Ignoring Trump

More than once I have said we need to look behind the curtain to see what the ‘man’ in the Oval Office is doing that we are missing. He spews hateful rhetoric, tweets his ignominious prattle while on the potty each morning, and we spend all our time reacting to and dissecting his words. Meanwhile, behind the scenes …

Despite me saying it, I fall into the trap quite often, react to some horrendous, childish rant of his rather than dig deeper for truth. The smoke and mirrors, the shiny objects, are just too easy sometimes. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent piece reminding us all that we need to rise above the mudfest, need not to let ourselves be dragged into the fray, for that is precisely what Trump and his sycophants hope we will do.

Thank you, Jeff, for the timely reminder and for your generous permission to share your words with my readers!

On The Fence Voters

I’m done. Yes, I’m officially done with getting bent out of shape at every racist utterance that comes from this President’s mouth or Twitter feed. How much more evidence do we need that the man is a racist? How many more times will the media fall for this man’s continuing effort to dominate the narrative every single day and distract from the absolute mockery he’s making of our Constitution and democracy? Enough, please.

By no means do I mean to minimize any of the horrific things he’s been saying about specific politicians and other people of note. Whether it’s calling Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district of Baltimore a rat-infested whatever, or telling four Congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from, these are purposeful and hateful comments that deserve condemnation and public ridicule.

But once the condemnation occurs, it’s time to move on. What I’d like to see…

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Call A Spade A … Bloody Shovel?

I had no intention of addressing this issue again, thought it was a no-brainer, thought everyone got the memo a few days ago and we could move on.  But, I keep hearing people either deny or defend the fact that Donald Trump is a racist.  As my friend Mary from the UK says, “Call a spade a bloody shovel!”  I’ve heard the “yeah, well, whadabout ___________________?” (fill in the blank with any of the 20 or so republican stock excuses).  I’ve heard that the democrats are just trying to discredit him, making a mountain out of a molehill.  I’m tired of having to re-visit this, but … it is important that everyone understand that this ‘man’ is a racist, since he is in a position of so much unchecked power.  He believes that he, because of his pale skin, because of his Caucasian ethnicity, is better than the rest of us who do not match him.  Largely because of this, he represents less than half of the people in this country, and as he recently said, the rest of us, if we don’t like it, can leave!

Okay, so in my inbox today was an OpEd in the New York Times by one of my favourite journalists, Nicholas Kristof, on this very topic, and I would like to share his words with you.

Trump Is Racist to the Bone

Trump’s hate is evident from his jawbones down to his thumbs and little toes.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist

July 17, 2019

After instructing four women of color in the House of Representatives to “go back” where they came from, President Trump now claims, “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

That appears incorrect. I have identified the following racist bones in Trump’s body:

Phalanges and metacarpals: These are bones of the fingers and hands that Trump has used to tweet tirades against black and brown people and to retweet Nazi sympathizers, including, twice, an account called @WhiteGenocideTM with a photo of the founder of the American Nazi Party.

Mandible and maxilla: These are the jawbones that Trump has used to denounce Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” not to mention to refuse to criticize the Ku Klux Klan.

Femurs, fibulas, tibias, metatarsals: These foot and leg bones carried Trump into his casinos, where black staff members would be rushed off the floor so he couldn’t see them, according to a former employee, Kip Brown.

Virtually every remaining bone was implicated in Trump’s early refusal to rent apartments in his buildings to blacks, leading the Nixon administration Justice Department (not exactly a pillar of liberalism) to sue him for housing discrimination in the 1970s. A former building superintendent working for Trump explained that any rent application from a black person was coded “C,” for “colored,” apparently so that the office would know to reject it.

“Racist” is an explosive term that should never be lightly flung as an epithet, and it is more likely to end a conversation than clarify it. For a single tweet or action there is a possibility of misunderstanding or ambiguity.

Yet for more than 45 years, since that housing discrimination, Trump has engaged in a consistent pattern of racist behavior and speech. His latest controversial tweets are not an aberration but a culmination. This isn’t a matter of a single tweet; it’s a lifetime with a narrative arc of bigotry.

America’s history is a tapestry of innumerable threads, many of them triumphant and inspiring that we should be deeply proud of, but Trump goes out of his way to weave together two of the most shameful strands.

One is the racism and nativism that go back to the 18th and 19th centuries, to the Philadelphia speaker who in 1844 denounced Irish immigrants as “scum unloaded on American wharves” and helped provoke anti-Catholic riots, to the waves of hysteria against African-Americans, Italians, Chinese, Jews, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and other immigrants. There is another strain of American hospitality highlighted by the Statue of Liberty and the admission of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees beginning in the 1970s, but the nativism is real — it’s why Trump’s family, alarmed by anti-German bigotry, pretended to be Swedish.

The other thread that Trump pulls is more political: what we now call McCarthyism, although it, too, goes back to our nation’s earliest days. It vilifies opponents as enemies of the state.

More than two centuries ago, opponents of Thomas Jefferson warned that he was a Jacobin who if elected would unleash a French-style reign of terror upon America. As one commentator put it, “The Bible would be cast into a bonfire, our holy worship changed into a dance of Jacobin phrensy, our wives and daughters dishonored.” Senator Joseph McCarthy updated that in the 20th century with reckless accusations that leftists were Communists — and now Trump picks up that mantle by suggesting that his four progressive targets in Congress “might be” Communists, not to mention that they “hate our Country” and are “pro Al-Qaeda.”

I’m not sure whether this new McCarthyism is instinctive and unthinking, or these bilious rants represent a shrewd effort to manipulate voters into seeing the 2020 presidential campaign through the prism not of issues but of racial identity, in hopes of winning Trump an edge with white voters.

I do know that Trump has taken two of the most ignominious threads in American history — nativism and McCarthyism — and woven them together in an outburst that is an affront to democratic norms.

If anyone doubts that Trump’s statements were despicable, note that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifically bars employers from using “ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from.’”

Frankly, I’m even more troubled by Trump’s policies than by his tweets, and I wish the reaction to Trump focused more on practical initiatives to reduce child poverty, treat drug addiction or end mass incarceration. But the question put to Congress this week was a resolution properly condemning the presidential tirade. It was grotesque to see Republicans who had been mute at presidential bigotry suddenly protest that the backers of the resolution violated rules of decorum.

Really? We’re left again with the question: How can members of the party of Lincoln today protest the label of racism, but not the racism itself — in a man who for 45 years has shown himself to be a racist from his mandible to his metatarsals?


And lastly … another well-respected journalist speaks.  Typically, we expect a bit of humour from Don Lemon, but on this topic, he is dead serious.  If you want to skip the back-and-forth between Lemon and Chris Cuomo, fast forward to about the 5:17 mark and start there.  It is well worth watching.

And now, I hope the matter is laid to rest and that we can all agree to call a spade a bloody shovel, and to call Donald Trump by what he is: a racist extraordinaire.

How ‘Bout Some ‘Toons?

I think it’s about time to catch up on a few ‘toons, don’t you?  The political cartoons are one way of measuring which issues are on the minds of the people at any given time.  Today, one of the biggest issues is, not surprisingly, the trade war Trump has engaged in with China and the tariffs that are hurting We the People more than any.

tariffs-1tariffs-2tariffs-3tariffs-4tariffs-5


After the recent United Nations report showing that we are in danger of losing one million species from the planet due to our poor stewardship of the environment, climate change and environmental issues once again came to the forefront of everyone’s mind.

environment-1environment-2environment-3Threatened and endangered species


Congress subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns from the Department of Treasury, but of course Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to honour the subpoena.  Meanwhile, the New York Times released 10 years of Trump’s taxes from 1985 to 1994, showing that in that ten year period, he lost over $1.17 billion … naturally the cartoonists had a field day with that one, as did our friend Don Lemon!

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump the business manfinances-2finances-3


And, of course, we are still dealing with Trump’s blatant and now undeniable obstruction of justice.  The Mueller report cites no less than ten instances where Trump obstructed justice, and he is still doing it today by trying to shut down the congressional oversight committees that are trying to pick up where Mueller’s report left off and determine whether impeachment is the right path.  

criminals-2criminals-3criminals-4criminals-5obstruction-1obstruction-2obstruction-3obstruction-4


And just a few miscellaneous ‘toons to finish up …

generalking-trumptrump-tweet

Leopards Don’t Change Their Spots …

When I heard the news last week about Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, my jaw dropped.  WTF???  I saw the yearbook picture, and my heart clenched.  I heard his apology that, on the surface, seemed sincere, but in the back of my mind kept ringing this refrain:  “Leopards don’t change their spots, leopards don’t change their spots, leopards don’t change their spots.”

I went to bed sometime that night, having moved on to other topics, and early that morning, Politico, The Washington Post and the New York Times all woke me to inform me that Governor Northam had decided, after admitting the night before that he was in the picture, that he wasn’t actually in the picture.  Though for the record, he did wear blackface once when entering a dance contest and doing Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.

By now, I had the man pegged as a liar and a bigot.  The sooner he stepped down, as surely he must, the better for the State of Virginia.  But, rather than stepping down, the man dug in, refusing to resign, declaring that this, too, can be fixed.  He sounded so Trump-like that I’m fairly certain there was a conversation between the two between the first and second public announcement.  It was reminiscent of Trump’s apology for his horribly sexist remarks heard on the campaign trail in 2016, and then later his denial that he had ever made the remarks … plainly heard … on tape … by the world.

If you were wondering why I hadn’t tackled this subject yet, it’s largely because I was waiting for the next shoe to drop.  I couldn’t believe that some were actually taking his side, defending him.  I knew that it was unlikely he could be impeached, for the crimes of which he is accused do not meet the legal criteria for impeachment.  The president of the United States can remove a governor at any time, but we have no president, at least not one with any degree of morality or set of values.  And the last option would be for Northam to step down, which he said he wouldn’t do.  My head spun, as I pondered what this would mean for the State of Virginia, for the Democratic Party, and for the value of morality in the 21st century.  I also wondered who dug into Northam’s past to come up with this … why now?  Somewhere, there is more to this than meets the eye.

So, I have been silent, trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, but fortunately our friend Don Lemon has not shared my silence, and in this video, I think he lays out the facts clearly.  Take just a couple of minutes to listen to him, then think about it.  Is this the direction our nation is going?  We are 21 months from the next election, and guess what, folks … we are going to see more and more and more and more of this.  At the end of the day, we may have to ask ourselves if there is anybody in our government who is not corrupt, who has values, who represents We the People.

Don Lemon Rides Again …

In my earlier post this morning, I made mention of Trump’s cabinet meeting yesterday morning in which he gave the cabinet an ‘alternative history’ lesson about the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s involvement in Afghanistan, etc., and where he took the opportunity to praise … himself … and to criticize everyone else. As the New York Times headline read:

Trump’s Freewheeling and Fact-Free Cabinet Meeting

Pretty much, yep.  I thought you might enjoy Don Lemon’s take on it, as well as a few clips from the circus.  It’s good for a few chuckles anyway.

Stay tuned, for Filosofa will return …