Friday, June 15, 2018

Jeff Sessions racist justification for pulling children from their parents

Leaders from the Confederacy have been quoting Romans 13 to justify their own racism for a couple of hundred years.  Most recently, Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, defended separating children from their parents who are seeking asylum in the United States with that reference.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind."

Journalists Zauzmer and McMillan pointed out in their article today:
There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked,” said John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. “One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution.”...

The other, Fea said, “is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong. I mean, this is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made.”

I am really tired of being ruled by the Confederacy, which came to power in the 2016 election of Trump. Racism in some of its most vile manifestations are front and center in this Administration and in some of the more extreme of Trump's base.  

I want America back.  White Supremacy is as odious today in Trumpland as it ever was during the days of slavery and the Jim Crow south.  It is time for it to crawl back under little rocks where it belongs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kim Jong Un gets what he wants from Trump

Trump and Kim met and shook hands.  The good news is that they have not decided to launch nukes at each other.  

More good news for Kim - he got something he and his predecessors have been wanting since the Korean armistice, a face to face meeting with a president of the United States, and thus a significant boost in the status of the leader of North Korea, a legitimizing of him and his brutal regime.

Another thing Kim got was a cessation of military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, a long desired outcome for him. 

And what did he give up?  I don't think he gave anything in return.  Oh, a vague promise to denuclearize, but that is a standard promise from the Kims which they promptly break.

What did the U.S. get? I don't think we got anything.

What did Trump get?  A headline.  An "historic headline and photo op".  Trump got the only thing he ever cares about.  Applause.

The great negotiator did what he always seems to do, give away the farm for a headline. Ratings you know...

I am truly grateful that both men found something else to do rather than nuke each other.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trump’s trade deficit obsession

Our willfully uninformed president obsesses on the idea that trade deficits are bad. But they are only arithmetic. As explained by conservative economist, Martin Feldstein -

If a country consumes more than it produces, it must import more than it exports. That’s not a rip-off; that’s arithmetic.

If we manage to negotiate a reduction in the Chinese trade surplus with the United States, we will have an increased trade deficit with some other country.

Federal deficit spending, a massive and continuing act of dissaving, is the culprit. Control that spending and you will control trade deficits.

But, of course this president and his Republican Congress just massively increased the deficit. All the better to gut Social Security and Medicare next year, doncha know.

I long for leaders who actually know things. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Robert Kennedy Assassinated 50 years ago

Fifty years ago Robert Kennedy was shot, he died the next day, and I graduated from the University of Illinois and got on a plane to fly to Los Angeles.  My California life had begun, and I’ve never looked back.

1968 was a very tough year.  MLK and RFK were assassinated, cities were burning out of black rage, Viet Nam turned a critical corner toward defeat with the TET Offensive.  The country and the world were in chaos.

But, I continued to live my life and live it happily. 

My point is that today’s country and world is also in chaos today – our president claims he can pardon himself from any crime he commits in office, our country is starting trade wars, white supremacists are feeling empowered to be “politically incorrect”, women are rising up and taking down abusive male fortresses, the Republican Congress is not able to summon the courage to even criticize let alone impeach even the most egregious constitutional offenses of their president.

Globalism is disrupting the economies and workforces of America and all of the Industrial world.  Terrorism is a constant pressure on so much of the world.  And corruption, greed, and fear are undermining so much of the world order.  Things are a mess.

And we each can create our own happy and successful lives.  Just like we did in 1968.  This country is too wonderful to be destroyed by the forces tearing it apart.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Does Trump dance to Russia's tune?

Things that Trump does that Russia likes:

  • Attacks the credibility of U.S. media (so that people won’t believe them when they criticize him.
  • Attacks the credibility of the intelligence services (so that people won’t believe them when they say Russia helped get him elected – or when they present evidence critical of him as a result of their investigations)
  • Attacks the credibility of the Justice Department (so that people won’t believe them when they investigate and/or charge him with crimes)

  • Attacks the alliances with Europe and NATO by defaulting on the U.S. commitment to Iran nuclear inspections
  • Withdraws from the Trans Pacific Partnership and thus throws away U.S. leadership in Asia
  • Attacks Mexico and is withdrawing from NAFTA, thus weakening an alliance with our neighbor
  • Starts trade wars with China and the world, guaranteeing damage to the U.S. economy

  • Increases the inequality gap in America (causing greater and greater hostility between the classes)  
  •  Increases and promotes racism (causing greater and greater hostility between the races)
  • Supports Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout of black and brown people

  • Ignores Russian interference with our elections and thus allows and welcomes future interference   
  •  Lets Russia pretty much do whatever it wants in Crimea, Syria, and around the world unchallenged
  • Pays scant attention to Russian imprisonments and  assassinations of political opponent of Putin

It’s possible that all of the above is not because Russia is forcing him to destroy American democracy through blackmail or bribery.  They could simply be exploiting his massive weaknesses – an insatiable, grandiose ego, willful ignorance, and easy manipulation and malleability. 

It seems quite certain to me, however, that Donald  Trump is Vladimir Putin and his Kleptocracy’s dream come true.  How could they better destroy their old enemy America than help put this man in charge?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Trump's idiocy kills Palestinians

In December, I wrote that Trump's declaration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would ignite the tinderbox of the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.  It did.

"...soldiers on Monday killed 41 Palestinians demonstrating along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip and wounded more than 1,600 in the bloodiest day in the enclave since the 2014 war with Israel, according to the Gaza Health Ministry"

To add to the idiocy of the Trump move, he got nothing in return from Israel when he moved the embassy.  Every president has promised a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, IF Israel would freeze or abandon the settlements in the occupied territories.  So, Trump gave it away for free - not exactly free, of course, the cost will be Palestinan deaths. 

For some reason my conservative friends think Trump is a good negotiator.  All he does is give things away for free - just as long as he gets a nice headline for a day. 

But, Netanyahu is happy. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Trump and Iran and war

The man who is sadly our president has just pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.  Hard to fathom.

First, it does no good.  The deal struck by the U.S. and it's European allies got something and gave something in order to strike the deal.  It got very comprehensive and detailed inspections into Iran's nuclear programs. It gave the release of Iranian monies in return.  So, Iran got what it wanted already.  For the U.S. to pull out of the deal is to have given Iran what it wanted and said that Iran no longer needs to give us what we want.  Hard to imagine dumber deal making.  "The Art of the Deal"?  How about the art of giving away everything and walking away from the return?

It is easy to know that Trump didn't know much about what was in the deal.  He is remorselessly ignorant of almost everything to do with the U.S. government, and his supporters like that about him the most, it appears to me.

Why did he do it?  Primarily to do the only thing that he cares about - undoing everything that Obama did.  Whatever Obama did - environment, education, health care, foreign policy - he undoes.  Because he has no other ideas of what to do.

Why did he do it?  Because Netanyahu told him to and he thinks Netanyahu is tough and Donald wants to be tough like Netanyahu.

Why did he do it?  Because the Saudi royal family praised him mightily and had a very manly sword dance in his honor, and the Saudis are tough and he wants to be tough like the Saudis.  

Why did he do it? Because the Saudis have convinced him that the two warring factions - the Saudi Sunnis and Iranian Shiites - have good guys (the Saudi Sunnis) and bad guys (the Iranian Shiites).  So he does what the Saudis tell him to  do.

Why did he do it? To pull away from Europe, which pleases his xenophobic base who look down upon Europe as a bunch of softie socialists.

Why did he do it?  Because his National Security Advisor John Bolton wants him to, and John Bolton is a tough guy and Donald wants to be be tough like John Bolton.

Why did he do it?  Because he promised he would on the campaign and the crowds cheered and applauded, and he can't live without thunderous applause.

Why did he do it?  Because it grabs the headlines for a day, and distracts from the many headlines of him and his people in the Russian conspiracy investigation. 

Why did he do it?  Because he has taken sides with the Saudis and is waging war against Iran.

Why did he do it?  Because - I hope I am wrong -John Bolton and Mike Pompeo and the Saudis and the Israelis want the U.S. to wage a shooting war against Iran.  They will hold our coats while we go fight and die....

Why did he do it?  Because the only person Trump every cares about or even thinks about is Donald Trump and Donald Trump thinks this is good for Donald Trump.