Thursday, April 20, 2017

Angry Town Hall Attendees Need To Look In The Mirror

Across red state America from Idaho to Florida, congressional Republicans are returning to their hometowns to face angry voters. Those conservative reps brave enough to attend Town Hall meetings are being met with large hostile crowds who are demanding answers about their support for Trump and his toxic agenda.

And I don’t get it.

The majority of the people attending these Town Hall meetings are Republicans. They likely voted for the representative they are now booing and probably voted for Trump. Yet here they are criticizing the person who they knew was a conservative, who they knew would support the Republican presidential candidate, and who they knew would follow Donald Trump’s lead. They’re mad at their representative, when they should be mad at themselves for their ill informed, self-defeating choices.

There’s a ton of analysis out there about why people continue to vote against their own best interests, but what does it take to get them to stop? Do they really believe a Democrat would do a worse job then their current congressperson, who they now revile? Red state Americans willingly voted for a president who was an avowed racist (a point in his favor, I guess), a misogynist, a serial liar and a corrupt businessman basically because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton or another Democrat. And then they are disappointed with the results. 

How bad will things have to get before Republican voters realize the leaders of their party have no interest in helping them or making their lives better? And how long will it take for Democrats to wake up and realize that neo-liberal, corporate-sponsored candidates like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry won’t win the hearts and minds of Middle Americans?

I know it can be hard to admit your own mistakes, but when your very survival and the survival of your children is at stake — and with Trump at the helm this isn’t hyperbole  — isn’t it time to reconsider where your loyalty lies?

Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Nightmare Realized: Trump Is Taking Us To War

We stand on the brink of a major conflict with Russia. How did we get to this perilous point? What happened to America? Here’s a brief overview of the past year to help understand how things went so horribly wrong.

May 2016 – Ted Cruz and John Kasich, the last Republican candidates for president standing, ended their campaigns, making Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee to the shock of almost everyone.

July 2016 – Despite numerous polls showing Bernie Sanders had the best chance of beating Trump in the general election, and with the overt help of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton received Sanders’ endorsement and became the Democratic nominee for president.

November 16, 2016 – Despite endorsements by every major newspaper in the country, despite being declared the winner of the presidential debates, despite numerous revelations exposing her opponent’s racist and misogynistic background, despite her opponent’s refusal to release his tax returns, despite reports of Russian influence within the Trump campaign, despite spending almost twice as much money during her campaign as Trump, despite the polls and despite winning the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, Hillary Clinton loses the election by 77 Electoral College votes to wealthy TV personality Donald Trump. White Americans in the Mountain, Midwest and Southern states expressed their anger at “the establishment” by voting in a true outsider.

January 20, 2017 – Donald Trump is inaugurated 45th President of the United States.  Trump spends his first few days in office arguing that his inauguration crowd was larger than Obama’s (it wasn’t) and that he would have won the popular vote if it wasn’t for millions of illegal voters (no evidence has been found to support this claim). Using his Twitter account, Trump establishes a pattern of outrageous, insulting and often fabricated comments to communicate his views and reach his constituents.

January 2017 to May 2017 –

Trump nominates scores of uniquely unqualified alt-right ideologues and family members to cabinet posts and positions as advisors. With the help of Mitch McConnell and a lapdog congress, nominations are rammed through the approval process with virtually no vetting. This pattern continued to include the April appointment of rabidly right-wing judge Neil Gorsuch to a seat on the Supreme Court.

Accusations of Russian involvement in the recent U.S. election rise to the surface as it is revealed numerous Trump administration officials met with top Russian politicians and oligarchs before and after the election. Trump’s ties to Russian oligarchs going back years are exposed. Investigations are started, but Congress continues to run interference for Trump and block any serious probe into the accusations.

The Trump administration approaches government spending with a chainsaw, proposing drastic cuts in every area except military spending. Many new appointees as cabinet heads are avowed enemies of the agencies they now oversee and have no problems with slashing their own budgets or eliminating the agency altogether. Threats are made to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Environmental and safety regulations are decimated.

Trump wages war on undocumented citizens, ordering the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to arrest and deport thousands of immigrants, tearing families apart and deporting many people who have been productive, contributing Americans for decades.

Intrigue and internecine warfare escalates within the White House, as various factions fall in and out of favor with Trump. Family members are given positions of enormous influence within the administration and resentment has escalated. Once Trump’s most influential advisor, white nationalist Steve Bannon appears to be on the way out as Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner accumulates more and more power.

April 2017 – As the conflicts within Syria continued to simmer, reports reached the west that chemical weapons were used on citizens of a Syrian village and that men, women and children died horrible deaths as a result. The attack was blamed on Syrian President Assad. Despite the fact that Donald Trump had criticized President Obama for similar actions in Syria on many occasions in the past, Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian airstrip on April 6. Details of the attack have since emerged, and we now know the Trump administration communicated with Russia before the attack and, coincidentally, Syrians at the airport were given a heads-up hours before the attack and were able to evacuate the facility before the bombs fell. The Russians were notified of the attack before congress.

The Syrian attack appears to have angered Russia, and some type of response is expected. Additionally, there have been no reports of whether the bombing destroyed any chemical facilities or accomplished anything substantial. There are suspicions being voiced that the attack was an attempt to divert attention away from the Russian investigations in Washington.

Today – The situation in which American finds itself is frightening. We have an unqualified, unhinged narcissistic president who may be wittingly or unwittingly instigating a war with Russia to take the heat off of his administration’s collusion with Russia to sway our presidential election. We cannot count on the other two branches of government to help us, as congress and the Supreme Court are under the influence of right-wing radicals who have no allegiance to democracy or even what most of us consider reality.

Trump is taking America down a very dark and dangerous path at a rapid pace. The question is, how will we stop him before it is too late?