Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Donald J. Trump: President or Dictator?

We are eight months in to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Can anyone dispute the fact that it has been, at best, a tumultuous eight months? Or do people really feel that his actions as a president is leading our nation in the right direction?

I don’t feel that President Trump is a president for all people…I firmly believe that he is a president for a select few: White, corporate businessmen that viewed the last eight years of President Barak Obama as a threat to their bottom line. Those that support the right blame, unjustly, that President Obama is to blame for the position they are currently in.

Fact of the matter is, you lost your job because those white, corporate businessmen aren’t in the business of your well-being, they are in the business of keeping Wall Street happy. And if that means that a few million people will lose their jobs to foreign countries, so be it. The investors get richer and the rest of the country be damned.

Now before the left and right start throwing the usual rhetoric, shut the hell up. Both sides are so angry and scared that neither can see the forest for the trees.

Leonard J. Pitts, Jr., one of my favorite opinion writers, had a great column that was posted in the Seattle Times on August 16, 2017. That column, “Sadly, clearly we are not ‘better than this’” points out just how meaningless that President Trump’s “Make America Great Again!” really is.

In this article, he talks about people’s reaction to acts of violence and hatred and racism which is a collective of “This is not America.”

How many of us have heard that as well a “we are better than this,” only to find out that we really aren’t. And let’s not delude ourselves into thinking this is just a current phenomenon. I’m not exactly sure any of us really knows what America is.

Republican Washington State Governor Dan Edwards, who served from 1965 to 1977, would be labeled today as a liberal Republican because of his liberal policies on environmental protection, strong supporter of higher education and supported a state income tax for the state of Washington.

In 1965, Governor Edwards told the Republican State Convention that “the Republican Party did not achieve greatness nor will it regain greatness by being the party of radicalism or of the lunatic fringe. Extremist of neither the right or left contribute to the strength of America or her political institutions. Both feed on fear, frustration, hate and hopelessness. Both have lost faith in themselves and in the American dream.”

If you look at the current situation today, can anyone deny that these words more than apply? I sure don’t. And damn us all for continually feeding into either side.

Evans had developed a criteria for any group that the Republican Party would embrace. I think it’s time the Republican Party asks these questions of the Trump administration and look inward to see if they meet the criteria:

  1. Does it operate publicly or secretly? So far, the Trump administration is operated in secret with President Trump being as vague as possible on anything you ask him or his administration. He rarely gives any speeches to outline his plan and those serving in his administration have to be frustrated when they release a crafted message and then he tweets the opposite. He thrives on conflict and relishes pitting people that work for him against each other.
  2. Is it motivated by faith and hope or by fear? No question that the Trump administration is motivated by fear. His attacks on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and most recently, John McCain puts him in the light of being a bully. I don’t know about you, but him messing around with North Korea and basically daring Kim Jong-un to fire nuclear weapons at us borders on lunacy. And what does that make the rest of the country feel? Afraid, very afraid.
  3. Does it use the tools of truth or lies? Well now, that is a pretty loaded question for the Trump administration, isn’t it? How many times has President Trump been caught not quite telling the truth about things? Take for example his response to the Barcelona attacks. His latest referral to how General John J. Pershing and the tactics he used in the Philippines executing Muslim insurgents by dipping bullets in pig’s blood before killing them is just a small example of how he gleams to only certain parts of statements to suit his needs. The fact of the matter is, that never happened. And Mr. Trump, might I point out that just because you say something is true or is fake, doesn’t make it so. You have told so many lies in your lifetime, you couldn’t recognize any truth if it hit you in the face!
  4. Does it teach trust in our established political institutions or does it teach distrust? Without a doubt, Donald Trump trusts no one but himself. His chief-of-staff, General John F. Kelly, is frustrated and dismayed at attempting to contain Trump who is a bull in a China shop. Kelly’s attempts to keep President Trump on a crafted message regarding Charlottesville went out the window as Trump showed in an impromptu and combative news conference. He compared the actions of white supremacists with the counter-protesters who opposed them. Kelly’s frustration underscores the challenges in instilling a sense of order around Trump, whose first instinct is to lash out at those who disagree with him. Many of his own aids and confidants were appalled at what he said and much of it led to the dissolution of his business advisory councils as those chief executives are distancing themselves from Trump.
  5. Within its own organization, does it follow democratic procedures or militant authorization? Is this a trick question? Trump, in his many years as a business executive, was militant and dictatorial. And he is attempting to run this country the same way. He believes that he has total and absolute power but thankfully, the Constitution prevents him from being able to act as he truly wants to. The founding fathers knew they needed three branches of government so that neither one party nor one person could rule. The checks and balances they put in place 230 years ago is the only thing that is currently holding this country together…by a thread.
  6. Do its people understand the art of political compromise or do they deal in unrelenting absolutism? This goes straight to the Republican Party as well as the Trump administration. They are hell-bent to erase the eight-year presidency of Barack Obama, starting with the Affordable Care Act. Twice they have attempted to repeal the ACA and replace it with a plan that will give tax cuts to the upper class and leave nearly 20 million people without health-care. Instead of looking to the Democrats, who have admitted the ACA isn’t perfect, they chose to start over…and after failing two times, they are only now reaching across the aisle to take another look at the ACA and fix what’s wrong with it…which they should have done in the first place.

We the people need to stop being afraid. Diversity is what will make this country great again, not any one race or culture. White supremacists (and any race that calls themselves superior is certainly inferior) are afraid of being displaced by minorities.

I say, so what?! Go anywhere in the world, and there are four facts that cannot be disputed:

  1. Every person in the world, regardless of race, has one heart, two lungs and red blood. Put any person in the world in an x-ray machine and I dare you to tell me what the color of their skin is.
  2. Every person in the world, regardless of race, is taught how to hate. It’s learned behavior. There are people that I don’t like but it’s not based on the color of their skin. It’s based on their stupidity of how they treat people. And I am trying, desperately trying not to hate these people because for the most part, they were taught how to treat people. And a lot of those teachings are handed down from one generation to the next.
  3. Every single person in the world, regardless of race, falls under one species: Homo sapiens. All of us have roots extending 200,000 years to the emergence of the first modern humans in Africa and back more than 6 million years to the earliest human species in Africa.
  4. Every single person in the world, regardless of race, need food, water and shelter to survive. Which is why America has been considered so great because anyone who chose to live here could have the opportunity to have just that. Unfortunately, when those cannot make it, most of America turns their back on them. I can only hope that one day, we start getting better at lending a helping hand to those that need it instead of treating them like failures. I can’t imagine anyone being in that position actually wants to be there.

America, not just the Republicans or just the Democrats, needs to start the healing process. President Trump isn’t the man to lead us in that direction and I don’t know who would be able to…and perhaps it isn’t a man, perhaps it’s a woman who leads us there.

But whomever that person is, he or she cannot be in the pockets of any interest group. He or she cannot be controlled by Wall Street, the NRA or Big Pharma. He or she must have the strength to lead all of America and not just a portion of it.

And sad to say, if that person is out there, I don’t think he or she is electable because unless he or she has the support of business, not the general population as everyone is led to believe, there is no way he or she could win a presidential election.

So what’s the answer? First thing, we the people need to start treating each other better. And it doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple hello to another person goes a long way.

Secondly, we the people need to hold our elected officials accountable to make sure they truly represent us. We need to make sure they know they work for us, not that we work for them nor do they work for any special interest groups that manipulate messages to get them elected.

Thirdly, we need to become way more tolerant and accepting of each other. I’m not saying that we need have a Kumbaya movement since that isn’t ideal either. However, to be able to live and work together without profiling each other is a huge first step. And let’s not kid ourselves, we all profile each other and it’s got to stop.

Small steps can lead to great things…I’m willing to take that first step with everyone in this country, are you?

2016 Presidential Election – This Is Just Freaking Me Out

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The race for the next President of the United States has been going on ad-nauseam for over a year now…and there really is no true candidate that shines through.

At the point I am in my life, at age 58,  I am looking at retirement.  Like many others, I am worried about the constant rising costs of just about everything and wonder if, by the time I do retire in 4 years, will what I have worked so hard for over 25 years be enough to live on and still get enjoyment out of life?

I really don’t proclaim a party affiliation but if I was pressed, I would lean more toward Democratic views than Republican.  It just seems to me, historically, the Republicans get the country into trouble and the Democrats gets the country out of trouble.

I know there have been some great Republican Presidents.  Where would this country have been if not for the vision of Abraham Lincoln?  Or Theodore Roosevelt and the Square Deal which his domestic program of conservation of natural resources, control of corporations and consumer protection?  Or Dwight D. Eisenhower who was responsible for starting NASA when the Soviets launched it’s first satellite into space?  And it was he who first warned America of the dangers of massive military spending, specifically deficit spending and giving military contracts to private military manufacturers?

But as of late, say from the Nixon administration on, there really hasn’t been a Republican President who has not buried the country into debt and cut spending from programs that are designed to help people who need it.  Granted, I would love to have all government subsidy programs be abolished provided that everyone can have a good paying job and stand on their own two feet.  Republicans have been saying that for decades but offer no solution on just how to get those good paying jobs.

Democratic Presidents have had there share of mistakes.  Franklin Pierce’s fervor for expanding the United States was responsible for the start of the Civil War, the darkest days of the United States where brother fought against brother.  Andrew Johnson survived impeachment after opposing the 14th Amendment which defined national citizenship and forbid states to restrict the basic rights of citizens or other persons.

However, I have to point out that for the most part, Democratic Presidents have led this nation out of dark times.  Franklin Roosevelt guided the nation out of the Great Depression.  Harry S. Truman pretty much ended the United States involvement in WWII and told the world that the US is indeed a world power.  John Kennedy gave this country a vision and a desire to do great things.  Bill Clinton, before he left office, gave George W. Bush an $8 billion dollar surplus which was gone by the end of Bush’s first year in office.  And Barrack Obama gave every person a chance to have affordable health care, something the citizens of this country have needed for decades.

And now, we come to the election of the 45th President of The  United States.  And I ask, regardless of which political party gets elected, just where will you take us?

A look at who I feel will be the nominees for each party and three topics to compare their respective platforms:

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Donald Trump, campaign slogan:  Make America Great Again!

Ah yes, the Donald.  This is the one person that just scares me to death if he gets elected into office.  I was shocked to see that he won the South Carolina primary, I just don’t understand what his appeal is.

Trump has flaunted the fact that he is a successful businessman and knows what the country needs.  Just ask him and he’ll tell you.

Economy

He wants to reform the US-China trade agreement that was established 2000 during the Bill Clinton administration which was supposed to allow better access to China’s markets but doesn’t allow China any new market access.

According to Donald Trump’s website, he wants to reform the trade agreement by declaring China a currency manipulator, forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws, end China’s export subsidies and bolster US Military presence in the China seas.

I’m not sure that I want to piss off China.  I agree that their actions are one-sided in their favor.  But China has always had a long view of things and are very, very patient.  They don’t go for the big chunks, they take a little bit at a time over decades.  But there is no way a quick resolution can be had without some serious repercussions.

Gun Control

He is for enforcing the Right to Bear Arms.  I don’t oppose that myself but I do believe there needs to be restrictions on the types of weapons that can be owned and a much deeper background check for those who wish to purchase them.

I get that the Founding Fathers wanted to give those the right to protect themselves and their families.  But his position on just how to do that is a bit skewed in my opinion.  He wants to focus on the criminals and not the types of weapons.  He admits to having a concealed weapons permit but going after the criminals who break the law is not solving the real issue.

What is the main reason a gun such as the AK-47 sub-machine gun was created for?  To kill a lot of people in a short amount of time.  Why not use a gun that can pump 600 rounds per minute into a body instead of a Glock 19 that can hold 15 rounds.  I mean how dead is dead?

I don’t own a gun and I don’t live in an area that has a high crime rate.  In my 58 years, 30 of them in Detroit and 28 in Seattle and travelling to many other places, I have never been shot at.  Nor have I ever had any reason to feel that I needed to attack someone out of fear of my own life.  I have walked away or found another way than violent tactics.

Immigration

Trump’s views on immigration, which pretty much states that if we get rid of all the illegal immigrants, America will have all those jobs and be great again.  And he is very focused on immigrants coming from Mexico…so much, in fact, he wants a wall built on the Southern border of the United States and he wants Mexico to pay for it.  It galls me to hear his three cores of immigration reform: (My thoughts in italics)

 1.  A nation without borders is not a nation.  There must be a wall across the southern border.  Newsflash Donald:  The real “immigration problem” does not stem from Mexico.  In fact, immigration from Mexico is actually declining with Mexicans returning to their home country.  Since 2008, more immigrants have come from Asia than Latin America.  And they educate themselves in our system and work in our companies with qualifications that exceed our own homegrown citizens.

2.  A nation without laws is not a nation.  Laws must be passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.  We do have laws Mr. Trump.  While many view them to be lax regarding immigration, it’s not like it’s a free-flowing migration.  But, I do agree that the United States faces a difficult task because we don’t have the resources to enforce the laws.  You may want to pass new laws but just how are you going to support the enforcement of them?

3.  A nation that does  not serve its own citizens is not a nation.  Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all AmericansAll well and good.  But those jobs these immigrants have “taken” from Americans aren’t ones that we can really count on to be high-paying gigs.  How many Americans aspire to clean homes for a living?  How many Americans aspire to pick fruit for a living?  And the companies that have these immigrants perform these jobs, do you think they will last long by paying 3 to 4 times the amount in labor costs?

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Hillary Clinton, campaign slogan:  Hillary for America!

Is the United States ready for a female President?  I think so.  Is Hillary the right woman for the job?  I don’t know and I’m not sure who is.  Heck, at this point, I don’t know if there is one person right for the job right now.

But she is the current front runner for the Democratic party and I think she gets the nod for her foreign policies experience she gained as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term.  Bernie Sanders, while strong in domestic policies, doesn’t have the foreign policy chops needed.

Economy

Her economic platform is based on three growths:  Strong, Fair and Long Term.

Strong Growth has our infrastructure growing, focusing on clean energy, scientific and medical research to create jobs and strengthen the economy.  It will also provide tax relief to working families and small business.  She wants to move forward to a full employment economy that creates jobs, pushes business to compete over workers and raise incomes.

Fair Growth states that inequality is a drag on the economy.  To get incomes rising again, the country’s basic bargain needs to be renewed.  Corporations have near-record profits but the wages are stagnant with the deck stacked against working Americans.  She wants corporations to share with the workers their near-record profits.  Her plan includes a 15% tax credit for companies that have a profit sharing program with workers on top of wages and pay increases.

Long-Term Growth is a push back on the boom and bust cycles of Wall Street.  It calls to an end of quarterly capitalism where companies can plan for the long run and invest in their workers with increased wages and better training which can lead to higher productivity, better service and larger profits.  It also calls for accountability on Wall Street where she will appoint and empower independent regulators and prosecute those individuals when they commit fraud or other criminal acts.

Gun Control

The National Rifle Association has got to be very concerned if Hillary Clinton gets elected as President.  She believes the gun industry should be held accountable for their part of gun violence.  She wants the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” to be repealed.  This law prevents victims of gun violence to hold manufacturers and dealers accountable for acts perpetrated with their guns.

She also wants to revoke licenses of bad-actor dealers who flood communities with illegal guns.  She will provide funding to increase inspections and enforce current law by revoking licenses of dealers that knowingly supply illegal guns.

Hillary Clinton will also initiate more comprehensive background checks to reduce gun trafficking, the lethality of domestic violence and unlawful gun transfers to dangerous individuals.  She will push Congress to close the “Charleston Loophole” that allows a gun sale to proceed without a completed background check if that check has not been completed in three days.  This loophole allowed the Charleston Church shooter, Dylann Roof to purchase a gun despite having a criminal record.

Ms. Clinton also wants to tighten gun show and Internet gun sales so that any person attempting to sell a significant number of guns abide by the same commonsense rules that apply to gun stores, including requiring background checks on gun sales.

Immigration

Hillary Clinton states that the immigration system needs to be fixed.  But rather than just deport all of the illegal immigrants out of the country and erect walls to keep them out, she indicates that a reform that will give these people a path to full and equal citizenship will only strengthen America.

Fight for Immigration Reform With a Path to Citizenship.  She wants to give undocumented students who grew up in the US a chance to contribute to America’s growth.  In doing so, she sees it as bringing millions of people into the formal economy.

Defend the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans)  executive actions.  These actions, initiated by President Obama, provide relief from deportation for DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) participants.  She will defend partisan attacks and politically motivated lawsuits that would put these people at risk of deportation.

Conduct humane, targeted immigration enforcement.  Focus enforcement resources on detaining and deporting individuals who pose a violent threat and work to ensure those who seek asylum in the United States have a fair chance to tell their stories.

This is not a column on who I think should lead this country.  That is a right of every individual who happens to read this.  This was only a comparison between two individuals and their platforms.

What I think who is the most qualified to be President of the United States doesn’t matter.  I can only hope that people will truly vote the right way, on the issues and not on the rhetoric that fan the flames of confusion.