Friday, April 28, 2017

The Confused President

President Trump seems to me to be pretty confused about what to do as president.  He seems more symbolic than substantive as a president.  He has issued a flurry of executive orders that attack the safety of Americans – attacking environmental protections, attacking safety and worker regulations, attacking sanctuary cities, harassing and deporting immigrants (which makes the immigrant communities shrink away from law enforcement and not come forward to help fight the crime and even terrorist activities in their beleaguered societies), etc. – but I actually don’t know how effective those are, or if they are mostly photo ops on the Trump as President Reality TV show.

His attempt to gut the Affordable Care Act throws millions off of the insurance rolls – another attack on the safety of Americans, and one that hurts the poor rural Trump voters the hardest.  But, the good news is that since he never had a clue how to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare it will go nowhere.  Turns out the Republican Congress never had a clue how to replace Obamacare either, so they all just bumble around – thank goodness. 

His security team seems to be a good one, and I am grateful for that.

His Attorney General looks to me like a fanatical anti-immigrant Confedreate nut case out to harm as many non-white people as possible, but I guess that is what ultimately got Mr. Trump elected.

He actually said that trying to replace Obamacare was very complicated – “Who knew?”- Only everybody who was paying any attention eight years ago when Obamacare was being painfully cobbled together.

He actually said that being president is a lot harder than he thought it was going to be.  This, of course, confirms many of our thoughts about this shallow man – that he is a dilettante without the focus or stamina to do this job.

He is good at making headlines.  Good at keeping his hard core base in line, but they should start having “aha moments” of realization that he Is NOT one of them, he is not one of anyone, he is only for himself and his pathetically grandiose and needy ego.

I will give him credit for one thing – he allowed himself to be talked out of suspending NAFTA so as not to devastate the parts of the country that voted for him.  Apparently, there are some folks who have access to him who can present reality to him, which is very different than the alt-right grab bag of “alternative facts” that he played to during his campaign.  Makes the Alternative Facts folks pretty unhappy, I would presume.

If he ever becomes a real liability to the Republican politicians in Congress, he is toast.  He is eminently impeachable in a couple of ways – first he is in obvious violation of the Emoluments Clause of the constitution, and second, the investigations into his collusion with the hostile government of Russia in order to get elected grinds on despite his efforts to distract us all with his song and dance show.  Only the Reps can impeach him, but it is not all that unlikely given his unquestioned ability to dramatically screw things up.

Being a real president is hard work – who knew?  It’s probably time for him to pull a Palin and resign to pursue his true passion as a media star.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Is the president showing small signs of humanity?

It's hard for me to give any credit to Trump, but he actually had a pretty good week.  As much as I hate the idea of getting involved in the tar baby of Syria and the religious wars in the Middle East, his swift and punitive missile strike against a Syrian air base last week in response to Assad's horrendous gassing of his own people felt like the right thing to do.  Obama drew a line in the sand about chemical weapons and then analyzed himself out of overt action against Assad when he crossed that fundamental line that the world had decided was beyond the bounds of acceptable human behavior during a war - way back in WWI.  Assad's actions were so inhumane that Trump's daughter was able to persuade her father to do something.

I don't know if it was a smart thing to do, but how do we sit by and watch such human degradation and atrocities at the hands of Assad?  And of Isis? and of so many in the Islamic religious wars?  

I think the missile strike shocked Russia and China as well, and that might be a good thing to have them see America as an active force in the world in the role of moral leadership - moral leadership?  Trump?  A humanitarian hawk after all? This is a hard concept to grasp, but there is at least a glimmer of hope that it is true.

What I am encouraged by, in addition to his being able to have his heart touched by his daughter, is his willingness to turn to what may be the only three competent and able adults in his administration - Secretary of Defense, Mattis - Secretary of State, Tillerson - and National Security Advisor, McMaster.  It is tempting to think Trump acted on a whim, but I hope that his action was at the council and advice of these three in his foreign policy team.

Now if only he would find some humane adults to help shape his domestic policies as well.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A sad day

A sad day today - the Republicans invoked the nuclear option in the Senate in order to confirm Gorsich to the Supreme Court. Senators are falling all over themselves swearing the filibuster will never go away for legislation and that this majority rule will apply only to judges. 

Sadly, that probably will not hold true. Both parties caved to the furor of their bases when the Dems futilely filibustered Gorsich, and the Reps went nuclear. They will do the same too soon when a contentious bill comes up, and kaboom!  No more filibusters, and thus no more Senate - just a smaller version of the House where all that counts is the majority.  And both parties will devolve into being pawns of the most rabid voices of their bases. 

This means the toxic levels of polarization will just spiral down into even more disgusting separation.  Politics is disappearing and is being replaced with two worlds who cannot speak to each other due to their mutual contempt. 

A sad day for America today. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

If the filibuster is eliminated, the Senate is just another House of Representatives

The Democrats seem to be on a suicide mission - to filibuster Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.  They cannot win.  The Republicans will use the Nuclear Option and eliminate the filibuster, shame on them but they will do it.  Without the filibuster the Senate is nothing more than a smaller version of the House of Representatives - i.e. the majority party rules and the minority party might as well not show up.

It would be just another terrible tumble down the rabbit hole of extremist "politics".  Real politics is dialogue - extremist politics is dogma where there is no negotiating, listening, compromising, innovation, bi-partisanship, courtesy, cooperation, dignity, humanity - only conquest. 

I pray that the Dems pull back from their vengeance over the Reps' abuse of Obama and Garland.  The Reps won, they will fill the Scalia seat, the Dems can't stop that, but they can act like children and pull down the Senate in their pique.

I say don't do it.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pence and the Republicans decide to increase the number of abortions in America

Republicans finally got to take a step to defund Planned Parenthood.  VP Mike Pence cast the tie breaker. 

"Republican legislation letting states deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers squeezed narrowly through the Senate Thursday..."

"The federal family planning program was created 1970 and in 2015 served 4 million clients at nearly 4,000 clinics. Most of the money is for providing services like contraceptives, family planning counseling, breast and cervical cancer screening and sexually transmitted disease prevention. It has a $286 million federal budget this year.
Most recipients are women, and two-thirds have incomes at or below the federal poverty level, around $12,000 for an individual. Six in 10 say the program's services are their only or most frequent source of health care."
I imagine that Pence and the Reps are proud of themselves for reducing abortions, but of course, exactly the opposite will happen - abortions will rise, as will disease and health issues amongst the women depending on family planning and health services.  

Without family planning and contraceptive care and assistance there will be more pregnancies and thus more abortions of unwanted pregnancies.

Ideology is a strange thing, blocking out any information that contradicts the dogma. The Reps hurt poor women today. Not happy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A blow against internet privacy

It's hard for me to keep up with all the things Trump and the Republicans are doing which harm us.  But, I just wanted to point out one that just happened.  They are removing internet privacy laws, allowing companies to sell information on us including:

"...browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers..."

This does not make me happy.  They are making us unsafe.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Don't provoke the "nuclear option" over Gorsuch

I think I have been too didactic, polemic, and left wing since the advent of Trump and Trumpism.  I want to feel more balanced as I think about America and the world.  To that end, I am thinking liberals are sometimes moving unwisely out of their disgust of Trump.

I think liberals make a mistake by going all out to block Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.  I understand that the left think that the Republicans stole the vacated Scalia seat from them by refusing to hold hearings on Obama’s moderate left nominee – Merrick Garland.  And I think it was appalling that they did that.  But, in truth, what chance would he have had to be confirmed by a Republican controlled Senate?  I disagreed with the tactic, but I don’t think Obama would have gotten a nominee confirmed.

And now the Republicans control the White House and the Senate.  They will decide who becomes the next Supreme Court judge.  If the Democrats exact revenge for Garland, don’t they use up all of their weapons on this confirmation – i.e. the filibuster?  Gorsuch will replace Scalia, and the court balance becomes what it had been before Scalia’s passing.  I didn’t like many of the decisions of that court, but it’s not really a change. 

If the Dems block Gorsuch, isn’t there another Gorsuch in the wings for the job?  If they  tempt the Republicans to use the “nuclear option” of bypassing the filibuster and needing only a majority to confirm, they would be much wiser, it seems to me, to wait until, or if, it is time to replace a liberal Justice, not a conservative one.

I think liberals are laboring under a fantasy that hearings into Russian - Trump campaign improprieties will nullify the election.  But isn't that about the same fantasy that conservatives harbored for a long time that it would be proved that Obama was really born in Kenya, and his election would be nullified?  

The Reps were in the cold for eight years, they are in power now, and will be for at least two more years, and maybe up to eight.  Liberals need to do something other than copy the extremism of the Reps during the Obama years.  

I have hope that new leadership can emerge from the Left out of the ashes of the 2016 election to shine a new light.  And, as a matter of fact, as Trump and the Reps continue to destroy themselves now that they are stuck with power and responsibility, I have hope that new leadership can arise from their ashes as well into an inspiring vision of the Right - which is not Libertarian, or Tea Party, or Corporate Plutocracy...