I now think it is highly likely Trump will resign…

August 18, 2017

Somewhere back I suggested it might be possible that Donald Trump would resign the presidency, declaring success and that there was nothing more to do. Thus, in his mind, he could quit but save face doing so.

Now a ghost writer for one of his books has said the same thing.

It does seem the tide is turning. We have all thought this before so many times. But he is beginning to wear even on his supporters or those hangers-on (many of whom are Republicans who simply don’t want to lose their grip on the White House) who have turned a blind eye to all his nonsense.

And ongoing investigations may be getting too close to various irregularities in his affairs from his campaign and onwards.

I’ve read that a lot of our presidents have not been so scholarly, but Trump I doubt has ever read any true history and I doubt he actually has any grasp on the reality of world affairs.

One of the latest bits of nonsense to come out of Trump in the past day or so is something about General Pershing of WWI fame stopping Islamic terrorists in the Philippines — which by the way was once an American colony — by personally shooting them with bullets dipped in hog’s blood (pork is a no-no for Muslims). He also claimed that the action stopped terrorism there for decades. The account is believed by most to be a myth and it is not accurate to say it stopped terrorism there. But truth means nothing to Trump. And even if Pershing had done that, what has that got to do with today? And what is the purpose of vilifying adherents to a religion (that’s how it will be perceived) when it is terrorists who are causing the problem, irrespective of religion? Just another way to sow hatred among peoples. Even George W. Bush had the sense to proclaim our war against terror was against terrorists not simply people who adhere to a particular religion.

Trump is also alienating his chosen political party (Republican), I say chosen because I think he is really apolitical. He has previously been registered as a Democrat. He is also alienating his base, composed of primarily white folks disgruntled over the perceived loss of status in society and employment opportunities or wages and who are distrustful of educated people (and sometimes I admit with good reason).

Well actually, Trump is alienating everyone.

Yes, I think it is safe to say that the likelihood of him resigning before he is otherwise kicked out is high.

And it cannot come too soon.

 

 

 


The terror in Barcelona: bigotry, racial and religious intolerance over the world added to hopelessness fuel such attacks…

August 17, 2017

The war on terror seems unwinnable. Today there was another terror attack in Europe with a car plowing through Barcelona’s main tourist area and at latest report as I write this several dead and many injured. The car was said to weave in and out as if to catch as many people as possible.

(And this right after a home-grown car-through-the crowd attack in the U.S. the other day)


And the Barcelona incident is ongoing with it just reported (again as I write this or actually as I just initially posted it) that two police officers were run over at a checkpoint in a separate incident.


Military operations or military operations alone will not solve this problem. Right now it is assumed that this was the work of Islamic terrorists (not at all sure on that).

But then we just had that incident in Charlottesville, Va. where some misguided white boy loser plowed his car deliberately into pedestrians — he was all fired up with white nationalism. As an aside, he was reported to be an army basic training drop out.

So if there is any connection here it is people, particularly young people, filled with hopelessness will resort to terrible causes and others will take advantage of that to enhance their own power.

What can be done? In the short run, other than to be vigilant not much. But in the longer run things must be done worldwide to bolster opportunities for all. Nations and economies, no matter where they are — even right here at home — controlled by oligarchies foster the hopelessness. Tribal factions, such as in the Middle East, foster it too.

Supporting or in any way giving comfort to racial and religious bigotry, whether it be Islam vs. Christianity or Islam and Christianity vs Judaism or whatever, or being accommodating to white nationalism is detrimental to a peaceful world.

We in the democratic nations should take care not to elect bigots to office.

p.s.

Again, it has not been determined as I write this who was behind the Barcelona attack. It is true that there is an ongoing separatist movement in which some want Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital, to declare its independence from the rest of Spain. But so far I have read nothing to indicate that has anything to do with today’s incident. A headline I just read in the Spanish newspaper El País said it is assumed Islamic militants are behind the attack.

 

 


Trump is bad to the bone, but I take the ‘media’ to task a little on this one…

August 17, 2017

Finally I got a chance to watch President Trump’s infamous press conference of the other day in its entirety where it was widely reported I think that he had a meltdown the like of which had never been seen in at least the modern history of the U.S. presidency.

Didn’t see the meltdown or the president going off the rails.

I am no Trump supporter. I think he is the worst thing to happen to our government in my lifetime — which I marked at 68 years this past Sunday. Richard Nixon runs a close second.

But back to the news conference. Trump did not make an official statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. , rather his comments came in a series of answers to questions from reporters. The press conference was supposed to be about his infrastructure plan (whatever it may be) but rather quickly degenerated into a hostile and/or combative repartee between Trump and the press or the “media” as they are pejoratively called in these modern times — implying that it is a hostile and unified force, usually thought to be consisted of primarily liberal-oriented folks who have no respect for all that is good, such as mom and apple pie and the flag, with their sole mission being to tear down that part of the establishment that is more conservative.

But I did have to listen to the thing in its entirety (forget how long) to realize that during it Mr. Trump to me appeared to disassociate himself with and condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis. But since he also continued to claim that there were forces from the left goading them on or even starting the violence, it is reported that he failed once again to single out the torch-bearing Nazi storm trooper-like participants. Trump claimed that there were law-abiding citizens on both sides who simply wanted to exercise their right to protest over the issue of retaining symbols of the old Confederacy and the human bondage that it represented. He also questioned the idea of removing statues, and I think he said it was like trying to rewrite history. Of course the complaint from those opposing keeping the statues (this is happening all over) is that they represent a cause in our Civil War that fought to maintain human bondage, as I just mentioned. Trump countered that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (among others) were slave holders and questioned whether they should be stricken from the respectful side of our history.

That to me that is an argument for another time. I understand historical interest. I can never, never understand how it was thought human bondage, slavery, was OK.

You know, I spent some time in what people now call “the media” but it was in the small time. The largest newspaper I worked on claimed it had a circulation of 12,000, not only is that small potatoes, I know that papers used to fudge on those statistics to try to enhance their ad revenue. But I mention this to say that it was my experience that as a reporter you face the pressure to write what everyone else is writing. If not you get grilled by your editors and even the public who might wonder which riot you attended — well I never covered a riot. But I did cover endless public meetings and some political races. I wished I remembered the details but once when I was working at that larger paper which was up against some high-powered media in the state capital I was asked by my editor why my story was not like theirs.

But Trump is a bad dude no doubt. Even so, in my opinion formed by watching the long version of his press conference, rather than short clips, not all of the press was accurate on this one. I didn’t see Trump’s meltdown but someone suggested that I am just acclimated to his nonsense by now. What I saw was a combative president taking questions head on. Did he answer them directly or did he answer them truthfully? Does any president? All the time?

Even so, Trump appears to be digging himself into a hole.

And you know what they say about that predicament.

Stop digging.

p.s.

So what really happened at Charlottesville? Who did what and when? You probably had to be there. But then you would be like a low-ranking soldier in the middle of a battle, you might not see the whole picture. If you really cared to know and if you had the time you could scour various sources and analyze it all. The most informative account I have seen so far was a story in the LA Times composed of comments from various people on the scene, from white supremacists to counter protestors to reporters and photographers and maybe others who just happened to be there. I guess I have to conclude that there would not have been any trouble if the white supremacist goons had stayed home. Too bad they weren’t just laughed out of the place. But it was deadly and no laughing matter.


So white nationalists would prefer a Hitler? What if an authoritarian they supported turned on them?…Threats from the right and left but the right has a man in the White House…

August 16, 2017

Much of the Greatest Generation members of whom stormed the beaches of Normandy and landed on the islands of the South Pacific — going straight on into enemy fire with little to no protection — thousands of our people dying in a day — are now dead, but they must be figuratively rolling in their graves with white nationalists now carrying Nazi or Nazi-like symbols and inflicting terror on the streets of America….

The U.S. and the Allies In World War II fought a long and hard two-front war against the Germans and the Japanese and against the forces of authoritarianism, fascism, and militarism that had reared their ugly heads and threatened the world at the time. Those forces were foes of democracy and personal freedom and equal treatment of the races of mankind.

Today we see the same threat coming to the forefront.

Oh I realize our president says it is not just the white supremacists but left-wing radicals too — maybe so, but those Nazis (I call them) are the most visible and it was one of their ilk who mowed down pedestrians and killed one in Charlottesville, Va. this past weekend. And the right-wing extremists have a sympathizer in the White House, the president.

And like I said in my previous post, it is the ultra right-wing extremists who seem to have the most support in this nation. Otherwise law-abiding citizens look the other way or secretly harbor some sympathy with their supposed cause, even if they themselves would not likely resort to violence. It’s all about resistance to political correctness and extremes in trying to solve the racial injustices of the past — the old school busing plans the quotas in hiring (using reverse discrimination to make up for past discrimination of blacks and other people of color). And it is all about ignorance of history too.

And I have neglected so far to mention that taunt used in Charlottesville I read about:

Just tried to look it up but it was something like “Jew go home”, using Jew in a kind of cruel and threatening play on words as “you”.

Through the ages Jews have been blamed for all kinds of things, such as being successful. I have read that since they were so often forbidden from entering various trades due to religious prejudice, they had to use their wits to survive.

So do those white supremacists approve of what Hitler did to the Jews? He sent men and women and children to concentration camps to either be worked to death or gassed to death in what they were told were showers or to be burned to ashes in ovens. And no it was not fiction. Not only did victorious Allied forces record what they found, the ever-efficient and dutiful Germans recorded much of it for posterity.

But what about what our president calls the “alt-left” (as opposed to a right-wing faction previously tagged as the “alt-right”)?

They have not received as much coverage but that may either be because they are not as significant or numerous or like I suspect that they don’t have nearly the chance to get anywhere — not saying for sure they could not ever.

I’ve lived long enough in my native land (I’m a native American; I was born here) to know that just under the surface there is that fascist or Nazi-like current from folks who tend to support what they consider sacred institutions and customs (and they have their own personal ideas on what all that is) and who might support some type of authoritarianism to preserve them. But what if that authority turned on them? Do they ever think about that?

President Trump never gets anything right. I mean I even think he came close by a measured but almost equal response he seemed to come up with for a second or two before he seemed to return to laying most of the blame for the recent violence on “both sides” with the implication it was really leftists radicals. It is hard to  pin him down on anything because he contradicts himself in mid sentence sometimes or he will say something in public and then go home and tweet the polar opposite. Take your pick.

He should have come down hard on the white extremists initially and kept it that way, but it would also be correct to condemn violence on all sides. We all know he is trying to give a wink, wink to the white nationalists, not necessarily because he is personally sympathetic, but for playing to his base. Politicians make terrible compromises all the time — but this is out of limits in a free society as far as I am concerned.

Sometimes I think of dropping this blog. I have other things I should do or lots of other things I want to do. But if I am going to write anything about politics, what else is there at this time?

This nation is at a dangerous crossroads.

It is like a terrible dream and I wish the nightmare was over.

p.s.

The latest beef began as a protest over the planned removal of a statue of Conferderate General Robert E. Lee from a city park.

I lift the following from a promo for a Wall Street Journal story:

…Some people who oppose statue removal do so for reasons of historical or artistic preservation. But would any of them have decided to make common cause with neo-Nazis and join in last week’s demonstration? writes James Freeman……


And more lifting, this on the Donald Trump presidency in more general terms, from Der Spiegel of Germany, in a interview with chancellor candidate Martin Shulz:

Schulz: It was clear to me that the White House’s solemn atmosphere would not civilize Trump. But the merciless nepotism with which he conducts politics, in which he places himself and his family above the law, I wouldn’t have considered that possible. And on top of that there is this reduction of complex political decisions to 140 characters. When it comes to a U.S. president, I consider the reduction of politics to a tweet to be truly dangerous. Trump is a risk to his country and the entire world…

And back to my own words: I could not have said it better than Herr Shulz.

Oh, Trump is not like other politicians, he says what he means, claim what is left of his supporters (whatever it is that he means, and does he mean well?).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Right-wing extremists: you’re being used…

August 15, 2017

When people feel threatened or when they feel that their culture is threatened they may turn to extremism, to violence. I think the ones who end up taking the most active or physical part are the ignorant or those with nothing else to do, perhaps because they are unemployed.

But often there are people one would think were more enlightened who back them up directly or indirectly either by inaction or by somehow giving at least implicit support, sometimes simply by ignoring what is going on or by going out of their way to cast blame on others while turning a blind eye or downplaying the violence of the extremists.

I have the violence in Charlottesville, Va. of the past days in my mind. We are so worried about terrorism from abroad and now we are facing terrorism from within.

Right now the ultra-right white nationalists and assorted Nazi-like types are being subjected to the blame and I believe that is basically where it belongs — but I was not there. Some are saying that extremists on the left are to blame or carry equal culpability. One report I read, albeit in a right-wing site, stated that a communist-leaning group started it all.

Again, I suspect most of the blame should go to what are called ultra right-wing hate groups. It seems that those kind of groups have more support in the United States. I think it is because of the ongoing racial rift between a portion on the white society and the society of those of color (of course there are disputes within the societies themselves).

I was surprised more of this did not come to the surface during the two terms of our first Black president, Barack Obama. It’s as if those angry people among the white society had finally had enough, and with the removal or pending removal of symbols of white hegemony, the Confederate flag and statues of generals of the Confederacy, and a more sympathetic man to their cause in power President Donald Trump (he pandered and continues to pander to them directly or implicitly — except when he does not), all hell broke loose.

But when I see white nationalists with their torches and arms raised in Nazi salute I wonder if they really know the implications of a cause they profess to believe in. How would they like it really or how would they fare under a Nazi, Hitler-like regime? Do they not realize that elites simply use ignorant people like them to keep what they call the rabble (those below their status) in line?

Competition among races is natural and ongoing. For an insight, and one that entertains rather than scares, I would suggest that you read “Accordion Crimes” a 1996 novel by  E. Annie Proulx.

As a white person I actually think there is somewhat of a threat to our culture and institutions but I don’t think we will save ourselves by ignorance and cruelty and outright violence. And I believe there is no reason all races cannot live and love and thrive together. Actually to much of an extent we do that today in the United States.

But there are always those who for some reason want to ruin it for us all. Many of them would do better to find something productive to do.

We all have a right or even duty to stand up for our culture, except if we think that part of that culture has to do with hate of others, then that culture is not worth saving.

 

 


It seems we have returned to the Cold War and the racial strife of the ’50s and ’60s; Trump and Kim Jong-un play to their fan base…

August 13, 2017

UPDATE (Monday, Aug. 14, 2017): A day or so late perhaps, U.S. President Donald Trump has now renounced by name the KKK and neo Nazis and other hate groups. It may have been because of public pressure — but for a democracy that’s a good thing.


 

With the nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States and the racial strife, currently exemplified in the race riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, it seems we are going back to the future — to the Cold War of the 1950s and ’60s and the racial strife of the civil rights era.

But in my mind too there are major differences:

In the Cold War we had the Soviet Union, a major power (not the tiny isolated North Korea) and the United States (one of two super powers at the time) both headed by sane men (history indicates), with possibly the exception of Richard Nixon, but only in the final days of his doomed presidency when he reportedly resorted to heavy drinking and seemed a bit unstable.

Today we have what could only be termed as a certified mad man heading North Korea and to me and many others what seems to be a terribly unstable and ill-mannered man as president of the United States. Now part of his act is gamesmanship, for sure. But this is no game folks. And this is not a real estate deal where deception is commonplace. I’m not sure at all that he appreciates that.

And then what I call a race riot in Charlotte. It’s actually I suppose a fight between civil rights supporters and progressives and Black Lives Matter on the one side and neo fascists and the so-called alt right on the other. Extremists on neither side are in the mainstream of public sentiment at large I am sure. But the neo fascists I am sure are a small minority but a loud and violent one and the alt right if I understand it at all are like sympathizers with them, maybe content to let the skinhead types do the dirty work. I mean I think that is where our president is to a degree, pretending to abhor the violence but giving a mixed signal by failing to call out the far-right reactionaries and simply say he is against the violence from “all sides”. But right now the violence seems to be coming from the far right or neo fascists (same as neo Nazi). He feels he needs or he even sympathizes with the violent and ignorant of the far right.

To be sure ignorance and violence is not confined to the neo fascists but they are the ones seeming to be the most physical at the moment.

We do not yet know much about the young man who plowed his car into a crowd of people Saturday, killing one and injuring others, but so far I read that his own mother said he is connected to the alt right, and he is from Ohio (not the South). Now I don’t know his family roots, but it is interesting and creepy, and scary that what appear to be ignorant thugs have taken up the cause of those who do not want a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee removed from a park in Charlottesville.

White southerners back in the 50s and 60s didn’t want their schools desegregated; they did not want their children having to attend school with black children. They also did not want to see all the other forms of racial segregation removed, including lunch counters and city buses and restrooms and so on.

Most of the civil rights action was in the South or maybe the border states too back then (not all). The landmark civil rights court decision that banned racial discrimination, Brown v The Board of Education, stemmed from a dispute in Kansas, definitely not in the South and not a  border state.

Of course in the South and some border states (I believe) racial discrimination was codified in Jim Crow laws. In the North or elsewhere it was de facto, just was and just understood to be the way, legal or not, real estate deed restrictions notwithstanding.

But today we see that racial strife survives. In fact it is alive and well. It’s really no longer a Southern cause but the cause of a segment of the white society that is not happy about a change of status. But most would not resort to violence. But the violent types get some cover from them nonetheless, as evidenced by President Trump’s failure to simply call out the skinheads.

And I don’t know why it is thought necessary to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee. It’s like trying to remove history. I do understand taking down the Confederate flag I think, although I am really almost neutral on that. But I am also not one descended from people who suffered under slavery.

But the skinhead violence has no place in our society.

And another thought:

It occurs to me that Trump’s outlandish and scary behavior in threatening nuclear war stems from his background in the pro-wrestling business. If you have ever watched all that you know it is all fake (just like fake news). It is a carnival show where two tough guys throw insults at each other and pretend (well in most cases) to do bodily damage to the other.

I have read that there are actually back-channel negotiations going on between the U.S. and North Korea even as the two crazy men, Kim Jong-un and Trump, trade threats of mutual destruction.

This bizarre situation allows both actors to play to their fan base so to speak.

But it is bad and dangerous acting.

p.s.

And I realize that most of Kim Jong-un’s fan base is a captive one, literally.

 

 


If Trump knew what he was doing, he’d shut up…

August 10, 2017

Nothing has changed really since my last post — two crazy men still face off threatening nuclear war, Kim Jong-un of North Korea and President Donald Trump of the U.S.

For someone who prides himself as a tough negotiator Trump seems inept to me. He couldn’t get the Obamacare repeal and/or replacement through (good I guess), and there was that what seems to have been a useless air raid in Syria (I mean what was the result?), and the wayward armada sent to North Korea as a show of force (but it stopped off at Australia along the way (someone forgot to send the admirals the memo) — how’s all that working out?

The big problem is this: our president can’t shut up and keep himself off Twitter. Kim Jong-un of North Korea threatens nuclear holocaust and Trump threatens the same back.

(A Trump apologist on radio I heard claimed Trump never used the word “nuclear” but c’mon we know what he means — it must be hard having to defend Trump, but your audience demands it. “Fire and fury like the world has never seen” is what Trump said we would meet an attack by North Korea with. And actually the U.S. once used the nuclear fire and fury — on Japan, two times — and so far has been the only nation to do so.)

Certainly some kind of statement answering North Korean threats is in order but it needs no more in it than we (the U.S.) will defend ourselves. And perhaps a statement — like one on TV as some past presidents have done — to the American people to rest assured we have a mighty defense system and we are capable and willing to use it to defend ourselves.

And now I read Trump is even threatening a preemptive strike against North Korea.

I would think people who are good at negotiations would keep their cards close to their vest and say very little and not lock themselves into any position.

The more Trump threatens and brings himself down to the level of Kim Jong-un the more he traps himself into A. making good on a threat and perhaps triggering a nuclear conflagration involving not just North Korea and the U.S. but China and Russia, who both might feel obliged to join on the side of their nominal ally, or B. having to back down and be in the same position as poor Barack Obama who drew his lines in the sand and then stepped back himself.

Teddy Roosevelt was right: “speak softly but carry a big stick”.

In reality we should be prepared and we should be doing lots of things behind the scenes but other than that ignore the crazy man of North Korea.

And now if we could only ignore our own Crazy man, Trump.

p.s.

I would not rule out some type of preemptive strike on our part. Hope it is not necessary. But better to do it and have a good chance to be successful than to talk about it.