Author Archives: TowerGuard

A string of observations

Obama’s question. Why are they so angry??? After they won. Good question. On cnn last night (Nov.5), Don Lemon had a bunch of talking heads from both parties. They spent their Time arguing but not listening. Particularly one person angrily questioning Obama’s right to be speaking out during an election, as in “What gave him the right…?” under which you could sense the racial animus.

From the New Yorker (Susan Glasser): 1/7/18

Can we move on? No matter the outcome, no one will ask that question this year. There is a dark certainty to what will follow this election. If the Democrats win, they will go for Trump’s jugular. Investigations, subpoenas, perhaps impeachment will unfold. These moves will not be accepted as legitimate by the millions of Americans who have kept the faith in Trump no matter what he does and says. If Republicans hold on, Trump, emboldened further, will show us what a Presidency unfettered by fears of congressional oversight really looks like. Few doubt that he may fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Defense Secretary James Mattis, or the special counsel, Robert Mueller, or perhaps all of them. He already believes himself to be a political “genius” who defied history and the collective wisdom of the experts to take the White House; it takes little imagination to see how he would respond to the validation of a second history-defying win.

[https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/the-dark-certainty-of-the-2018-midterms-donald-trump]

If nothing is really changed, what happens during the next 2 years? Trump re-elected? The thought causes nausea extreme. Yet there seem to be too many of us who believe the lies he sells and who prefer fear to hope. People I saw at his rallies on TV; the women who need someone to tell them what to do, who don’t understand or ignore the lies he tells them, what motivates people like that? They are like the good Germans who believed what Hiitler and Goebels told them and went on with their lives in the face of the horrors of the “final solution” as if nothing unusual was happening.

News conference at the Whitehouse. Trump tears into Jim Acosta for no apparent reason and the escalates the battle with an aid trying to take the mic away from the reporter. Acosta just stands there holding on to the mic. Trump calls him names says he mistreats him and Sarah Sanders. A ugly, totally unnecessary incident followed by Acosta losing his White House accreditation and Sanders tweaking a doctored Vid clip making it look as if Acosta raises his arm against the intern so she can say he threatened the intern with violence.  Civilized?

Theater for tv cameras. Major erosion of first amendment free press.

Settled by the Court? Acosta should have his badge back by now, but does he?

The Fires and Travel

Terrible, horrible fires in California. So many lives lost. Parts of Paradise look like the Apocalypse has happened. Of course, the Donald has to have something to say, so he criticizes California for poor forest management when if he looked at a map, the forests in California are National Forests under the tender care of his USDA Forest Service. Too much trouble to go look at a map, I guess. Easier to cast blame and talk nonsense about Finland.

Terrible trip to France for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Makes you wonder why he went after losing the midterm elections if all he was going to do was sulk in the Embassy and complain about the weather. Poor baby! Does he melt in the rain? He would have been better off staying at home. Maybe then he would have made it to Arlington Cemetery. This is not a President.

The new House of Representatives is full of the victorious from last week’s election. Some of the “progressives” seem determined to be as disruptive as the the Tea Party members were in 2010 only in a totally opposite way. There is something very destructive about the “take no prisoners” attitude of many in politics today. The new young members need to settle in together with the existing leadership before they jump to change everything. Learn the job before you start upending the Leadership.

Not satisfied with his fight with CNN, Trump has to take to Twitter to spew insults at members of Congress (Representative Adam Schiff).  It was Sunday.  Give it a rest!

Sorry, Mr. President, special counsels do not need Senate Confirmation. Attorneys General do. Decorum for everyone else.  Sad, sad, sad.

Kavanaugh

If he had a even hint of Honor and/or Decemcy in him, he would withdraw his name from consideration. So much for that expensive Catholic to Yale education! what happened to the the “Values” that were to be instilled? Will the Supreme Court become the place to get your legal “tangles” fixed? Trump’s get-out-of-jail card?

For the sake of the Court and the balanced administration of justice, this screamer/crier hysterical should never be allowed to preside or participate in judgements of his fellow citizens. I would be willing to bet that the Judge still drinks to excess. Looking at his wife’s sad face during his diatribe, makes it possible to believe that he remains a “mean drunk” even though that could be my own wishful thinking based on my experience with alcoholics.

Traitor in the White House?

A photo that seems to me to sum up Helsinki.

 

From the Washington Post Worldview July 19, 2018. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Putin looking like the cat who swallowed the canary with Trump who looks like the kid who just got chewed out in the principal’s office, busily searching his brain for excuses to tell his parents about his bad behavior.

Good grief, America! What have we done to ourselves, our USA? There is no doubt we have let ourselves be taken in by a con man who has no interest at heart but his own, who has been so twisted by reliance on the fringes of right-wing conspiratorial political thought that he could think of selling us out to our firmest of enemies. I suppose that he does not recognize the possibility that his behavior could have that result, but what, exactly, is he thinking?

I wrote that just after the disaster in Helsinki. My gut reaction to Trump now seems to have roots I have known about for a long time, but haven’t researched in any organized way. Today I came across an article in the Smithsonian by Sasha Isenberg that reminded me of the long history of the fundamentalist right in the USA with all the conspiracy theories and religious zealotry. It reminds me that Trump is not an aberration, but a continuation of line of political-religious fever that’s been part of this country practically since the beginning.
Trump’s rallies have a lot in common with the descriptions of camp meetings in Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis.

One small detail from Isenberg’s article gives food for reflection. Hargis and Walker did their tour in 1963.

Walker arrived back in Dallas on April 8 to a
home filled with drifts of fan mail and financial contributions. Two
nights later he was sitting at a desk in his study, working on his
income-tax return, when a bullet shattered his window and lodged in a
wall just behind him, spraying metal shards into his arm. He grabbed his
gun and went outside to look for the shooter, but found no one.

… It would take months for Walker to learn the identity of his would-be assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald.

Irony of ironies.

Go read Main Street and Elmer Gantry and find what we now call Trumpism buried in our roots.

What’s fair?

I am trying hard to figure this out: why Trump has so many believers. 90% of Republicans!?

Another factor that seems to be driving

up support is a sense that no one is acknowledging Mr. Trump’s
successes, which they see as manifold, historic and irrefutable.

“Let’s
see,” said John Westling, 70, of Princeton, Minn., reciting a list of
the president’s accomplishments that he said no one in the media wants
to talk about. “Economy booming, check. Unemployment down, check. Border
security being addressed, check. Possible end to the Korean War that
started when I was 3 years old, 68 years ago, check.”

Economy booming? At least the stock market has been until he toughened his trade wars. Unemployment is down, but wasn’t it going down already under Obama? Border security being addressed. Really? Locking up toddlers? Internment camps for their parents? End to Korean War? Where’s the signed document that says that? The lies and bullying insults? Wishful thinking that all that fake glam is real? What do they really think about the undermining of the rule law?

I have to admit that I was offended when MSNBC made fun of Trump winning the return of soldiers lost in Korea. Maybe their parents are no longer living, but they would still (and did) have other relatives who are and who were grateful Sometimes the talking heads go too far. Melania’s jacket. So what!

Let down

Last night I watched the movie “All the President’s Men”. In its way it was exciting and a bit scary wrapped in what was at the time the fear of spies and spooks both foreign and domestic. It does a fine job of showing the viewer the kind of hard work that goes into the best of our American journalism and deserves all the praise and awards it got.

I missed something when the film came to an end. I missed what I had always thought of (having lived through it) as the real drama of the Nixon downfall, and that was the hearings by the Congressional Committee where the various members of Nixon’s administration had to anwer the questions of the members of Congress. While the stories of the Woodward and Bernstein are the key ingredient that brought on the hearings, the fact that members of Congress stood up for our country’s democratic principles against their gross distortion by a man obsessed with punishing his “enemies” by any means whatever is the truly heroic feat we should look back on.

It is worth the time in the era of Trump to look back on what was said and done in the Watergate Hearings during the spring and summer of 1973 as a useful insight into what we should think about in the era of Trump. Video of the hearings can be found here. Take a look.

Civility

Lots of talk about civility today. Do we even know what the word means? If we mean in-your-face nasty politics, that began a long time ago. Anyone remember the Tea Party rallies during the elections of 1999 and 2003? Sarah Palin? Lots of racial animus as an undertone then, but with the posters and yellings then we were pointed in the direction we have reached today. Trump just makes it all worse. If civility is as the dictionary says, formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech, I’m not sure we ever had it here in our United States politics. It seems more like something out of one of those English movies about Parliamentary history. If we knew more about our own history, we might remember the battles of earlier years when members of Congress threatened eachother with sticks, and duels between members were not uncommon.

The NPR program 1A Wednesday morning had a discussion on “civility” which I came in on the end of. One of the women, Christine Fair, seemed to support civility except when racism or her status as a woman were called into question. There, it seems to me, is the problem. People called names, asked to leave restaurants, denied a wedding cake or other service because of another person’s “deeply held beliefs” seem to have brought this on, at least among “liberals”.

Haven’t we been listening to childish name calling and meanness from the White House for the last year? Why the sudden hand-wringing about civility now? Does it do anyone any good to get in someone else’s face, because you disagree? What good does it do you to ask Ms. Sanders to leave your restaurant, to shout at diners in another restaurant, to call Stephen Miller a facist? Does it make Ms. Waters a better person? Will such behavior do anything to change people like Sanders and Miller or Trump?

Ms. Fair seemd to think that our very democracy was in danger of being destroyed, but she didn’t have the civility herself not to keep talking over the host, Joshua Johnson when he was trying to get her to stop. Yes, our democracy is in danger, but should we get down in the mud with Trump and his supporters. It seems far more important to do all we can to elect people who support democratic institutions and rule.

What threatens our democracy more is the retirement of Justice Kennedy giving Trump another chance to appoint a justice who will continue the assault on some of our freedoms.

And after several days, I’m still chewing on this topic. When has being civil gotten us anywhere? Civility didn’t halt the lynching of black people, the internment of Japanese, the slaughter and displacement of native Americans or the Chinese expulsion. At this point, Trump and his followers will probably see civility on the part of his opponents as weakness, and ratchet up the ugliness even more as Trey Gowdy and jim Jordan did yesterday in the Rosenstein hearings.

Take a look at this article in the Times, and reflect. Trump’s incivility seems to have gotten him elected. And if you’re still very down in the dumps about the future, read this.

Children as pawns

 

We now know that this particular child was not taken from her mother, but it doesn’t really matter. The symbolism of the photo is what matters expressing as it does the harsh cruelty of what Trump is doing with the migrants on the border. The cover should become the premier statement of the Presidency of Trump.

They say that the policy of separating parents and children is no longer in effect. If that is true, why is this 9-year old still in custody while his Mom is free? At least, she was able to locate him, but only from a chance conversation with another parent.

There was a time when the Trump admin incompetence seemed amusing. Not any more. No one, least of a a child, should be put through the terrors that incompetence and confusion have condemned them to.

Confusion

In the New Republic, Jeet Heer says:

If  “zero tolerance” was suspended, it is only as a stop-gap measure. It does nothing to address the problem of family reunification for those already separated by the policy. Further, it is a temporary
measure which could be reversed once the administration has more resources in place to enact a renewed “zero tolerance” push. But the
larger story is that the White House has no real policy and different factions are making up rules willy-nilly.

In other words, those children and parents who have already been separated may have little or no chance of being reunited. Trump didn’t really back down. He just tweaked his cruel policy a bit in an effort to get the photos off the TV screens. Maybe Melania can show him that what he sees on Fox News is not true (no child actors).

I hope the photographers and reporters will continue to hunt down the sites where kids are being kept and manage somehow to show us what happens inside. When will we be able to see the inside of the facility those little girls arrived at last night in New York? Are they still there? Or have they been moved again? If so, where are they?

Bret Stephens thinks that Republicans have lost their moral sense (did they ever have one?). He also thinks we need immigrants. The space is waiting. The jobs are waiting. The demographics of an aging population tell us of our need.

 

If anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools, then opposition to immigration is the conservatism of morons. It mistakes identity for virtue, entitlement for merit, geographic place for moral value.

The Bully Backs Down ?

Finally, Trump has signed an order (according to the Washington Post) to keep border crossing families together – to stop tearing small children and babies from their parents. That takes care of what happens right away. I wonder how they will get the children they’ve detained back together with their parents, for our government is now responsible for seeing to it. What if parents have already been deported? Will DHS search El Salvador for them? Or will they set up some fancy phone system that will not work well and the moms from the highland towns without even spanish won’t understand.

Thank goodness Trump is sensitive to media coverage! But keep the pressure on. We still have the 2,000 or so children who need to be reunited with their parents and who are already scattered over the Texas and Florida landscapes. Did he really think he could trade interned kids for his wall?

Details. Will the kids now be detained by ICE with their parents? And if so how much difference is there? Ice can only detain for 20 days. Are we back to GPS anklets in the surrounding communities? From the New York Times:

“There is no system whatsoever to track these family separations, no

efforts systematically to reunite these families,” Mr. Enriquez said.
“There is no supervisor, there is no database saying, ‘child here,
parent there,’ so they can come back together.”

Fathers Day

Celebrating the man who shaped myself and my siblings in so many, many ways. Here, I post a photo that I didn’t know existed until my niece sent it to me. I had never seem my father on a horse.

My mother rode I knew and got all of us to at least try it. I rode until allergies sent me to the tennis courts. But my father? So here he is on my mother’s favorite mare for all posterity. Do they celebrate in heaven? I hope so.