Pages Menu
TwitterFacebooklogin
Categories Menu

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Movie Reviews, Politics | 2 comments

Holding Celebrities Accountable

 

 

I went to a movie last night.  During the previews, the trailer for “All the Money in the World” came on.  To be released soon, the Ridley Scott-directed film tells the true story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty’s grandson by terrorists during the 1970s.  At the time, John Paul Getty was the world’s richest man.  Still, he stubbornly refused to pay a ransom.

Sounds intriguing, no?

There’s just one problem.

John Paul Getty is played by Kevin Spacey.

The recent allegations against Spacey of multiple sexual and perhaps criminal misdeeds are shocking.  One of Hollywood’s most respected actors, he’s become the latest miscreant in what appears to be a mass epidemic of abuse — of sex and power.  Spacey, his reputation in shreds, is toxic — at least for the time being.  He joins the moral septic tank which includes Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, Harvey Weinstein, and other movie moguls tainted by scandal.

Just as the movie trailer concluded, I leaned over and whispered to my wife, “Well Spacey killed that movie’s chances of success.”

Think about it.  What an awkward situation for multi-million dollar film production.  Writers, producers, investors, executives, film crews, advertising departments, other movie actors — hundreds and perhaps thousands of people worked hard on that film.  They’re likely to suffer because now many people won’t go and see a Kevin Spacey film.

To be clear, Spacey was cast and the film wrapped-up production way before any of the terrible allegations came out.  Had there been prior knowledge beyond just the rumors and whispers, probably someone else would have been cast as John Paul Getty.  But hey, what’s done is done.

[NOTE:  READ UPDATE BELOW]

I wonder to what extent we should hold celebrities accountable for their misconduct.  When we make a decision to boycott someone’s film, are we really punishing them?  Or, is the collateral damage to innocents far worse?  Is boycotting a movie based solely on a performer in it really fair?

For decades, many Americans boycotted Jane Fonda’s movies because she was among the most outspoken voices of the Vietnam anti-war movement.  For millions of good people who loved movies (and probably adored her father — actor Henry Fonda), Jane crossed a serious line when she visited North Vietnam and appeared to delight in mocking the shooting down of American aircraft.

The anti-Jane Fonda boycott didn’t hurt her career.  She went on to create a stellar body of film work, including several Oscar-caliber performances.  While she later apologized for her actions in 1972, specifically to the veterans she outraged, Fonda remains stigmatized by her actions, some deemed as treasonous.  Perhaps rightly so.

I’m pretty dogmatic about standing up for my views.  But I also have trouble boycotting movies based on politics.  Before he became the frontman for the National Rifle Association, Charlton Heston was a proud liberal.  He marched in civil rights parades during the early 1960s when it wasn’t a cool thing to do.  Later on, Heston became an arch-conservative.

None of Heston’s political views bothered me when I watch (and inevitably re-watch) him playing Moses in “The Ten Commandments” or the slave in “Ben Hur,” or the astronaut in “Planet of the Apes.”  I don’t see a conservative or a liberal.  Instead, I see a master performer who was perfectly cast in many film roles who left us with an astounding catalog of entertainment.

To be clear, there are many performers I have absolutely no interest in seeing in any movie (Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez, Casey Affleck — all make my short list).  But it’s not because I oppose their politics or think they’ve done bad things in their lives.  I just think they suck.

Mel Gibson probably committed the gravest sin in Hollywood, which is to be anti-Semitic.  Gibson’s repeated drunken outbursts during which he defamed Jews pretty much destroyed his bankability as a beloved movie star.  Or……….perhaps not.  His controversial 2004 film, “Passion of the Christ,” released well after allegations against Gibson began to surface, has earned $430 million (most of the profits going directly to Gibson since he was the primary investor).  It remains one of the best-selling DVD releases more than a decade after coming out.  Apparently, Christian audiences were perfectly willing to forgive an overt anti-Semite.

No doubt, Harvey Weinstein was (and is) a pig.  He’s a disgraceful man who badly abused his power and probably deserves to be behind bars eating pork and beans the rest of his life.  Weinstein should never again be in a position of power over anyone in the movie business.  That’s putting it mildly.

That said, Weinstein (and specifically his former production company — Miramax) has consistently released the most critically-acclaimed movies over the past 15 years.  Many Miramax films have been quite progressive in pushing the boundaries of conventional taste.  When it was still considered risky to make movies about the Black experience in America or delve into uncomfortable (for many) topics like homosexuality, Miramax hasn’t just been an opportunistic conglomerate intent to exploit these outlier subjects.  It’s been a cultural beacon.

Sadly, Weinstein’s fall from Hollywood grace now brings the viability of making smarter and riskier movies into a perilous future.  It’s far less risky for studios to redux cartoon characters for the umpteenth time or make movies about spaceships rather than to greenlight a World War II movie about a British codebreaker who happened to be gay.  In the end, Weinstein’s victims won’t just be all the women he molested.  It will be the rest of us for missing out on what could have been.

I do find it odd that we allow certain celebrity sub-cultures to get away with gross offenses which would otherwise destroy the careers of people in other fields.  Rock stars (rappers, etc.) are almost expected to engage in scandalous behavior.  Groupies.  Destroying hotel rooms.  Drugs.  Drunkenness.  But when’s the last time a musician was charged with having sex with a minor?  Are we to conclude that pop musicians are better behaved than actors?

Even non-celebrity cases of sexual misconduct are often fraught with outlandish hypocrisy.  Teachers abusing students is a crime and should be.  When an older male teacher sexually assaults a younger female student, he’s considered a pervert.  When an older (usually good-looking) female teacher sexually assaults a younger male student, we make jokes that the kid’s lucky.

Morality isn’t so much a line, but a matrix.

 

UPDATE:  All of Kevin Spacey’s scenes will be re-shot.  The movie release of “All the Money in the World” was pushed back to a December 22nd release date.  READ MORE HERE

Read More

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Another Discussion Worth Having: Animal Rights and Stopping Abusers

 

 

The tragic killings in Central Texas this past weekend have sparked yet another round of tireless debates about gun laws and mental health issues.

While these are debates worth having, they don’t fully address a national epidemic worsened by the distorted scales of criminal justice in America when it comes to animal cruelty.  Turns out, abusing animals (often family pets) is among the most troubling indications of serious trouble to come later in life.  And — we don’t take this issue nearly as seriously as we should.

The deranged Texas gunman wasn’t just a military reject, a mental patient, and wife beater.  He was also a viciously cruel man who was charged with animal abuse.  In 2014, the mass murderer was cited for animal cruelty after neighbors told police he viciously punched his dog outside his trailer home in El Paso.  Court records show the case was dismissed after he paid a small fine.

A small fine.

So punching a defenseless animal in the face so brutally that witnesses living in a trailer park felt compelled to call the local police gets taken about as seriously as a parking citation.

Most animal abusers aren’t caught.  Most aren’t charged with criminal offenses.  The vast majority of animal abuse goes unreported.  And most people who abuse animals don’t do it just one time.  They are habitual offenders, mindlessly cruel sadists who do awful things to animals for some sick perverted satisfaction, even joy.

There’s a terribly disturbing pattern linking animal abuse in childhood (and sometimes later on, even as adults) to the monstrous acts they commit which brings them into the public consciousness.  Consider the most high-profile killers in history, most of whom have tortured animals, and then gone on to commit viciously wicked crimes:

  1. Albert DeSalvo, a.k.a. “The Boston Stranger” murdered 13 women.  As a child, he trapped dogs and cats in boxes and would then shoot arrows at them.
  2. David Berkowitz, a.k.a. “Son of Sam” murdered at least six people.  Before he began his mass killing spree, he shot his neighbor’s dog.
  3. Brenda Spencer shot a gun into a crowd of children.  Eleven were hit by bullets and two died.  During her childhood, Spencer liked to light the tails of stray cats and dogs on fire.  Not as many women commit these horrendous acts.  Most childhood animal abusers tend to be men.
  4. Jeffrey Dahmer was a sexual sadist who murdered 17 young men.  As a kid, his hobby was to kill neighbor’s pets.  He even impaled a dog’s head on a stick, which he proudly displayed.
  5. Ted Bundy killed 40 people.  He learned cruelty early in life, often watching as his father tortured small animals.  As a teenager, Bundy later did the same acts to animals, and eventually people as an adult.
  6. Edmund Emil Kemper murdered eight women (including his mother) during the 1970s.  As a child, he found cats around the neighborhood, killed them, and then displayed their heads on poles.  He even killed his own cat and sliced it into pieces.
  7. Andrew Cunanan murdered five people, including fashion icon Gianni Versace.  As a kid, he often went to beaches and tortured crabs by gouging out their eyes.
  8. Lee Boyd Malvo was the impressionable teenager in a duo of snipers who terrorized the Washington, DC area during the early 2000s.  As a child, he used to torture small animals.
  9. Dennis Rader, who would become the infamous “BTK Killer,” discovered a grotesque thrill as a kid when started binding, torturing, and killing animals.  He cruelly experimented on several types of animals, even going so far as to prolong their lives during torture sessions so they would experience more pain.
  10. Now, add the name Devin Kelly to this list, who murdered 26 people on Sunday.

It’s excruciating for me to point out this short list is by no means complete, nor is it comprehensive.  Indeed, there are innumerable cases — thousands, hundreds of thousands — of kids who torture animals who later go on to commit even worse crimes as adults when empowered with greater means and opportunity to inflict more pain and destruction upon innocents.

So, what is to be done?  And, how do we stop this?

I don’t have all the answers, but this is a question we should be asking.  While gun debates and how we administer mental health treatment is a vital issue right now, so to must be animal rights and mindless cruelty.

A good start might be each of us taking an interest in what we observe.  Neighborhood kids throwing rocks at ducks might not seem like such a big deal.  Chasing defenseless animals seems innocent enough.  Shooting a pellet gun at birds isn’t illegal.  But engaging in these inexplicable childish acts not only exhibits a complete lack of empathy for other creatures.  These common acts of adolescent violence often become an early foundation for horrors to come later.  They are an affirmation that is okay to amuse oneself at the expense of animals.  It’s fucking sick.

We need more teaching.  We need more respect for animals and the environment.  We need to instill goodness in the hearts and minds of children.  We need more counseling.  We need greater access to mental health professionals.  We need more severe punishment for those who harm animals.

Not small fines.

It’s time to take animal cruelty much more seriously.  Too often, it’s the secret and silent beast within which incubates for years and later mutates into mass murder.

 

READ MORE:  DO MASS KILLERS START OUT BY HARMING PETS? [PSYCHOLOGY TODAY]

 

Read More

Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Politics | 4 comments

When Terms of Endearment Get Politically Incorrect

 

 

A recent Facebook discussion sparked curiosity and heightened my awareness about the ways we commonly address each other in public.

My discovery came as a surprise.  The lesson I learned was this:  I’m guilty of making spurious assumptions about what’s acceptable in the ways I address other people.

This self-reflection began yesterday when Terrell Johnson, a Facebook friend, posted the following message:

 

 

I thought about this post for a while.  I admit being guilty of the act described by Mr. Johnson as “dumb weird.”  Yes, I’ve called Black males “brother” plenty of times, even when I didn’t know them and I wasn’t entitled to that instant salutation of familiarity.  Of course, I didn’t mean anything harmful by it.  But, the salutation remains indomitably tinged with presumptions based on race.

“Hey, brother — how’s it going?”

Sounds innocent, enough.  But I’d probably never say it to a White guy.  Only a Black man.  That makes it racial — and inappropriate.

“Man” is another common term that’s been around for decades.  “Man” has been spoken across racial lines for as long as I’ve been alive.  Before 1960’s counterculture co-opted “man” as common slang between rockers and hippies, the term was deeply rooted in Black male self-empowerment.  It was even a quiet means of protest.  Indeed, “man” was the typical greeting Black jazz musicians often used to address each other during the Klan-clawed 1920’s when most of America was undergoing an ugly resurgence of bigotry and mass discrimination.  In many places, Black men, including old Black men who deserved respect were instead still called “boy” — often straight to their faces.  Millions of Black men were forced to stand there and swallow the degradation because to do otherwise would have been life-threatening.  And so, “man” became a small yet significant means of defiance against this cultural belittlement.

“Hey, man.”

I still use “man” quite frequently.  It’s just a common figure of speech for those who came of age during a certain era.  You might say it’s part of our linguistic DNA.  I see no reason to stop using “man,” because no one is offended and there are no racial connotations to its usage.

Meanwhile, younger people have created their own expressive lingo, using common salutations like “dude.”  Call it a “get off my lawn” seizure, but I don’t like this one bit.  Hey, man —  I’m not a “dude.”  No one calls me “dude.”  If I offended easily, I’d take issue if someone whom I did not know addressed me in that way, unless, of course, I was somehow cast in the movie remake of “The Big Lebowski.”  Then, calling me “dude” would be okay and besides I’d be collecting a fat paycheck for my willingness to lower myself to the depths of thinking of myself as a “dude.”

Whew.  I feel much better now.

Salutations between the sexes are equally as sensitive these days, and perhaps even more so given the alarming rise in reports of sexual harassment that have been in the news.  Most of these misunderstandings about everyday interaction can be solved by a healthy dose of common sense.  But I must also admit not knowing exactly where to draw some lines.

Though I was born and grew up mostly in the South, I’ve never fallen prone to its regional colloquialisms, particularly when it comes of informality.  For instance, “honey” is a term I’ve never used when addressing females.  I think it’s wrong, or perhaps it just doesn’t fit my manner of speaking.

Nonetheless, “honey” remains a very common expression in many areas of the country to this day.  It’s so common that most people probably don’t even consider it offensive.  Then again, I’ve never seen any actual studies on this — so, who knows?  Perhaps waitresses who get called “honey” all the time by their customers are quietly boiling deep down inside.  I don’t know.  Hence, it’s better not to use it at all is my policy.

About ten years ago, I started using “darling” a lot when addressing females — mostly when around co-workers, waitresses, and so forth.  Many people probably think of it as another way of saying “honey.”  I picked up this cutesy means of expression from the late writer Christopher Hitchens, who used it all the time and sounded downright suave and gentlemanly, which was quite endearing.  Then again, perhaps the English accent combined with his masterful use of prose that made “darling” acceptable within elite circles.  I’m not nearly so talented nor as lucky.  In my circles, “darling” probably raises some eyebrows.  And so, barring the occasional slip up from now on based purely on a bad habit, I won’t be using it any longer.

While I’m perfectly willing to alter (and even cease) my use of language based on changing times and cultural sensibilities, my best guess is that others will not be nearly so flexible.  Most people are deeply rooted in their ways of speaking and behaving and thinking.  They are utterly unaware, and if made aware by chance, they usually don’t care if others take offense to words and phrases they’ve considered “normal” all their lives.

Of course, playing the common sense card — we should probably be willing to forgive and dismiss the typical mutterings of the very aged, to which the rules of political correctness will never apply.  Old people who call someone “honey” might as well be speaking a different language from another time.  Occasionally, I still hear some old people refer to Blacks as “Negroes.”

C’est la vie.  I mean, what can you say?

I think the common bond on what’s truly offensive — be it everyday language or much worse, actions which lead to overt racism and/or sexual harassment — is very much rooted in the subservient role of the victim.  An older woman waiting tables who addresses me as “honey” is entitled to that latitude whereas I should not be able to get away with it.  After all, if I don’t like being called “honey,” I can get up and leave.  If she doesn’t like being called “honey,” well then, tough shit.  She pretty much has to suck it up and take it — because that’s her job.

By the way, it’s okay to call me “honey.”

When it comes to common expressions we use, what’s normal is no excuse.  Tradition is no justification.  At one time in America, the denigration of women and minorities was quite normal, acceptable and even encouraged within power circles.  It was a tradition.  Then, we gradually realized how hurtful the small things were and how those seemingly insignificant details buttressed a faux fever of racial, cultural, and gender superiority.  Changes in the way we address each other are gradual and slow, but they are certain, and that’s a good thing.

In short, just because you’ve been doing something the same way all your life, doesn’t make it right.  Just because it’s an old habit that’s comfortable to you, doesn’t make it right.  Just because you don’t think you’re not offending anybody, doesn’t make it right.

Times change.

We must also change with them.

 

Note:  Thanks to Terrell Johnson for sparking the idea for this column on Facebook.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Personal, Politics | 3 comments

A Wine Dinner Worth Remembering

 

 

A WINE DINNER WORTH REMEMBERING

Take a look at this photo (above).  Tell me where you think it’s from.  No cheating.  I’ll provide the answer at the conclusion of the column.

__________

Earlier tonight, Marieta and I had the great pleasure of attending a special four-course wine dinner at a local restaurant here in Las Vegas.  But this wasn’t a wine dinner like all the rest.  We were seated with a couple, aged in their late 60s.

The gentleman and I got to chatting.  Somehow, the topic of the Vietnam War came up.  We engaged in a spirited conversation about the masterful Vietnam War television series, produced by Ken Burns, on PBS.  By the way, this is must-see television for anyone who has not seen it yet.

During the course of our friendly conversation, the man revealed that he served two tours of duty in Vietnam.  He was stationed at Da Nang in 1968 and returned again in 1971.  He was assigned to a U.S. Air Force unit that provided routine maintenance on fighter jets.

Initially, the man was somewhat reluctant to talk about his memories of the war. But inquisitive (nosy) as I am, I was riveted by this moment — what amounted to a front-row, first-person account of one of the most transformative events in all of American history.  How fortunate I was to have this rare opportunity.  I wasn’t about to let this chance to learn more pass me by.  And so, I pressed on.

The man stated that he arrived in Da Nang in early 1968 at the tender age of 18.  He had lied about his age and joined the Air Force at age 17.  His very first night in Vietnam was the Tet Offensive.  For those unfamiliar with Vietnam War history, the Tet Offensive was a surprise attack that caught the American military totally off-guard and was arguably the shocking turning point of the war.

I listened intently over the next two hours, privileged to be given this, such a rare gift.  As we talked, or I should say — as he talked and I listened — the man became increasingly more open and willing to talk about the many experiences that had haunted him for nearly half a century.  It will take me some time to digest all the perspectives he shared with me, some of which were very troubling to hear.  Perhaps I shall write about them later, if appropriate.  I don’t know.  Perhaps some things are best left unsaid.

But what really struck me at one point during our conversation was when I sought to give the man an “out,” allowing him to escape my inquisitive and perhaps annoying curiosity and enjoy the evening with the rest of the 30 or people assembled in the room sipping on Pinot, Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Sangiovese.  Indeed, I casually tried to change the subject at this point, thinking my captive might leap at the chance to leave those painful memories of Vietnam behind.  But instead of taking the easy bait, the man wanted to talk — more.

I have a tear in my eye and a tremble in my wrists as I write this now, a few hours later thinking about the next thing the man revealed to me.

“No one ever asks me about my time over there.  It feels good to talk about it.”

Wow.  Just, fucking wow.

Here I was, thinking I was blessed to be able to gain a new perspective from his insight, and yet he was on the opposite side of the table, convinced that my empathy was in some small manner — therapeutic.  He thought I was doing him the favor.  I’m having trouble writing now.

For another 90 minutes or so, I heard stories and memories and events and perspectives that opened my eyes and broadened my knowledge about what thousands of good men (and women) went through — both over there then and back here later.

I won’t give the man’s name because he insists he’s a private person.  But I suspect there are many, many more veterans like him harboring memories that deserve and must and demand to be shared, real pain and emotional conflict that merits the soothing salve of a kindly ear, a gentle nod at the right instant, and a genuine but simple expression of gratitude.

I wonder how many others are out there now, tight-lipped, sitting in silence.  How many others of this war and that war and all the wars we’ve fought and continue to fight didn’t get the chance to sit down at a wine dinner and speak about what they saw and what they endured and how they survived the madness.  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Tens of thousands?  Why don’t we ask questions and why aren’t we listening?

Yes, the wine dinner was exceptional, but then most of my wine dinners are great.  But this one was of Grand Cru of an exceptional vintage, two souls de-cantered into one.

How blessed I was to have the opportunity to share a dinner with a Vietnam vet, and listen and learn.

__________

Finally, the answer to the question posed in the opening paragraph is — the photograph shows Da Nang, Vietnam.  This is a photograph of Da Nang, formally one of the largest American military installations in South Vietnam, as it looks today.

Times do change.  Places change also.  What should not and must not ever change is our curiosity for history and insatiable compassion for others, even strangers.

This was an evening I shall not soon forget.

 

Read More

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments

Donald Trump is a Lying Sociopath

 

 

Donald Trump told yet another jaw-dropping lie on Monday.  During a White House press conference he falsely asserted that former Presidents failed to call or write letters to the grieving families of American soldiers killed in the line of duty.

This is a fucking lie.

The preponderance of evidence proving Trump is a despicable liar is both indisputable and overwhelming.  No one in command of their senses with even a basic knowledge of contemporary events disputes this.  Yet again, as has so often been the case since this political pustule popped onto the surface, Trump repeats fake innuendo but then when pressed reveals he has no clue what he’s talking about.  He is deranged.  Mentally unhinged.  Sociopathic.  Beneath contempt.

Normally, most of us wouldn’t give a flea’s ass if Trump the chronic liar lived anywhere else but 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  It wouldn’t matter if the eccentric “billionaire” (yeah, right) was bouncing off the walls of his tacky penthouse at Trump Tower.  If celebrity-obsessed Trump was pimping his contrived reality television show on NBC (the network he now wants off the air) falsely pretending to be a successful business tycoon — we’d all be laughing at him, rolling our eyes, and no one would give a damn.  This lunatic wouldn’t be a public hazard if the swanky swindler was still out there conning gullible investors, which has been his business model ever since the first of multiple bankruptcies when he repeatedly left thousands of suckers holding his smelly bag of dog shit.  Indeed, what rings alarm bells is that 62 million doddering dirt-dumb dimwits somehow swallowed the infected load and elected this superstooge as President.

America, we have a problem.

Yes, Donald Trump is a serial liar.  He’s a political shitstorm, a sick Son of Sam, only without the talking dog for guidance, because even this pathetically lonely loon of a man with no friends utterly incapable of any empathy or affection doesn’t even own a pet.

Does anyone out there not polluted by the poisonous distortions of Breitbart and Bannonism really believe what Donald Trump said yesterday at his Rose Garden press conference?  Does anyone who values truth and honesty really accept Donald Trump’s assertion as fact (quoting him directly), “if you look at President Obama and other Presidents, most of them didn’t make calls.  A lot of them didn’t make calls.  I like to call when it’s appropriate — when I think I’m able to do it.”

Reality check:  Presidential schedules are closely monitored.  Presidential activities — including everything they say, what write, and who they call — is recorded.

So, is there any truth to former Presidents not displaying compassion for those who made the ultimate sacrifice?  Answer — none.  It’s a lie, propagated by the conspiracy-obsessed haters of the alt-right apparently linked to a bogus 2010 article which (falsely) claimed President Obama failed to contact one of the many grieving families.  Some flunky in the Trump Administration purportedly whispered something into the President’s ear.  Salivating at the prospect of making Obama look bad, Trump decided to run with it, then was hit with the truth and fumbled.

A Google search instantly reveals that the two most recent Presidents — Barack Obama and George W. Bush contacted Gold Star families thousands of times during their respective administrations.  Between 2002 and 2015, countless phone calls were made directly from the Oval Office.  Signed letters on presidential stationary were written, many with handwritten inscriptions directly from the commander-in-chief.  Both former Presidents also made personal visits to the caskets of those who gave their lives.  Innumerable conversations with surviving family members, many in private, are all a matter of the historical record.

No one sane would dare question this.  No one.

Unfortunately, what’s also a matter of the historical record is Donald Trump’s spewing of lies to prop up his fragile ego.  These lies aren’t sporadic, they’re a firestorm.  Lies are told on any occasion, to everyone, at any time — about anything.  His lies transcend simple misinterpretation and the occasional malapropism, which may be forgiven.  Donald Trump’s lies are deliberate.  They are intentional.  They are calculated for a reason.  They are targeted at dopes too lazy to do any fact-checking.  They are feeble attempts to make himself seem as worthy as any of the men who preceded him in office, although by now it’s become painfully obvious the man-infant throwing twitter tantrums harbors some deeply-rooted inferiority issues.

Say what you want and believe what you will about President Barack Obama and his legacy.  Petty partisan bickering becomes irrelevant here.  What’s relevant is 2,500 service members were killed during Obama’s presidency and the fact that virtually all of those families were contacted in some way personally by the President — either by telephone or in writing (or both).  President Obama visited military hospitals at least two dozen times during his eight years in office.  He also paid visits to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor soldiers who returned in flag-draped coffins.

Say what you want and believe what you will about President George W. Bush and his legacy.  Again, petty partisan bickering becomes irrelevant here.  What’s relevant is 6,700 service members were killed during Bush’s presidency and the fact that virtually all of those families were contacted in some way personally by the President — either by telephone or in writing (or both).  President Bush visited military hospitals at least two dozen times during his eight years in office.  He also paid visits to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor soldiers who returned in flag-draped coffins.

Trump lied about Obama.  Trump lied about Bush.  Because he’s mean and vicious and vindictive.  He’s an ugly President and an even uglier person.

Lack of human compassion is a serious problem.  Willful disregard of truth is an even bigger problem.  But this single-minded obsession with Obama is sick.  Compulsively determined to undo every single act over the previous eight years, Trump is a wrecking ball swinging in every direction.  Fortunately, Hoover Dam wasn’t built on Obama’s watch, so that government program won’t get blown up.  Everything else signed into law by Obama has a bullseye and Trump is aiming a bump stock.

Indeed, a more grave concern than Trump’s lack of personal empathy for anyone other than himself is a character flaw that’s been unmasked on multiple occasions.  His self-imposed confinement within an isolation chamber of willful ignorance has become frightening.  If Trump really believed in his own warped mind that former Presidents didn’t bother to contact families of the fallen, then he should have been set straight immediately by someone working on his staff.  Then, he should have been man enough to acknowledge his public misstatement and apologize to the good men who preceded him in office.  Such action would have quickly defused yet another ugly mess.  But Trump didn’t do that.  He wouldn’t do that.  He never apologizes, nor corrects himself.  Ever.

When asked if he plans to make phone calls or write letters to the families who four soldiers killed on duty in Niger, Trump replied, “I’ve written them personal letters.  They’ve been sent or they’re going out tonight — but they were written during the weekend.”

They’re going out tonight.  Nice.  Thanks for the sacrifice, Mr. President.

It’s been two weeks since the soldiers died.

To be fair, being President is a very busy job.  Perhaps Trump didn’t have time until this past weekend to compose letters that might be of some solace and comfort to those who suffered an unbearable loss.  Writing to the families of the dead isn’t easy.  Making phone calls and speaking with people who are crying is even harder.  But each of his predeccesors wrote thousands of personalized letters.  Both of his predeccesors made an incalculable number of painful phone calls.

Meanwhile, within just the past two weeks, since those brave soldiers died, Trump actions reveal he was preoccupied with far more pressing personal concerns.  Trump’s wasted countless hours obsessing over the behavior of football players.  He tweeted on multiple occasions promoting some horrid Fox television show called “Judge Jeanine.”  He visited his golf resort in Sterling, VA — five times.

 

READ MORE:  CRITICIZED FOR NOT COMMENTING ON SOLDIER KILLED IN ACTION, TRUMP FALSELY SAYS OBAMA DID EVEN LESS

Read More
css.php