Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpCoolArrow

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by scooping up conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s appeal to all sectors of American society:

Like so much of what Trump has said and done, this new outreach forces writers like me to conduct scatological studies, framing Trump’s actions in their historical and intellectual absurdity.

But, here we go.

Trump, who got a shocking 1 percent of support among black voters in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, has been urged to reach out to black voters.

All right. That’s just an opinion piece running in The New York Times. All of which means the “1 percent” is just an opinion. If you look at the actually polling numbers you get an entirely different picture:

In this latest poll, Clinton enjoys a significant advantage among women (51 percent to Trump’s 35 percent), African Americans (91 percent to 1 percent), all non-white voters (69 percent to 17 percent), young voters (46 percent to 34 percent), and white voters with a college degree (47 percent to 40 percent).

All right. That didn’t come out quite as I expected. One percent, two percent, five percent, who’s counting anyhow? What really counts is the way Donald Trump  connects with all segments of society:

Trump made a fortune before his career as a reality TV star predominately in the world of real estate, where he took the reins of his father’s burgeoning housing empire in the early 1970s and expanded it to become the global juggernaut it purportedly is today. But in 1973, he was introduced on the national stage for less auspicious reasons: his battles with the U.S. Justice Department over charges of violating the Fair Housing Act. The Trumps were accused of systematically discriminating against black tenants seeking rentals in their buildings, even using a code letter “C” to represent “colored” applicants.

“C” for “colored?” Well, what would you expect? “N” for “nigger?” Mr. Trump has a history of being remarkably sensitive to divisive issues such as race. Anyhow, he is sensitive to the everyday concerns of Americans of color:

At those rallies this week, Trump’s appeal to black voters took a curious turn — replacing “give Donald Trump a chance” with a new angle:

“Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living … We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”

Trump’s assertion that getting shot is an everyday worry for black Americans at large speaks to what critics say is his most glaring weakness with this demographic — that he is out of touch with people of color.

OK! That’s enough. It appears there is no pleasing some people.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Friday Funny

One of a series

Gun-NRAFacebookSuggestedPost

It’s Friday again, and I know the NRA is always available. Their postings are funny, however, in a grim sort of way. Allow me to transcribe from the Facebook post that appeared on my feed as a “Suggested Post.”

NRA National Rifle Association

Help ensure no law abiding American is forced to face evil with empty hands.

Join NRA®: Stand and Fight

Limited Time Offer: Up to $40 Discount Plus Free NRA Duffle Bad.

MEMBERSHIP.NRAHQ.ORG

 

A “suggested post” is paid advertising, from which I gather the NRA paid to have this pop up on my feed. Jolly for them.

What catches my attention is “Help ensure no law abiding American is forced to face evil with empty hands.” Yeah, Dude. Without the NRA you may not always be allowed to keep your trusty firearm close by, and when “evil” finally does come to your door, you are going to regret ever having voted for Obama or Clinton or some other left-leaning enemy of the Bill of Rights.

And that I find to be very funny.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpGOPLetterAgainst

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by drawing in conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very, very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s demonstrated qualifications for the office:

Washington (CNN)—Fifty prominent Republican foreign policy and national security experts — many veterans of George W. Bush’s administration — have signed a letter denouncing Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and pledging not to vote for him.

The letter, first reported by The New York Times Monday, warns: “We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”
Its signatories include former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Eric Edelman, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser and has worked closely with Michele Flournoy — a candidate for secretary of defense in a prospective Clinton administration — to forge a centrist group of defense experts on key military issues.
It also includes two Homeland Security secretaries under Bush, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank president, U.S. trade representative and deputy secretary of state.

At first glance this may appear disheartening to Mr. Trump, I mean, being dissed by all these Republicans and such. But keep in mind, these Republicans are losers. Yes, losers! They got defeated eight years ago, and Donald Trump has a well-known disdain for losers.

So, that does it for the Republicans. While you’re at it, you can cross off the Democrats, as well. That leaves Trump with a straight shot at the November election. And the pyramids of Giza were used to store grain.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

Gun-FacebookNRA-01

It’s a dangerous world out the. Criminals and enemies of this country find defenseless Americans to be easy prey. The NRA assures us the Second Amendment is our guarantee of our right to keep ourselves safe. Even while shopping at Walmart:

The victim was named as Veronica J Rutledge, 29, of Blackfoot, Idaho; she is understood to have been visiting relatives in the area.

Ms Rutledge was a nuclear scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, which supports the US Department of Energy.

She was shopping with three nieces when her only son shot her with a small-calibre handgun. Her husband was not with her, but arrived shortly afterwards.

Lt Miller said the victim had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

It’s important for citizens to remain vigilant. Keep your handgun with you at all times, and never turn your back on a suspicious adversary.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpErection

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by drawing in conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very, very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s tremendous sense of civic responsibility:

Forty-nine seconds it took. Forty-nine seconds for Trump to tire of pretending to help unload Play-Doh from a truck. Just be glad Palin wasn’t there, she’d have tried to use the Play-Doh to fix somebody’s house. Or just eaten it.

All right. That didn’t go half as well as expected. What the people of Louisiana really need is help in setting political priorities. This is an area in which Donald Trump shines:

Donald Trump, who recently claimed he would fight for the rights of LGBTQ Americans, just donated $100,000 to a church that hates them.

As part of his tour through flood-stricken Louisiana last week, the candidate stopped at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church. Supporters waited outside in “Make America Great Again” gear, and clamored for photos when he approached.

“You’re going to be fine,” Trump told them.

Days later, the church confirmed in a Facebook status that Trump gave them a hefty donation. CNN reporters Ashley Killough and Dana Bash separately confirmed the Republican nominee donated $100,000, though they did not specify how the funds will be used.

I’m still waiting to see if Greenwell Springs Baptist Church plans to erect a statue.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Here’s another Tom Clancy movie. I don’t have a copy, but it came up on Amazon Prime Video recently. It’s Clear and Present Danger, released by Paramount Pictures and starring Harrison Ford as CIA operative Dr. John “Jack” Ryan. This came out in 1994, following The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Patriot Games (1992), also by Clancy and featuring Harrison Ford in the lead. Screen shots are from Amazon Prime Video, and details are from Wikipedia. I’m not going to detail the plot, but here is a bit of insight. First some background:

Clear and present danger was a doctrine adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States to determine under what circumstances limits can be placed on First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, or assembly.

Where this comes in is with the President of the United States using this principle to justify a war against some drug cartels in Colombia. What kicks it off is a routine traffic stop in the South Caribbean by the Unites States Coast Guard.

ClearAndPresentDanger-01

Two crew members are apprehended, and the findings are grisly. A wealthy American citizen and his family have been murdered and dumped overboard. They were personal friends of the President, and he decides to take executive action, especially after he learns his old school chum had lifted $650 million from a cartel, and that money could be obtained.

CIA Deputy Director for Operations Bob Ritter (Henry Czerny) goes south to engage an operative named John Clark (Willem Dafoe) to coordinate with an American Special Forces team that will be sent in.

ClearAndPresentDanger-02

One of those recruited is sniper specialist Captain Ramírez (Benjamin Bratt). He is to become indispensable to the plot.

ClearAndPresentDanger-03

Shortly a force of special troops is inserted into the Colombian jungle, and they begin to wreak havoc with the operations of Ernesto Escobedo, head of the Cali Cartel. They destroy airplanes and blow up drug processing plants.

ClearAndPresentDanger-04

Meanwhile, Col. Félix Cortez (Joaquim de Almeida), formerly of Cuban Intelligence, is doing intelligence for Cortez. He travels frequently to Washington, where he romances Moira Wolfson (Ann Magnuson), Assistant to the Director of the FBI. After he learns from her that her boss, Emil Jacobs (Tom Tammi), will be coming to Colombia, he murders her and arranges to have Jacobs ambushed in the streets of Bogata.

ClearAndPresentDanger-05

There ensues a massive fire fight, leaving Jack the sole survivor.

ClearAndPresentDanger-06

Following Jacobs’ funeral back in Washington, Jack learns from his wife, Dr Caroline “Cathy” Ryan (Anne Archer), of the murder of Wolfson. The pieces begin to fall into place, and an intelligence assault is initiated to identify Cortez. The Electronic Intelligence operation at Fort Huachuca in Arizona picks up a phone conversation involving Cortez, matching a voice message on Wolfson’s phone.

ClearAndPresentDanger-07

When that flashed on the screen I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah!”

Fort Huachuca in 1996

Fort Huachuca in 1996

The game escalates. A strike by an F/A-18 is ordered on a meeting of cartel chiefs. This succeeds in wiping out a luxurious country estate packed with cartel leaders plus assorted women and children. Things are going to get nasty.

ClearAndPresentDanger-08

Ritter cuts a treacherous deal with Cortez. It requires the black-ops team be abandoned and pinpointed. The group is ambushed and wiped out, with a handful taken prisoner. Captain Ramírez avoids capture and goes into stalking mode.

ClearAndPresentDanger-09

With the recorded conversation of Cortez planning to usurp Escobedo, Jack plans to put the kibosh on Cortez, but it’s too late. Cortez has already enlisted the upper echelons of Escobedo’s organization, and Escobedo is murdered by one of his security guards. A fierce fire fight ensues.

ClearAndPresentDanger-10

Jack, Clark, and Ramirez rescue the prisoners and depart in a helicopter, with Jack hanging on for dear life. Ramírez finishes off Cortez with a spray of bullets from the door of the helicopter.

ClearAndPresentDanger-11

And that’s all the action. Writer Tom Clancy is known for his technical insight, but some this went by the board in production:

  • We see the F/A-18 unloading a (supposed 2000-lb) Paveway bomb while operatives on the ground paint the target with the laser designator. Only we see the bomb passing through a cloud layer that obscures the target. The bomb can’t track the laser spot through the clouds, even though we hear the pilot saying the target has been acquired just before he releases the bomb.
  • We see the F/A-18 being launched with a payload slung under its belly, and we see a sequence of the aircraft releasing that payload. But it’s not the same bomb the movie follows to the target.
  • The black-ops team puts the laser spot on the side of a yellow monster pickup truck parked out front, but the movie shows the palatial estate being blown up from the inside.
  • We see the cartel gunmen executing wounded soldiers, and we wonder why they decided to take a few prisoners. Who’s to figure? It’s not in the book.
  • Jack needs to crack Ritter’s computer password so he can obtain incriminating files. A techie assistant works the problem by entering various combinations of numbers from Ritter’s personnel file. Date of birth, date of birth reversed, wedding anniversary date… He hits pay dirt after working just a few minutes. Never going to happen. Nobody builds password protection like that these days, and likely did not when this movie was produced. Any sensible system will lock you out after three wrong passwords. Any sensible system will require a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols.

The book came out in 1989, and during the five years following before the movie related technology was undergoing a major league surge. You can see some of that when comparing the book and the movie.

What appears to have happened is the movie writers (Donald E. StewartSteven ZaillianJohn Milius) read the book, tossed it aside, and said something like, “Hey! I have a great idea for a movie.” As a result, similarities between the book and the movie are striking:

  • Both involve the United States government, the CIA, and CIA Deputy Director (Intelligence) Jack Ryan.
  • Both involve a friend of the President and his family being murdered on the high seas due to transgressions against his Colombian drug cartel associates.
  • Both feature Paveway strikes on cartel mansions, except the book goes the movie one strike better.
  • Both involve elite American soldiers infiltrating into Colombia to mess with drug cartel operations.
  • Both feature a deal struck between the President’s Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs that involves betrayal of the American troops.

What makes for the differences is that Clancy wrote a novel, albeit an inch deep, and the movie script would only occupy two chapters in the book.

  • In the book the Coast Guard interception on the high seas involves a crusty mustang skipper who devises a mock execution of one of the captured killers, resulting in some interesting intelligence.
  • This is a Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) movie from start to finish, but the book brings him completely on board only after half the action has already been drained.
  • The book involves many more locations and much more action, including the contract killing of an Alabama cop, and retribution upon the Caribbean pirates. Two local gang bangers are given a pass in exchange for slipping the shiv to the pirates in a jail house shower.
  • Cortez and Escobedo don’t die off in the blaze of gunfire that close off the movie. They are captured in a raid conducted while Ryan and Carter are rescuing American soldiers from the jungle. Escobedo is handed over to his cartel associates in exchange for a large sum of money. They want to talk to him concerning word that he has been engineering a coup against them. Cortez is taken to Guantanamo, where he talks freely on camera. He is then escorted to the gate, with a copy of the video stuffed in his back pocket, where Cuban officials are happy to see their intelligence chief who defected a few years back. Moira (not killed) is there to see him off.

Obviously there is much more. The book has a prologue that deals with the development of the aerial bomb. The book also goes to great length with the legal ramifications of extra-judicial proceedings. If all were included, the book would make a six-hour movie. I will attempt to get out a review in a few weeks.

When I saw Joaquim de Almeida pop up as Félix Cortez I flashed back to the third season of 24, the TV series featuring Kiefer Sutherland. In the movie he’s a Cuban transplanted to Colombia. In 24 he plays Mexican drug cartel leader Ramon Salazar. He’s actually Portuguese.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpKellyanneConwayYouTubeCNN-01

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by drawing in conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very, very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s enlightened immigration policy:

(CNN)Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said Sunday he would overturn a law that grants citizenship to people born in the U.S. and put stricter limits on legal immigration, offering his most detailed account yet of how he would handle a policy issue that has become a cornerstone of his campaign.

That is impressive. He would, among other things, “overturn a law that grants citizenship to people born in the U.S.” This is most impressive, since the law of which he speaks is the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Undoing an amendment or making any change whatsoever to the Constitution requires approval of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and 2/3 of the states.

Mr. Trump has been additionally adamant:

Donald Trump launched his campaign on a promise to be very, very tough on illegal immigration — and immigrants. He called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals.” He would later promise to deport every single one of them — even approvingly referencing a controversial 1950s mass-deportation program known as “Operation Wetback.” He has in recent weeks prominently featured victims of crimes perpetrated by illegal immigrants.

Last November, he was specific:

We’ll have a deportation force. You do it humanely. They’re going back to where they came. If they came from a certain country, they’re going to be brought back to their country. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

I tell you, dear readers, it is so heartening to have a politician, especially a candidate for President of the United States, take a clear stand on a critical issue facing our country and stick by it:

Donald Trump’s campaign suggested Sunday that the Republican presidential candidate is prepared to soften his stance on immigration, though the signal was ambiguous.

Mr. Trump has made a tough stand on immigration a signature issue of his campaign, pledging among other things to create a “deportation force” to rapidly remove some of the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

On Sunday, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, dialed back on that pledge, suggesting the deportation force might not be set up after all. Asked on CNN if Mr. Trump would mobilize this deportation force in the White House, Ms. Conway responded: “To be determined.”

“TBD!” Oh no! The three most treacherous letters in a project plan. How many times have I seen an engineering project sink under the weight of that awful trio! Say it ain’t so, Don. You were the last solid rock in the wandering stream of American politics. And funny, besides.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Religion-FaithHealingReligionKills

I post one of these each Tuesday. I have help. Significantly, help comes from the Christian Science community:

WHEN Thomas Jefferson described religious freedom as ”the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights,” he could not have imagined that the time would come when American citizens would be forced to pay ruinous damages for exercising it.

But that is the result of the Supreme Court’s decision last week not to review the case of McKown v. Lundman. That decision let stand a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling upholding an award of $1.5 million to the father of 11-year-old Ian Lundman, who died in 1989 after his mother, stepfather, and a Christian Science practitioner tried to use prayer to heal his diabetes.

The mother and stepfather are devout Christian Scientists, who, after Ian complained of stomach pains, began to pray for him, as their religion prescribes.

And that’s it for Ian Lundman, readers. Nothing says “wrapped in the arms of a loving Jesus” like six feet under.

The American President

Politics-ClintonPresidential

Early on, for a title I was thinking something like, “Why I’m voting for Clinton.” Nah. It’s deeper than that.

To mangle a paraphrase, “You didn’t need a weatherman to know that somebody besides Barack Obama will be President beginning in January. It’s taking us a while to sort it out.

As the field began to form up a couple of things were apparent. The Democratic Party didn’t have a lot of depth on the bench, regarding the presidency, that is. There was Clinton, possibly. Finally, the inevitable, she said, “Yes.” Then there was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, only he’s not a Democrat. And he’s a socialist. And he put forth a number of hare-brained ideas, schemes that had a lot of popular appeal and not much practicality. And there was a third, Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, a truly unknown.

Second, the Republican Party had maybe too much depth. There was the obvious party choice, Jeb Bush. Then there were the Republican Party rising stars Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Bobby Jindal. And finally there was a repeat of 2012 with a jumble of comic characters, some old, some new. They included Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore (?), Lindsey Graham, George Pataki. And real estate billionaire Donald Trump.

It was obvious to all who the Republican candidate would be. Obvious to all, except me. The Republican candidate is now Donald Trump, and the Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton. And now reason number 34 why I’m voting for Clinton:

Tragically, women are most often the ones whose human rights are violated. Even now, in the late 20th century, the rape of women continues to be used as an instrument of armed conflict. Women and children make up a large majority of the world’s refugees. And when women are excluded from the political process, they become even more vulnerable to abuse. I believe that now, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break the silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.

These abuses have continued because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words. But the voices of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loudly and clearly:

It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed — and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated.

It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.

It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.

It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.

It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.

It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely — and the right to be heard.

The foregoing is an excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s “Remarks to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women Plenary Session delivered 5 September 1995, Beijing, China.”

Maybe I missed something, but I have watched and listened to the Republican candidates, including most recently Donald Trump, and I have yet to hear from any of them a more clear and forceful elucidation of proper American values. From the opposition I hear:

Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence:

In 2006, as head of the Republican Study Committee, a group of the 100 most-conservative House members, Pence rose in support of a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Citing a Harvard researcher, Pence said in his speech, “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” Pence also called being gay a choice and said keeping gays from marrying was not discrimination, but an enforcement of “God’s idea.”

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump, again:

“We’re all a little chubby but Rosie’s just worse than most of us. But it’s not the chubbiness — Rosie is a very unattractive person, both inside and out.”

He also took a [jab] at her love life and managed to offend the LGBT community at the same time: “Rosie’s a person who’s very lucky to have her girlfriend. And she better be careful or I’ll send one of my friends over to pick up her girlfriend, why would she stay with Rosie if she had another choice?”

Candidate Bobby Jindal:

Jindal has campaigned with groups that support dangerous so-called “conversion therapy” and appointed a leading conversion therapy advocate to state office.

Mike Huckabee:

Mike Huckabee often mixes religion with politics. But the former Arkansas governor jumped the shark on the eve of the Michigan primary, when he told a crowd of cheering (and faithful) supporters that the Constitution needs a religious fix:

“I have opponents in this race,” he said, “who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do—to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

In short, the party running against Clinton seems to be at odds with a number of basic American values. Inclusiveness, concern for the plight of minorities and the poor, and equality under the law don’t seem to be a big concern for today’s Republicans. Republican Party values exhibit a disturbing trend:

  • Denial of established fact: Whenever I see a candidate stumping for the teaching of creationism in public schools, that candidate more likely than not is a Republican. While scientific research has demonstrated that homosexuality is not a matter of choice, ideologically-driven Republicans insist to the contrary and propose legislation (e.g., publicly-funded conversion therapy) in defiance of the science. Republican candidates overwhelmingly deny the evidence of anthropogenic global warming and use the power of the government to attack conscientious scientists doing the research.
  • Common sense gun legislation: Seeking to garner the support of gun enthusiasts and groups such as the NRA, Republicans consistently oppose reasonable regulation of the sale and possession of firearms.
  • Reproductive rights: Aligning with an extreme religious faction, Republicans continue seeking to undo or to dilute access to abortion and even benign family planning services. Planned Parenthood is particularly targeted in this regard, and foreign aid that includes family planning services is opposed by Republicans.
  • Voting rights: Recognizing the Democratic Party’s appeal to minorities and the poor, Republicans continue to push the now-debunked notion of massive voter fraud and use it as an excuse to impose photo ID requirements, said requirements being more difficult to meet by minorities and the poor. Additionally, Republicans at the state level have sought to make it less convenient for these groups to vote.
  • Direct aid to people in need: Republicans characteristically and to a varying degree, oppose direct aid to people, such as food stamps, subsidized housing, and public health care. This has become particularly apparent with the Republican Party’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Almost to a person, the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have announced their intention to kill the ACA once in office. Some candidates have voiced opposition to government funding of public education.

Summarizing, I have lived in this country for over 75 years, and in this time I have grown to expect a level of competence and humanity from my government. Compared to the aspirations of Hillary Clinton, the Republicans fall considerably short. They should consider a do-over.

Whether I ever get around to addressing the remaining 45 reasons I plan to vote for Hillary Clinton is something to be determined. Keep reading.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpMeghanMcCain

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by drawing in conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very, very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s well-known support for our troops:

Donald J. Trump belittled the parents of a slain Muslim soldier who had strongly denounced Mr. Trump during the Democratic National Convention, saying that the soldier’s father had delivered the entire speech because his mother was not “allowed” to speak.

Mr. Trump’s comments, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that will air on Sunday, drew quick and widespread condemnation and amplified calls for Republican leaders to distance themselves from their presidential nominee. With his implication that the soldier’s mother had not spoken because of female subservience expected in some traditional strains of Islam, his comments also inflamed his hostilities with American Muslims.

Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, lashed out at Mr. Trump in an interview on Saturday, saying his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was too painful for her to talk about her son’s death.

If Mr. Trump’s experience is representative, it’s impossible to placate some people. But, thanks for trying.

Donald Trump’s support for our armed forces goes way back to the time of his own service. Although denied the opportunity to actually serve due to academic conflicts, Mr. Trump appreciates full well the hardships endured by the people defending our country. His experience as a captain in the cadet corps of rigorous military academy taught him what it’s like to serve on the front lines:

In Trump’s telling, he was elevated as a reward for stellar performance. “I had total control over the cadets,” he said in a recent interview. “That’s why I got a promotion — because I did so good.”

Former cadets recall the change differently. They say school administrators transferred Trump after a freshman named Lee Ains complained of being hazed by a sergeant under Trump’s command. School officials, those cadets say, were concerned that Trump’s style of delegating leadership responsibilities while spending a lot of time in his room, away from his team, allowed problems to fester.

“They felt he wasn’t paying attention to his other officers as closely as he should have,” said Ains, who lives in Connecticut and works in the aerospace industry.

As a result of his youthful experiences, the man selected by his party to be the next commander in chief of the armed services is constantly mindful of those who have made sacrifices even more dear than his own:

(CNN)Donald Trump expressed no remorse Wednesday for saying last summer that Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero,” despite being captured in Vietnam and tortured as a prisoner of war.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s comments came just days after McCain reiterated his call for Trump to take back his comments about other captured members of the military.

Mr. Trump, members of my family look forward to having you in charge of our nation’s armed services. I come from a military generation—I served, my brother served, my sister served, and you, Mr. Trump, stand out as a shining example to all who look forward to the prospect of serving under you.

Only kidding.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.