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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

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Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments

Ersatz Experts Spewing Nonsense on North Korea

 

 

Ersatz Experts Spewing Nonsense on North Korea:  

A By-the-Decades Look as to Why the United States Had Few Other Options in Dealing With the World’s Emerging Nuclear Pariah

 

Plenty of ludicrous comments about the North Korean nuclear crisis are floating around social media right now.

They’re being spewed mostly by ersatz experts — petty armchair partisans who have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about.

Some of these crackpot ideas can be dismissed easily and perhaps should even be ignored.  However, given the appalling lack of mainstream knowledge about the unique history of this part of the world, now seems like the perfect occasion to examine things from a broader perspective.  My goal in this article is to try and disprove and then correct this false narrative which I believe undermines any solution to what has become a very dangerous problem.

The most widespread criticism (and naivete) goes as follows:

We should have done something much sooner about North Korea.  

In other words, the United States (with or without its allies) should have taken some decisive measure to deter — if not demolish outright — North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and stymie its intercontinental missile system.  What military action we should have taken precisely, and when exactly, isn’t really clear.  But, we’ll get to these sticky issues a bit later.

President Donald Trump and his legions of imbeciles point an accusatory finger at the previous Administration for the problem.  They claim President Barack Obama (and their favorite punching bag — former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton) didn’t do nearly enough to prevent North Korea from reaching this dangerous apex of military advancement.  Trump’s partisans also accuse other previous presidents, namely George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, of kicking the nuclear tin can down the highway for the next guy to deal with.

At first glance, this complaint might seem to have legitimacy.  However, the claim is demonstrably false and illogical, as I’m about to prove.

Let’s be clear.  The Korean War did not end.  The Korean War even continues to this day.  Sure, the United States (and other UNC forces) stopped fighting way back in July 1953 when a fragile armistice was signed on both sides of what’s now become the DMZ.  However, both North and South Korea are still technically intertwined by hostilities and remain locked in a perpetual state of conflict.  Let’s not project the advantages of our geographic distance away from the conflict (some 6,000 miles) onto a common people divided by politics and ideology who might have to bear the terrible cost of our miscalculations, if things were to spin out of control.

The fragile political and military balance which has existed on the Korean Peninsula for the past 64 years since the last shots were fired is far more complicated today by South Korea’s burgeoning economic success.  This makes them perilously vulnerable to destruction if a war were to break out.  Seoul, which is South Korea’s biggest metropolis, lies exposed only 37 miles from the North Korean border and could probably be wiped out within a half hour if the asinine “fire and fury” ramblings of the President were to come true.

Accordingly, I pose the following questions to those who insist that “we should have done something sooner.

[1]  What precisely should or could have been done to prevent the current crisis?  Please point to the exact year when North Korea should have been invaded by U.S.-led forces with the objective of overthrowing that detestable regime.  Give me WHEN, as in the year.

[2]  Provide details as to how we should have gone about invading North Korea.  Let’s remember, three years of bitter hostilities between 1950-1953 cost nearly 55,000 American lives, and failed to accomplish this objective.  Give me HOW, as in how things would turn out differently the next time.

If you’re drawing a blank, but still want to pin the blame on previous Administrations, then let me provide a historical timeline, by decades.  Allow me to examine some of the alternative options of attack, along with my conclusions:

1950’s — The United States reached the height of its military and economic power and influence during the ’50’s.  Much of the world was either in rebuilding phase after the destruction of World War II, or was in disarray.  However, with so many potential flash points emerging given the spread of communism around the globe (especially in Asia and Latin America), the U.S. could not continue waging the Korean conflict without enormous costs and risks, especially with Red China backing the Northern side with both military support and manpower.  Conclusion:  The U.S. had already tried to unite the two divided Koreas, but failed.

1960’s — As things turned out, the United States did engage in a catastrophic land war in Asia lasting nearly a decade, but it wasn’t in Korea.  It was Vietnam.  That costly war resulted in the loss of 57,000 American lives and ended in defeat.  We found out that the old conventional ways of fighting wars didn’t work as well anymore, particularly in jungles and among cultures we didn’t understand.  Conclusion:  If anyone thought invading North Korea would be easy, just remember what happened in Vietnam.

1970’s — Had the United States foolishly launched an attempt to invade North Korea during the 1970’s, the consequences could have been disastrous.  Detente (the world’s first nuclear arms agreement between the US and USSR) would certainly not have taken place.  Moreover, President Richard Nixon’s opening of diplomatic and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China would clearly not have happened, at least until many years later.  An invasion of North Korea might have brought the world to the brink of World War III, instead of being a period of peaceful transition and successful diplomacy.  Later, the downfall of the Shah of Iran in 1978 would also lead to an entirely new regional conflict for America.  Conclusion:  There’s no way the US would have invaded North Korea after its bitter experience in Vietnam.  

1980’s — The Reagan-Bush years brought an era of tough talk, but turned out to be a relatively peaceful period.  By decade’s end, many once-hostile governments to the West had been overthrown (the USSR and most communist governments of Eastern Europe collapsed by 1990).  There were genuine reasons for optimism that China, too, might undergo a revolution.  Recall Tiananmen Square.  Predictions of communism’s implosion even extended to North Korea.  Given so much of its military and economic support had come directly from the USSR and PRC (both in a state of flux), many experts thought it was just a matter of time before hardliners in North Korea met the same fate of other dictators, such as Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, a Kim Il-sung protege who was shot after being overthrown in a mass uprising.  Conclusion:  Once again, there was no compelling reason to invade North Korea at the time, given the events happening throughout the world which were very good for democracy.

1990’s — In the aftermath of communism’s collapse in many countries, it seemed that either one of two things would happen in North Korea:  (1) It would experience its own revolution, or (2) Kim Il-sung, who had been the country’s only premier since its inception in 1948, would finally die and be replaced by a more moderate leader.  “Dear Leader” did indeed die in 1994, and for a time, even though he was replaced by his son Kim Jong-il, it did appear that North Korea might be moving towards reform.  For instance, the North Koreans signed a new disarmament agreement, a first for the regime.  The country also experienced a terrible famine lasting four years that killed over a million citizens, leading many to believe the regime would not be able to stay in power much longer.  Conclusion:  Though North Korea was arguably at its weakest point ever during this decade, it remains hard to justify why an invasion and/or overthrow of the government would have been necessary.

2000’s — America’s vision of the world and its future changed completely on 9/11/01.  In light of the worst attack on the U.S. since Pearl Harbor, the national focus pivoted to the Middle East, not Asia.  Military units were dispatched to Afghanistan, and later to Iraq (under false pretenses that should have been prosecuted).  Those two pointless wars stretched our military capabilities to their limit.  Hence, while it’s easy now to blame the Bush Administration and ask why something wasn’t done about North Korea, perhaps the better question to ask would be what was the whole point of waging two trillion-dollar wars with no end in sight in the Middle East?  In 2002, North Korea pulled out of the non-nuclear proliferation agreement it had previously signed.  Conclusion:  The U.S. already had its hands full with two brutal wars in the Middle East, threats of domestic terrorism, and couldn’t afford another major war in Asia.

2010 — present — President Obama inherited two of the longest-lasting wars in American history as well as the worst economy since the Great Depression.  By 2012, Egypt had been overthrown, Libya fell and exploded into chaos, the Syrian Civil War began, and ISIS was formed.  Iran also ramped up its nuclear ambitions (which were suspended following successful negotiations resulting in the Iran Nuclear Deal — which appears to be working).  Given all the attention on the Middle East and the emerging scourge of global terrorism, just how or where the United States could have possibly come up with the money or manpower to overthrow another nation which up to this point had been contained for six decades is anyone’s guess.  Conclusion:  Simply put, anyone who looks back at the events of the past eight years and still insists the U.S. should have invaded North Korea has to show where was the imminent danger and where the money and manpower would have come from.

Naturally, hindsight is far easier than foresight.  Anyone can boldly claim now what should have been done earlier.  But even if we knew back then what we know today, I’m still perplexed as to when any previous Administration could have opted for a successful military option in dealing with North Korea.  Again, if anyone thinks otherwise — please point to the precise year and exact means of producing regime change.  Propose an alternative.  I’m all ears.

The bottom line is this:  There never was a good time to invade North Korea nor to overthrow any of the three Kim regimes.  The current state of affairs — a North Korea with nukes — was probably even inevitable given so many other international conflicts and priorities, combined with our painfully naive exaggeration of supposed American military superiority.  Any belief that North Korea could be defeated easily is folly, proven by our dismal past failure in Vietnam and the continuing costly military stalemate in Afghanistan which appears to have no end.

 

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 1 comment

John McCain’s Glorious Revenge: Arizona Senator Bitch Slaps Trump

 

 

Late last night in front of the entire country and the whole world, Sen. John McCain bitched-slapped the President of the United States.

He did it with a defiant thumb turned upside down, signifying a vote of “no.”

This glorious act of sweet revenge may have been the senior Arizona senator’s finest hour ever on Capitol Hill, especially after years of waffling all over the political gridlock since he was humiliated as captain of the painfully inept McCain-Palin shipwreck that ended up getting iceberged back in 2008 by Barack Obama.

Indeed, just about everyone outside the Right-wing fringe with a stranglehold over Republican Party politics had given up on the so-called “maverick” politician.  Two decades earlier, Sen. McCain made quite a name for himself for his willingness to compromise on important issues in order to get things done and even worked with members of the opposition party — noble virtues considered heresy inside the poison well of our political culture today.

Sen. McCain’s moderation seemed to be a thing of the distant past.  That was until late last night, at about 1:45 am local time in Washington, during a late-night roll call vote on a spellbinding motion to move a controversial bill forward that might have gutted the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”).  As the names of senators were called one by one, everyone knew the vote would be razor close.  Even though Republicans control the Senate, they needed just 50 “yes” votes for the bill to pass.  Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence would have cast the fateful deciding vote.  But the bill fell just ONE VOTE short.

Somewhere along the line, Sen. McCain either came to his good senses or recognized the Trump-led Republican Party for what it’s truly become — a shit show.  He’s come to realize there’s a madman running the American government’s three-ring circus.

We may never fully know the reasoning behind Sen. McCain’s surprising decision to break away from the members of his own party.  Indeed, he did appear to change his mind on this issue.  However, one has good reason to suspect this was a heavy dose of sweet revenge.

Two years ago, then-candidate Donald Trump made what many believed was an appalling political gaffe when he stated:

“[John McCain) is not a war hero.  He was a war hero because he was captured.  I like people who weren’t captured.”  [READ MORE HERE]

From 1967-1973, Captain McCain was locked up Hanoi inside a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp after being shot down as a Navy pilot.  He endured unfathomable torture dished out by his captors which resulted in lifelong debilitation of the full mobility of his arms.  Meanwhile, within that same time frame, Donald Trump dodged the draft and took FIVE military deferments to avoid service in Vietnam.

You tell me — who’s the hero?

McCain’s “heroism” would make an astonishing encore appearance, this time in a very different act of defiance against an adversary, not foreign but domestic.  The greatest irony of all was this was supposed to be “heroes week” at the message-marketing White House.  Finally, a promise was delivered.

A few days ago, less than two weeks after undergoing emergency brain surgery to remove cancer that’s lodged behind his left eye socket, Sen. McCain made a triumphant return to the Senate floor, the stage of many his previous battles.  However, this battle might have been his greatest victory, both personal and political.

Sen. McCain — so derided by critics for so long both on the Right and Left, so often the victim of his own compromises, so ridiculed for his confusing stance on many important issues — finally stood up and asserted that faint but flickering glow of independence.  He passionately argued for bipartisanship and urged his colleagues to come together.  Then, late last night in that roll call vote, he backed up his words with decisive action.  That’s leadership.

While he spoke to the full chamber watching in silence, one couldn’t help but notice Sen. McCain’s gruesome scar across his forehead.  But that wasn’t the biggest scar in Washington, this morning.  Indeed, a far more ghastly scar was inflicted upon the spiteful, petty, bully of a showman with zero legislative accomplishments in his first 7 months in office who was just schooled about how to really “make deals.”

Making good deals starts with this, Mr. President — treating people right.  This is something the man who took credit for his ghostwritten biography entitled The Art of the Deal” knows nothing about.

Thank you for rising to the occasion, Sen. McCain.  This may have been your finest hour.

 

___________

MORE:  Listen to the audible gasps from the U.S. Senate when Sen. McCain walks into the chamber, asks for the attention of the clerk, and casts his vote:

 

 

 

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Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

Braver than Bigotry: Counterarguments to the Ignorance of Trump’s Transgender Ban

 

 

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts [1], please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow … Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity [2] in the U.S. military.  Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming … victory cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs [3] and disruption that transgender people in the military would entail [4].  Thank you”

— President Donald Trump

 

Question:  What’s braver than bigotry?

Answer:  Any transgendered person who is willing to voluntarily enlist in the United States military, especially in face of so much ignorance and hatred.

Unlike the dirt-dumb, draft-dodging, tweeting-twat tainted with the stain of five cowardly draft deferments, many thousands of transgendered Americans have answered the call to duty and been brave enough to serve our nation.  Listen up, Mr. President — you might learn something.

Instead of choosing to take their rich daddy’s dirty money and spend most of their lives dodging creditors, avoiding taxes, bankrupting bond holders and business associates, scamming poor college students, and preening for television cameras, many fine American citizens who also just so happen to be transgendered opted to join our armed forces.  To me, this takes a special kind of person.  So far, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s own records, virtually all of these people on active duty and in reserve units have served honorably.  Many transgenders even risked their in combat and were awarded the most prestigious honors we can bestow on the bravest.

Are you listening, you bumbling coward?

However, our bitter half-wit of President with absolutely zero previous military service — with no prior background in any form government — and who lacks any experience whatsoever in foreign affairs — shocked everyone yesterday when he tweet-farted an inexplicable official new military policy certain to disrupt and distract us all once again from things which are important.

The military ban against transgenders wasn’t just wrong in terms of its substance.  The ban was yet another classless, poorly-thought through, politically-motivated smooch to the religious right wing hate machine, one of his few constituencies of continued support.  It seemed to be made with all the contemplation of popping an Alka-Seltzer after a case of indigestion.  The ban even blindsided the highest members of his own cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all four branches of the U.S. military.  They all woke up Wednesday morning to a new order from the President, with no sense of guidance nor any detail.  Waking up in America now has been reduced to running to the crib each morning to see what the screaming baby has tweeted out to the world.

As is the case with all things Trumpian, the statement is pockmarked with blatant falsehoods and lies.  See President Trump’s statement above.  Accordingly, I have highlighted four particular segments in bold type:

[1]my Generals and military experts” — Generals and military experts do not belong to you, Mr. President.  Personnel in all branches of the military have served this proud nation long before you.  They will serve once you are long gone — hopefully sooner rather than later.  Moreover, the President clearly did NOT consult with anyone on his staff.  President Trump lied.  See:  US JOINT CHIEFS BLINDSIDED BY US MILITARY BAN

[2]in any capacity” — This was the line that took many by surprise.  Clearly, there are many jobs in the military which transgendered people can do just as well as everyone else.  The “fitness for combat” debate is perhaps worth having and we should let those who know combat have a strong voice in this.  However, most jobs in the military are not combat-related at all.  They are in support.  Many are technical.  Others are in repairs.  These jobs should be open to everyone who’s willing to enlist, so long as that person passes the necessary training requirements.  This includes transgendered people, too.

[3]tremendous military costs” — Here the President is referring to a tiny fraction of enlistees who opt to have transgender surgery while on active duty.  The Pentagon reports this medical cost amounts to about $8.5 million per year, which is about the cost of a couple of tires on a F-22 fighter.  Just to prove the absurdity of this comment from the President, erectile dysfunction pills (such as Viagra) costs the U.S. taxpayer ten-times the amount as transgender surgeries — nearly $90 million annually.  “Tremendous military costs,” my ass.  President Trump is lying.

[4]disruption that transgender people in the military would entail” — Wrong again, Mr. President.  Not just wrong.  But embarrassingly wrong.  Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to the RAND CORPORATION, the most revered, hawkish, pro-military think tank in the history of the United States.  Rand released a comprehensive study on this subject last year.  Their conclusion (in their words) was as follows:  “Policy changes to open more roles to women and to allow gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly in the U.S. military have similarly had no significant effect on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.”

 

Here are a few additional *myths* I’ve come across on social media during the last day or so (with my responses):

MYTH:  Transgenered people are bad for morale and combat-readiness:

Wrong.  Rand Corporation’s study examined all nations where transgendered (as well as gay) people have served, including combat.  “….little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.  Commanders noted that the policies had benefits for all service members by creating a more inclusive and diverse force.”

 

MYTH:  Transgenered people don’t make as good a soldier as “straight” enlistees.

False.  There is no evidence in support of this.  Yes, there are some anecdotal experiences of bigots who may not have been entirely comfortable serving alongside people they think are different.  Yet, nearly two years into the policy of inclusion and nearly two decades into a more open policy towards gays, military preparedness has not been impacted whatsoever by their inclusion.  If anything, given some difficulty in recruiting talent and finding people willing to engage in combat, the volunteerism by transgenders (and gays) has been positive.

 

MYTH:  The military is not a place for social experimentation and forced engineering of equality.

Bullshit.  The same sadly pathetic outdated arguments were once used against Blacks serving when the armed forces were fully integrated in 1948.  Later, Blacks ended up serving in disproportionally higher numbers in combat when Vietnam came around, thus negating the “social experimentation” claim.  Later, the same prejudice was used against women enlisting in various jobs.  Then, the same excuse was pulled from the mothballs again when we began allowing gays to serve.  Now, here were are in 2017, and the old putrid stench of bigotry is back rearing its ugly head once again.

 

MYTH:  The military isn’t like civilian life or other government jobs.  Service men and women do not enjoy the same rights.

This is true, in part.  However, we’ve seen over the generations that military service is often a critical gateway to accessing education and training.  This has especially been the case for the poor and lower middle-class who have looked to the military as a springboard to a solid career, a good-paying job, and greater stability later in life.  Those who are able to serve and gain skills are often preferable job candidates.  They enjoy advantages over non-veterans, especially in many technical, medical, and security jobs (vets get preferential hiring treatment in most government positions).  Denying any person access to the military DISCRIMINATES AGAINST THAT PERSON FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE.

 

MYTH:  We should listen to the military people alone on this issue.  They know more about this than we do.

Yes, we should listen to the military people.  But we should also listen to others, too.  In the past, a large contingent of the military opposed racial integration, saying it would destroy morale.  They were wrong.

 

MYTH:  The military isn’t the place to take risks, especially with lives on the line.

False.  The military has always been the greatest risktaker in America.  The military rolls experimental aircraft down runways, manned by brave pilots who don’t know if the plane will fly or crash.  The military uses all kinds of experimental weapons, many of which explode accidentally.  The military engages in risks in battle — almost daily.  Risk is a fundamental part of life in the military, for everyone.  Hence, allowing .02 percent of the armed forces to be made up of transgendered personnel seems like a relatively minor risk, especially given that it’s produced no discernible issues, so far.

 

MYTH:  Transgenders are enlisting to get free surgery, at taxpayer expense. 

Numbers vary, but out of 1.3 million service personnel currently in uniform, somewhere between 1,600 and 6,500 are believed to be transgendered.  The actual number of trans-related surgeries performed each year is quite small.  Moreover, the motivation for joining the military varies.  Many enlist in order to get training and education.  Some seek the benefits.  Quite a few simply want to serve their country out of patriotism.  The same motivations which apply to “straights” also apply to transgenders.

 

My position is simple:  I will stand up and fight for equal opportunity for all, including transgender people.  This is NON-NEGOTIATIABE.  It is a basic human right.

In conclusion, I have but one final question for all the bigots and blindly-obedient Trump fluffers out there who think banning transgender people (or anyone else physically and mentally fit to serve) is a good policy:

Why are you so afraid of transgender people?

Here’s a thought:  Perhaps you’re the one who needs mental counseling.

 

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

What Happened the Last Time Conservatives Ruled America?

 

 

There once was a time, not too long ago, when conservatives dominated most of American daily life.

During this memorable period, three consecutive Republican presidents were elected — all by wide margins.  Each of these presidents appointed pro-business cronies to high office who were given positions of power.  Giant companies prospered due to laissez-faire attitudes combined with government’s abdication of responsibilities.  People at the very top got really rich.

By contrast, liberals were widely viewed as political outcasts.  Many of their ideas were classified as either “radical” or much worse — “Socialistic.”  Politically powerless, many American liberals flocked instead to more welcoming professions such as the arts.  Liberals became really good at making movies, wrote the most popular books of the day, and created a new form of popular music known as jazz.

Conservatives were determined to put “America First.”  Back then, conservatives were viewed as nationalists, while liberals were thought of as globalists.  Relations with other nations were widely thought to be inconsequential.  America tore up previous trade agreements and even imposed strict tariffs on imports from foreign countries.  The United States military withdrew from global alliances and abandoned its status as a world power.  After years of international conflict, America stubbornly refused to join a new organization devoted to peaceful diplomacy called the League of Nations.  Way too European.

Sound familiar?

When conservatives ruled over the land, immigration to the United States from other countries was curtailed.  Tough new naturalization laws were imposed which denied entry to most people from other nations.  Immigrants were even subject to a rigid quota system, based on national origin (race and religion).  No one wanted to take refugees from countries in crisis.  In particular, Leftists were singled out and were widely viewed with suspicion.  Despite the rising scourge of Right-wing dictatorships all over the world at the time, the few immigrants who did make it to U.S. shores were asked only about “Communist” sympathies.  Nothing about fascism.

Republicans held onto control of the White House for 12 years.  Republicans also dominated both chambers of Congress, holding more than two-thirds of all seats in the legislature — the highest percentage ever in American history.  Wall Street went absolutely bonkers.  Republicans cut corporate and personal taxes, especially for the super wealthy.  Banking and finance were deregulated.  The stock market soared to record highs.

Ring a bell?

While conservatives may have indeed championed economic freedoms, individual freedoms were widely curtailed.  Alcohol was banned nationwide in the form of a new Constitutional amendment known as Prohibition.  The government’s first “War on Drugs” was openly declared, which made drug possession a serious criminal offense.  Gambling was illegal in every U.S. state, including Nevada.

Inside conservative America, Christianity wasn’t just religion — but was the veritable law of the land.  All communities everywhere were subject to a strict faith-based code of morals and ethics.  Church attendance reached an all-time high.  No coincidence, membership in the Ku Klux Klan also skyrocketed, becoming that largest fraternal organization inside the United States with more than four million active members.  The Klan was so prominent all across America and so politically powerful that white-robed throngs all waving American flags marched down the streets of the nation’s capital, to the cheers of thousands.

The social order in America was as strict as it was clear.  Abortion was illegal everywhere and punishable by imprisonment.  Gay rights didn’t exist.  Blacks and other minorities weren’t merely treated as second-class citizens.  Rather, they were often confronted with violence and even murdered without any repercussion by angry mobs, and sometimes even by law enforcement.  There was no such thing as a “hate crime,” back then.  Minorities were dragged down the streets and hung from trees.  For millions, segregation and discrimination were a way of daily life.  The existing social order imposed mostly by White conservatives also made it far more difficult for minorities to vote in elections.

Remind you of anything?

Public education wasn’t so much a path to enlightenment as an indoctrination of traditional beliefs based on faith.  Creationism, not evolution, was taught in schools — at least until a famous landmark case finally ruled in science’s favor.  Conservatives in many parts of the country continue to fight this ruling, to this very day.  In other words, we’re still entrenched in the attitudes of the past.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the period of American life when conservative ideology dominated the political, economic, and social landscape like no other time was — the 1920’s.

Yes, the Roaring Twenties.

To many, the fond memory of flag-waving patriots following a faith-based moral code is appealing.  To many, the thought of reducing government’s role in our lives and allowing unregulated businesses to profit might seem an intriguing proposition.  To many, the notion of building relationships with other countries just isn’t all that important.  In short, except for far less white sheets and a lot more booze and casinos, the conservative American mindset isn’t that much different today from the way things were nearly a century ago.

However, let’s never forget what happened when the conservatism’s grand illusion all came crashing down.  Recall the instant the light switch flicked on at America’s unprotected financial orgy of unregulated excess and the avaricious saw each other with their clothes off.  Remember what occurred when capitalism was left to its own self-policing devices and the working class was utterly abandoned by the protections of government regulation and proper oversight.

October 29th, 1929 might not jog the memory, because it happened so long ago.  That’s when the Great Depression officially began, which turned our national economy into a dust bowl and ruined millions of lives.  Some historians even claim the global economic collapse fostered the rise of totalitarianism over the next decade, and eventually the start of World War II.  Thanks, conservatives.

For those who may need a refresher course in history — incredibly, unbelievably, inexplicably — all this happened again a decade ago.  Starting in 2001, a proud conservative was elected to the presidency.  This new leader was widely admired as a Christian man, with deep personal faith.  A cornerstone of his economic philosophy included the comprehensive deregulation of banking and finance sectors, resulting in a temporary stock market boom that all came violently crashing down on September 15, 2008.  Just as before, when Republicans were allowed to run most of the show, the entire world ended up in crisis and chaos. [See Footnote]

On both previous occasions (1932 and 2008), progressive new leaders from the Left were elected to office to scrub the shit stains out of the rug left by conservatives.  And they did.  Franklin Roosevelt and his “New Deal” programs (including an overhaul of banking regulations) eventually restored the United States into a stable, even prosperous economy.  Some seven decades later, President Barack Obama inherited just as huge an economic mess and — despite overwhelming opposition from conservatives every step of the way — still somehow managed to lead the American economy to a full recovery, on which the grotesquely-oblivious and historically-ignorant current President now rides coattails like a hopelessly spoiled child craving attention and praise.

Conservatism versus Liberalism isn’t a dull argument for academics.  It’s a debate we all must engage in, here and now, given the stakes are so high and that we’ve been down this familiar path twice before, both times when conservatives dominated the political landscape and crashed the national psyche onto the rocks, abandoned the ship and left us all to sink.

This time, let’s remember our history and try to learn from it.

___________

Footnote:  On October 19th, 1987 a third economic collapse occurred, when stock markets crashed around the world.  On “Black Monday,” the NYSE dropped 24 percent.  The formula for this disaster was much the same.  A Republican president with traditional values professing to be anti-government and pro-business was well into his second term.  Conservative economic policies — including deregulation of banking and finance as well as massive tax cuts for the wealthy — were adopted.  After a temporary boom period, the end result was disastrous.

 

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