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Posts published in “Rainey”

More to come

rainey

Last week’s “SECOND THOUGHTS” about Trump’s all-out effort to “kill the messenger,” contained these words. “If he (Trump) continues to deliberately make our national press out to be “the enemy of the people,” some sociopath will reach for a weapon.”

The day that column appeared, so did stories of a masked gunman going into a radio station in Wisconsin, firing five shots at three employees, wounding one. He got away.

It wasn’t that I was so prescient. It was just plain damned predictable. The national atmosphere has been full of “kill the messenger” and hate for the media for months. That someone would actually reach for a gun and act out the rhetoric of hatred has left some of us to wonder what took so long. Related to Trump’s dangerous words?

As I said last week, reporters and others in the media have received threats for many years. Large markets or small, if you’ve been a reporter - especially in broadcasting - you’ve probably got your own stories to tell.

But, never has the President of the United States been the constant cheer leader for taking out HIS anger on the media. It was only a matter of time before some twisted bastard took his “call to arms’ seriously. Just a few months ago, one of ‘em killed five employees of a Maryland newspaper. And, it’s an undeniable fact, threats against reporters have increased dramatically in recent weeks. Some media have even broadcast recordings of a few.

No one with any “smarts” at all can deny Trump has fostered the atmosphere where such tragedies can occur. He’s used his celebrity - if not the actual power of his office - to plant what some demented minds could construe as “orders” to defend him from purveyors of “fake news.” To undertake a “righteous mission” to prove they’re “real Americans” acting to protect their “pres-i-dent.”

Some folk have wondered why reporters cover his unending campaign rallies where such hatred is espoused. The plain fact is he’s the President of the United States. Where he goes, what he does and what he says are the public’s business and are deemed necessary to cover. For historic purposes, if nothing else. The media can’t ignore his words and actions any more than they could when Barack Obama or George Bush or other Presidents were traveling and speaking.

There are also the broadcast ratings. When reports of Trump’s outrageous behavior and words hit a new low, ratings generally go up. Which pleases advertisers, which makes money to pay for the coverage. Broadcast bosses, especially, are not going to walk away from that. Works with newspapers as well.

But, there may be a middle ground. Cover his blasphemous circuses the way you do repeated campaign appearances. A small broadcast crew could be assigned in case some honest news comes out of the event. If not, no coverage, except maybe to report the rally happened. Period. If news occurs, the networks are “covered.” We don’t have to be inundated with repeated broadcasts of the same crap, over and over.

We know what Trump is and we know how he acts and speaks. He’s dangerous. He’s reckless. He’s a chronic liar. His speech and his constant lies are reprehensible to many.

But, they also have an appeal to others - many of whom have their own “problems.” They’re more worrisome than Trump. They’re the ones liable to act on what he says and how he says it. The Wisconsin shooting could be just such an act.

Trump is trying to silence honest journalism. Truth is an anathema to him. Like an animal in a trap, he’s slowly being “brought to ground.” He knows it. Leaks from the White House staff tell of his rages. A narcissist and a compulsive liar under such pressures is a very dangerous person.

But, more dangerous still are those who follow and, in some cases, literally worship him. In the crowd hysteria - and for some long time after - Trump’s words can plant seeds and cause tragic actions.

The shooting is not over. Stay tuned.

Kill the messenger

rainey

One day, the certainty of judicial and/or political justice will bring down Donald Trump - in the White House or out. That you can take can take to the bank.

The public record and the political landscape are already littered with enough evidence to convict on a number of counts: conspiracy, obstruction of justice, profiteering from high elected office, etc.. Before it’s over, there could well be another charge. Inciting violence leading to personal attacks, manslaughter or even murder.

These last crimes I throw in the pot because, if he continues to deliberately make our national press out to be “the enemy of the people,” some sociopath will reach for a weapon. It’s happened often in other countries at the hands of a dictator or two and hit us domestically just a couple of months ago.

It’s been a long time since my active media years. I’m sure the danger is worse now and being in the public eye likely draws more nutcases and unwanted confrontations than it used to. But, I’ve had a few instances in which law enforcement got involved and arrests were made. Even at a family funeral, we had a threat and undercover officers.

From the mid ‘60's until 2000, I worked in both radio and television in Boise and elsewhere. Several times over the years, direct threats were made and personal property vandalized. For a period in the ‘70's, I had occasional rides with cops to and from work. There were also a couple of face-offs in stores with some angry folks. I know many other media types with similar experiences.

We didn’t have the I-Net then, or cell phones and other forms of instant communication. In ensuing years, and now with Trump trying to create a torch-and-pitchfork brigade, I’m sure security issues and personal dangers are much more everyday concerns for media people.

The “kill-the-messenger” effort is as old as humanity. Even the Bible has some prominent instances. None more dramatic than the case of John The Baptist. Journalists in many countries have been killed for doing their jobs. Our own recent domestic case was in Maryland this year when five staffers were shot to death.

The people shouting foul mouthings and flipping off the media at Trump rallies, have been deliberately whipped up by his lies and phony charges. Standing with equipment on raised platforms at the rear of those crowds, reporters are sitting ducks for verbal attacks. It’s quite possible, one of these days, an angry Trumper will reach up for someone, or the equipment, and we’ll have exactly what Trump wants: a physical clash to make reporters more fearful and give his followers a way to vent their frustrations. Real or imagined.

There are many bad indicators involving Trump. His constant rallies - at taxpayer expense - are little more than narcissistic “booster shots” for someone who knows the noose is tightening. His reported desire to face Special Council Robert Mueller, because he thinks he can go “mano-a-mano” and whip Mueller’s team, is another. His repeated arbitrary condemnation of treaties and long-standing mutual pacts with other countries shows his own insecurities and need to “call the shots” in all things.

His need to undermine the media - “kill the messenger” - is self-apparent. “Don’t believe what you see and hear,” he tells them. “The lying media - the failing media - the fake news media.” He seems to believe if he can turn his political “base” into a bunch of worshiping sycophants who accept only what he says and does as “truth,” he’ll survive to run again in 2020.

There is growing evidence his “base” is not as large as he and many Republicans in Congress believe. Looking at polling “internals,” you see his support is a percentage of a percentage of Republicans and nearly zero Democrats. The real hardcore “base” is something around 30% of all voters. Not insignificant but not a winning percentage, either.

In spite of his lies and bashing, the media, in my opinion, must adhere to one rule: don’t fight back and, thus, make themselves part of Trump’s “story.” Real reporters know that. But, a lot of button-pushing, bean-counting, absentee, non-professional media owners and stockholders don’t.

Trump’s will lose eventually. But, the lasting damage he’s creating in nearly everything - social, governmental and in this countries relationship with other nations - will be with us for many, many years. Where we get our information, from whom and what we believe are also becoming casualties.
 

Our driver-less traffic

rainey

Our neighborhood of 29,000 seniors is part of a cheek-by-jowl complex of three such Southwest Arizona communities. So, the total local 55+ interlocking neighborhood is about 92,000 souls. And many of us are well into the plus side.

Since no one without physical infirmities has to take written or performance tests to get a driver’s license hereabouts, the local roadways are a continual dance of off-the-track bumper cars. Good drivers must not only “drive defensively” but develop quick-as-a-rabbit reflexes.

Now, speeding along beside us on our roadways, we have an entirely new - and I believe “not-ready-for-prime time” - hazard out there. Driver-less cars. We’ve got ‘em all over the place. Chandler, Mesa, Surprise, Peoria and Phoenix.

Tech and auto companies from coast-to-coast have selected our retirement haven for a couple of reasons. Most of our arterials are three-lanes or more. And there’s a lot of ‘em.

But I think the prime reason is Arizona - at least our overheated part of it - is flat. You can stand at the city limits and see from Tuesday to Thursday. In all directions. “The Valley of the Sun” is just one big flat hotplate. While communities put up signs so you’ll know which one you’re in at the moment, they all look just about the same. Right, left and straight ahead but no hills to climb or descend.

So, Tesla, Toyota, GM, Ford, BMW and others have put their latest technology on our roads and highways. Yes, we’ve had some wrecks. And, at least one local fataliy in which the car “saw” a woman in a crosswalk and decided to ignore her. She died right there.

These companies load up their test platforms with all the latest gadgets and turn ‘em loose. Most have humans behind-the-wheel. Most. Not all.

I’ve seen a couple of these driver-less wonders in the neighborhood but most operate in smaller towns with less surrounding traffic. So far, at least in our family, so good.

But, we have something new in nearby Chandler. Walmart - yes, Walmart - is offering driver-less cars to customers for grocery shopping. Pick up the phone, set an appointment and you’ll get picked up by a new, air conditioned Chrysler Pacifica - sans driver - and taken to a Walton family outlet.

Walmart appears to have created a list of “exclusive” customers to use the service. Not sure who or on what basis such were selected. I didn’t make the cut.

This pilot program - I prefer to think of it as “pilotless” - also includes special deals on groceries as an incentive to risk your life. Walmart, apparently, pays for everything. Even hospitalization, I guess, if things don’t work as engineered.

Tom Ward is VP of “e-Commerce Operations” for the company. He says “The purpose of all this is for the Walmart folks to learn if people will accept the technology.”
We’ll see. Given the mishaps - read crashes - we hear about locally, I don’t think much of the senior set will be using the service. If any made the “exclusive” list.

The self-driving car is probably an eventuality we’re all going to live with. But, development of this species of transportation is a much larger step than the one that took us out of horse-drawn conveyances. We had to train only ourselves to use cars. This “advance” is trying to teach us we don’t have to “use” cars. They’ll do everything themselves. Maybe.

I’ve developed some notions why living in this part of the world is not entirely a blessing. Now, I can add a new one: daily living on a driver-less test track.
 

Cactus, sand and signs

rainey

Come November, we’re gonna have an election hereabouts. Just like you. Our cactus-littered landscape is hard to see, at the moment, for all the campaign signs.

We live in “Lizard Acres.” Old railroad siding sign is still there. That’s what this couple thousand acres of sand and scorpions was called until Del Webb and his minions hauled in the palm trees and developed it all. Now, we’re just one more senior-populated campus in the national Webb family.

But, I digress. We were talking elections. Ours is historically a blood red state which the Sunday pundits now call “purple.” A number of curious things have happened in the last year or two to possibly change our political color.

For one, a few miles from our home, Sen. John McCain is in his last days. But, he - or someone on his staff - is still cranking out news releases taking the GOP to task.

McCain’s impending death has brought out several GOP “candidacies.” Never heard of most of ‘em. One seeking to replace McCain is our local twice-convicted felon. His large signs on every sandy corner for miles around read “Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Senate.” Trump may have pardoned the bastard but he’s still twice-convicted and should be doing hard time. Since voters finally turned him out of one elected office, it’s doubtful he’ll go anywhere.

Then, there’s our other Senate seat. Jeff Flake has already announced his “retirement.” He’s not “retiring.” He’s quitting. Seems some internal polling a few months back showed him running a poor second to Wile Coyote. And just about anyone else. He was a political accident in the first place. But, “He’s a nice looking fellow.”

We’ve got more women running than usual. One trying for the House - Dr. Hiral Tippirenini - is worth watching. She’s a forty-something pediatrician. Very smart, good on her feet, makes a good presentation and is much more up on the issues than her competition.

Couple of others in various congressional races. All out of the legislature. The two leading have repeated problems handling previous campaign funds. Which doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. They’ll do fine.

Campaign signs everywhere. Almost none identify the candidate’s party affiliation. Generally, blue-and-white is Democrat and red-and-white Republican. But not always.

We’ve got our share of political miscreants. Legislators, mostly. One got pulled over last week for doing 97 in a 55 zone. He promptly told the cop he’d previously been doing 120 and once up to 140! Then, he told the officer he was a legislator, claimed his immunity and drove off. He’s far from being the only scofflaw under our Capitol dome.

An odd thing here. Our county population is just over four million souls. City, county and school board elections are mixed right in with state and national races. So, U.S. Senatorial gets about as much space and notice as the local councilman. Makes for far more TV ads, signs and ballot confusion. Also, a huge ballot!

Whether we’re actually living in a “purple” state is an open question. We’ve got some officeholders who ought to be replaced. At all levels. Federal, especially. Nearly all our GOP delegation has contributed generously to the absolute stalemate and Republican gutlessness in D.C.. Half are with that boneheaded “freedom caucus” bunch. Have accomplished nothing. Will accomplish nothing. “Roots in the cistern,” as an old uncle used to say.

We’ll try hard to get rid of ours. Please. You do the same. Maybe we can regain control of this out-of-control train wreck engineered by that former real estate broker. God knows, nobody else is going to do it.
 

Sunday drivel

rainey

Even with a near lifelong interest in politics, I avoid Sunday “talk shows” like the plague. Haven’t watched in over 30 years. Maybe longer. Maybe back to the last days of Lawrence Spivak on “Meet The Press.” Well, Tim Russert, at least.

Each Sunday, reporters and opinionists - most of whom have an uncanny inability to be able to ask the follow-up question - parade the usual cast of celebrity wannabees who babble incessantly about not much.

You don’t have to watch ‘em to know what was said. Out-takes are all over the place on Monday since most “working” media takes the weekend off and space/time needs filling.

Before his health failed, John McCain seemingly spent far more time on the Sunday tube than he did on the Senate floor. Now, his “Sancho Panza,” Lindsey Graham, seems to have that “honor.” But, unlike McCain, his hand puppet just can’t come up with a singular position on anything without several “cover-his-butt” disclaimers.

The basic reason I’ve given up on TV gabfests is that, too often, nothing that needs discussing gets discussed. A couple of weeks ago on GOP-TV, the EPA Secretary - since fired but who should still be tried for larceny - had his turn in the barrel. Did the questioner go after Pruitt’s strident efforts to tear the Department to pieces or his dastardly work to eliminate all facts about climate change from any documents that cross his desk or ending climate change research? Was he grilled about new oil spills or his wanting more drilling on our shorelines?

NO! His time was consumed trying to defend his outrageous spending, his proclivity for cronyism, his nutcase demands for 19 bodyguards and wanting his limousine outfitted with a siren so he wouldn’t miss dinner at rush hour.

That’s what Sunday “talk” has become. For reasons I can’t comprehend, the entire genre has become mindless and oblivious to the real issues. Just line up “news makers,” hit ‘em with some large, fuzzy, meaningless questions and thank them for their service.

What angers most is our disaster of a president has set loose the baddest group of grifters, con artists and outright misfits to dismantle the various agencies they’re supposed to be running. All of ‘em - pick any one- have set out to cripple or destroy institutions of government.

So, how does this near-unanimous gang of vested interest white collar criminals tie to the Sunday shows? How does their unscrupulous misbehavior relate?

Simple. These talkfests offer the only real chance serious, responsible journalists have to set the issues that should be important, then use well-researched follow-up questions to get to the facts. These aren’t “press conferences” where the interviewee can pick and chose what to answer. Using that tougher format, no one question can be dodged before running to the next. Three, four, a dozen queries until the issue has been examined. Probing. Searching. Factual.

Sounds doable, right? Well, there’s this. A friend who’s a producer for one of the networks once told me, if such a fact-searching, “hard-nosed” approach were adopted, they couldn’t get the “right people” to appear on Sunday. Might be “embarrassing” to the guest, I was told. Yep, “embarrassing.”

That producer’s response may actually be the most basic reason I don’t watch the Wallaces and the Todds of the world. They got where they are by knowing better. They’re good reporters. Yet they take their “foot off the gas” so the “big names” will come back. Gotta remember the ratings. And the advertisers.

I’d hate to think what I was told was the case across the board. But, given similarities of the current softball questioning and the meaningless drivel resulting, I think there’s more than a little truth there.

What passes as government under Trump may not be the only failing institution of our time.
 

There are words for that

rainey

Someone somewhere has come up with two words that perfectly describe what I’ve been feeling for several months.

“OUTRAGE FATIGUE.”

At no time, in my many years, have I felt such a continuing, angry mood both personally and nationally. Seems like everybody is mad about something or at someone. Or many somethings and many someones.

You can feel it every day no matter where you go or what your activity. It’s sort of a visceral undercurrent. And it doesn’t take much “scratching” to suddenly bring it to the surface. Lots of folks are feeling it.

It’s not a far right or far left situation. It’s very personal, no matter your political persuasion. Even if you have no political persuasion at all. You can hear it in the tone of voices. You can sense it when someone gets mad for no apparent reason. Recently, a clerk in a store responded angrily when I made a mistake in self-checkout, then quickly apologized for her words, saying such an outburst was not like her.

At a local bank, a teller made a mistake when entering my deposit. She immediately popped off with a couple of not-for-children words. She, too, apologized, saying she has just “felt so angry recently.” Me, too.

What our wannabee dictator-in-training has done and lied about over the last couple of years is much of the basic fuel for our current national psyche. Now, with a terrible demagoguery dealing with helpless immigrant families, I think many of us have been pushed over the edge. We’re mad, frustrated, wanting to help but feeling helpless, utterly embarrassed and ashamed all at once.

This is not our national tradition. In the most basic terms, this is not who we are - not how we behave - not what we believe - not how we’ve historically treated others. Our angry, seemingly cruel and out-of-control actions and feelings are not what millions fought and died to protect.

The nation is changing, top to bottom and inside out, in the most fundamental ways. While change is a constant, there were rock-solid underpinnings which kept us on the right moral pathway. Our institutions were respected and trusted. Our government was, most of the time, responsive to our needs. Our politics covered the entire spectrum of beliefs but always seemed to return to the center because, when conducting those activities, that was known to be the best way to accomplish legislative goals.

Now, we’re bombarded with visceral attacks on those foundations, often by people in that same government. Our national needs are not being met as the new breed of politician attempts to slash and burn necessary survival programs like food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Our out-of-control military budget is higher than the next six nations combined. But, millions in uniform still need food stamps and local food banks to subsist.

Our daily atmosphere is contaminated with hate, anger, lies and damned lies. We’re blanketed with this foul, verbal bombardment while other news - very important national and international news - is disregarded. What we need to know to be an informed citizenry is overshadowed by dozens of political investigations, court filings and guilty pleas from the most corrupt administration of modern times. Maybe all time. Our Congress, and many cabinet agencies, have become political eunuchs unable to perform even the most basic constitutional acts.

The palpable anger and frustration are real. They’re befouling our national culture - our politics - our basic institutions - our place in a fast-moving world. We’re even breaking our fundamental international commitments to countries we’ve collaborated with - and shared a mutual trust with - for hundreds of years.

Some folks are pleading for an end to all this and for a sudden outbreak of comity and togetherness. Others say we’ve already gone too far for national kum-ba-yah.

There’s been way too much of the former for so long that, in actuality, there’s no realistic chance for the latter.

Until we can speak at the polls, our onset of outrage fatigue is likely to get worse.
 

Casey P. Worth

rainey

Well, it’s finally happened. Our family is finally personally involved. We’re finally feeling the loss millions of families have felt because of the interminable, costly and absolutely unnecessary wars we’ve inserted ourselves into in the Middle East. Political wars of old men killing our young men.

Casey is - was - Barb’s nephew. Son of one of her brothers, 41-years-old, living in Hamilton, Montana. I say “was” because he’s gone now. Suicide. At 41. A Marine. A tour in Afghanistan. A tour in Iraq. No visible signs of physical wounds suffered in the battles he fought. As in the picture, just another healthy-looking, animal-loving, typical Montana guy in the prime of life. With PTSD.

“No visible wounds.” But a head full of demons caused by experiences no one his age - or any age - should have had to endure. Apparitions, noises, physical sensations, fear, memories. Many, many memories. Of things none of us have had to face if we haven’t shared his battlefields.

Casey knew his illness. Probably, early on, knew what it would eventually do to him. We know that because, in his last days, he took to Facebook to remind everyone he knew that June was Post Traumatic Stress Awareness Month. Bet you didn’t know that. I certainly didn’t.

Casey was trying to both inform and warn all of us of the extremely deadly disease PTSD really is. What he was experiencing. Though loved and cherished by his extended family, that wasn’t enough. Without extensive - and expensive - psychiatric care, nothing would be - could be - enough. Nothing.

And, in that, our government that sent him into those battlefields failed him. It wanted his participation. It appealed to his sense of duty. It clothed and equipped his body. It gave him free transportation to the foreign lands important to none of us as a nation. It gave him a rifle and all the ammunition he needed. And it sent him out to kill. To kill other “Casey’s.”

I’ve strongly opposed both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from the gitgo. I’ve never found the American “security interests” so often referred to by our politicians. Just the damned oil. In years of thinking about it, I’ve not found a single justification for them when balanced with the trillions of dollars of treasure spent. And the thousands of “Casey’s” who’ve died in them, become deeply scarred physical remnants of what they once were or, like Casey, one of the walking wounded who finally succumbed to his wounds. The human leftovers who’ve been largely failed by the same government that called them.

With no clear vision of expected outcome, no national idea of what “victory” would look like, no well-defined goal to be reached regardless of cost - in both dollars and lives - we’ve blundered on for more than two decades.

We’ve tasked one - and possibly two - generations with an impossible job. To bring American “democracy” to countries that don’t have it and, from all indications, don’t want it. We’ve asked them to overcome more than a thousand years worth of warring, killing, hating. We’ve asked our young people to bring our “peace” to peoples who are conditioned to living their own ways - the old ways.

Now, we have a Commander-In-Chief” who hasn’t any more realistic “plan” to achieve an impossible peace than his predecessors. If he even thinks of those hellish places. He’s told us he “knows more about how to run the military” than those in uniform that actually do run it. We’re also told the latest person with professional advice on how to conduct wars - his Defense Secretary - is the latest name on the “I don’t trust you anymore” list.

How much treasure - how many lives - are we going to throw into this pyrrhic Hell before we realize there is no there there? That no amount of sacrifice - national or personal - will achieve a desired result even close to the expense? How much longer before we realize we are a nation decaying from within because we have squandered the means to restore it to the “beacon on the hill” seen by the rest of the world?

Just imagine what our infrastructure, our cities, our lives would look like if we had spent as much on them as we have thrown down the ratholes that are Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine the accomplishments of the “Casey’s” we’ve lost to these quagmires if they had been allowed to live and contribute to a healthy, vibrant nation.

Our family has lost our Casey. For his parents, that will be a hole-in-the-heart they will take to their own graves. For his extended kin, we’re left with memories - only memories - of someone we knew and cherished.

Thousands of other families have lost their “Caseys” They, too, are left with some old pictures, a few mementoes, maybe an empty room. And a hole in the ground.

They, too, are left with the question: “How much more, how many more, will be destroyed before we regain our national senses?”

Old men’s political wars paid for by the young.
 

Just so much property

rainey

There’s no question most people in this country and around the world are outraged and heartsick about what’s happening to immigrant families. Most, but sorrowfully, not all.

As if the tragedy of yanking crying toddlers and children from their mothers and fathers was not enough, the tortured “reasons” for doing so are yet another travesty.

“Like kids going to summer camp,” from Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson: “Keeping immigrant families together threatens ‘your country’.” “Not like Nazi’s because we’re trying to keep people from getting in, not out,” from an incredibly ignorant attorney general. Then, an out-of-context Bible quote just to feel good about the verbal sewage he’s spewing.

We’re up to our knees in idiotic effluent flowing from the mouths of uncaring zealots and bigots who’ve surrendered ideals of decency, respect for others and even the rule of law.

The chief villain here, of course, is of our demagogue-wannabe in the White House. Without him, none of this would be happening. We wouldn’t be an embarrassed and angry Republic held hostage to this travesty against humanity. We wouldn’t be a further divided country of angry voices crying out for an end to the barbarism.

To say GOP “leadership” eunuchs in Congress aren’t participating would be to ignore the realities of what’s happening. In the Senate alone, not one - not even one - will sign on to proposed legislation to end this national nightmare. Democrats can’t reach the sensibilities of a seemingly heartless - or scared - majority.

Here, in the overheated, cactus-littered Southwest, many of us are angry and frustrated. Daily conversations include mostly sorrowful expressions of our helplessness and disgust. From supermarkets to doctor’s offices to golf courses, lots of words describing local angst float about. But, ideas to end what Trump has done are few. None, actually.

That “none” certainly includes me. I’m part of the confused, angry, embarrassed, ashamed majority. But, I’d like to offer a single perspective.

I believe Trump’s approach to his disastrous presidency has been more hard-charging real estate developer than political. Were it political, in the true sense of the word - and as practiced by nearly all presidents before him - we’d likely not be in this mess. A national disgrace created and orchestrated by a single source.

Trump’s modus operandi from the beginning has been to take outrageous positions and watch the outcry. He’s set verbal “goal posts” out there and, when his demands have been met, he’s moved them still further. “Bait and switch,” as it were.

Trump has exhibited not one honest spec of human emotion for the humanitarian travesty he’s created. Not one. The reason, I think, is because he views the situation as a real estate transaction. “Here are my terms; here are my demands. Meet them and we’ve got a deal.”

He’s said as much by telling Democrats, “Put up $24 million for my wall and we’ll talk.” And he’s said it more than once. I believe he sees the families he’s destroying as bargaining chips - as leverage, if you will. Nothing more.

He’s also taken the Mueller investigation off the front pages and reduced the cable political shows coverage to a few minutes at the end of the hour. If any mention at all. He’s been successful in a verbal shell game - taking the spotlight off what’s endangering his presidency by diverting it to the heartbreak and tragedy of others.

Trump’s often given media credit for being “politically savvy.” Not true, I think. His actions since assuming the office have not been those of any real politician in memory. He’s convinced his “base” that he’s “not a politician” and that his business acumen is what’s necessary to “rescue the country from politicians.”

People are mad. They’re protesting. They’re marching. They’re shouting from the rooftops. They’re expressing sorrow and outrage as best they can. But their voices, I believe, will go unheeded. He won’t react. And the GOP won’t suddenly find the guts to slap him down.

The only answer I see is purely political. It’s at the ballot box in five months.
 

Importance of context

rainey

“In one week, Trump embraced a dictator, started a trade war with China and complicated the immigration debate.” - CNN, 6/16/18

I’ve written thousands of stories over the years in print and broadcast media. With only the occasional case of “writer’s block” that hits all professionals at times. Starting off with a lead paragraph, followed by details of the story, has never been a problem. Until now.

Each day, the “liar-in-chief” and a feckless GOP Congress conduct a reign of catastrophic acts. They’re conducting ceaseless attacks on the guts of our Republic, on the institutions of government that undergird this nation’s liberties and are now sponsoring the terrible destruction of innocent families.

In the past, stories were reported and days or weeks would pass as the facts settled in and reporters could turn attention to new happenings. No more. Now, the tragic news from Washington just keeps piling up. Investigations, crimes, attacks on the citizenry and our former allies and the lies - especially the lies - just keep coming. The quote above from CNN is exhibit “A.”

It’s virtually impossible to capture the full extent of what each daily calamity means before there’s another - and another - and another. As the catastrophic politics continue to spin, yesterday’s facts seems like ancient history.

We - and it seems the rest of the world - are under attack. On one hand, it’s a do-nothing Republican congress without the cojones to fulfill its constitutional role of a separate - but equal - power of government. Internecine wars have split the GOP into ungovernable fragments. Elected “leadership” in the House is unable to govern because 30-40 right wing cretins continue to fight any sensible political steps to get nearly anything done. In the Senate, a dictatorial majority leader has strangled both decorum and legitimate legislation.

On the other hand, given his constitutional duties, plus all the powers abrogated by that neutered Congress, an immoral, unhinged, lying President is emulating every tin hat, demagogue he’s ever heard of. He’s ignoring - and destroying - centuries of treaties, compacts, agreements and collaborative relationships this nation has ever produced. Suddenly, our friends are enemies and our enemies are “friends.”

Our defense budget is greater than the next six countries combined. But, current reckless conduct in dealing with other countries is making us more vulnerable than we’ve ever been. An oversupply of nukes, subs, bombers and warheads is being proven no match for protecting our nation’s computerized infrastructure. We can’t even vote - our most basic and cherished franchise - and know the election outcome is accurate. We’re truly in an electronic war unrecognized by many in public office and others who refuse to act.

Even established religions are being perverted. Evangelicals - that portion of our religious spectrum normally quick to call attention to public immoralities - have mostly turned a blind eye to our immoral President. Or, in statements by it’s leaders, has supported many of the lies and illegal activities emanating from both Capitol Hill and the White House.

Quite possibly the lowest point of human decency in our history is the inhumane act of splintering immigrant families. And, even there, many Evangelicals and other religious folks - in government and out - are using the Bible to support the terrorist act of destroying immigrant families.

Our Attorney General - a man not noted for an even-handed approach to enforcement of our laws - has joined the far right by quoting an out-of-context paragraph of Romans 31 to “justify” this terrible, racist tragedy. Something about using the powers of government to maintain order.

I would, instead, not-so-respectfully, direct him to an entirely “in context” entry in Second John, Chapter 11, Verse 31. In full, it simply reads, “Jesus wept.”

Certainly, so should we.