Monday, July 31, 2017

Trump and His Idiocracy

My column last week was Trump free. Unfortunately, not this week. And if you think, as Trump does, that he is the most presidential President since Abe Lincoln, you ain't gonna like it.

LAST WEEK was the worst week of Trump we've experienced. If they get any worse, somebody needs to call for a straight jacket and take him away. This country is being turned on it's head by this unstable psychopath. The West Wing is in complete chaos. I'd rather milk rattle snakes than work in that snake pit. There's not a soul there I would trust to make a decision that affects our lives, freedom or our sovereignty. We need to pray we don't have a catastrophic event before something can be done about the total incompetency in the White House.

A TRUE leader knows how to pick the best people. Trump has bragged repeatedly, “I know the best people.” So far, with the exception of Steve Bannon, who poses the biggest threat to our government, he has fired or forced out his first picks of his “best people.” He didn't want to fire Mike Flynn, but he had no choice. To Trump, getting rid of staff members is a blood sport. Rather than just putting them out of their misery by telling them he needs to make a change, he tortures them for weeks with Tweets, leaks, and pitting staff members against each other.

FOR EXAMPLE, Trump tortured his Communications Director, Sean Spicer, for months. Spicer was a dead man walking but he was loyal. Then Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci for Spicer's position. Like a good soldier, Spicer walked away. The day after Scaramucci was offered the job, he called the New Yorker Magazine and said certain things that made it clear to me Trump conspired with Scaramucci to humiliate the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus. Priebus was always loyal to Trump even during the campaign when he was Chair of the RNC, when it appeared it was not in his best interests. Instead of Trump calling him in and saying, “Sorry buddy, it's not working out,” Reince was treated to a public hanging.
IN LAST week's Reporter, a letter to the editor was printed from Mr. Dale Likens of Forsyth. He spoke about a movie filmed in Forsyth he attended with his grandchildren. He was shocked at the number of times the “F” word was used and suggested not to take your children to see it. Thanks to Anthony Scaramucci, all news shows became X-rated in America last week. This filthy, dirty mouth, Trump mini-me is now large and in charge in the West Wing as Trump says he will report directly to him. One would think if a President heard this language and sentiment expressed by his next hand-picked Communications Director, he would immediately rescind his job offer. Not THIS President! After all, I'll never forget what Trump said on the Access Hollywood tapes. If you compare filth to filth, I think Trump wins. Scaramucci speaks the language Trump understands.

LOOK AT what he's doing to Jeff Sessions. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March. Trump said nothing about being dissatisfied with that decision until a few weeks ago when the Russia investigation was getting closer to home. Since, he has been a Sessions serial tweeter. I don't like Sessions but he's done what no other has been able to do--force Trump in a corner. Stay tuned!

ONLY SOMEONE of Trump's mental state would treat loyal employees the way he does. He seems to forget they are human. As I listened to Trump giving a speech about immigrants taking 14 and 15 year old girls and instead of shooting them which would be quick, he said the immigrants slice and dice them to make it more painful. This is a total fabricated scenario made up by someone with a sick mind. It just so happens, this is the same thing he does to loyal employees he wants to get rid of.

INTERSPERSED with all the drama going on in the Oval office, Trump found time to speak to the Boy Scouts Jamboree, saying such inappropriate things it lead to a public apology from the Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. He awoke one morning and evidently tweeted a dream he had. He ordered all transgender people to be kicked out of the military. He said he consulted “my Generals.” This was obviously a lie because none of the Generals in the Pentagon had ever heard of, or considered that happening. This prompted a statement from the Pentagon that no such policy was in effect. At a speech to the police on Long Island, NY, Trump actively encouraged police violence against those arrested. Worse yet, the police applauded. The National Association of Police Chiefs issued an apology for the President's words.

THE TERM Trump uses, “My Generals” scares and offends me. He thinks they are his possession. That's why when everyone else seems pleased with the newly named Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, I am ambivalent. It could turn out to be what the West Wing needs—a good strong leader. However, Trump wants a General to back him up no matter the idiocracy. He wants his personal General. Trump loves Generals and our government is now loaded with them. Kelly can't do anything about Scaramucci because he reports to the President. And, a General respects the chain-of-command and Donald Trump IS the Commander and Chief. My bet is he'll go along to get along.

NEXT WEEK, unless Trump saves a drowning baby, I plan to address the 25th Amendment.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Week Without Trump, Cell Phones, My Big Toe, and I Forgot the Other Thing

Folks, I just couldn't write about Trump's continued degradation of America this week. There's just so much going on it makes my head spin. Each day is worse than the last. So many parts of the puzzle, some fit, some don't (yet). White House staffers getting fired, others quitting. So many cover-ups, so much corruption. Trump is playing sleight of hand to distract everyone from his failures and lies. Nobody is governing. Nero is fiddling while Rome is burning. I find myself longing for the days when America was great. Six months, five days ago!

OVER MY life-time these changes have always been for the better. Granted, life was much simpler back in the day, but I wouldn't trade it for our technology and modern conveniences. For instance, take the cell phone. We have become totally dependent on those hand-held devices. Nothing stops me dead in my tracks and causes a wave of anxiety than thinking I have lost my phone. The only comparable thing back in the day was thinking I had lost my child.

CELL PHONES give an all new meaning to the saying, “Bad news travels fast.” On the evening news you will notice at every traffic accident or newsworthy incident, those involved are on their cell phones, undoubtedly calling their friends and family. Back in the day, they would have written a letter. There's something about “old news” that makes it not quite so bad.

CELL PHONES notify us when a child is missing. We don't know the child, but yet we worry. The least they could do is tell us if the missing child was abducted by an aggrieved parent or a stranger, and tell us when the child is found safe.

OUR CELL phones notify us when a bad storm is imminent. When I was growing up, my Daddy forecast the weather by the Farmer's Almanac and his joints. That was before global warming and it was easier to predict. However, he failed to predict a snow storm. Imagine living in deep Southeast Georgia where no one had ever seen snow and never dreamed they would. You are awakened in the middle of the night by your Daddy yelling something incomprehensible. He had gone out on the porch to either get wood for the fire or do whatever it is men do off a porch. Everything was white. His first thought was that he had died.

SINCE CELL phones and advances in technology, we no longer have to think or remember. We are notified when a bill is due, when we have an appointment, when it's someone's birthday, and we never have to memorize a phone number. I have a watch I wear that alarms to tell me I've been sitting too long at my computer so “get moving.” The microwave “beeps” to remind that you cooked something. The dishwasher beeps when it's finished. The clothes dryer buzzes. Our cars remind us when we need to buy gas or get an oil change. As our lives become more and more complicated, we have to remember less and less.

I'VE ALWAYS heard, “use it or lose it.” In today's world, I have noticed that poor memories are not exclusively an older person's problem. We are losing our ability to think and remember because we no longer have to do it. There was something else I was going to write about cell phones but I forgot what it was.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, I stubbed my toe today. My son asked, “Mom, what is it with you and your toes?” Then I toe cured me from being impulsive.

WHERE I grew up in the pines and palmettos in Southeast Georgia, all we had were dirt roads consisting of hard-packed sand. Routinely, my parents would let me ride on the back of my Daddy’s old red truck. I loved to sit on the tailgate and dangle my bare feet. I did this a hundred times and never had a mishap, except for once. I was sitting on the tailgate looking down on the road as Daddy drove. I became mesmerized. The road appeared to be moving, not the truck, and the road looked smooth as glass. I just couldn’t help myself. I had to touch the road! I made sure Mama and Daddy’s heads were straight ahead. I held onto the chain on the tailgate and lowed myself ever so carefully until my big toe touched the road. It dang near ripped it off! Oh no! What am I going to do? They will kill me if they see my toe. I hung my toe off the truck, careful not to leave any blood evidence on the truck. Since the damage was on the underside of my toe, I learned to walk with it sticking up and just kind of hid out until it healed.

MANY YEARS later, I was standing on the corner at Five Points in Atlanta. A Marta bus was turning the corner. The big wheels were moving slow and effortless. I became mesmerized. I had an urge to stick my foot under the tire. Then I thought about my toe and the dirt road.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What Are the Republicans on Hill thinking?

What are the Republicans on the Hill thinking? To figure that out, look no further than the punitive Trump Healthcare bill they are longing to pass, and the deafening silence on the revelation about the campaign meeting with the Russians. On both counts, these Republicans are thinking of themselves, their Party, and their big donors. One thing's for sure, they aren't thinking about you, me, or our children.

I DO NOT know the ultimate fate of the Trump Healthcare bill. The vote has been postponed yet another week due to Senator McCain's surgery because they must have his vote. I'm hopeful that at least one more Senator will fear his constituents' ire more than McConnell's or Trump's and have the courage to just say “no.” If not, the blood of many Americans will be on their hands.

THIS WAS was brought home to me last week when a young lady dropped by to visit me. Two years ago, at only 22 years old, she was diagnosed with breast cancer followed by a mastectomy. We watched the news discussing the cuts to Medicaid in Trump's Healthcare bill. She listened, then said in a pained, slightly raised voice, “What is going to happen to me?” She went on to tell me how Medicaid had saved her life. I was unable to reassure her she would be okay. Her story is not unique. That is the human reality of this cruel healthcare bill.

THE REPUBLICANS are pulling out all the stops to assure this bill passes. If it fails to pass this time, it is said they will have to work with the Democrats on a bi-partisan bill. They act as though that would be a fate worst than death. They have spent seven years demonizing Obamacare but had never given a thought as to what would be better for the American people. Their defense of this bill sometimes borders on the ludicrous. One such statement I heard by a Republican contributor was, “If there had never been Obamacare, we wouldn't have this mess today.” That's kinda like saying, “If Trump was not elected President, we wouldn't have this mess today.”

TRUMP'S administration is a hot mess as he seeks to fulfill Putin's agenda. How bad does it have to get before the Republicans on the Hill call him out? Trump is also venturing down a path with Putin that bodes ill for our country. Trump is the last one in the free world that denies Russia interfered with our elections. I think it's incumbent on the Legislators to admonish Trump at the very least. After all, that's how we raise our children, first we admonish, then we punish. Republicans, for whatever reason, are turning a blind eye while our democracy is compromised.

SO DONALD Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer who promised to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. No, change that, there were two others in the meeting. No, change that again, there were two more in the meeting for a total of eight people who only discussed “adoptions.”
Sounds very innocuous. As they left this meeting, I wonder if it was Jr., Kushner, or Manafort who said, “Hey guys! If anyone ever asks about this meeting, just say it was about adoptions.”

THE ADOPTIONS discussed was actually about sanctions placed on Russia in 2012 called the Mitnesky Act, named after the man jailed in Russia for uncovering fraud in Russian government accounting. While in captivity he became ill and died when medical treatment was denied. Our Congress then passed The Mitnesky Act which barred certain Russian officials from traveling to U. S. and using our banking system. In retaliation, Putin stopped all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens. The Trumpers would have us believe that five Russians with strong ties to their government were so concerned that Americans were not allowed to adopt Russian children, they orchestrated this big meeting. If this meeting did nothing else, it opened the door for the Russians to meddle in our election without fear of reprisal if they successfully elected Trump. We may never know if it was a “quid pro quo” but Trump got elected, didn't he? And, Trump is always defending Putin, even when it's not in his best interest to do so.

REPUBLICANS on the Hill are also silent on Jared Kushner making a mockery of our security clearance system. All our rules and regulations should be accompanied by the acronym BT (before Trump) and AT (after Trump). It was known, (BT), that if you associated with high-level Russians and untold numbers of other foreign nationals, there was not a snowball's chance you would be given a security clearance, not to mention if you “forgot” to report such contact. Kushner (AT) supplemented over 100 names, four months after he submitted the original forms. Funny thing, the names of the five Russians he met with promising to give him dirt on Hillary were not included on this form.

CHANCES ARE slim to none that Trump will pull Kushner's security clearance. When I applied to work for the National Security Agency, a requirement to receive a top secret clearance was successfully passing a polygraph exam. A polygraph exam on Jared Kushner would reveal if there was a quid pro quo and put an end to this mess. Strap him down and hook him up now!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Trump Targets CNN In His War on Free Press

Donald Trump is “biting the hand that fed him.” Throughout Trump's career he gained prominence in society by using the media. As a playboy, he sought media attention and got it! Lots of it. As a businessman, he used the media to promote his projects. During lawsuits and marriage break-ups, he used the media to plead his case in the court of public opinion. He was his own publicist, often calling reporters using the name of John Barron or John Miller to give them a big tip on what he was doing or to put a positive spin on his controversial New York business dealings. As far back as the 1980's, members of the media have asked him if he'd ever run for President. Surely they did this as a joke, but this suggestion stoked Trump's ego and contributed to creating this megalomaniac. Now as President of the United States, the top of the ladder for man in our world, he castigates the media as “Fake News,” and encourages violence against journalists and media outlets.

ONE SUCH media outlet is CNN News. Trump always needs an enemy for his base to hate. He has decided to make that enemy CNN. During Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, CNN did everything in their power to help him. They ran daily start-to-finish coverage of all his rallies across the country. They hired Corey Lowandowski as commentator after he was terminated by Trump as his campaign manager. These moves by CNN did not sit well with their viewers because they wanted the news, not entertainment. Hence, Trump perceived CNN to have a weakness; that's why he singled them out to destroy. When CNN retracted a story and fired three journalists, Trump moved in for the kill with his WWE video showing him pummeling a person covered in a CNN logo. CNN, owned by Time Warner, is part of a merger deal that must be approved by the Justice Department. There are rumors that Trump is lobbying Attorney General Jeff Session to deny the merger that otherwise would have been approved as routine. Without the merger, Time Warner may be forced to drop CNN. Travesty!

WE IN Georgia, more than anywhere, should be outraged about Trump targeting CNN for destruction. On June 1, 1980, with it's first broadcast of the 24-hour news channel, Georgia was put on the world map. Headquartered in Atlanta and Ted Turner at the helm, CNN cast a spot-light on Georgia in a positive way. Georgians should take this attack on CNN personally. CNN made us proud of their contributions to our world.

CNN MADE it possible for people to watch news as it happened, 24/7, without having to wait for the 30-minute version of the news at 6:00 pm. Today, CNN has 11 domestic bureaus, 31 international bureaus, and 900 affiliated local stations. There's not much news happening anywhere in the world that CNN cannot cover with a journalist on the ground, up close and personal. Most of you will remember the beginning of the Gulf War. CNN was the only station with a journalist in Iraq when the bombs started dropping. The world was mesmerized by the reporting. Any time a disaster happens, or a terrorist attack both here and abroad, CNN is there. They were the first to report the 9/11 attacks and run live coverage. For all of this, we owe them a debt of gratitude both as Georgians and Americans.

AND WHAT channel would Trump suggest we get our news if he is successful in killing CNN? Certainly not FOX NEWS. Fox News, by their own admission, is not a “news” channel. They are registered with the FCC as an “entertainment” station. Also, in 2012, Rupert Murdoch placed FOX NEWS under the entertainment portion of his business, reportedly to protect against lawsuits. You see, if you are considered “entertainment,” you can say anything you want without regard for the truth. News outlets are held to a much higher standard.

I SAW an under-reported occurrence at the G-20 Summit last week. As the media was leaving the room at the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, Putin laughed and asked Trump, “Are these the ones who are insulting you?” Trump laughed and said, “Yes, these are the ones!” Then they yukked it up together. To malign and disparage our journalists in a foreign country, to a foreign power, by a U.S. President, heretofore has been unthinkable. It threatens our sovereignty and makes a mockery of the First Amendment of our Constitution. And, it borders on treason.

I RECEIVED a text message from my dear niece stating she ordered a CNN t-shirt for me. I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival so I can advertise my support for CNN. You should know that I don't care if CNN is not your favorite news source. But, it is incumbent on all Americans to protect our free press and to stop the attacks on any of these sacred institutions by the President.

Monday, July 3, 2017

TRUMP'S TWEETS: The Scourge of America

I have a love-hate relationship with Trump's tweets. Trump says he tweets so his message can go straight to the American people instead of going through the fake media. Tweets are a mirror into what Trump really thinks and tells us what he stands for. I hate that he has lowered the bar on acceptable behavior in our country. I hate that his tweets have lowered our country's esteem in the eyes of the rest of the world; esteem that took over a hundred years to build, that includes many deaths of Americans and much sacrifice. I hate that he normalizes “bullying” as a leadership technique. I hate that each day these tweets remind me that the American people had a lapse in judgment and elected a President that has not moved beyond his adolescence.

And those are the same reasons I love Trump's tweets. With each successive tweet, we learn more about how Trump thinks. You don't have to depend on the fake media-- you get it from the horse's mouth. And it ain't pretty. Although my faith has weakened, I still have faith that people do not like the direction Trump's presidency is taking our country. I still believe the majority of citizens do not think like Donald Trump.

According to Trump's Assistant Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump thinks that if someone says something you don't like, you hit back 10 times harder. “Hit” is the key word. This morning I watched a short clip that Trump had attached to one of his infamous tweets. It was filmed when Trump was a performer with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) showing him taking down a man and pummeling him with his fists. In this clip, the letters CNN were superimposed on the face of the man. I could barely stand to watch it. To see the President of the United States participating in such violence sends the message to the American people that it's okay to beat the crap out of someone who makes you angry and is despicable on all levels. What does that teach Little Johnny about acceptable behavior? What does that say to someone in a fragile mental state when the President sends a message that violent behavior is okay against CNN, or anyone for that matter?

In a tweet last week, Trump continued his assault on women. Obviously he has a problem with strong, smart women. When Mika Brezenski on the Morning Joe show on MSNBC, said something that Trump didn't like, he launched a personal assault on her. He tweeted that she was “dumb as a rock,” and said she was bleeding from her face lift. (For some reason, Trump seems to be obsessed with women's blood.) Every American citizen should be embarrassed by this behavior from the President. A few Republican Senators mildly rebuked this behavior. The President received no consequences for his actions. What does that teach Little Johnny about “cyber bullying?”

Speaking of cyber bullying, the most ironic thing is that First Lady Melania Trump has chosen “cyber bullying” as her issue to address during Trump's tenure. First she needs to stop her husband's cyber bullying before she starts telling the children of the country how to behave on line.

There's also the incident involving Joe Scarborough of the Morning Joe show. When Scarborough said something Trump didn't like, Trump had various people call Scarborough and convey his threat –either take it back or Trump was going to call his best friend who owns the National Enquirer and tell them something he had on Scarborough. That's not bullying, that's blackmail!

Repeatedly, I hear people dismiss what Trump says as “That's just Trump playing to his base.” According to the 2016 election results, the vast majority of the voters in Monroe County represent the Trump base. These results show Trump received 8,832 (70%) and Clinton received 3,571 (29%) of the vote. I have come to know the people of Monroe County to be decent, kind, respectful, and thoughtful people—all the things that Trump is not. I do not believe that 70% of Monroe Countians think like Trump. The people I know would not condone a County Commissioner bullying, blackmailing, and verbally assaulting women a single time. Yet, Trump is a serial offender. Presidents in the past have been held to a much higher standard. If a child in school in Monroe County schools was constantly verbally assaulting another child, he/she would be dealt with sternly. If a child threatens another, they face disciplinary action, as well. If a student pummels another, they face expulsion. I think it's called zero tolerance, yet we continue to tolerate this behavior from the President. You may be one of the 70% who voted for Trump, but I know you don't think his behavior is acceptable.

And that leads me to say, if you did vote for Trump, it's okay to admit that he is unfit to be President. You don't have to carry around a sign to that effect; just admit it to yourself and stop defending and making excuses for him. To continue to support him makes you complicit in the demise of civility and the erosion of the moral fiber of our country (and county). With all due respect.