Trump won’t spoil my vacation, unless he pushes the nuke button…

September 9, 2018

Lots happening in politics, something I usually write about, but not sure that I will be able to post much or anything because I will be on a vacation in Spain. So I’ll be devoting most of my time to, well, you know, drinking, eating, drinking. Oh, sightseeing too of course. And I will be continuing my quest to speak Spanish like native speakers. Good luck to me on that — but it has become my hobby, besides writing this blog.

It’s possible that I will post things about what will be my fifth venture into Iberia. I once saw a documentary in which the author James Michener talked about his first trip to Spain. He was a merchant seaman and landed there. He said the country captivated his heart. And that is what it did to me.

One problem with posting over there for me might be my available technology. I am not taking my laptop, but I do plan to take my tablet, which I am using right now. But that is problematic. I won’t bore you with all the details of why that is, just trust me. But we will see. Vamos a ver.

So I make a lot of comments about President Trump. None of them good. But I think that I am not so concerned about most of what he does because I think our democratic process will deal with that soon enough — well maybe not soon enough, but eventually. What I do worry about is that in some fit he might order a nuclear strike. But then again a giant meteorite might hit the earth and end it all for all of us.

Well this post has primarily been a test of the technology I will have available to me on my trip. So I do appreciate all of my followers and those who happen to run across my writings — comments are always welcome too.

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Time to bring the Trump resistance out into the open…

September 6, 2018

UPDATE: Now that I think it all over, I really think working in secret behind the president’s back to thwart him is wrong and in itself is a severe threat to our democracy. And this is from someone (me) who does not care for Trump and would like to see him leave office. But I think the resistance loses its credibility and so does the New York Times by acting in secret (the Times not disclosing the name of the author describing the resistance and its cause). This is serious business and it needs to be out in the open.


So if there really is a secret resistance movement within the Trump administration at the highest level are they doing the nation a service, are they committing mutiny or some form of it, are they committing sabotage, or are they traitors?

Point of view and partisanship and a dictionary might be needed to answer that question.

I’ll let you the reader consult the dictionary (although if anything you would likely consult a dictionary in the computer, as I am wont to do these days, but you really ought to try the good book, and I am referring to a real book, but not the Book, although it no doubt has something to say on these matters too).

While the current situation where the New York Times has published what it portrays as an anonymous insider’s description of an ongoing resistance within Trump’s administration to curb some of his evil and dangerous directives is said to be unprecedented, there have been similar situations I think in the past — just can’t come up with one at the moment. But the point I want to make is that many people feel that if you work for someone, particularly in the public sphere, and you can’t agree with his or her directives, then the honorable and right thing to do is to resign.

But the current action as described seems to be something like a mutiny. But sailors on a ship can’t resign. They have nowhere to go and besides that they are held by law and tradition on the high seas and of course practicality.

These White House resistance members could resign but they feel they would be more effective in saving the country by remaining and protecting us all from Trump, who among other things carries that nuclear football around (figuratively, someone carries it for him) and can order up all kinds of mischief at a whim (and he does).

But I wonder if it would not be more effective and credible to come out in the open. Resign. Make statements. Give evidence. Plea for action. Better to let the American people decide. Let them bring the pressure upon the government via opinion polls and voting. Congress, who has the power to impeach, is good at detecting which way the wind blows.

And, as I said before in this blog, if the situation is that dire, then they should move toward removal through the 25th Amendment. Hard as it is to fathom, Trump might be able to be talked into resigning if he thought he was playing a losing hand. Nixon did.

And Trump knows all about declaring bankruptcy.

 

 


Mixed emotions in a Trump resistance from within

September 5, 2018

I had not read the unsigned opinion piece in the New York Times when I published my last blog post. I won’t go over it all, but the opinion piece in the Times is said to have been penned by a senior official in the Trump administration. According to the writer there is a surreptitious resistance in the White House whose members believe Trump is unfit to be president, that he is, well off his rocker and is dangerous.

They thought of instigating an attempt to remove him via the 25th Amendment but decided it would be too cumbersome and might do harm by causing a constitutional crisis. So instead they are trying to do what they can to thwart some of Trump’s erratic and wild moves by doing such things as purloining letters or documents he has written or issued to keep bad ideas from being carried out. At the same time, the writer claims that many good things have come out of the Trump administration even with a mentally disturbed man who lacks any sense of morals sitting as president.

This sounds like a move toward the 25th Amendment, except that route was rejected (for the time). I personally don’t know what to think of it. Seems to me that if it is that dire they ought to take the 25th Amendment step, except that it is doubtful that would work. It seems that the secret resistance from within, who the writer claims are not the liberal resistance, are caught between on the one hand liking things Trump or the administration is doing but at the same time are scared of what he might do and the damage he is doing to our democracy.

And as usual Trump will try to score points on this by claiming the “deep state” is out to get him. He tarred the intelligence establishment and the FBI as part of that, and he can now point to what looks like a mutiny by traitors from within. I don’t know if this is the beginning of Trump’s fall or just another episode of the continuing unreality reality show.


My previous post follows:

The remarkable thing about Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear”, an off-the-record insiders’ blab-all look at what is portrayed as some kind of crazy house — the U.S. Whitehouse — is that these fearful and disgruntled hangers-on do hang on. Some of them anyway.

Someone suggested to me that maybe they hang on to keep our crazy president Donald Trump in check. Well I guess that is a good excuse. But I think that if they had any self-respect they’d exit. On their own. Seems to me that those who continue on are aiding and abetting the president. Better to leave and not be part of the crime, I think.

And of course many have — some on their own, some not.

Seems to me that the best weapon against Trump is to ignore him and move on. And that goes for both Republicans and Democrats, and anyone else for that matter.

There is and always has been a disagreement or question of what the role of the president is. He is definitely not supposed to be a dictator and yet the public at large often seems to prefer a strong leader.

To me, Trump is somewhat of a symbolic leader but one of a minority, composed maybe of the uninformed or ill-informed, the bigoted, and those who are attracted to fascism or some form of authoritarian rule. And we know that the religious right has ironically made a deal with the Devil, supporting Trump not for his Christianity (of which there is no evidence he has) and despite his sinful ways, solely as a pragmatic move to push a legislative agenda and to pack the Supreme Court to their liking.

And it seems there are others who are simply willing to ignore his outrages as long as the economy of the nation seems to be humming along and the unemployment rates tumble. And that makes some sense in the short run, but I would be concerned about long-term damage to our democracy and core values and world standing.

And the number-one immediate danger is that if the commander-in-chief really is wacky in the head he might give the go-ahead to push the nuclear button or otherwise start some military action that would quickly get out of hand.

There are some mechanisms to deal with this, such as the 25th Amendment that provides a way to remove the president from office if he is judged unfit — but time is of the essence and all that seems problematic.

What we can only hope is that the situation would be handled Nixon-style, as when President Nixon’s advisors judged he had gone off the deep end and because of that military commanders were told to check with the secretary of defense and/or advisor Henry Kissinger before launching nukes.

Meanwhile, those of us who do not care for Trump have to live with the reality that he is the legitimate chief executive of our nation and until or only if the 25th Amendment is used or the public supports impeachment or votes him out at the next election, that is that.

For Democrats in congress it might be better to move on the best they can with their own agenda than fight it. Too much noise only seems to play into his hands by energizing that vocal and volatile minority and even to cause some empathy from those who are just cynical about the motives of all politicians.

p.s.

Of course there are the standard denials and one has to question information that cannot be verified but Woodward has credibility from his Watergate years, and his new book seems to follow a pattern of the ones about the Trump administration by other less credible authors.

 

 

 


Want to move to a low tax area? Ok but beware of the risk…

September 4, 2018

I have often heard people say that they would like to move out of a high tax state like California and maybe to one that does not have so many government regulations. I know Texas has often been cited as a place to go for more freedom and lower taxes.

But what we learned from the devastating floods last year in Houston and surrounding areas is that low taxes and lax development regulations can lead to tragedy.

People just paved over everything in that area and gave no collective thought to drainage. They had covered up the natural drainage and when the deluge came there was nowhere for the water to go, so it inundated a vast area of residential neighborhoods with much loss of life and human misery and a great toll on property.

Also, I just saw a story on the news that the emergency response system there is flawed because it has still not been upgraded from analog to digital so in an emergency it becomes overwhelmed and first responders are not able to segregate all the calls and develop a type of triage — rescuing the most vulnerable first.

Lax zoning laws and low taxes it would seem led to people not being able to get all the help they demanded from that big nasty government they despise yet seem to depend upon so much.

Yes I was being a bit sarcastic and cynical there.

I don’t support the idea of an over-intrusive government nor ultra high taxes, but if you want to get by cheaper you take on the risk. And if you ignore what may seem to be the nuisance of environmental regulations you might just pay down the road.

And it is that season down there once more.

p.s.

Closer to home where I live we are dealing with a fire season in the surrounding forest and wild brush lands that due to things we don’t totally understand, but seem to include climate change, lasts pretty much all 12 months of the year rather than just the summer. For most of the summer the blazes have continued — one in particular that included fire tornadoes that had never been seen before. The smoke continues to foul the air all day and night and is a major health hazard. It’s akin to LA smog in the ’50s. Because so many people have built homes and other structures throughout the wild lands millions of dollars have to be spent to fight the fires, with crews subjected to the dangers of a war zone — where death or injury is ever-threatening — and that danger of course is both for the firefighters and the residents. The problem obviously stems from a combination of nature and the action or inaction of man.

And that is a dangerous subject here for which I don’t take sides, just observe. It is perhaps a complex subject with no easy solution but it does seem to be getting out of hand. The fires moved from the wild lands right into town. Too close for comfort.

And I don’t have all the answers for Texas anymore than I do in my own hometown.

I just imagine that ignoring nature and being penny wise but pound foolish has its consequences.

 

 


A conservative comes out against corporations…

September 2, 2018

It has always seemed a bit odd to me or a little bit disingenuous to me about how Republicans rail against social programs they usually just lump together under the label of “welfare” and yet say little about how business uses that welfare paid by our tax dollars to line its pockets.

There are many ways it does this, but here I am primarily thinking of how large corporate employers, and come to think of it maybe even a lot of small employers, take advantage of the fact that they can pay employees a relatively low wage and still retain them because the poorly-compensated workers may be eligible for various forms of government assistance, such as food stamps (or whatever that program may be called these days) and reduced-priced or free lunches at schools. If they paid their employees more the rest of us would not have to pay quite as much in taxes.

I was surprised that a strident spokesman for the conservative, pro free enterprise, anti-social programs Tucker Carlson came out against this form of corporate welfare.

I suppose it could be a rift among the right with a faction that is so against what they consider the establishment that they on some issues side with the far left. Carlson allowed as how Bernie Sanders in his estimation is wrong on just about everything but on this one issue, the practice of corporations using public benefits to augment their compensation to workers, he is on the correct side. Sanders, according to Carlson (I did not check this out) is pushing legislation to counter that practice.

I’m not sure I buy what Carlson says completely — I mean he might have missed a reality of the free market and that is that employers tend to pay what the market demands. In the employment market that can be situational or different depending upon local conditions. I have been a working person all my life (as opposed to a businessman) and it has been my observation that employers look around and see what other likewise businesspeople in their industry and just as important of their size and locality are paying.

Food stamps and other forms of subsidy to some low-income workers are a reality and if an employer sees that the employer uses business logic and takes that into account. If the programs were not there the employer might find it necessary to raise wages — but then again maybe not. Maybe the employer decides not as many workers are needed after all or there might be some means of automation or technology to take their place. Or the employer might decide that although it would be nice to be able to produce more widgets the cost of production as opposed to opportunity for profit precludes expansion.

Carlson strangely sounds anti-corporate. He opines that a lot of corporations support liberals, rather than conservatives. Gasp! The Waltons of Walmart supported Hillary Clinton, he said. Well, she did spend a lot of time living in Arkansas with Bill and Walmart is a homegrown product of that state.

But why let me tell you what Carlson said? I can give you a link.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/08/31/tucker_carlson_theres_nothing_free_about_this_market_corporations_have_no_use_for_you_or_the_country.html