or $2000?  Even though there is no chance Senate Republicans would approve $2000 payments, the average voter might remember in 2024 that former President Trump wanted to give him $2000.  Even more worrisome, what would the average voter think should the Presidents stumble into “martial law” in an attempt to remain President?  Hmmm.

The big and unanswered question will be, what if there were no $600 either.  Will voters remember there could have been $600 payments but President Scrooge refused to sign the bill?  We will never know because late yesterday the President signed the bill delivering the $600 as well as avoiding a government shut down.  Hmmm.

Brexit Time

December 26, 2020

The European Union and the British Government announced an agreement (pending approval by both parliaments) to a negotiated departure of Britain from the European Union.  Brexit, as this initiative was dubbed, is now complete and beginning January 1, 2021, the European Union will have one less member.

Brexit politicians ranted and raved about Britain “regaining” its sovereignty.  Enough voters were hood winked and voted narrowly in favor of leaving the EU. One must accept the fact that for better or worse, those supporting this narrowly popular choice would get their way.  Brexit politicians promised the moon but will have a hard time delivering the fields of honey Brexit was supposed to deliver.  To the contrary, most sober economic assessments predict a marked slowing of British GDP growth when compared to what GDP might have been with Britain still as part of the EU.  Hmmm.

Brexit stands as a shining example of hollow political promises versus real money in the pocket.  The British people were offered “sovereignty” and allusions that the future outside the EU would be bright.  Somehow Britains swallowed “sovereignty” in place of Shepards Pie, and in the months and years ahead the world will see how nutritious “sovereignty” really is.

So maybe you are thinking “how could Britains be so easily fooled”?  Have you paid any attention to “Make America Great Again” promises and deliveries? 

Old Bone Spurs

December 22, 2020

The 2020 Presidential election has been held, votes counted, and the winner determined. Joseph R Biden will become the 46th President of the United States.  Current President Trump will become “former” President Trump, a one term loser.

President Trump, however, can’t accept the reality that he was voted out of office.  Instead he has urged supporters to find any means to contest the election results particularly in “swing” States.  State, Federal and in some cases the Supreme Court have ruled against the Trump suits, and most recently the official “Electoral College” vote confirmed Biden’s victory.

Over the weekend, the President was said to have asked whether declaring martial law in swing States could help his cause.  Presumably the martial law could facilitate a “re-do” of the election in those States.  Think about it.  In America, the military would step in and force a rerun of an election over turning the previously valid vote of millions of citizens.  Hmmm.

The President has denied such a meeting took place.  And even if it did take place as described, the President may have just been curious.  Hmmm.

President Trump’s persistence in attempting to overturn the November 3 results have generated huge campaign contributions from loyal supporters.  The contributions estimated at north of $200 million, at the end of the day, is “free” money for the President. Do you think Trump would raise these election objections just to raise money? Hmmm.

I wonder whether Trump’s loyal supporters see the irony at play.

  • The President has already fleeced tax payers for four years by steering government spending through Trump family owned businesses and still feels entitle to skimming more money from supporters.
  • And as a last hurrah, President Trump who avoided military service in the late 60’s citing bone spurs as a medical exemption, now is thinking about throwing a Hail Mary by deploying the military like other two bit dictators.

Hmmm.

Blind Faith

December 17, 2020

Yesterday I noticed the following Face Book posting which in a nut shell captures “blind faith”.  The posting by Franklin Graham offers solace to all the saddened Trump supporters who are now waking up to the fact that Joe Biden will become the 46th President on January 20th.  Here’s Graham’s Facebook post…

Franklin GrahamDecember 14 at 6:06 PM

·People have asked if I am disappointed about the election. When I think about my answer, I have to say honestly, that I am grateful—grateful to God that for the last four years He gave us a president who protected our religious liberties; grateful for a president who defended the lives of the unborn, standing publicly against abortion and the bloody smear it has made on our nation; grateful for a president who nominated conservative judges to the Supreme Court and to our federal courts; grateful for a president who built the strongest economy in 70 years with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years before the pandemic; grateful for a president who strengthened and supported our military; grateful for a president who stood against “the swamp” and the corruption in Washington; grateful for a president who supported law and order and defended our police.  I’m grateful for a president and a vice president who recognized the importance of prayer and were not ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ. I’m thankful that the president stood against the secularists who wanted to take Christ out of Christmas and that he brought back the greeting “Merry Christmas!” So as we come to the end of this election season, I look back with a grateful heart and thank God for all of these things. It is unfortunate that many people got confused and made the election about personalities rather than the policies of the candidates. President Trump will go down in history as one of the great presidents of our nation, bringing peace and prosperity to millions here in the U.S. and around the world. May God bless him, Melania, and their family, as God leads him to the next chapter in his life.

Successful religious leaders are people who can deftly lead someone’s views from darkness and depression to instead see success and hopefulness.  Franklin Graham’s words provide a good example and hopefully help some of the 72 million Americans who voted for President Trump move on.  Graham’s words are also an outstanding example of “Blind Faith” where what Graham is saying is either irrelevant, misleading, or incorrect but his faith drives him to these conclusions.

He gave us a president who protected our religious liberties”  Donald Trump is an amoral and unethical pretender who saw in others a “vote” or a source of campaign donations.  

grateful for a president who defended the lives of the unborn”  Trump showed, however, no interest in the lives of immigrant children separating them from their parents or in the final days of his administration, chose to hurry the execution of a half dozen prisoners truncating their appeals processes.

grateful for a president who built the strongest economy in 70 years with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years before the pandemic”  President Trump presided over one of the strongest economies and lowest unemployment rates but both the economy and the unemployment rate were baked in, hand me downs from the Obama Administration.  Check the data.

grateful for a president who strengthened and supported our military”   While true that President Trump sought to increase Government spending, including defense spending, Trump was simply reversing the will of a Republican lead Congress who during the Obama years insisted on no increases in the budget.

grateful for a president who supported law and order and defended our police.”   Dog whistle language subtly aimed at minorities.  I wonder what George Floyd would have to say? 

I’m grateful for a president and a vice president who recognized the importance of prayer and were not ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ. I’m thankful that the president stood against the secularists who wanted to take Christ out of Christmas and that he brought back the greeting “Merry Christmas!”    I would ask what Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists think about this?   

President Trump will go down in history as one of the great presidents of our nation, bringing peace and prosperity to millions here in the U.S. and around the world.”  In the waning days of President Trump’s first term, the President focused his attention on subverting our democratic principles and disenfranchising millions of voters.  History will almost certainly judge President Trump as one of the worst Presidents despite what Reverend Graham might like to think.

Stop The Steal

December 14, 2020

One can say many things about President Trump but as a “showman” one must be cautious if criticism seems appropriate.  Trump, if nothing else, is a merchandizer.  Of course Trump sells nothing of value other than a mirage of cleverly packaged wishes design to satisfy some at the expense of others.  Trump has no skin in his game.

Come January 21, 2021, Trump becomes “former” President Trump which enrolls him as a regular citizen who happens to have a secret service detail.  Trump will have the opportunity to blend back into everyday life, return to his real estate dealings and with the help of a ghost writer, create the chronicle of the “Trump Years”.  

There will probably be a premium on publishing the “Trump Years” relatively soon that is sooner rather than later.  The stench associated with President Trump’s current “Stop the Steal” campaign will only get worse.  On top of Americans gradually understanding the seriousness of Trump’s attempts to subvert the electoral process in “battleground States”, the maturing fruits of the Trump Administration’s four years will become more evident.  None of it will smell like “give us more”.

There is a hard core group, maybe one third to one half of those who voted for President Trump who are unconditional supporters.  Trump the image, not Trump the person, answers this group’s wants in a leader.  In a representative democracy, the winning and losing sides commit to respecting the Constitution, laws, and norms regardless of the outcome. Trump is teaching the opposite… a Trump win means Trump gets to change the rules when he wishes.

On December 14 presidential electors will meet in their individual State capitals and symbolically cast the official vote for President.  The vote should confirm that President-elect Joe Biden won the election with 306 electoral votes.  End of story?

Maybe.  On January 6th, Congress will meet to certify the electoral college vote.  It is possible that certain Senators and Representatives may contest the vote submitted by their State.  Given that the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats, it is hard to see this event as nothing more than a poorly considered political stunt.  After the 6th, it will be time for President Trump to begin packing his bags.

“Stop the Steal” is a good news, bad news slogan.  The slogan is catchy and appeals to the Trump loyalist’s sense of having backed the real winner.  The elephant in the room problem is that there is no evidence of any fraud in the scale of tilting the election outcome.  The truth that will come out each time Trump supporters try to cry foal, is that President Trump in the end is the loser, maybe the biggest loser of all.  I wonder what that makes Trumps supporters?

Living In Strange Times

December 11, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed some “exceptional” traits in America.  One of the major “shockers” is the fierce resistance many have shown to be required to wear a face mask.  “No one can tell me to wear a mask” grown men and women shout at those who ask them to wear a mask and to social distance.  Denial of science and medical advice is one explanation but total lack of respect for fellow travelers is another.  It seems “no masks” is all about me.

One can far easier understand small business owners (like bars and restaurants, nail salons, etc) who may face bankruptcy on top of no income for their objection to sweeping public health edicts.  And to be sure, especially amongst young adults, hormones are a driver which prompts behaviors more interested in amorous adventure than social distancing.  

Insidiously, it appears a Covid-19 characteristic is that most people (especially the young) exhibit mild symptoms if any.  While good news, never the less as infection rates rise, other vulnerable groups (aged, underlying conditions compromised) do get infected and the results can be deadly.  I wonder whether this younger, carefree group think about the potential consequences?

But as strange as the pandemic has been, the Presidential election has generate just as questionable behavior.  Who would have ever thought that early voting along with mail in ballots would suddenly be in question in only four States (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia).  How could a President simply single out these four States as home for fraudulent voting results?  How could the Republican Party allow itself to be complicit in a blatant attack on basic democratic principles?  Even if one allows President Trump to act out as if he was not in control of his mental faculties, how could so many other established Republican politicians standby and remain silent?

Do Republicans think the so far baseless charges the President has made cannot in some future election be leveled at them?  Or is the fear so great within Republican and Trump circles that worrying about the future begins right now with this election.  What is it the President and his allies worry about?

Our country has survived four years of “no rules apply to me” Donald Trump.  And my guess is the 2020 election will ultimately be followed by a Joe Biden presidency.  As with President Obama, America will do quite well with President Biden despite all the cries of doom and gloom we hear today.  As history marches on our collective memories no longer recall the horrors of world wars and the senseless justifications for mass destruction.  For those who read, it is time to remind our fellow Americans that civil life is not a given but instead results from a complex, interconnected set of norms, laws, and practices.

Our democratic representative form of government relies upon laws, rules, and processes in each State. The objective is that this process affords each American the opportunity to vote. The winner of the vote becomes the next President, full stop. One can be dissatisfied with whomever received the most votes but representative democracy does not allow for a revote because some do not like the outcome. The next election is waiting for those who do not like the outcome this time.

President Trump’s current behavior represents the lowest and most dangerous assault on the “American Way” we have seen to date.  Senator Pat Toomey has set the right example by speaking out this week.  Far more Republican Representatives and Senators need to step up and make clear the election is over, it is time to move on.