On booting Sanders from eatery: rude behavior begets rude behavior…

June 23, 2018

Note: my updated version of this post. I accidentally posted my rough draft and it was rough — hope I did better this time


 

The news is that President Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant along with family members because of who her boss is — the intensely divisive Donald Trump.

It does seem rude and not even right that she was booted out.

I wonder if she has a civil rights case (probably not. I think that only applies to people of color or of some kind of third gender — okay I am being a little sarcastic, something I will accuse Ms. Sanders of being in this post).

Apparently though Ms. Sanders took it all in stride, tweeting that she tries to be civil to people even when she does not agree with their politics (sometimes, though, I see incivility in her facial expressions, tone of her responses, and bodily gestures during press conferences).

I don’t even like the idea or institution of the presidential press secretary. I don’t even know when this institution began (I could look that up I guess). But from Nixon’s Ron Ziegler to Trump’s Sarah Sanders it is apparent that their main or only function is to mislead by spin. Everyone knows this. So why do we even listen to or read what they say? I suppose because in the past we have not had daily immediate access to the most powerful person in the world, who is the American president.

But now we have Trump who loves to post whatever fleeting thought is going through his brain at the time on Twitter for the whole world to see.

(I have to confess I don’t even know how to directly access that — Google it I guess — but I am always seeing the tweets in the online news reports).

But what I want to comment on is Ms. Sanders. She of course faces a combative press. One can argue how combative reporters should be but surely no thinking person would suggest that they should just accept bull crap and ask soft ball questions — what would be the point?

Whenever I watch Ms. Sanders answer questions, that is ones she does not like (and that would be anything that does not set up a positive spin for her boss — i.e. softball questions) she gets a stern and defiant look on her face and delivers a response (or sometimes refuses) in a cynical monotone reeking of sarcasm and defiance and even sometimes reproach for someone to dare ask something uncomfortable.

While I have since read that most or all of it was set up, I miss the days when President John F. Kennedy held press conferences and made jokes with uncomfortable questions sometimes.

I watched the tape of Ms. Sanders being mocked at the recent annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner by a trashy female comedian. While that event is known for its irreverances and those who attend must understand that, I thought the comedian’s monologue was of bounds even so.

(Trump was so incensed for being mocked by Barrack Obama years ago he ran for president and the rest is history, well and the present too.)

But, you know, Ms. Sanders could lighten up.

It must be hard to be on the side where your job is to evade the truth and at the same time difficult to be on the side where your job is to somehow get at the truth but be personally maligned in the process.

This is a generality, but people on the political right, and that takes in a big swath of folks who have different versions of conservatism, seem convinced that most of the press or “media” as they always call it (to them that means liar) are simply out there to get ratings or readership and are the enemies of the nation (the fourth estate).

I don’t know the motivations of everyone. I did work in the journalism small time for some 15 years and covered mostly local politics. I learned that unless someone agrees with what your story seems to say they are convinced that you have slanted it. How they come to their own conclusions I have not a clue. They just know what they know I guess.

I will admit that on the national scale in our modern form of journalism or what passes for it there is certainly a tendency to appeal to the middle and the left (with the exception of Fox News, created to attract and pander to the heretofore overlooked demographic of reactionary viewers). I could get into a whole long discussion here on all that but such is not the point of this post.

I just think it is sad that we have gotten to the point where someone such as Ms. Sanders is kicked out of a restaurant over politics.

But you reap what you sow, Ms. Sanders.

p.s.

My apologies for using that reap what you sow Bible quote so much in my posts — just could not come up with something better or more appropriate.

Galatians 6:7: …for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.


According to Wikipedia, FDR was the first president to designate someone to spend full time as a press secretary and be designated as such.

 

 

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Still, neither party seems willing to resolve immigration issue…

June 22, 2018

It appears that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats really care to resolve the immigration issue. Now of course this is my take, but I think in general the Republicans with their business interests and their appeal to the nativist movement are conflicted in that on the one hand they like the supply of generally cheaper labor mostly illegal immigrants supply and the downward pressure it puts on wages but on the other hand they do not want to offend that nativist, anti-immigrant (yes, illegal immigrant) base — especially important in the era of Trump.

For Democrats keeping things in a state of flux is appealing to them in that it gives them an issue to be used against the Republicans. They also court Hispanic votes, people who either are new citizens or those who may be related to or have special concern or empathy for members of their own race. And Republicans might charge that some illegals are being added to the voting rolls (studies indicate voter fraud, although it certainly exists, is statistically not a large factor).

I have written previously that I think the problem is that immigration law is something that is complex and maybe way more than it needs to be.

There is always the argument over whether people should be admitted into the country on a liberal basis without regard to their ability to make a living and at the same time give weight to whether they have family members already here or whether we ought to use a merit system based on their ability meet the skills needed in the labor force or professions (doctors?).

And do we admit people seeking political asylum or fleeing war and crime and general violence in their native lands?

Even the most compassionate among us must understand we cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the teeming and displaced masses of the world. Europe struggles with that today, with the mass migration from Africa and the Middle East, where people flee violence and poverty and search for freedom.

Like a perhaps harder hearted but maybe more practical-minded commenter in a Wall Street Journal story I read wrote: are you willing to open up your own home and pay for them?

(I might answer: probably better to pool our resources through our own government.)

I take the middle ground. We need to face the issue head-on and in a practical manner. We need to get out the word that if you cross the border illegally you will be subject to detainment and immediate deportation. We won’t catch them all, but that is the policy.

But at the same time we need to set up a process with equal access to all for application for entry.

As to what the qualifications for entry should be will surly be the sticking point. I would think proof one has a necessary skills to make a living would be one.

If there are to be limits it ought to apply at the top and the bottom. That is we should limit even those special visas the high-tech industry uses to get smarter but cheaper labor from abroad.

There is no excuse for not hiring our own native talent. And if there is not enough of it, then what is pubic education all about?

Immigration law is too complex but it will be a complex problem to make it simpler no doubt. We do not have the leadership to get that done.

I will say that President Trump is rattling the cages on both sides but to what end I am not sure.

Hopefully new leadership will emerge.

 


Crossing the border illegally does not in and of itself make one a criminal…

June 21, 2018

It’s somewhat difficult to honestly sort through the current immigration problem at the Mexican border.

Certainly the visual has been bad. There really is no excuse for separating families and it does conjure up images of Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews or the days of slavery when families were separated when slave owners decided to sell off some of some of their slaves.

And the notion that the Trump administration had been putting forward that it had no choice under the law is of course a lie on its face. Since no other administrations did it, why now? Answer: politics, used as leverage to get the kind of immigration legislation Trump wants (his wall) and plays up to the bigoted base.

Trump world will tell you that criminals in this country are separated from their children when they go to jail. Well calling people who illegally cross the border criminals is a cruel play on words. They are not criminals in the commonly understood context of that word. They are not murderers or robbers or rapists or smugglers just by the fact of crossing the border. They have broken a law of our country. Yes, I guess you can say they have committed a crime. But again that does not fit the commonly understood meaning of the word “criminal”.

To be sure there is a need to control the border. An influx of people, many of whom have no way of supporting themselves, can overtax our system. And yes, anytime you have a flood of people there will be the criminal element within the group.

But these desperate people are not the enemy. We ought to be pressing on the countries from whence they have come. The failure of those countries to uphold law and order and to have uncorrupt governments is what is causing the problem. No easy solution or method there I must admit.

These people are coming out of parts of Mexico and Central and South America. Too bad the U.S. spent so many years supporting corrupt governments in Latin America under the guise of fighting communism. We are reaping what we sowed.

Mexico is set to get a new administration with an election on July 1. We need to work with Mexico, respecting that nation and improving our relationship with it.

But for now, because of who we are, I think we have no choice but to accept the immigrants, but of course with proper and orderly screening, but within a humane system.

The Trumpians are playing politics at the cost of human misery and it is disgusting. It is revolting.

Trump did appear to cave in, saying now that he would stop the policy of separating families but for those already separated there is no promise of action we are told.

In a related matter I am confused as to why our military cannot be used to directly patrol the border. I just did a quick read and indicated there is an old law on the books that prevents or discourages the use of troops for border patrol. But that is a law, not a constitutional provision. Laws can be changed. We do need to control the border. I doubt a wall is needed or even would be effective. And the aesthetics would be bad. We have drones and electronic devices to augment the human element.

We also need better relations with Latin America. We need to work with those countries to make life better for their people and in the process help us all. We need to be good neighbors but go beyond the “good neighbor” policy of the past and be so without being condescending.

We also need to un-elect our current Nazi-like government.

 

 


Bad president but compromised FBI…

June 15, 2018

In my last post I wrote about giving peace a chance in relation to President Trump’s whirlwind summit with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un.

That was not a compliment or sign of admiration for Trump — I think he is the worst thing to happen to my country, the USA, in my lifetime (and I thought George W. Bush was so bad — no more just clueless at times).

But if we can tamp down the move toward nuclear war then yes let’s give that a chance.

But we have a terrible, evil person as our president and he is doing great damage go our democracy with his fascist approach to politics.

It is possible he has violated many laws and should be prosecuted but unfortunately in my mind we have a justice department, more specifically, an FBI that is compromised by renegade agents (a minority one would hope) who were not discreet enough to keep their personal opinions on politics (which of course they are free to have) to themselves while performing their duties. The very fact that they stated to each other that they disliked candidate Trump, with one in fact indicating he would never let him become president, on its face proves bias in the FBI, even though a just-released inspector general’s report makes the giant leap of faith or logic that even though they said such things there was no proof of bias in their investigations. I think their statements, recorded in text messages and/or emails, is the evidence.

The report did accuse fired FBI director James Comey of being insubordinate in making statements about the appearance of guilt or innocence in the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation without clearing it with his superiors in the Justice Department.

And now I can’t remember for sure, but didn’t Comey just before the presidential election announce that he was re-opening the  investigation against Clinton — thus possibly costing her the election, and then too late but even closer to election day saying never mind nothing here?

Ironically, Trump was no doubt right to fire Comey but probably did so for the wrong reasons. But I am not sure that makes any difference.

Meanwhile we have a president who is acting more like a traitor than a leader of our nation, picking fights with our allies and cozying up to our enemies.

He praises the murderous Kim of North Korea, as well as Putin of Russia, who also has blood on his hands, suggests (he said later in jest) that he wishes people here in the USA (his staff or all of us?) would stand up at attention for him like they do for Kim in North Korea. Observers tell as North Korea is basically one big prison. And in another outrage, Trump saluted a North Korean general. Now to be fair I think Trump was just caught in an awkward moment — he returned a salute given to him. But I recall that President Obama was castigated for genuflecting before the former King of Saudi Arabia. But meanwhile, Trump went to Saudi Arabia and made buddy buddy with the leaders of that oligarchy.

Well the demands of my real job prevent me from further comment or analysis at this time.

To sum it up, though, the USA is currently in trouble.

Oh, that’s right, the economy is supposed to be good. Wow, we’ll all go to heck, lose our democracy, lose our freedom, but we’ll have enough money.


The North Korea deal: give peace a chance…

June 13, 2018

While the Trump/ Kim Jong Un flash summit might have been all show and no substance, I guess why not give peace a chance?

I mean even if it was all a con job by two slightly nutty narcissistic bullies if we can all get along and forestall Armageddon why not relax and enjoy life while we can?

Certainly Trump’s ad lib-no-preparation approach was unprecedented but maybe this is what was needed.

The United States is in a ticklish position in that it was the first nation to produce nuclear weapons and the first and only one to use them — but now it tries to demand that no other other nations, except those who are aligned with it, have nuclear weapons. Neither Pakistan nor India are aligned with it, but since they are neutral and there is nothing the U.S. can do about it anyway, it is accepted. Of course Russia and China have them and that is just an accepted fact. Russia is a quasi enemy and China is half enemy and half partner with the U.S., what with all the trade between the two nations and the fact that China finances a major portion of the U.S. national debt.

So, maybe Trump should try to work his magic with Iran. Iran does not have nuclear weapons yet but it working hard on getting them.

Trump is full of bluster and ignorant of the world but the more solid and intelligent individuals who preceded him have worked under the handicap of being stuck in a history that they cannot let go of.

Of course this may all fall apart for lack of substance, but in the meantime there seems little to lose.

As commander-in-chief Trump summarily called off the war games in South Korea, informing neither that nation nor even his own generals ahead of time. But he did not order the army to surrender.

Trump said he would like to eventually pull the troops out of Korea, that it is a costly financial burden to the U.S.

The U.S. spent trillions of dollars for decades fending off the communists. And I am sure it was all necessary. But in the end what killed the Soviet Union, the former leader of communism in the world, was economics. Their system did not work.

The only major communist economy left is China and it turned to a system of mixed communism and capitalism a long time ago now.

Kim runs a system that is communist in name only. He is the offspring of a family that has ruled North Korea since its beginning as their fiefdom.

China is North Korea’s enabler.

President Richard Nixon, who made his political career out of accusing his foes of being communist sympathizers, made the bold move to establish full diplomatic relations with Communist China, partly as a gambit to play them off against the Soviet Union — divide and conquer. The Soviet Union collapsed, along with its Eastern European satellites. China moved toward capitalism.

Communist North Vietnam won their war with us and took over all of Vietnam. Vietnam moved toward capitalism (like China, communist government but partial capitalist economy).

Trump has already established rapport with the Chinese leader and he should continue to cultivate that relationship (his complaints on China’s trade practices aside). Continued good relations with China will make it want to keep a thumb on North Korea.

North Korea, as weak as it is economically, would have been barely a threat, but it has been gaining nuclear weapons strength. So there is reason to be concerned.

I personally can’t stand Trump — but that does not count for much. I say for now, let him do what he can do.

Yeah, Mr. Trump, why not go calling on Iran now and wow them?

 


Is Trump triumphant or did he give away the store?

June 12, 2018

What happened while I was sleeping I am not sure. Is it like Nixon to China or Chamberlain to Germany? Did President Trump do something no one else could, get North Korea to bargain for peace or did, as at least one commentator put it, Trump act like a quisling and sell out his country? Is Trump a Manchurian candidate? Or is he a patriot who has delivered peace for his country?

We’ll have to see as the day and maybe the weeks unfold here in the West.

I, frankly, have only read the headlines and little more as of this writing. But at first glance it appears Trump made major concessions to the North Korean dictator. Trump said joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea would be halted because they are too provocative (he was repeating the North Korean line) and that Kim has been invited to the White House and has accepted the invite (unspecified time).

(I think I’m feeling a bit ill; I mean I want peace, but do we have to surrender to get it?)

Trump made some weird comment about feeling he could trust Kim. Did he look into his eyes like George W. Bush did Putin’s? Was it love at first sight, one bully to another?

I mean is Trump that good a judge of character? And what kind of character?


Two egos, Trump and Kim, hold the world hostage

June 12, 2018

To Trump it is just reality TV. He’s after ratings in his negotiations in Singapore, the neutral site chosen for him and the ruthless murderous Kim Jong Un of North Korea to meet.

The  meeting is happening now across the international dateline as I write this late Monday evening my time.

He wants to see the photos and videos and maybe read a few lines (I don’t think he ever reads more than a few) about his favorite subject, himself. If something good and lasting comes from it, it’s merely an added bonus.

Trump was so eager to get to the show that he blew up the other important meeting with the leaders of the Western world and managed to insult everyone and quit the game because he did not get his way.

While stalling for time to keep Kim from attacking America with a nuclear capability he may or may not have might be good, I question if it is a good idea to talk to the thug. I mean is what I have read not true? Kim has murdered his own countrymen on a large scale, including his own brother and an uncle.

He has people tortured, including sexual abuse. And he lives in luxury and gets fat while most of the population of North Korea starves (at least Hitler was a vegetarian and kept fairly trim, but of course he was a murderer on an extraordinary scale, and by the way, talking to him did no good either).

There is no freedom of speech or religion in North Korea, as we all know.

It is true, there is no way to directly help the people of North Korea get free of the clutches of Kim.

But giving him the stage where he can go head to head with the leader of the free world (who sadly is Trump, despite his lack of world view) seems questionable to me. It just helps kim consolidate his power.

And I would not trust Kim any more than I would trust Trump.

The U.S. would do better to ignore kim for the most part in its public actions and do everything it can primarily behind the scenes to protect itself from the likes of Kim.

I almost feel like the whole world is being held hostage by two egos, two evil narcissists.