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

Fly In My Tea

I came across the following on Quora and couldn’t resist sharing. It’s entitled:

Bush, Obama, and Trump each find a fly in their cups of tea. What do they do?

Bush: Excuse me ma’am, there seems to be a fly in my tea. Now while I’m guessing it’s great tea, I will not be able to enjoy it as there is a fly in it. I would be much obliged if you would remove it.

Obama: Uh, hello, young sir. I don’t mean to bother you, but there (haha) there seems to be a fly in my tea. Now it’s not your fault, hundreds of Americans work hard day in day out at jobs like this, as a matter of fact, I think it’s people like you who are the backbone of America, you keep us going. But I hope you don’t mind that I ask for another cup. God bless you and God bless the waiters of America.

Trump: Look Melania, there’s a fly in my tea, can you believe that?

Melania?

Melania!!

*calls press conference *

“ Today, there was a fly in my tea. Obviously this is another ploy by the Democrats to try and sabotage my regime and its attempt to make America great again. My table was also probably bugged by the FBI hoping I’d slip up and they’d have another excuse to restart their witch hunt.

I heard Bush and Obama also had flies in their tea. Obviously their flies weren’t as big as mine, my fly was obviously the biggest fly. They obviously saved the best fly for me.

So you know what? we’re gonna build a wall around that establishment and we’re gonna make the owner pay for it, so no one has to drink their horrible tea or see their horrible shop ever again.

And you know what else? I might start producing tea as well, the biggest tea company in the America, it’s gonna be hyuuuuge, the best tea ever, we’re gonna have the best hot water, and tea leaves from China, of course. It’ll be great, it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever seen. Thank you all for coming”

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Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Who Will Win?

As many of my “regulars” have discovered, I tend to share various articles and comments that I find interesting, timely, upsetting … or even questionable.

And here I am doing it again. 😎

I’m not a regular reader or participant of Quora, but I do get daily emails that include a listing of topics in which I’ve indicated an interest. Of course politics is one of them. 😉

Anyway, in today’s listing was the following question:  “Who will win the United States presidential 2020 election?” Naturally, no one can provide an irrefutable answer but I found the response provided by a person named Spencer Alexander McDaniel was worth thinking about so I’ve copied his answer here.

I think that it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty who will win 2020 United States presidential election at this point, but I predict that, regardless of who ultimately wins, the election will be extremely close. I do not think that anyone is going to win anything resembling a landslide victory and I think that the result of the election will come down to a small handful of important swing states.

I think it is entirely possible that we may see essentially a repeat of the 2016 election in which the Democratic candidate wins the popular vote and Donald Trump wins the electoral college. I am not saying that is what will happen, but I do think it is a possibility.

Donald Trump has four massive advantages that give him a huge edge over anyone who tries to confront him:

  • Trump is an incumbent. There is a very strong established tendency for Americans to favor incumbents over challengers. The last time an incumbent president lost a bid for reelection was in 1992 when Bill Clinton defeated incumbent president George H. W. Bush. That was twenty-seven years ago. If the Democratic challenger defeats Donald Trump in the 2020 election, it will quite literally be an event that has not happened in over a generation.
  • The economy has not crashed (or at least not yet). Many independents decide who to vote for based solely on the economy. Since the economy is doing ok right now, that means Trump is pretty much guaranteed to win votes from people who vote based solely on the economy.
  • Trump is a Republican. The way our political system works gives a massively disproportionate advantage to Republicans in the electoral college. Because Democrats tend to live in cities and Republicans tend to live in rural areas and the electoral college tends to give greater power to predominately rural states with low populations, Republicans naturally have an advantage over Democrats automatically.
  • Trump has the extraordinarily effective full-time propaganda juggernaut that is Fox News to back him up. Fox News can spin any news story to make Trump look good. Since most conservatives only get their news from Fox, no matter what Trump says or does, they will always think well of him. Even if you don’t watch Fox yourself, Fox still has massive influence over the news stories you are exposed to, because mainstream news outlets feel pressure to cover the stories that Fox News is covering, even if they are not really newsworthy, just because Fox is covering those stories and mainstream news outlets are worried that they will look “biased” if they do not cover them.

If Donald Trump were any normal president with these advantages, he would easily win the 2020 election, perhaps with even a landslide victory. Donald Trump, however, is not any normal president; he keeps saying and doing unbelievably stupid and immoral things and he has record-low approval ratings.

ABOVE: Photograph of our grouchy orange president, bloviating as usual

I think that, regardless of who the Democratic candidate ultimately ends up being, they will probably have a chance at beating Donald Trump. Nevertheless, beating Trump will certainly not be easy by any means. The Democratic candidate will have to put on an extremely good campaign and they will have to be able to successfully present themself as a reasonable, intelligent, and moderate antidote to Trump’s swirling cyclone of chaos, stupidity, and right-wing radicalism.

Obviously, this will be an extremely challenging thing for any candidate to do, especially since Fox News is guaranteed to vilify whoever it is that gets the Democratic nomination as the Antichrist and the illegitimate spawn of Satan and Stalin. Naturally, Fox News’s hysterical calumnies will make it into the mainstream press and greatly shape public opinion of the Democratic candidate so that even many moderates who hate Trump will be convinced that he is the lesser of two evils.

Overall, I think that, at this point, the chances of Donald Trump winning and the chances of the Democratic candidate winning are split roughly even. The election really could go either way. On the one hand, Trump has huge advantages over all the Democratic frontrunners, but, on the other hand, he is—quite frankly—a semi-literate, delusional, narcissistic buffoon with no moral compass who somehow always manages to turn even what should be a triumphant moment for himself into a humiliation.

Personally, my favorite candidate is Pete Buttigieg, who seems to me like not only the exact opposite of Trump but also like someone who would at least stand a decent chance against Trump. Nonetheless, I am all too aware that my own affinity towards him may be just because I happen to be a young, white male, moderate liberal from northern Indiana with intellectual predilections and a deep love for arts and literature. Thus, consequently, Buttigieg reminds me quite a bit of myself. I recognize that, if I came from a different background, I might not find him so appealing.

And, yes, I know lots of people have an intense and mostly irrational antipathy towards Buttigieg and I’m sure people will hate me too for even saying I like him, but, personally, I think he is the best candidate out of the mix. I will admit that don’t honestly expect him to get the Democratic nomination, even though I think he would make a good general election candidate. Ultimately, I’ll end up voting for whoever the Democratic candidate is in the general election, but, right now, he’s the one I’m planning on voting for in the primary.

ABOVE: Photograph of Pete Buttigieg. Look, I know lots of people hate him, but, right now, he’s who I’m planning on voting for in the primary.

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NOTE: Normally, I would have simply linked to the answer but as I said, I’m not much of a Quora user so this is the best I could do.

P.S. I’m also a fan of Pete. 😊

This Is Scary!

Scottie at ScottiesToyBox just posted the following excepts from this article at Salon.com. Rather than a regular repost, I wanted to give the article as much exposure as possible because the information is so downright scary!

One way or another, this guy MUST be removed from office!

The article is entitled:

Trump must remain in power to stay out of prison:
watch what he does after Senate acquits him

Excerpts:

He’s going to put the full weight of his Department of Justice behind efforts to suppress the votes of poor people, young people, blacks, Latinos, women, the LGBTQ community — in fact anyone likely to vote Democratic. He’ll call for “investigations” of every Democratic presidential candidate who’s going up in the polls and announce he’s got “dirt” on every one of them. He’s going to unleash an army of surrogate liars to spread falsehoods about his opponent. He’s going to go from one rally a week to two to three; maybe he’ll hold a rally every other night. He’s going to turn Air Force One into an airborne criminal command post.

He’s going to wave unindicted co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani like a red flag and tweet out every red-meat lie he blabs on Fox. Then he’s going to pardon his indicted co-conspirators like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone and line them up at rallies alongside the murdering war criminals he’s already set free.

Donald Trump is the O.J. of American politics. He murdered American democracy, and his search for the “real killer” produced a villain: Joe Biden.

(…)

Republicans have taken an openly sick delight in electing Trump. They are proud of him. He’s the perfect avatar of their party. All he cares about — and all his entire party cares about — is power. Impeaching Trump won’t remove him from office, and we’d better get serious about removing him at the ballot box. Republicans — Mitch McConnell, especially — have already shown us what they’ll do with the power they will seize with four more years of Trump. They’ll cram that nightmare down our throats.

They’ve already cut taxes for the wealthy and driven the budget into a hole. They’ve packed the federal courts with the simpering incompetent children of the Republican conservative “revolution” and jammed two yes-men punks onto the Supreme Court in a pure exercise of rank political power. If Trump is re-elected, they’ll strip-mine Social Security, murder Medicare and shred the social safety net, and they won’t stop there. Even as the dead bodies from one mass killing after another pile up in the schools, churches, streets and shopping malls, they’ll remove the few controls states have been able to put on gun ownership. They will turn voting into more of an exercise in futility than it already is. They’ll commit every crime they can to nullify the demographic changes that are on the horizon before new voters will have a chance to save us.

Remember … these are simply excerpts. Please read the entire article to get the FULL picture of the crisis that’s facing those of us who truly care about this country … and its people.

Loving Darkness

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

Even though I long ago stopped believing in the fairy tales that define Christianity, there are a few lines from the “The Book” that have stuck with me over the years.

One in particular has repeatedly come to mind as I read and listen to all the events, circumstances, actions, etc. surrounding the current POTUS …

Men love darkness rather than light
because their deeds are evil

(For veracity’s sake, the actual scripture (John 3:19, KJV) is as follows: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.)

Naturally believers will insist this scripture be read in context and will adamantly point out that John was talking about Salvation (printed in red for obvious reasons) through J.C.

However, I think most would agree that believers have been known to “cherry-pick” scriptures now and again to support their cause.

I’m just doing the same. 😎

But back to the saying.

Anyone following the Twitter King is continuously and diarrhetically reminded by him that every and all claims of malfeasance on his part are LIES, LIES, LIES!! (All generated by the Democrats, of course). Yet any requests for him to provide documentation, witnesses, phone records, TAX records, etc. to support and validate his position are immediately (and vehemently) DENIED. In fact, he has even attempted to utilize “the law” to protect his (many) secrets.

Now why do you think that is? Why do you think it’s so important for Donald J. Trump to keep some things in the dark??

Hmmm.