Tag Archives: nomination

Donald Trump is a Russian Spy (Maybe)

I think that Donald Trump is a Russian spy. Here’s the evidence.

First and foremost, he is an ardent admirer of Vlad (the Impaler) Putin. Of course, I can’t be sure whether it’s political or sexual attraction to the ex-KGB guy with the penchant for going shirtless, but I’ll give The Donald the benefit of the doubt and assume the attraction is political. Philosophically, they do seem to be well aligned. And they’re both bullies.

Next, Trump supports the Russian invasion of the Crimea and feels that the US should recognize the extended Russian claims over Ukraine.

And then there is his urging of Russian cyber-intelligence to hack into US servers, especially Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server. In other words, he’s advocating espionage against the United States by a foreign entity. One more step over the line and he’ll be guilty of treason.

Trump spends most of his time running down the country as an out of control mess, a place where everywhere you turn you expose yourself to the possibility of a violent death at the hands of people who don’t look like you (read: white). And in much of the time during which he isn’t trying to scare the bejesus out of the poorly educated and bigoted masses, he disparages the military, thus providing propaganda support for Russia. His recent attack on the parents of an American soldier, including his unconcealed racist insinuations about Muslim culture forcing the soldier’s mother to remain silent, goes far beyond the limits of decency and, again, speaks to his lack of loyalty and respect for American ideals and institutions. In this latter regard, no one is spared from his attacks, as evidenced by his recent verbal attacks on firefighters for simply enforcing limits on legal occupancy at his rallies. Firefighters!

While all this speaks to his borderline treasonous behavior, one has to ask why he’s acting this way. Could it be that he’s in severe financial trouble and needs money from the Russians to keep him afloat? Well, that’s just unsubstantiated speculation on my part, something Trump does all the time as he makes de facto accusations with implicit rather than explicit language.

Of course none of this Russian stuff explains why he also seems to be supporting ISIS. You don’t believe that he supports radical Islamic terrorist activity? For starters, just look at his ongoing denigration of America and its armed services, or his railing against what he says is the incompetence of the American government. He’s the best propaganda tool ISIS could wish for.

All of which leads me to ask one final question. Who would ever have thought that the Republicans, of all people, would nominate a modern incarnation of Benedict Arnold? Apparently all their flag waving is just a cover for the real goal of modern Republicanism: fascist, racist, ignorant dictatorship with Donald J. Trump as their anointed leader. So who’s Trump, himself, actually aspiring to be? I’ll leave the possible names from history unsaid, but you know who they are.

And the irony of all this is that Republicans brought this on, themselves. Trump is neither more nor less than the logical, inevitable outcome of years of Republican radicalism, bigotry, and waging economic and class warfare. Some Republicans are finally waking up to this ugly fact and the monstrous mess they’ve created, but party leadership remains spineless. How else to explain McConnell, Ryan, Priebus, et al., as they express their disapproval but refuse to retract their endorsement of the Party’s candidate. With gutless wonders like these at the head of the Party, is it any wonder that white supremacists and high school dropouts have felt justified in crawling out from under their rocks to support the beast?

As of today (3 August), some Party regulars are openly hoping Trump will voluntarily drop out of the race. Hah! Still no spine – just sit back, take no action, and wish for the high flying egotist to back out. The cowardice would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable. On the other hand, maybe Trump will be “disappeared” by a Russian extraction team. After all, that’s what they do when a spy’s cover is blown. And wouldn’t that be just dandy?

Of Mobs and Demagoguery: The Republican Convention of 2016

The 2016 Republican National Convention has now (thankfully) passed into history, but its effects are likely to be long-lasting. In no particular order, here is a listing of some relevant aspects of its frightening legacy, along with some observations of my own (of course).

  • The initially unlikely nomination of Donald Trump, a bloviating, bigoted, xenophobic, nationalistic, verbally abusive egomaniac has become a reality, the result of the Republican takeover by right wing extremists and evangelists. The party is now, de facto, the party of white supremacists, religious nut cases, and those with no understanding of the actual history of the United States and its founders.
  • The virtually complete takeover of the Convention’s proceedings by Trump forces resulted in trampling dissent and led to a mob mentality with behavior of the delegates that all too often (e.g., during Chris Christie’s kangaroo court performance), resembled that seen during the rise of the Third Reich. Personally, I found all those raised arms pretty terrifying.
  • Although one expects negative hyperbole denigrating the candidate of the opposing party, the behavior of the delegates as egged on by many speakers transcended the bounds of decency. Instead of being a celebration of the Republican nominee, the convention became an ugly hatefest, and if all that unites the base is hate, one wonders what Republicans will be voting for, rather than against in November.
  • We learned that Melania Trump is, as reported by the L.A. Times, an admirer of Michelle Obama, certainly an embarrassment of sorts for The Donald and others who have spent such an inordinate amount of time hating the Obamas.
  • The honesty, hard work, and dedication to principle so touted by Melania in her plagiarized speech bears no resemblance to the actual conduct of the candidate. In fact, listening to her, one would have been more than hard pressed to identify whom she was speaking about if she weren’t the candidate’s wife.
  • Every time the camera panned to the Trump family and showed his beautiful children, the only thought I could entertain was “Stepford”. In fact, so many of the women, in particular, in the arena had the same blond appearance of the Trump women that I considered the possibility that they were all programmed robots. Of course, an awful lot of the men on the convention floor looked more like beer swilling knuckle-draggers than intelligent specimens of the human species. Just sayin…but we know that Trump’s major appeal is to the white, poorly educated of our country. Just those whom we want to choose our leaders, right? And it is worth noting that this convention reportedly had fewer minority attendees than any other recent Republican convention despite the Party’s sticking some minority speakers on the program for show.
  • After the 2012 re-election of President Obama, the Republicans held that much touted autopsy on their stunning failure and came up with some reasonable conclusions about the Party’s wrong direction and what needed to be done to redirect efforts to broaden their base. The current outcome is the result of the party’s total failure to channel their own findings toward any sort of remedial action and a demonstration of how moderate influences within the party were completely overrun by the darker forces of radical religion and what now passes for conservatism but is really a complex mixture of paranoia, fear, bigotry, and a foundational philosophy anchored in preserving an American caste system.
  • Trump’s final address to the convention on Thursday night was simply raw meat for the already converted. It was a classic example of playing to white fears, denigrating the opposition, and offering no specifics while throwing out a few barely acknowledged platitudes in the vain attempt to convince a wider audience to support the ticket. And, boy, did he sound angry.
  • Neither Trump nor any other speaker acknowledged the overt bigotry and radical, chauvinistic nature of the Party’s platform, suggesting either total hypocrisy or an overt intention to deceive. In fact, if one looks at the history of VP nominee Mike Pence (Mike Pence???), one can see clearly through the deception. He is, in fact, the embodiment of the platform: a radically conservative, angry white guy out to “restore” the country to an idealized state that, in fact, never actually existed. If he and all the others of his ilk get their way, millions will lose their health care, women will once again begin dying from septic illegal abortions, climate change will be ignored, environmental degradation allowed to proceed unchecked, quality education reserved only for those who can afford it, and voter suppression will continue to run unchecked, among other “conservative” delights. Oh! Wait! It really is the Republican Party’s platform!
  • The funniest thing I heard anyone say all week came from Stephen Colbert, who commented, “Mike Pence was born after a bolt of lightning struck a jar of mayonnaise.” (See prior bullet point…)
  • In the final analysis, the 2016 Republican gathering accomplished only one thing. It played successfully to the already committed base without expanding support among elements of the public it needs to attract to have any chance of winning in the November election. Pundits say that the Party is losing more voters than it has been gaining, resulting in a net loss. We can only hope.

So Shall Ye Reap

As of today (3/5/2016), it looks as if Donald Trump (whose ancestral surname was Drumpf) is steamrolling his way to the Republican nomination for President of our now dis-United States. To quote William Bendix in The Life of Riley, “What a revoltin’ development this is!” But, then, people generally get what they deserve, and the Republican poohbahs, now all with their panties in a bunch over what, to their horror, is perhaps the impending implosion of their beloved party, catalyzed by a boorish lout with bad hair, are simply reaping what they’ve sown.

Yes, friends, I repeat: what they’ve sown. For years Republicans have worked tirelessly to undermine governmental process and inculcate anger and intolerance in segments of the population too stupid and sheep-like to know better. Pushing the notion for years that government not only is not working but is actually bad, the geniuses of the Republican hierarchy have failed to recognize that people might begin to see them as part of what’s not working. Which leads us to an understanding of why Donald Trump can (and does) say anything and people won’t (and don’t) care because he’s not an “insider”. That he’s an arrogant, misogynistic, politically ignorant, bigoted lout matters not one bit. He’s not one of them, and that’s all Republican sheep with IQs less than their ages care about.

So what’s a Republican insider to do? Probably not much that will derail the Trump juggernaut, it being too late to reverse years of sowing the seeds of discontent in people too dumb to realize that by voting for Republicans all this time they’ve been voting against themselves. Remember the guy who bitched, “Keep the government out of my Medicare!” Yeah, well, reason with that, Reince.

Is there any hope? Well, there’s despicable Ted Cruz and the pathetic hack, Marco Rubio. John Kasich at least behaves like a grown-up but, like the other two, is mired in a sort of socially repressive and punitive frontier Puritanism , apparently oblivious to, or rejecting, the validity and urgency of domestic needs that are being met in all the developed western nations except ours. So, no, there is no hope in sight for Republicans. No matter who wins the nomination, the party will continue its headlong rush into irrelevance in a changing American society. In truth, it’s hard to know which of these clowns would make a worse President for our times. Each in his own unique way reflects the mean spirited foundation of currently dominant Republican philosophy, a mindset that takes as gospel the need for enforcement of a rigid class structure with the dominant, white rich on top and everyone else oppressed below: women, nonwhites, non-Christians, and even poor whites too stupid to know they’re being scammed. Yes, scammed. Modern Republican philosophy continues to promote long discredited trickle-down theory like the hucksters of a national pyramid scheme. Give us your support, let big business bleed you dry, and we’ll make you rich. Rich, I say! Right.

So, again, I would ask whether there is hope. Well, perhaps in the other court. Let’s face it, though. Even Hillary, as smart and relatively liberal as she is, is part of the establishment. But she, at least, is not likely to deepen the hole the Republicans keep digging for the country. And Bernie? Minimal chance either for the nomination or, if lightning were to strike, the Presidency. And Grampa Bernie probably wouldn’t get very far with Congress even if he were elected. So, Hillary really is our best hope, and if we don’t see a big turnout for her in November, if we end up with one of the current crop of GOP Neanderthals in the white house, well, despite being an atheist I’ll be hoping for divine intervention.

A Few Words about a Supreme

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on 13 February came unexpectedly. Far be it for me to speak ill of the departed but, having said that, I fully expect there to be many critical opinions voiced regarding his philosophy and tenure, and I suppose that mine will be counted among them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Justice Scalia was a “bad man”. I just think that despite his purported brilliance, he was a Constitutional Neanderthal. After all, this is a guy who reveled in his view of the Constitution as a “dead” rather than a “living” document, a severely myopic view that supported the assumed perfection of the 18th Century society and minds that created our core document. Scalia refused to face the simple reality that time brings change and, with it, the need to adapt to evolving mores, priorities, and advances in knowledge. The Founding Fathers may have been brilliant and perceptive within the context of their era and, in some respects, beyond it, but we are now well over two hundred years farther along, and American society, not to mention the world in general, has grown more complex, sophisticated, and dangerous. Justice Scalia wished to preserve the nascent state of America despite overwhelming evidence that we simply are not the country that we were at our founding..

Scalia’s domineering personality, sarcastic wit on the bench, and reactionary philosophy combined over the three decades of his service on the Supreme Court to wreak havoc on established and evolving law. Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, a blow against voting rights for minorities…in his votes in these and other cases he as well as his conservative brethren vomited their contempt in large, discrete chunks for any semblance of social equality and fairness. Out of step with his time, he helped to fuel the fires of intolerance and made a travesty of those values and privileges that most Americans, and certainly most minorities, accept as the core of what makes America America.

I believe that the long historical view of Scalia will be that he had a markedly negative but fortunately transient, dramatic impact on the legal and social environment of the country, and that ultimately his efforts failed. He will be seen as a man out of his time attempting to use his position to reinstate an imagined era he felt was better than the one in which he lived. It will be broadly recognized that, paradoxically, his strict constructionist views actually favored far less freedom rather than more. As it is with other conservatives, Scalia was a man who believed that freedom was paramount as long as it didn’t conflict with his own biases. In an era in which the conservatives who supported him rail against activist judges, Scalia was one of the worst.

And so, I will not miss Justice Scalia, but I understand why Republicans, even before rigor mortis set in, trumpeted their desire to stonewall any – any — replacement nomination that will be made by President Obama. All of which leads me to believe that we truly need a Democrat as our next President, because another angry, reactionary, sarcastic, ultra-conservative driven by a right wing political agenda (don’t forget Bush v. Gore) is the last person this country needs on the Supreme Court. It’s critical to recognize that the country is speeding headlong towards a minority majority population, and radically conservative political views are ultimately doomed, no matter what happens in the short term. The fear, however, is that a lot of bad stuff can happen in the short term. History tells us that, at some point, events simply cross a line, and people rise up, unwilling to take it anymore. If Republicans don’t allow that uprising to take place at the ballot box, they may forever regret their unswerving support for the Second Amendment. Their behavior in the wake of Justice Scalia’s death suggests, however, that they don’t yet understand what they are risking. I’d like to think they’ll come to their senses, but based upon the recent behavior and pronouncements of those seeking the Republican presidential nomination, my hopes aren’t high.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Edited Videos

I watched most of the first Republican debate (the “grown-up table”), and all of the second (again, the leading contenders). It’s all so very depressing. You may think otherwise, but here is my take-away:

  • Donald Trump is a schoolyard bully and, amazingly, a self-professed know-nothing who says he’ll learn what he needs to learn when he’s elected and get all the right people together to solve the country’s problems. And people actually support this guy?
  • Ben Carson seems like a nice man, but he espouses a religiously rooted radical conservatism that’s frightening, especially for a black man. Anyone remember Clarence Thomas?
  • Jeb Bush can’t decide whether he wants to defend his brother or not. He wouldn’t have gotten us into Iraq but he says George W. kept us safe. Does he recall that 9/11 happened on his brother’s watch, and how late to act he was after being informed that the country had been attacked?
  • Carly Fiorina came prepared and loaded for bear but, unfortunately, she spouted the big lie like red meat to the faithful. How, you ask? Well, there is NO Planned Parenthood video of a live aborted fetus, “…heart beating, legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” The video simply doesn’t exist, although one of questionable origin does exist that shows a fetus with some movement. It’s important to remember, however, that research demands fresh tissue and, as uncomfortable as some may be with this fact, research into Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other devastating diseases depends upon obtaining this tissue. If fetuses are to be aborted, at least we can gain some positive outcomes by using the tissue to further medical research.
  • There is no Planned Parenthood video indicating that the organization is selling fetal body parts. Such payments as are made are reimbursement for expenses incurred in harvesting, preserving, and transporting tissue. The videos may show some Planned Parenthood staff making casual or insensitive statements, but there is no evidence to support the allegation that the organization is selling body parts for profit, suggestively edited videos notwithstanding.
  • The contenders leap onto the anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood bandwagon may represent their opposition to abortion, but their sanctimonious statements come across like pandering to the religious right.
  • Mike Huckabee is an idiot. See my recent blog entry for more on this but, suffice it to say, the man’s statements simply prove that he has never read the Constitution or, if he has, he didn’t understand it.
  • Scott Walker. Scott Walker? Really?
  • John Kasich seemed the most moderate of the group, but even he seemed a times to pander to the extreme right. At least, he was the only one who didn’t say that he’d try to kill the Iran anti-nuclear agreement.
  • Rand Paul actually made some sense at times, which rather surprised me, but he’s so far behind the pack that any sense he made won’t make a difference.
  • Ted Cruz is a lunatic. No more needs to be said.
  • Chris Christie is an aggressive blowhard who sometimes sounds reasonable. Then, he blocks traffic on the George Washington Bridge. He doesn’t have a chance.
  • Marco Rubio was impressive. Too bad I’m a Democrat. I could never support Rubio, but at least he’s articulate and doesn’t come across as either an idiot or a lunatic. He could be President someday. I just hope he’s not next.
  • On balance, the current crop is frightening for what they believe. Worse, the luster seems to be off Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a chance even though he’s the one saying all the sensible things (Bernie, please stop calling yourself a socialist. It ain’t helping), and Biden, were he to run, would likely lose. So, look at those guys who were at the podium this week. One of them could be taking office in January 2017.       In the words of the late William Bendix in The Life of Riley, “What a revoltin’ development this is!”

Scapegoat Politics

This is how it started in Germany, only now it’s here, among us. The politics of hate and scapegoating, brought out from under its slimy rock in the Republican Party by Donald Trump and made all the more evident by his fellow nomination seekers following his lead to the right. Yes, Latinos have become the new Jews. Oh, and according to Jeb Bush, so have Asians.

At the risk of getting our hands filthy by prying the rock clear of its underlying muck, let’s take a closer look at what’s going on.

In this blog, I’ve previously pointed out that Republican political ideology requires the maintenance of class structure and, specifically, the ongoing presence of a lower socioeconomic class. There is a systematic failure to acknowledge society’s responsibility for elevating that class, which is viewed by the increasingly, radically right wing Republican party as somehow both morally and biologically inferior to the white, right, old guard and otherwise economically privileged. This blaming of the victims of economic, racial and ethnic discrimination coupled with unmitigated greed in the pursuit of self-interest has kept inner cities ghettoized, minority area schools inferior, and decent employment with upward mobility an incongruous reality in a country that hypocritically espouses equality of opportunity for all. (I’d include women in those being discriminated against, but that’s a subject for another whole article.)

The Republican right, aside from being nearly all white – where the hell did Clarence Thomas come from? — is also overwhelmingly Christian. Not in the “do unto your neighbor” kind of Christianity they pray for on Sunday, but in the day to day kind of Christianity that thinks there’s a “war on Christmas” (there isn’t), that the country was founded as a Christian nation (it most certainly was not), and that there should be no such thing as separation of church and state (the negation of a fundamental principle of our nation).

Taken all together, the Republican philosophy has unsurprisingly led to a paranoid set of beliefs characterized by increasingly mean spirited xenophobia with an overlay of anger over the fact that the country is changing before their eyes in ways they are powerless to prevent.

Beware the actions of ignorant, angry, paranoid people in large groups, because they will be easily goaded into destructive actions by the demagogues that will inevitably emerge. And so, enter Donald Trump, part schoolyard bully, part bigot, and catalyst for the irrational scapegoating of Latinos, Asians and anyone else they suspect of subverting “the American way of life”. And don’t confuse him or his followers with the facts. Illegal immigration numbers are down, and no white citizens really want to take all those jobs picking fields and paying three bucks for a cucumber.

The bad news for the misguided right wing is that from very near its origin America has been a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial society, and the increasing proportion of non-white and ethnically diverse people is simply the manifestation of that fact in the twenty-first century. The country is changing because it is always changing, and in general we have been a better people because of that fact and not in spite of it.

The danger we face today is that our failed educational system, our factionalizing churches, synagogues, temples and mosques, and our enforced and entrenched class system all threaten to transform the country into a nation more closely resembling a Middle East war zone than the bastion of freedom and justice that we claim as our (albeit imperfect) heritage. We cannot allow the demagogues to steer the sheep, most of whom have deeply rooted views that we cannot hope to change. What we can do is encourage those of greater intelligence, perspective, and realistic views to stand up to the demagogues and inspire vigorous enough electoral expression to prevent America from becoming a right wing theocracy. Donald Trump and those who would follow his lead, including his cowardly fellow nomination seekers, need to be marginalized, branded for what they are: ignorant bigots. The country deserves better than these cockroaches, and if we don’t shine a light to scatter them, the blame will fall solidly on us.

Don’t let it happen. Please.