Friedman On The Escalating Rhetoric Between Trump And Kim Jong-Un

Today, my friend Gronda has shared the astute, well-reasoned words of one of my favourite political analysts, Thomas Friedman. This post needs no introduction from me, as it speaks for itself. Excellent post, Gronda … thank you!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images of kim jong unOne of my favorite columnist/ thinker, Thomas L. Friedman has shared his take regarding the situation with N Korea and Its leader, Kim Jong Un.

Here’s the rest of the story…

On August 10, 2017, Thomas L.  Friedmam of the New York Times penned the following opinion piece,  “Be Strategic, Not Impulsive, On North Korea.

Excerpts:

“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Americans who are concerned about the situation in North Korea “should sleep well at night.” Of course! Donald Trump and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un — neither of whom has any aides who can stand up to them — are trading fire and brimstone threats with their fingers cocked on nuclear weapons. What could possibly keep a person up at night? Surely Tillerson jests or is high on Ambien.”

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“Have we already become so inured to the madness of the Trump administration that we have…

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Worst Idea Ever …

The headline in The Washington Post:

In A New Poll, Half Of Republicans Say They Would Support Postponing The 2020 Election If Trump Proposed It

Noooooooo.jpgThus far, Trump has not proposed such a move, but if he gets wind that half of his party would support it, I would not be surprised to see him begin thinking along those lines.

It started over Trump’s claim that there was widespread voting fraud last year that ultimately cost him the popular vote.  That really seems to eat at him, even though he is the one sitting in the Oval Office … or, rather, on a golf course in New Jersey at the moment. The claim has been proven to be a lie, there was no widespread voter fraud, and Trump actually lost the election despite Putin’s best efforts.  But … perhaps more importantly, a substantial number of republicans believe Trump, even though his claim has been disproven multiple times.

With that in mind, The Washington Post performed a survey of 1,325 Americans from June 5th through June 20th. Granted, this is too small a sample to be considered representative, but nonetheless, it is chilling. The questions asked were whether Trump won the popular vote, whether millions of illegal immigrants voted, and how often voter fraud occurs. Then they were asked two additional questions:

  • If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?
  • What if both Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote? Would you support or oppose postponing the election?

And the results are that nearly half of Republicans surveyed (47%) believe that Trump won the popular vote. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68%) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73%). 52% said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56% said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this.

As the Post cautions, “Of course, our survey is only measuring reactions to a hypothetical situation. Were Trump to seriously propose postponing the election, there would be a torrent of opposition, which would most likely include prominent Republicans. Financial markets would presumably react negatively to the potential for political instability. And this is to say nothing of the various legal and constitutional complications that would immediately become clear.”

Do I think it likely to happen?  No, not under the current circumstances.  Then why do I even bring it up?  Because, while I do not think it likely, or even possible, under the current circumstances, I can see circumstances altering, if Trump remains in office until 2020, that may change that assessment dramatically.  As has been his trademark thus far, his incitement of violence and fear could convince a large portion of the nation that there is a credible threat, real or contrived, that must be dealt with in a manner that must ‘temporarily’ suspend a portion of our democratic freedoms.

I am merely speculating, but I do not think we can afford to dismiss the idea as the ravings of a nutty Filosofa.  In the words of David Frum writing for the Atlantic …

“No society, not even one as rich and fortunate as the United States has been, is guaranteed a successful future. When early Americans wrote things like “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” they did not do so to provide bromides for future bumper stickers. They lived in a world in which authoritarian rule was the norm, in which rulers habitually claimed the powers and assets of the state as their own personal property.

The exercise of political power is different today than it was then—but perhaps not so different as we might imagine. Larry Diamond, a sociologist at Stanford, has described the past decade as a period of “democratic recession.” Worldwide, the number of democratic states has diminished. Within many of the remaining democracies, the quality of governance has deteriorated.”

I think it behooves us to be “eternally vigilant”.

Boys with Toys

I have left the situation between Trump and Kim Jong-un alone, mostly because it is a volatile situation that I truly do not know how to address. I do not think it behooves us to panic, but we also must be aware that it is a potentially dangerous situation for humanity around the globe. Blogger-friend Keith has written a short, but excellent post that deserves to be shared. Please take a moment to read and ponder. Thank you, Keith, for your calm and reasoned voice in the middle of the chaos and turmoil, and for allowing me to share your words.

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In the James Bond movie “Goldeneye,” Polish born actress Izabella Scorupca played my favorite Bond female character Natalya Simonova. She gave Bond the devil for his penchant for using violence with any weapon or machinery around. “What is it with you boys with toys,” she admonished him.

I think of this line as two separate countries are led by a man-child who are both acting like “boys with toys.” The scary part is the toys include nuclear weapons and both are beating on their chest like apes ready to do battle.

I have written a parable about the younger of the two leaders called “A Monkey with a Hand Grenade.” Since the hand grenade is a substitute for a nuclear weapon, we must be careful, judicious and diligent in our actions and words. Just a few days ago, our Secretary of State said the right things about “not advocating for…

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A Peek Inside Of Filosofa’s Mind-Bounce

Well, I cannot seem to settle into a topic tonight.  There is too much to write about, too many ‘goings-on’, and my mind seems to be on overload.  So, forgive me if I indulge in a bit of mind-bounce, but that may be my only hope for regaining a degree of focus.

I try very hard to avoid commenting on ignorant political opinions and ridiculous memes on social media.  I try, I tell you … I really do.  And usually I am successful, for I have too much to do to waste my time on it.  However, as I mentioned, tonight my mind is all askew, and I was just cruising around on Facebook, hoping a bit of a break might stop the mind-bounce.  And I came across an extremely bigoted rant against the religion of Islam and its followers.  The writer claimed that Islam is “pure evil” and that we needed to get rid of Sharia Law in the U.S.  Well, as you can imagine, that set me off (mind bounce is often accompanied by enhanced irascibility) and I, against my better judgment, took off my shoes and jumped into the fray.

You would have been proud of me … I responded with intellect and quiet dignity, even when asked what planet I had come from and if I had been asleep all my life.  I stayed only a short time, enough for two or three well-placed comments, and then I left the conversation and turned off notifications so that I would not be tempted again.  But it made me start thinking about the bigotry and hate we are seeing, most of which is based on sheer ignorance.  A few of the comments that stood out, that spoke volumes about the mentality we are dealing with here:

“Outlaw all Muslim activities and people from our country,they have millions of acres of land in their own part of the world ,send them back ,declare this a Christian country”

“it’s not right ,it’s a mental illness that should be treated as such, all these types of people will eventually implode ,they will poison the minds of innocent children and most likely at some point molest someone ,and/or kill themselves or others”

“Harry too many liberals that don’t understand something when they read it ,or what it was supposed to convey ,they just steer away from it to their liberalism”

All comments reproduced “as is” without corrections.

To be sure, there were others who, like myself, tried to educate, to enlighten, to make the haters at least stop and think, but a handful insisted that they were right, everybody else was wrong, and just as I exited, it was becoming a vulgar free-for-all.  There is no value in such an exchange, and this is not a conversation or even a dialogue … it is simply sport.  Blood-sport, at that.

Which led me to thinking about red hair.  (I told you … mind-bounce)  Well, I was wondering if perhaps there is something in the lack of skin pigmentation, or in something in the water they drank, that gave them this tendency toward bigotry.  Are there certain physical traits that indicate mental traits?  And that brings us to the red hair connection.  It is said that people with red hair have shorter tempers.  Is it true? Well, I didn’t find any definitive answer, but I did discover that redheads get cold quicker and feel pain more acutely.  Okay … a snack is needed … something without sugar …

AHA  ….

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Coffee-nut m&ms … no sugar here, right?

Do you know what Kellyanne Conway, America’s #1 Bimbo, makes per year in salary alone?  $179,700.  Nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year.  For … being a mouthpiece, and a bad one at that.  For making up lies to cover Trump’s exposed posterior. For being obnoxious and mostly wrong.  $179,700!!!!!!! More than three times what I made in my highest earnings year!

So, Senator Ron Johnson, a republican (of course) from Wisconsin intimated on a radio show on Wednesday that Senator John McCain’s “nay” vote on the proposed healthcare bill before the Senate last month, may have been a result of his brain tumour.  The radio show host was notably taken aback and asked Johnson if, in fact, he really believed what he was saying.  His reply: “I-I-I don’t know exactly what — we really thought — and again I don’t want speak for any senator. I really thought he was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30 (a.m.), he voted no.”  Stuttering … genuine embarrassment?  I was looking a bit into Johnson’s background to see if there are enough of these moments to qualify him as Idiot of the Week.  Maybe …

And here is another …

Lindsey Graham … from time to time I have actually had reason to respect Senator Graham, but not today.  Last Tuesday (August 1st) Lindsey appeared on NBC’s Today show with Matt Lauer.  Here is what he said that set my teeth on edge:

“If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And [Trump] told me that to my face. That may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States.”

Somebody PLEASE tell me he didn’t really say that!  Lindsey Graham is now, in my book, a bloomin’ DOLT.  People.  They are people.  We are people.  Trump and Graham are thinking it’s okay if hundreds of thousands of innocent people die, just so long as it isn’t on U.S. soil?  Think about that one for a few minutes, friends.

Earlier today, dear Roger told me to seek my ‘soft and quiet corner’ and rest there.  I told him my soft and quiet corner was filled with nails and shards of glass.  I now understand where those nails and glass shards are coming from.  And now, dear friends, I believe I shall go give my corner a good cleaning and spend a few hours there, away from the madness and mayhem. And in my next life, I am going to be a wolf, for I do not much care for the human race any more.

 

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White House’s Censorship Of Climate Change Reports

As I have said before … words matter. One’s choice of words matters. Months ago, we were introduced by the Trump administration to the concept of ‘Alternative Facts’, and those included, as we discovered, an alternative vocabulary. Now the (S)White House has added to the ‘dictionary of alternative words’ by dictating to federal agencies what words they are and are not to use. Guess what, folks? “Climate Change” is no longer allowed. Blogger-Friend Gronda has the details for you, as well as a link to the Annual Climate Change Report, which will likely be altered before it is released to the public. Please take a few moments to read this important information! Thank you, Gronda, for an excellent post and for permission to share!

Gronda Morin

Here is link to the 2017 Climate Change Report sponsored by the US government, and published by the NY Times: Read the Draft of the Climate Change Report – The New York Times 8/7/17 (A draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, but was obtained by The New York Times, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. )

Because of the republican President Donald Trump’s administration’s disdain for climate change issues, many are concerned whether this report will be shared with the American taxpayers, and if it is, how heavily censored the report will be, and thus, we have this latest leak.

Here’s the rest of the story…

On August 7, 2017, Oliver Milman…

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NOT AGAIN!!! 2020 Or Bust …

Most of last year I groused that the campaign season for the presidential election was too bloomin’ long.  It started heating up in mid-2015, nearly a year-and-a-half before the election.  My humble opinion is that 3-6 months is plenty long to subject us to the endless drivel and detritus that defines campaigns in this country.  But now … NOW … the campaigns for the 2020 election are already building momentum!  I want to close my eyes, put my headphones on and listen to classical music for the next three-and-a-half years!  But alas, we have already seen what wearing blinders and earplugs does, so …

Not only have candidates begun speaking at events and cozying up to major-dollar donors, but even Trump himself has been holding campaign-style rallies in places he knows he can succeed in rustling up a crowd that is still friendly to him.  Note that you do not see him doing pep rallies in New York or San Francisco!

Among those starting to act like candidates are Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Mike Pence … whoa … Mike Pence?  Did I just say Mike Pence, as in current 2nd banana?  Of course, we all hope and believe that the head clown will not be on the 2020 ballot, but this is 2017, a full 39 months before the next presidential election!  There is rather an umwritten law … or perhaps it is written … second banana will remain quietly in the background, supporting the first banana no matter how rotten, until such time as the first banana is no longer a viable candidate.  Now, were Trump in his second term, then yes, this would be in the paramaters of normal, though it is still far too early.  But in his first term?

According to  Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the New York Times, Pence is “creating an independent power base, cementing his status as Mr. Trump’s heir apparent and promoting himself as the main conduit between the Republican donor class and the administration. The vice president created his own political fund-raising committee, Great America Committee, shrugging off warnings from some high-profile Republicans that it would create speculation about his intentions.”

When the aforementioned article came out on Saturday, Mike Pence had a moment of panic, knowing that retaliation from Trump would be swift and painful, so he put out the following statement:

“Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and are just the latest attempt by the media to divide this Administration.”

Only thing is, he lies, for as The Washington Post notes, “Pence has been meeting with donors, has been creating an independent power base (as the Times reported), has hired a politically combatant chief of staff and has been the main channel of communication between Trump and Republicans on the Hill.”

2020-5But what Pence apparently fails to consider is that he has thrown his lot in with Trump, for better or for worse, and his fate or fortune is closely linked to that of Trump. And with that said, I do not wish to discuss the 2020 election until at least the middle of 2019, though I realize that is a pipe dream, given the current state of chaos in the current administration.  My only hope is that by 2020, Donald Trump is either banished to Siberia or else wearing an orange jumpsuit and busting rocks by day.

One interesting, humorous note:  It would seem that there is already an unofficial slogan for the 2020 election …

2020

There are already t-shirts, sweatshirts, phone cases, wall art, coffee mugs and bumper stickers available, folks.  Sigh. Gonna be a long three-and-a-half years, folks.

Good People Doing Good Things — Small Acts of Kindness And The Homeless Mayor!

This week I am shining the light, once again, on ordinary people who are giving of themselves and their time to help others.  Sometimes the smallest act of kindness, just something as simple as picking up a dropped object for an elderly person, or helping someone across the street, can make someone’s day a little brighter.

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Never Too Old For A Bike Ride …

Elderly people sometimes don’t get out and about as much as they might like.  Visual and mobility limitations may keep them from enjoying a walk in the park, or even just a trip to the grocery store.  Imagine the feelings of loneliness, or isolation that these people experience. And young people are often busy with their own lives, wrapped up in the drama of school, relationships, sports, etc.  But in Scotland, there is one young man who is helping bridge the gap between young and old, and helping seniors have the opportunity to get out just a bit more.

Meet Fraser Johnston, a med student at Falkirk University who has started a movement to help get elderly people out on … bike rides!

Wed-Fraser“A lot of people who are stuck in care homes or stuck in their own homes, the only time they ever get taken out is with their family or through activities at the home. But it’s normally from the home to a car to a bus to the next location. For some of them it’s such a strange thing when you say, come out on the bike because they think they’re going to do the pedaling. But when they find out it’s a young or old volunteer taking them out, they jump at the chance to get on the bike. Everyone has some time in their lives that they could give back to the older generation, and offer them opportunities like this they wouldn’t get otherwise.”

What started as one young man doing a kindness soon became more than one young man could handle last month after BBC Three made a video for their Amazing Humans series.  The video went viral and … well, long story short, what started as a one-man show has now expanded.  Fraser learned of a volunteer project, Cycling Without Age, that was started in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2012, and decided to start a branch of the organization in Scotland.  To date, he has about 30 volunteers and has two of the bicycles – actually more of a cross between a large tricycle and a rickshaw — called Trishaws.

“It’s like a victorian carriage, minus the horse, which you don’t need when you’ve got a  strong pair of legs behind you. I have noticed a difference in Mary, her eyes look completely different, they’re back to what they were years ago”. – Chris Ogilvie

It may seem like a small act of kindness to us, but to the people who he is taking for rides, it must seem like a very large thing. And I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that back in 2015, Fraser was awarded the sportscotland Volunteer of the Year award.

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A Teacher’s Dying Wish …

Kay Wistrand is a language arts teacher at Tomball Junior High School in Tomball, Texas. Earlier this year, Ms. Wistrand was diagnosed with a lethal form of spinal cancer and was given a maximum of 2-3 years to live.  When she announced her diagnosis to her class, they were heartbroken, for every body loved Ms. Wistrand.  Four of her students got together and were trying to think of something to do for Ms. Wistrand, when suddenly one remembered hearing her say that her dream was to someday see the California Redwoods and dip her toes in the Pacific Ocean.

Wed-Wistrand.jpgThe students got the idea of setting up a GoFundMe account to help Ms. Wistrand realize her dream. Here is what Mickey Nolen, one of the four students wrote on the page:

“Kay Wistrand is one of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. She is an AMAZING English Language Arts teacher. She teaches at Tomball Junior High School. And is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. But, she has an uncommon tumor in her back that doctors cannot remove. They have given her 2-5 years give or take. The tumor has spread and she now has a small tumor in her lungs. We don’t know if the lung tumor can be removed, if not her time left on this beautiful earth will drop dramatically. The doctors also said that she can no longer go through chemotherapy. And she told us she feels absolutely awesome without it. In class, she told us about her Bucket List, she mentioned a trip to California, specifically the Redwood Forest. She also wishes to step foot in the Pacific Ocean, because she never has before. Out of everything on the list, some friends and I thought that we could make this happen. Mrs. Wistrand has loved all of her students so much for many years. We just want to return the favor for all of the hard work she has put in to teach the youth of our community. Please find it in your heart to help out our amazing teacher, she deserves it more than anyone I know. Together we can Wistrand everything.”

The students, hoping to raise $7,500, have now raised $10,811!  Isn’t it inspiring, after all the negative stories we hear about young people and drugs, alcohol, and selfishness to see young people like this whose hearts are in the right place, who care about others enough to make an effort to help?


The Homeless Mayor …

Wed McAdamsMayor Ben McAdams, of Salt Lake City, Utah, lived on the streets and in a homeless shelter.  For three days and two nights.  His goal?  To be better able to provide better services for the homeless of Salt Lake City.  Now, you might say he isn’t qualified for the Good People post, but I think he is.  When we look at the politicians we see every day in the news, can you name one single other who would actually spend time living on the street in order to better understand the needs of the homeless?

On the first night, he slept on the street. He wanted to know why someone might choose the sidewalk over the shelter. “I didn’t feel safe. I absolutely did not feel safe.” McAdams described it as a “very chaotic environment” and got about four hours of sleep through it all. Still, some of the people he talked to said it’s better to be outside and get some space from the drug abuse and gang violence that takes place in the shelter.

wed-homeless.jpgOn the second night, he stayed in The Road Home. McAdams got in line for a bed in the afternoon, but was turned away. He came back again in the evening and was able to snag a mattress. He was drenched from the rain by the time he got indoors but was too late to get a blanket. “At least it was warmer inside,” McAdams said. Once inside the shelter McAdams witnessed the blatant use of drugs, including his bunkmate injecting drugs into his arm, and the smell of what he assumed was smoke from drugs “all night long”. He also witnessed a fight between two men in which a man was dragged off of his bunk and hit his head on the concrete floor.

During his three days experiencing life as a homeless man, McAdams said his time was consumed by solving two pressing needs: Where am I going to sleep? And where am I going to get food? “You have to plan your day around that,” he said, realizing that leaves little energy left to search for jobs or housing.

I give two thumbs up to Mayor McAdams for caring enough to make the sacrifice, for truly wanting to understand the problems faced by the homeless, rather than sitting in his ivory tower making decisions without understanding the issues and the people involved.


These stories should serve as a reminder that, no matter who we are, how little we may think we have to offer, there is always something we can do for others, and the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world to someone in need.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Silent

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Today’s story is a good news/bad news sort of story.  I like to think the ‘good’ part outweighs the bad in the long run, and gives us hope for humanity.  I don’t know … what do you think?

The bad …

It was just after 5:00 a.m. last Saturday morning, and people were arriving for Fajr, early morning prayer services, at the at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. About 20 people had entered the mosque when a fire bomb was hurled through the window, shattering windows and causing extensive damage.  Fortunately, nobody was injured, but certainly the intent of the criminal was to destroy, maim, and even kill.

The center had been receiving threatening phone calls for some time, according to Mohamed Omar, Executive Director for the mosque. “… people talking about us, telling us, accusing us that we shouldn’t be here, that we are like a burden to the community or we are like harming it. We’ve had some threats and comments. People walk to our door, bang on our door and had foul language. With the country’s climate and rhetoric going on, we feel [we’re] in the middle of the tension.”  Omar cited hateful comments on Facebook including some that read, “Islam needs to be eliminated like the black plague,” or “maybe they will start leaving now. Keep up the good work.”

Wed-mosqueThe FBI is investigating the bombing and says it was a form of a pipe bomb, but with “more sophistication” than expected. There were no security cameras at the mosque, as the congregation is made up mostly of Somali immigrants and does not have extra funds for such things. The FBI also said in a statement that they want to “assure the community that this investigation is our top priority and we continue to work to determine who carried out this crime and why.”  Let us hope so.

The good …

The good news in all of this is the community and the support they have shown.  According to a post by Robert Reich …

“Members of a local Catholic church delivered over 200 notes like the one below. On Sunday, a steady stream of people stopped by to leave flowers and express their sympathy. Erik Stoltenberg brought along his 4-year-old daughter, telling the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “I explained to her that people attend things that are like our church but different and that some people sometimes don’t like other people for bad reasons and that it was important for us to come and show our support as a community.” People have also donated over $50,000 to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for repairs.”  

Wed-firebomb-noteThe GoFundMe account has thus far raised $67,275 in just two days, and has been contributed to by 1,629 donors!

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton condemned the act and ‘called a spade a bloody shovel’ when he called it an act of terrorism.  “What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly terrible act this was that was committed yesterday. As someone said in the meeting, if the roles were reversed, it would be called a terrorist attack. And that’s what it is, an act of terrorism. That action is despicable and hateful, but it does not represent who Minnesota is. It does not represent the vast majority of the people who live in this fantastic state.”

The silent …

The only response to this terrorist act from the entire Trump administration came from the Department of Homeland Security in a canned statement:

“Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke is aware of the explosion today at a mosque in Bloomington, Minn. We are in close contact with federal, state and local authorities and local community leaders as the investigation into this matter continues. The Department of Homeland Security fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution. We are thankful there were no injuries, but that does not diminish the serious nature of this act.”

Not so much as a tweet from Donald Trump, nor any of his mouthpieces. No condemnation.  No words of empathy or support.  Nothing.

Filosofa’s take …

I commend and am proud of the good people in the community, of the 1,629 people who have contributed their hard-earned cash to help repair the mosque; of the people who showed up with flowers, checks, and those who simply brought a hug and a kind word.  These, folks, are the people who define this nation, who give us hope that we might yet overcome the trash that currently resides in the White House and the trash … white supremacist trash … who have the unmitigated gall to believe they have a right to condemn people simply because of their religion or ethnicity.  White supremacy?  HAH … white trash is a better description.  Donald Trump has yet to comment on the bombing, but can you imagine the outrage he would be spewing if a person of Middle-Eastern ethnicity had done this to a white, Christian church? His silence speaks volumes.

 

HOW Could I Have Been So Wrong???

duhYesterday I was going back through some of my posts from the end of 2015, the beginning of the disastrous 2016 election campaign, as I was looking for something specific.  During my search, I came across a post from 27 October 2015 and I decided to repost it this morning, as it should be good for a few laughs and a whole lot of head shaking.   Most of you began reading my blog after this post was published, so for most it will be new material, and you will ask, “How could you have been so wrong, Filosofa???”  Trust me, I am asking myself the same question. The original title of the post was …

Trump Supporters? Where???

The Donald Trump that some 20% of republicans seem to love is loud, obnoxious and bombastic, which leaves me scratching my head and wondering just what that says about those who claim to support him.  But the bigger question I have is this:  where the heck ARE those 20%???  I have among my friends, relatives and acquaintances many republicans, and not a single one of them can even tolerate Trump, let alone support him.  To a person they agree with my assessment of him as a clown, a joke, a narcissist, take your pick.  In addition, I am an avid reader of op-ed pages in many of the major, mainstream news media, and have yet to read a single opinion by political analysts, editors, writers or voters that support Trump or his inane ideas.  So, I repeat the question, who are these people who have elevated his poll numbers and where are they hiding?

Until now, I have left Trump alone and not written about him except in response to an op-ed in the New York Times, for a number of reasons.  The main reason is that I do not think he or his candidacy is actually worth wasting my time or effort.  The second reason is that the man is so wrong on so many issues that it would be impossible to discuss them all in a single post.  Third, everything there is to be said about Trump has already been said by people far more qualified than I.  Lastly, I get a nauseous feeling every time I hear his name or see his picture.  But alas, I decided to join in the fray for two reasons, the first being that I think there is danger in allowing his rhetoric to go unchecked.  The second is that I heard him say that he “just doesn’t get it” that Ben Carson has edged above him in the polls.  What is there to “not get”?  Though I do not consider Dr. Carson to be a viable option to govern this nation, I will at least give him credit for intelligence (although not when it comes to politics, government and foreign policy), being soft-spoken (very refreshing after Trump’s in-your-face ranting persona) and for not lowering himself to the petty criticisms and attacks on his opponents for which Trump is so well-known.

Trump, in crowing proudly about his poll numbers has forgotten a couple of salient points.  First, the election is more than a year away, and early polls are rarely an accurate predictor of the eventual outcome.  Second, neither he nor Dr. Carson nor any other republican candidate have anything remotely close to a majority.  Third, the Republican Party is only one of the two major parties in the nation and there are some 42% of eligible voters who are not committed to either party.  There are two strong contenders in the democratic field, both of whom have distinct advantages over both Trump and Carson.  First, they both have experience in policy-making and governance, and secondly, while the republicans have been conducting a circus, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been seriously speaking about issues that matter to the American people, issues such as jobs, the economy, minimum wage, climate change and the environment, the gun lobby, the Iran nuclear agreement and more.  Whether one agrees with their opinions or not is not my point.  My point is that at least they are discussing issues, things that matter to “We the People”, and doing so with knowledge and experience, without mud-slinging and name-calling, and giving the voters an opportunity to actually consider their viewpoints.  Now, what Trump, Carson and every other republican candidate need to realize is that whoever ultimately gains the GOP nomination will need to convince a fairly large number of voters outside the republican party that they are the best person for the job, and in light of the current circus-atmosphere, that is likely to be a very tough sell.

All of which brings me back to my original question:  where are the people who supposedly support Trump, the people who have kept his poll rankings in the 20% range for a few months?  It is to be hoped that over the course of the next twelve months, the American people step back and look at the bigger picture, that they do their own research into the issues and weed out the candidates who can only bring disaster to our nation.  Trump has made the claim that “our country is going to hell”.  Despite numerous social and economic problems, our country is a far cry from “going to hell”.  We still have more going for us than working against us, and I believe that the citizens of this nation still hold basic values of caring, compassion and humanity.  Why would anyone want to vote for a candidate that doesn’t even believe in his country?

Is It Really Worth All This????

I and others have written at length about the political, economic and international results of a Trump in the Oval Office, but there is another aspect, another manner in which he has had a negative effect on the nation.  There is a social & cultural upheaval the can mostly be traced to Trump & Co. A while back, July 4th, to be exact, I wrote a post about some of the purchasing trends that could be attributed to Trump, such as the sale of alcohol and bomb shelters, dystopian books and Swiss watches having significantly increased.  This post looks more at the social, cultural trends that have shifted or been affected by Trump.

First, there is the effect on marriages, especially those in which one is pro-Trump and the other is not.  Marriage counselors recounted watching this dynamic play out in their offices. While some couples try to work through their differences, others — both young and old — find their differences too huge to overcome.  New York divorce lawyer Lois Brenner has counseled about a dozen couples over the last few months who cite political differences for their marital woes. “I’ve been doing this for about 35 years, and I have never seen anything like it, It’s kind of amazing. It’s really surprising and astounding … This is kind of unprecedented.” Interracial couples are having their share of problems also, when one supports Trump and thus his policies, certain of which are detrimental to non-whites.

On the flip side … there has also been an unprecedented surge in marriages immediately following Trump’s election.  In November, the New York City clerk’s office issued 6,929 marriage licenses, a 23 percent increase from November 2015, and performed 4,590 ceremonies, an increase of almost 19 percent. Then through Dec. 23, the office issued 5,682 licenses, up almost 16 percent from about the same time period last year. Many of these are couples where one partner is in the U.S. on a visa and their fear was that Donald Trump would make good on his ‘promises’ of mass deportation.

In addition to immigrants feeling stress from Trump’s threats, the LGBT community is also feeling it.  A recent article in Rolling Stone begins …

“The number of calls, texts and online chats made by transgender youth has more than doubled in the wake of President Trump’s tweet about banning transgender service members and the announcement of the Texas “bathroom bill,” according to a report recently released by The Trevor Project, a national organization that offers crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth.”

According to Amit Paley, the CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, “Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation directly leads to crisis among our community’s young people. While the Trevor Project will continue to be there for them around the clock, our elected officials must stop throwing young people into crisis for political gain. Discrimination is un-American, and we will hold to account those legislators who attack the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community.”

And then there is the effect on our health.  In June, several media outlets, including U.S. News and NBC News reported on an article in The New England Journal of Medicine:

Health Effects of Dramatic Societal Events — Ramifications of the Recent Presidential Election 

“Events linked to the recent presidential campaign and election have given rise to fear and anxiety in many Americans. Research suggests that these events can have negative health effects on people who have been direct targets of what they perceive as hostility or discrimination and on individuals and communities who feel vulnerable because they belong to a stigmatized, marginalized, or targeted group. It is worth exploring the scientific research in this area and considering its implications for health care providers.”

The article goes on to identify a number of areas in which Trump-related stress is occurring, such as:

  • Increased racial hostility
  • Community-level prejudice
  • Hostility in the larger environment
  • Hostility toward immigrants
  • Worries about reductions in health and social services

And the American College of Physicians says that Trump’s policies on environmental issues, especially climate change, will affect the health of many.

“The elderly, the sick, and the poor are especially vulnerable. Climate change needs to be aggressively addressed on a global level, and the Paris accord is central to this effort. Without U.S. leadership, achieving the voluntary targets agreed to by the 195 countries that signed the accord will be far more difficult. Today’s decision therefore greatly increases the chances that the global effort to reduce carbon emissions will be insufficient to avert catastrophic consequences for human health.”

Norman Lear, creator of All in the Family, recently compared the Trump administration to Archie Bunker … watch this 42 second clip and see if you agree!

Lear actually tweeted that clip on Friday evening after Trump advisor Stephen Miller created a spectacle when he went off on reporter Jim Acosta over the words on the Statue of Liberty.

From a personal perspective, I can say that I have lost a number of friends due to the polarization of Trump’s candidacy and now presidency, and I know of many others who say the same.  I used to “do lunch” with a group of friends at least once a month, but we no longer do those … or perhaps they do and I am no longer invited … I don’t know.  I am more stressed, my temper has a shorter fuse, and I cry more easily.

So, just to name a few, Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office is causing an increase in some marriages, an increase in the divorce rate, a decline in friendships, increased health problems, and an increase in suicidal tendencies among some groups. WOW!  Is it really worth all this?