Lebanon, America, and Politics

I just read an article by Thomas L. Friedman, who is an opinion columnist for the New York Times … and I felt it was vitally important to share what he had to say.

He began by recounting the recent explosion in Lebanon and then remarked how so many of the people immediately asked, not so much about what happened, but who did it. And more importantly, what political advantage did they gain from the event.

He then went on to point out how these questions demonstrate several similarities between the United States, Lebanon, and other Middle East countries. Of course our natural reaction is, “What similarities! The U.S. isn’t anything like the Middle East!”

I’ll let Friedman answer …

The United States is becoming like Lebanon and other Middle East countries in two respects. First, our political differences are becoming so deep that our two parties now resemble religious sects in a zero-sum contest for power. They call theirs “Shiites and Sunnis and Maronites” or “Israelis and Palestinians.” We call ours “Democrats and Republicans,” but ours now behave just like rival tribes who believe they must rule or die.

Everything is now politics — even the climate, even energy, even face masks in a pandemic.

And when everything becomes politics — and power — a society (and certainly a democracy) eventually dies.

There is no center, there are only sides; there’s no truth, there are only versions; there are no facts, there’s only a contest of wills. 

Friedman goes on to compare Trump with Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Vladimir Putin in Russia and points out how these leaders:

… deliberately try to undermine the guardians of facts and the common good. Their message to their people is: “Don’t believe the courts, the independent civil servants or the fake news generators — only trust me, my words and my decisions.” It’s a jungle out there. My critics are killers (which is what Trump called his press corps on Friday), and only I can protect our tribe from theirs. 

There’s much more, including how Trump has met his match in Mother Nature and  COVID-19. No matter how hard he’s tried to discredit and deflect the pandemic by making it about politics, he has utterly failed.

I urge — yea, implore — you to read the article if for no other reason than to see how extremely important it is that we change the leadership in this country on November 3rd.

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

It Is NOT Antifa!

This sentence, related to a recent incident in Eugene, Oregon and reported on a Fox News web page, angers me to the core:

In Eugene, crowds blocked the streets and prevented one man in a pickup truck from passing, according to conservative journalist Andy Ngo, who made headlines last summer after an attack by members of the far-left militant group Antifa sent him to the hospital.

Read the following slowly and carefully:

“Antifa” is NOT far-left. 

As many of my readers know, “antifa” is simply a shortened term for “ANTI-fascist.” That means if a person is a member of Antifa, they are against fascism. Here is a refresher for anyone who isn’t familiar with the definition of fascism (from Dictionary.com):

Fascism: A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. 

(Remind you of anyone?)

Now consider the following, which is an excerpt from an article on Snopes.com:

Fascists go beyond viewing particular categories of people as inferior, based on gender identity, race and ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. They believe it is imperative to use violence to oppress and ultimately eliminate those groups.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that ANTI-fascist is the opposite of the above definition. In other words, “Antifas” actually oppose categorizing people based on gender identity, race and ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Nor do they wish to “eliminate” these people.

Admittedly, as with any political group, there will always be “fringe” members. While the core movement is to defend the rights of everyone through reasonable means, there will always be militants who believe their only recourse is force.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that Trump has been (incorrectly) using the term to convince his followers that Antifa is a violent group of individuals who are trying to take away their “rights.” (You know, their “rights” to hate and reject all who are “inferior.”)

Just remember … “anti” means against. So if you are anti-Trump, you most likely understand what the Antifas movement is all about.

A Brain Matters

Once again, I found Heather Cox Richardson’s most recent newsletter FULL of disturbing information related to the Government-in-Charge.

As is her custom, Ms. Richardson included several shenanigans carried out by the Republican party. However, in this particular issue, she included an incident related to Jared Kushner that was especially mind-boggling. Then, when asked about it, Trump’s inane response seemed to originate in the lower part of his body.

Apparently there was a recent exchange between Jared Kushner and a reporter in which Kushner made the following comment related to the coronavirus pandemic supplies going to the states:

“The notion of the federal stockpile is that it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be the states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

When CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang later asked Trump what Kushner meant by “our stockpile,” Trump said it was a “gotcha” question. Ms. Richardson went on to share Trump’s exact words:

“You know what ‘our’ means? United States of America,” he said. “We take that – ‘our’ – and we distribute it to the states.” “[W]e need it for the federal government,” Trump said. “To keep for our country because the federal government needs it too, not just the states.” “It’s such a basic and simple question and you try and make it sound so bad,” he added. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Whaaaat?

“We need it for the federal government … the federal government needs it too, not just the states.”

Did I miss something? Last time I checked, the states make up the federal government! In fact, here it is as stated on the USA.gov website:

The federal government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states 

The pure vacuity of brain matter that exemplifies the leader of this administration is simply mind-boggling.

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Trump’s Law

President Trump has publicly and vociferously claimed that the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want.” After thinking about this for awhile, I came up with some possible scenarios of past and future events …

Had Trump’s Law been in effect at Clinton’s impeachment, he could have had sex with every staffer in his office, admitted it, and never gone through impeachment because he had “the right to do whatever (he) wanted.”

Had Trump’s Law been in effect during Nixon’s reign, he could have not only admitted his role in the Watergate break-in, but itemized all the other illegal activities he was involved in to get reelected and never gone through impeachment because he had “the right to do whatever (he) wanted.”

Had Trump’s Law been in effect during Johnson’s reign, he could have replaced the Secretary of War with whomever he wanted, whether the Congress agreed or not, and never gone through impeachment because he had “the right to do whatever (he) wanted.”

With Trump’s Law in effect, Trump (or any president) could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and never be prosecuted OR go through impeachment because he had “the right to do whatever (he) wanted.”

Further, because Trump’s Law is so constitutionally valid, any future president would be able to …

  • Declare war and send troops to destroy a foreign country simply because he wants to.
  • Censor or eliminate all news media reporting simply because he wants to.
  • Do away with all the branches of government and set himself up as supreme ruler simply because he wants to.
  • Designate all people of color as slaves and servants simply because he wants to.
  • Close all U.S. borders and refuse admittance to anyone he doesn’t like simply because he wants to.

This list just skims the surface of what a president could do under Trump’s Law. I feel certain readers could add to it with minimal thought and effort.

It can never be repeated enough … we MUST vote this man out of office. If he is allowed to continue as the Leader of this country, there will be no limit to what he will do under Trump’s Law.

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Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Here We Go Again

Religious Freedom seems to be the topic of the day in many circles (after the impeachment, of course). Especially since our esteemed President signed the recent Executive Order which he said was aimed at “reducing discrimination against people and groups of faith.”

(Ironically, Trump ended his above comment with … “There’s nothing more important than that.” I can’t help but ask … more important that impending impeachment?)

One writer in an article about the EO seemed giddy with excitement:

President Trump acted in the best interests of the American people Thursday when he signed an executive order to bolster and protect the rights of students to pray and discuss God in their schools. The order champions and reinforces the freedom of religion guaranteed to us in the Constitution as one of our most important rights.

He went on to say (undoubtedly without prejudice) …

We’re not looking to coerce or force anyone to accept our beliefs – we simply want government to respect our constitutionally derived right to freely express our own deeply held faith.

Of course the question then arises … WHOSE “deeply held faith” are you referring to, sir? The deeply held faith of the Muslim? The deeply held faith of the Mormon? The deeply held faith of the Sikh? The deeply held faith of the Jew?

Oh wait! His next remark seems to make it quite clear:

My own organization has been encouraging students to exercise their religious freedom by bringing their Bibles to school on the first Thursday of every October. (emphasis added)

Maybe I’m off-base, but aren’t Bibles the textbook for Christians?

He goes on to mention how terribly some (Christian) students are treated because they were …

… prohibited from praying during non-instructional time, denied participation in faith-based student clubs on campus, and chastised for expressing biblical points of view in class assignments.

IMO, his first two complaints have some validity, but that last one? Borderline if you ask me. I mean, isn’t “expressing biblical points in class assignments” an example of crossing that line?

In another article on the same subject, the Rev. Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board contended that …

the “White House isn’t saying whether one should pray or to whom or what they should pray to” with the announced changes but that “they are simply making it clear that in the United States students have First Amendment rights also, and our ‘separation of church and state’ wasn’t intended to suppress a vibrant religious life in America but to facilitate it.”

Sounds good, but if this guy is on the evangelical advisory board, there’s little doubt the entity “to whom” he’s referencing.

It never ends. Instead of allowing people to be who and/or what they want to be, certain groups insist upon molding everyone to their way of thinking/believing.

Doesn’t anyone ever wonder why “God” (who is supposed to the All-Wise One) didn’t design his creations to all think the same way? It sure would have saved us humans a lot of grief!